Residents eager to see changes in schools

DETROIT -- Enthusiastic and supportive residents gathered Tuesday and Wednesday nights to listen to success stories and discuss the community's role during the Foundation's neighborhood education meetings.

A crowd of more than 200 residents from the Osborn and Northend neighborhoods met inside the American Serbian Memorial Hall on Tuesday for the second of three meetings. The interested and upbeat attendees heard from students, teachers, parents, foundation leaders and principals.

Osborn University High School’s new principal, Stephen McGhee, told the crowd he has started the “process of accountability,” and invited anyone interested to join this crusade to change the direction of Detroit’s schools.
 
A student panel -- made up of five dynamic DPS students -- spoke from the heart about the problems with gangs and violence, and what getting a quality education means to them. Ronald Norwood, an 11th-grader at Osborn University, said it’s as simple as “pulling out a book without having to search for one, having pencils and paper accessible, and being allowed by teachers to do the work, because students have been taught in the right way and can handle it.”

At Southwestern High School, about 200 residents heard from a student panel that focused on what is and isn't working in their schools. Residents listened to a presentation about the recently opened Cristo Rey High School in Southwest Detroit, which is doing a remarkable job educating Detroit kids and preparing them for college.

In the American Serbian Memorial Hall, Cass Tech student Cyrus Tettah said it’s important for schools to have high standards for their students. “Getting the education you need to do what you want in life, and enjoying it,” is what Tettah said he considers mandatory for all schools.
 
Marquis Houstin, a Crossman High junior, said that schools' administrators can make an effort to include all students by creating a safe environment and offering adaptive learning. Parents were also encouraged to seek a more active role by by knowing their students' school, expecting and demanding more for and from their students, and seeking out support to prepare their students for college and beyond.

The residents in Southwest Detroit showed overwhelming support for the idea that fixing our schools is a community problem that requires participation from everyone. The audience also agreed that residents have to hold their elected officials accountable for fixing the schools.

Related coverage