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K-12 Education

Students, we want to know your challenges, fears, ideas

Today, Governor Whitmer announced that Michigan schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

Students and recent grads: What are your thoughts, questions, and concerns? What do you think the future of education should look like?

We’re asking students and young adults to share their reactions to these questions here and/or via social media using the #DetroitScholar. We believe this is a time when education should and will change to reflect the challenges and the opportunities present in the world today. To do it right, young people’s perspectives must be elevated.

Here’s what decisions the State of Michigan has been hashed out so far:


  • No in-person learning for the rest of the school year.
  • All K-12 school sports and other in-person extracurricular activities are also suspended for the remainder of the school year.

What will learning look like?

  • Each school district will be responsible for developing its learning plans.
  • If online learning is part of a school district’s plan, it must ensure all students have access to the technology needed. Students cannot be penalized for their inability to fully participate.
  • Grades, credits, and pass/fail decisions will be made by the school district, “with due recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • For students with special needs/IEPs, schools will present alternative learning plans to their families to ensure education and therapy services can continue.
  • M-STEP testing is canceled.

What about high school seniors?

  • High schools will develop plans for senior graduation based on current grades. This includes providing opportunities to “catch up” for students who were failing a course as of March 11.
  • SAT testing is canceled for the year.
  • Districts will work with students with special needs and their families to ensure they can learn while at home.

What about other resources provided by schools?

  • School districts are to maintain connections with students and families and to help students feel safe and valued.
  • School districts will continue to provide meals to eligible students.
  • Mental health supports will be provided.

Students, raise your voice via:

  • Social Media: Make a video or text post sharing your thoughts using the hashtag #DetroitScholar.
  • Blogging: If you’re interested in writing a blog and/or filming a video blog to be featured on our website, please email a draft (and for written blogs, a photo of yourself) to mnavarro@skillman.org (if you’re under 18, remember to get your parents’ or guardians’ permission first). Blogs are typically anywhere from 250 to 500 words. Vlogs (video blogs) should be between 30 seconds to 5 minutes; a pro tip here is that brevity is always best.
  • Email: Email your thoughts to mnavarro@skillman.org. If possible, please include a photo of yourself, your name, age, and school. (if you’re under 18, please get your parents’ or guardians’ permission first).

As our city and state navigate the challenges brought on by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to know that you matter. Your thoughts, feelings, and your future matter. We depend on you to become the leaders our communities and country need, and you should be able to depend on us to be caring adults who support you to do so.

High School Seniors: We’ve worked with the Detroit College Access Network to help answer some of your questions about graduation, the SAT, college applications, and more. Click here to read more.

For the caring adults reading this message, please share this with the young people you know.

The Skillman Foundation

The Skillman Foundation is a grantmaking organization established in 1960 by Rose Skillman. We have granted out more than $730 million and have served as a vocal advocate to strengthen K-12 education, afterschool programming, child-centered neighborhoods, youth and community leadership, and racial equity and justice.

We are in the process of developing a new strategic framework, co-designed with Detroit youth and their champions.

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