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New ways to attack poverty in Detroit public schools

Nov 9, 2017 by

Nikolai Vitti –

Each morning, our students enter the classroom with a diverse set of gifts, experiences and challenges. As educators, we must champion those gifts, be sensitive to their challenge and meet the needs of all students. It is our responsibility to educate every student. Each child embodies a boundless potential that is waiting to be realized.

Approximately 10 percent of our students are classified as homeless and 65 percent of our students qualified for free and reduced lunch in the 2016-17 school year. This percentage is likely higher but positive reform at the federal level has reduced the need to complete the forms that determine the status of poverty among our students. When a student’s most basic needs are not met due to poverty, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to focus on learning. For decades, our district and namely our teachers have fought through the injustices of poverty and empowered children to overcome disadvantages. However, the challenge in front of us now is to scale and expand those examples so they are not the exceptions but the norm.

Blueprint 2020, the district’s three-year strategic plan, outlines priorities that the school board and I have established based on the feedback of internal and external stakeholders. The priorities are rooted in developing a child-centric organization that ensures college- and career/technical-ready programming exists across the district and at every school; retaining, developing and recruiting the strongest teachers and leaders, and being more strategic and aligned with our resources.

Source: Opinion: New ways to attack poverty in Detroit public schools

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