Community Members, Pearson K-12 Solutions Give Detroit Public Schools a Makeover Before Students Return

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New paint, flowers, more will welcome students at two underperforming schools as they prepare for major academic turnaround

Two chronically underperforming Detroit Public Schools are preparing for intense academic reforms this school year, but before reform starts on the inside, the schools were reformed on the outside this weekend.

Volunteers from the community and Pearson K-12 Solutions, the schools' academic reform partner, planted flowers, pulled weeds, laid down woodchips, and applied new paint at White Elementary--Middle School and Farwell Middle School on Saturday Make a Difference Day in Detroit. Photos of the makeover at White Elementary--Middle are available here:

"The hard work from the schools' faculty and staff and local community members who came out helped make these schools a welcome sight as students get ready to come back to school," said Scott Drossos, president of Pearson's K-12 Solutions Group. "Intense, top-to-bottom academic reforms will begin when students return, and now their environment also will reflect these changes."

As first year principal of Farwell Middle School, Antoinette Pearson is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"We have a good deal of hard work ahead of us, and to have the community and our reform partner come together to get the school ready like this is really heartening," Principal Pearson said. "We're showing the kids that we're willing to work hard in every way to make sure they succeed."

Detroit Public Schools' classes resume on Tuesday, September 7. In August, Michigan approved Pearson K-12 Solutions to partner with the state to help turn around its struggling schools and provide professional development training for teachers. The state has identified 108 elementary, middle, and high schools in need of improvement.

White Elementary--Middle and Farwell Middle are not the only DPS schools ready to undertake intense academic reform this school year. Pearson K-12 Solutions will also work together on turnaround efforts with Hamilton Elementary--Middle School, Henderson Academy (K-8), and Phoenix Elementary School.

"We are able to draw from our research based model, experienced school improvement staff, and Pearson's vast experience and resources -- including curriculum, assessment, technology, and professional development for teachers at every stage of their careers -- to create and support customized reform plans for these Detroit schools," said Drossos.

"Our whole school family is excited to get started this year," said Bilal Tawwab, White Elementary--Middle School principal. "We are ready to hit the ground running, and it's going to mean a lot to the students to walk onto campus with their parents on September 7 and see how we've beautified their school."

Pearson K-12 Solutions' School Turnaround Education Partnership (STEP) plan includes a combination of 10 core elements that have helped improve underperforming schools for years, and has consistently demonstrated gains in student achievement as well as in school culture and distributed leadership:

1. Systematically Plan for School Improvement
2. Develop Instructional Leadership
3. Create Collaborative Education Partnerships
4. Emphasize School Culture
5. Embed Achievement Support
6. Align Curriculum
7. Optimize Conditions for Teaching & Learning
8. Foster Knowledge Driven Decision-making
9. Utilize Technology for Learning
10. Evaluate for Continuous Improvement

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education, teacher training, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry.

kate.miller(at)pearson(dot)com - 800-745-8489


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