As Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti unveils his plan to reinvigorate the school district, Detroit School Talk would like to see him focus on these five points:
1) Strong executive leadership
2) Parent empowerment
3) Telling the district’s story
4) Coordination with Detroit charter schools.
First, it will be good to see if Dr. Vitti continues to use his leadership skills in delivering his message to improve Detroit schools while working with the Detroit School Board.
Obviously, he did very well during his job interview process with the board. Also, he did a great job communicating his district’s importance at this year’s Detroit Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Conference and during his remarks at his first school board meeting. He has shared a message of hope and energy.
Originally, he seemed to be totally against charter schools, which would have been odd because he is now responsible for several charter schools. But he has made a point to say he wants to work with Detroit charter schools. His leadership will be important to bring all of Detroit’s resources (labor, charters, non-profits and the corporate community) together to improve education in Detroit.
Secondly, Detroit parents and their children feel disconnected when it comes to education. They feel no one is directing or guiding them as they are left to figure out education decisions for their kids.
When I attended Detroit Public Schools, there was a sense that parents and students knew where to go for answers and leadership. Parents were used to parent leaders they could talk to, and those leaders were always able to speak with school leadership.
Today, parents don’t have that affinity for their schools. Most of the old high school rivalries are non-existent now. I hope that our new superintendent will have the support of the school board to energize and “recruit” parents to support the district and its new leader.
Third, my kids are tired of their parent’s stories of the “heyday” of DPS, when it was one of the top school districts in the nation and Detroit kids looked out for each other when they went to college or the military.
We encourage Dr. Vitti to work with established community non-profit organizations to bring parents and students together create an atmosphere where this generation can create and tell their story of getting a great education during Detroit’s comeback.
Finally, more people must realize that half the children in Detroit attend charter schools. You can’t ignore them, you can’t cut them off and you can’t act like they live in another city. It is all one Detroit and charters aren’t going anywhere.
So we encourage the new superintendent to connect with the charter groups in our city and figure out how to work together to educate all of Detroit’s children.
If we don’t work together, we will fail a lot of children and the Detroit “comeback story” will be a bust.
Please let us know what you think Dr. Vitti should do to improve education in Detroit @DetroitSchoolTalk on Twitter or on our Facebook page at Detroit School Talk.
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