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Detroit Public Schools To Add 46 Pre-K Classrooms

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit Public Schools on Tuesday launched a universal pre-kindergarten initiative that will add 46 pre-K classrooms across the city, expanding early childhood offerings to eligible students.

The preschool initiative was announced alongside plans to expand art and music offerings in all schools and create new parenting programs to increase parent engagement. It's all part of the district's "Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools" five-year strategic plan.

Officials say the universal pre-K program will add 25 new early learning classrooms to 14 sites geographically spread across the city, including 12 classrooms in five new DPS Early Learning Neighborhood Centers. In total, DPS will operate 215 pre-K classrooms at 70 schools with a capacity for 3,530 young learners.

The plan also includes moving an additional 21 pre-K classrooms into DPS schools to create a more seamless transition to kindergarten.

"DPS' Universal Pre-K Plan is designed to invest early in our children through expanded preschool programs for all eligible four-year-olds because study after study has found that quality early childhood education pays dividends with improved academic success and graduation rates," DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said in a statement.

In tandem with the announcement, DPS officials unveiled plans to aggressively retain children from the district's pre-K programs in its general academic programs, which is expected to aid the district in enrollment stabilization and set the foundation for students to be better-prepared to enter kindergarten. Currently, the district loses about a third of pre-K students before first grade and half of preschool students by third grade.

New preschool classrooms will be located at the following sites:

  • Academy of the Americas
  • Ann Arbor Trail
  • Beard Early Childhood
  • Bennett Elementary
  • Brewer Elementary-Middle School
  • Burton International Academy
  • Carleton Elementary School
  • Clemente, Roberto Academy
  • Detroit International Academy for Young Women
  • Douglass Academy for Young Men
  • Durfee Elementary-Middle School
  • Earhart Elementary-Middle School
  • Emerson Elementary-Middle School
  • Edison Elementary School
  • Fleming Pre-K
  • Golightly Education Center
  • Maybury Elementary School
  • Palmer Park Preparatory Academy
  • Pulaski Elementary-Middle School
  • Robeson, Paul-Malcolm X Academy (at Hally)
  • Vernor Elementary School
  • Wayne Elementary School
  • Young, Coleman A. Elementary
  • Adult Education Center - East
  • Adult Education Center - West

The district is also creating five new Early Learning Neighborhood Centers at Beard, Emerson, Fleming, Golightly Education Center and Palmer Park Preparatory Academy.

In keeping with the district's strategic plan, officials on Tuesday also announced plans to add new music and art enrichment programs throughout DPS beginning in the fall of 2014. The program aims to get every elementary school student involved in music or the arts.

Also initiated under the strategic plan, the district unveiled plans for a new Parent University and Parenting Home Visits that are part of the district's extensive parent engagement initiatives.

Parent University will feature a professional development curriculum tailored for parents, internships, and the formation of a collaborative of support organizations for parents of students from Head Start to college. The Home-School Visitation program will strengthen the relationship between teachers and parents for improved academic and behavioral outcomes.

Parents interested in enrolling their child can apply at their local DPS School. Requirements for enrollment include the child's birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of income. Students must be 4 years of age by November 1. For more information, call 313-347-8923.

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