Although most of the former school board members were running for re-election, Detroit voters decided to do something different. They elected 6 new members to the school board and re-elected 1 incumbent. I believe Detroit made a statement with the electing of 6 new members. Even though many voters may not have been familiar with most of the candidates (including the former school board members), voters knew enough to elect a new body that coincides with a new chapter, new page in the book of Detroit Public Schools Community District.
As the “changing of the guard” officially taking place in January 2017, this new school board must hit the ground running. With the academic future of our children at stake, the talk of more school closures this year, the on-going fiscal stability of DPSCD, stabilizing enrollment, retaining and attracting good teachers, building conditions, exploding class sizes, etc. This new school board will have its hands full for the next few years.
Even though I wasn’t asked, I have a few things on my wish list for the New DPSCD school board members: 1.) Visit the schools on a regular basis- be visible to staff, students and families. 2.) Engage parents and the community a LOT more- host coffee hours, attend parent meetings, host a parent night out, etc. 3.) Come up with an effective legislative strategy- build bridges and needed connections with Lansing lawmakers (not ONLY the Detroit caucus) 4.) Decide which of the bitter battles from the past you will discontinue and which, if any, are worth continuing- and if so, develop a new strategy. 5.) Figure out a way to effectively communicate with the general public- they need to know who you are, what you’re working on and how they can be involved in helping to move DPSCD forward. 6.) Engage the youth to actively participate- possibly student councils can run a mock meeting or serve as a moderator, etc.
Because this new board brings to the table a wealth of experience, talent, fresh ideas, and knowledge of DPS history, I believe it is just the right mix to keep them focused on the MAIN objective: the children. Good Luck!