One day I sat back and began to think on the state of our youth (in Detroit in particular) and started to jot down ideas and thoughts. At the time I was a tutor for an 11 year old girl from one of the better Detroit Public Schools, and I took note of things she and her mother told me about her learning style, issues, her teachers and classmates. So this made me think about the way things are done in the school, good and bad. The thing is, we hear enough of the “bad” so I figured I wanted to look to find more of the positive aspects the school system holds…..I know it’s there.
I want to discuss ways to put a positive spin on Detroit Public Schools (DPS) in the media and also in the community. The reason I chose this topic is because I believe I know what can be done differently to affect the community and the students alike. A lot of students are not given the opportunity to blossom and if they are given this chance, they don’t often get recognized. Their needs may be overlooked and their talents underdeveloped because no one takes the time to help them figure out what the greatest attributes are.
This particular subject is close to heart because I am from this city and therefore a product of the school system. I grew up on the eastside of Detroit and went to Detroit Public Schools all of my years up through high school. One thing I can honestly (and sadly) say is that I didn’t learn as much as I should have from all those years. There was the 6:30 am wake up from my alarm (or my parental unit), then on to school from 8 am until 3pm, which included vocation/trade school classes at another high school for three hours (high school schedule). All of that and still I entered into college with less knowledge in certain subjects as my classmates. I felt horrible but I made a point to get on track with my peers. I made a vow to myself that I would do my best to ensure my children, if and when I have them, will never experience this. From that point I realized there really WAS a big difference in DPS, than other school districts just like I had always heard in the news and from adults. The difference is our school districts a little more laxed than most districts in and around Michigan.
Even though, there are a few aspects which may be seen as setbacks for some of these students, there are still a lot who come through with honors and never get the recognition. A simple “good job” or “I’m proud of you” encourages a young person more than we may know. Whether it is in academics, athletics, being most improved, they all deserved to be talked about. Even those awesome teachers, coaches and counselors need a huge pat on the back for playing a significant part in a student’s life. There are some hidden gems within our schools that are still covered in dirt. I would like to be the person to uncover these athletes, honors students, teachers, coaches and counselors.
For the next few months, I hope you will read along with me as I delve into this situation in the Detroit schools and hopefully bring encouragement to students throughout the city.