Detroit district partners with arts, science groups

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

The Detroit school district is partnering with some of the city’s largest arts and science venues to help students this winter experience curriculum outside the school walls.

The Detroit Institute of Arts, Belle Isle Nature Center, Detroit Symphony Orchestra are among the organizations participating in the events promoting learning about science technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), many of them free to the public. The purpose is to engage the district’s families in after-school learning activities.

The announcement was made Friday at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“Our families and students need these experiences, and what happens inside the classrooms needs to be supported by what happens outside the classroom,” said interim Detroit Superintendent Alycia Meriweather.

Other participating organizations include the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Michigan Science Center, Detroit Public Library, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Eastern Market and The Rink at Campus Martius Park. Other partnering groups include Downtown Detroit Partnership, Detroit Public Television and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

“Our children are worth investing in, and each of these organizations have said they want to invest,” said Meriweather.

Salvadore Salort-Pons, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, said his group wants “students to understand how science and arts go together.”

DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons said the arts “help with the development of young minds.”

“This is a great way to bring attention to the rich and loving arts and culture community,” she said.

LaNesha DeBardelaben, senior vice president of education and exhibitions at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, said the partnership is an investment in the future.

“Today’s learners are tomorrow’s leaders, so it is important to make an investment now so we can have positive returns,” she said.

Fliers announcing the event are expected to be mailed out within the next week, said Meriweather, with the first event scheduled for Feb. 11 at the Belle Isle Nature Center.

Last July, a similar partnership was announced, and free educational events, open to students in all grades, were planned for every Saturday in August.

At that time, the district joined forces with the Michigan Science Center, the Michigan 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.

Events run through April 2.

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