$265K in grants will support pilot of 5 credit recovery programs for Detroit students

DETROIT – While graduation rates are on the rise across the city, data show that as many as two thirds of high schools students attending school in six Detroit neighborhoods are off track for graduation because they aren’t accumulating enough credits each year to advance to the next grade.

In order to address this problem and to learn more about what types of approaches have the best results, the Skillman Foundation has made grants of $50,000 to $65,000 to five unique programs working on solutions that get kids back on track.

Participating organizations will provide services this summer, track data on students enrolled in their programming, and take part in a learning circle with other providers to share effective practices.


“Whether a student stays on track with credit accumulation is the single biggest predictor of whether he or she will drop out,” said Vice President, Program & Policy Kristen McDonald. “While much of our education strategy focuses on front-end and systemic solutions that will ensure kids don’t fall behind in the first place, we can’t ignore the reality that many still do. We believe this pilot will both get hundreds of kids back on track while giving schools valuable insight into what approaches make the most sense for students in Detroit.”

The five grants are:

  • $65,000 to American Promise Schools to support the launch of Project 95% at Consortium College Prep high school. Project 95%, is needed to supplement APS’s tested strategies for engaging urban students and keeping them in school with a systematic credit recovery regime that will assure that all students are fully on track in September 2016 when they enter their senior year. The program will target current 10th graders who are missing at least one credit and will provide the learning opportunities and supports to ensure they are on track for successful graduation.
  • $50,000 to buildOn to support its Summer Service Learning Program. This pilot will offer wraparound support to students participating in summer credit recovery on the Osborn high school campus. This program will develop students’ leadership skills by coupling summer youth employment and community service opportunities to facilitate life skills training and drive on-time high school completion and the transition to college and career.
  • $50,000 to Detroit Parent Network will fund a pilot of a pay-for-success model to incentivize summer credit recovery completion at Central Collegiate Academy and Detroit Collegiate Preparatory at Northwestern by providing financial incentives to students for completion. Detroit Parent Network has successfully supported high school students and their parents in graduating on-time and transitioning to college through its Project Graduation program. This grant will target supports to significantly off-track students.
  • $50,000 to People Enriching Empowering People Services & Housing Corporation will support a pilot of the High H.O.P.E.S. (Helping Others Prepare to Excel for Success) program to offer wrap-around support to students participating in summer credit recovery on the Cody high school campus. This program will engage youth in academic development, college access, financial literacy, and career exploration activities in an effort to drive on-time high school graduation.
  • $50,000 to Southwest Detroit Business Association, Inc. will support a pilot program of Owning It: Our Education (OIOE), which will offer peer-led mentoring and tutoring supports to students participating in summer credit recovery at Western International. This pilot will expand an existing youth-led effort to mobilize students toward academic success, specifically targeting students at Western International who are significantly off-track. OIOE will facilitate peer-led supports for accelerated credit attainment. Youth leaders champion credit acceleration and on-time high school graduation

Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development

Media contact: Senior Communications Officer Krista Jahnke, 313-393-1181.