Says Steps Taken to Improve Learning

Bobb Not Surprised by Poor 2009 Science Test Scores

By Peter Neumann

Bobb Not Surprised by Poor 2009 Science Test Scores

February 24, 2011

DETROIT, Mich. (MyTV20 News at 10) --- Robert Bobb this morning reacted to poor science test scores by DPS students. He says since taking the helm at DPS after the science tests were administered, Bobb says he and his team have taken steps to improve learning in science, and all other areas too.

Read his statement here:

"Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb issued the following statement on the National Assessment for Educational Progress.

“The National Assessment for Educational Progress science test was administered in February 2009, before my team and I came to Detroit Public Schools.

The results are not surprising given that this was same test administration that placed Detroit students last nationally in reading and math.

Since the earlier results were released, I and my academic team have launched a five-year academic plan that which focuses on creating centers of excellence at every school in every neighborhood reforms throughout the district’s 142 schools, including expanded time for reading and mathematics under a common core curriculum, pre-algebra for 7th graders, a tutor for every pre-kindergartner through the Volunteer Reading Corps, additional language courses, Advanced Placement courses available at every high school, and offered more opportunities for student apprenticeships, internships, shadowing and mentorships.

The district also commenced millions of dollars in school building improvements as part of a voter-approved bond.

We also created outlined ambitious goals, such as a 98 percent graduation rate by 2015. Just this week, we released date showing we are moving the dial on graduation rates. To meet our ambitious graduation and student achievement goals, we also have:
· reconstituted 22 K-8 schools and 17 high schools, replacing the leadership and significantly modifying the teaching staff within each school
· transformed most elementary schools to a new prek-8 configuration
· reassigned/hired 91 principals
· established principal performance-based contracts
· identified and engaged a number of nationally recognized partner providers to support transformation at the school level
· created and administered quarterly benchmark assessments aligned to the MEAP and NAEP in grades 3-12,
· and developed a comprehensive plan of support for the district’s persistently lowest achieving schools.

Similarly, we have put in place new programs to provide students with skills required to face the increasingly technical requirements, as well as the needed science and math skills, they'll need to compete in the 21st century.

These include:
· DPS has a renewed emphasis on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects, including strengthening the academic curriculum, resurrecting its relationship with the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) and increasing student access to and participation in science fairs.
· Under Detroit Public Schools’ five-year academic plan, instructional time in math (and reading) is expanded to 120 minutes daily in every kindergarten through eighth-grade class.
· The increased instructional time will build on the success of the district’s Summer Academy and Extended Day programs, which increased access to math and literacy courses and have allowed thousands of struggling students to catch up to their peers.
· The academic plan, which aims for a 98 percent graduation rate by 2015, also calls for struggling ninth graders to be scheduled back-to-back Algebra I and English Language Arts courses – called double dosing – to strengthen those skills.
· DPS is working with DAPCEP at the high school level to provide student workshops and help teachers and students prepare for the 54th Annual Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit, at Cobo Center March 16-20, 2011.
· DAPCEP already operates middle school-level programs in 27 schools. To increase participation, the district invited all students in grades 6-12 who to participate in “How to Enter and Present Your Best Science Fair Project,” on November 20.
· DPS boasts a number of innovative STEM-related programs, including an all-girls competitive robotics team for high school students and Lego League for middle school students at the Detroit International Academy; and a rigorous program at Davis Aerospace Technical High School to prepare students for higher education while developing technical skills to prepare students for a career in aviation.
· The district also has a growing partnership with the Detroit Science Center, which now operates the Detroit Children’s Museum that is owned by Detroit Public Schools. The partnership has included free school group field trips tied state MEAP testing objectives at the Science Center for Detroit Public Schools students and teachers and more.
· In the MCAT program at Martin Luther King High School, students take double math throughout school and take 3 or 4 AP courses before they graduate. More than 100 kids are currently in the program. They are going through ways to incorporate the program in their new building. Among the options: Scuba diving and natural learning pieces.

These NAEP tests are rigorous assessments that we support and we believe accurately reflect where students are performing nationally. We continue to align DPS curriculum to the NAEP standards so our students can compete against any child in any state in this nation.”

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