The Detroit Children’s Fund, a nonprofit organization, is investing $3.5 million in four Detroit nonprofit charter schools for the next two years as part of a new program to improve education in Detroit schools.
The participating schools are Escuela Avancemos Academy (kindergarten-eighth grade), Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences (kindergarten-eighth grade), Hope Academy (kindergarten-eighth grade), and Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (high school).
“We know education is the foundation of progress in our communities; it is central to our well-being, economic progress, a productive workforce, and a more engaged public,” says Erica Robertson, deputy director of the fund. “We identified schools that had strong leadership and the right mindset for improvement who will create sustainable change for years to come.”
The School Collaboration Collective program is designed to equip school staff with best practices, training, and expert advice to help improve student outcomes. Robertson says the fund is already seeing results.
Escuela Avancemos Academy had to move buildings at the end of the last school year, and the administration worried about losing teachers with the transition. The fund’s plan to provide increased instructional support and retention bonuses helped the school retain all of its staff for the upcoming year.
“The partnership with DCF came at a critical moment for our school,” says Sean Townsin, principal of Escuela Avancemos Academy. “The support our teachers are getting through the program, in both professional development and monetary incentives, helped to make our teachers feel respected and valued, and ultimately want to stay.”
The program works to take a holistic approach to school improvement by combining national best practices and school-level data to improve student performance. The program provides one-to-one coaching for teachers and instructional leaders, computers and technology, school visits, common core-aligned curriculum, and leadership training.
“We wanted to create a program that addresses the systemic issues in the Detroit education system at the school level,” says Jack Elsey, executive director of the fund. “SC2 is helping schools that have shown indicators of success and a strong belief that all children can succeed. We are implementing customized strategies at each school that enable them to improve their academics.”