Detroit’s board of education on Tuesday approved launching a K-12 program, with sights on a "cradle to career" campus at Marygrove College.

The move advances efforts to create a hub for urban education at the renowned institution on the city's west side, which is undergoing a transformation amid declining enrollment.

The school is scheduled to open during the 2019-20 academic year at the property, "starting with the ninth grade and possibly kindergarten and subsequent rollup of enrollment thereafter each following year,” according to the board recommendation.

The site is part of district efforts to create an innovative "cradle-to-career," or P-20, educational campus.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is slated to manage the building as well as hire personnel and pay for daily operating costs, the recommendation said.

More details, including philanthropic partnerships, were expected to be unveiled during a news conference Thursday, but leaders have aimed to make the facility a state-of-the-art initiative modeled after other successful ventures, district spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson said.

Marygrove representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

District officials have touted a school at the 53-acre site as a way to help recruit and retain students, boost standardized test scores, raise graduation rates and attract teachers.

Before their decision during a regular meeting Tuesday night at Martin Luther King Jr., Senior High School, board members agreed that heading to Marygrove presented a unique opportunity. 

“We’re really excited they’re doing something innovative,” treasurer Sonya Mays said.

The vote comes as leaders work to transform the struggling college, which the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary founded in Monroe in 1905. The former women's-only school moved to northwest Detroit in 1927.

Following undergraduate enrollment dropping by more than 50 percent between 2013 and 2016, the administration eliminated the undergrad program and many faculty positions.

Meanwhile, the Kresge Foundation has dedicated millions of dollars into rescuing the institution. IHM also has pledged $10 million in loans and guarantees. 

The college now is overseen by the nonprofit Marygrove Conservancy, a nonprofit created last year and tasked with maintaining the campus and relieving the school of a  financial burden.

Marygrove can accommodate 1,300 on-campus students; 436 graduate students were enrolled in its Education, Human Resource Management and Social Justice programs, college officials said in February.

District officials have spent nearly a year pursuing plans for a school there, Wilson said Tuesday.

Plans still are being finalized for target enrollment and whether it will be application-only, she said. Those details are set to be discussed during community engagement sessions, which could start this fall, Wilson said.

Meanwhile, through a partnership with the University of Michigan, the school could possibly offer a pipeline of teachers and other educational professionals with residencies and field experiences, according to the district.

Read or Share this story: