Detroit schools launch summer learning initiative

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

Detroit — The new Detroit Public Schools Community District announced Wednesday a partnership with stakeholders to keep students engaged over the summer and prevent the dreaded “summer slide.”

The partnership was announced during a news conference at the Michigan Science Center, and free educational events, open to students in all grades, are planned for every Saturday in August.

The STEAM program — science, technology, engineering, art and math — will engage students in active learning over the summer through large-scale events next month. The first two events kick off Aug. 6.

Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes expressed his excitement about the new district and the summer events.

“The primary reason I’m here today as the transition manager is to support our students and the new school district,” he said. “Our students will realize their full potential when their full needs are met.”

He said for the first time, he is confident the district is making the “right moves and heading in the right direction.”

“We’ve got an exciting summer of events planned to ensure students are actively engaged in learning over the summer so they will be ready to succeed on day one of the first day of school Tuesday, Sept. 6.”

The new district joined forces with the Michigan Science Center, the Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland’s office, the Wayne County Family Aquatic Center, Detroit Children’s Museum, HAP, the Detroit Health Department, the Ford Motor Company Fund and Office Depot, to host and support the events. Each venue will have educational activities centered on STEAM.

“This is an opportunity to avoid the summer slide,” said interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather.

An open enrollment event will be held Aug. 27.

“We’ve got 97 schools in the district, and there’s got to be one that works for you,” said Meriweather.

“There are 27,000 kids going outside the city limits to go to school and we want to change that,” she said.

Meriweather touched on details regarding the transition from Detroit Public Schools to the new Detroit Public Schools Community District as part of a $617 million state rescue package.

She said both she and Rhodes will continue to serve until their contracts end Dec. 31. A new school board to be elected in November will take office in January and choose a new superintendent.