- Posted January 4, 2012 by
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Detroit Public Schools changes up the calendar, with 18 schools open over holiday break
Some 150 community and parent volunteers, in addition to two Teachers-in-Charge per building, are devoting their time to Detroit Public Schools’ Holiday Learning Fest, a first-time program that kicked off December 27, where 18 participating schools will provide academic support and remediation, free meals and food baskets over the holiday break to more than 1,000 students who have registered to date. The district also will offer special parent workshops in seven Parent Resource Centers.
Said Harms Elementary Principal Karen White: “One father commented, ‘I bought all these games and toys for Christmas and you would think she would want to stay home and want to play with them but my daughter wants to be here (at Harms)!’ The children are having a ball!”
Through the brand new Holiday Learning Fest, a program sponsored in part by the Office of Food Services, 18 schools are open to students for six days (December 27, 28, 29, 2011 and January 3, 4, 5, 2012) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide learning, fun activities and nourishment for students.
At two of the participating schools, Marcus Garvey and Osborn Academy, DPS has partnered with the St. John Health System to offer clinics, which include free immunizations and health screenings.
At Sampson-Webber Academy, one of the schools staying open, the library is undergoing a complete make-over thanks to a group of volunteers called “Motor Moms.”
Four women from the group are leading the effort, along with community volunteers, to renovate the library by repainting the entire facility, cleaning the carpet, and refurbishing the bookshelves, tables and chairs.
“We’ve been collecting books for the last few years hoping to put them on the shelves very soon, once all of the barcodes are installed,” said Sally MacKinnon, Community Liaison for Motor Moms. “Without being able to read, our kids are lost.”
Motor Moms have been volunteering consistently at Samson-Webber Academy for more than three years to train students on fine/gross motor skills and reading techniques. The group decided to take on the restoration project at no cost to the district after seeing a need for a fully-functioning library.
“Many teachers from this building are volunteering, as well as community partners and parents,” said Beard Elementary Teacher Ann Crowley. “There are just a wealth of people who are volunteering to help our students stay on track during the break. One main goal of this program is to help them stay fresh so that they don’t forget over the course of two weeks all they’ve been learning throughout the school year.”
Volunteers have come from many organizations and partners, including from DPS' Volunteer Business Corps, the Volunteer Reading Corps and City Year.
“When the opportunity is offered to be involved with anything that involves Detroit youth and education, I’m in!” said Rebecca Nadis, City Year Volunteer. “This program is very important to our organization, and serving the youth of Detroit is very important to me. I can’t think of a better way to spend my day than with these children. They’re so cheerful and just happy to be learning.”
About the Holiday Learning Fest
Through the brand new Holiday Learning Fest, a program sponsored in part by the Office of Food Services, 18 schools are open to students for six days (December 27, 28, 29, 2011 and January 3, 4, 5, 2012) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide academic support and remediation, fun activities and nourishment for students.
Key components of the Holiday Learning Fest include:
- Breakfast and Lunch will be provided to all students and parents who participate at no charge
- Free food baskets and other donations will be available for students to take home
- At seven schools, where there are Parent Resource Centers, parents will be able to take part in engaging workshops
To learn more, go to www.detroitk12.org