Winter 2022 Newsletter

January 21, 2022

President’s Corner

We hope that your 2022 is off to a safe and peaceful start.  We wanted you to know that despite the challenges of 2021, our critical work continued:

  • Scholarships – Provided 56 scholarships to graduating seniors
  • Basic Needs – Supplied 3,000+ families with household resources and utility assistance
  • Career Pathways – 90+ student internships
  • Athletics – Enhanced programs and trained over 50 coaches. Renaissance, Cass, and Cody golf teams received uniforms and equipment.
  • Arts and Culture – Supported Saturday Arts Academy, the Media Arts DSA Feeder School Program, MSU Community Music School, and Eisenhower Dance Detroit for a dance residency program. Mini grants funded the Drew Horticulture Community Food Program, a Peer Mentorship Program, and afterschool programs at the Downtown Boxing Gym and the At Bat program at Carver STEM!
  • Parents and Families – Program and technology hubs assisted parents and guardians through the remote to face-to-face learning transitions. The Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) continued offering food and services at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy and to our east-side communities.
  • Campaigns – Giving Tuesday/Year-End Giving- raised over $23,000! Thank you to Chair Beth Correa and Flagstar Bank for the $5,000 match.
  • Fundraising Events – 200+ attended our 8th Annual Champions of Education signature event, 2nd Annual Golf Outing and James Oliver Coffee pop ups.

Whew!  And that is the short list.

The year is off to a roaring start.  We are busy working on our Alumni Campaign and are partnering with the District to host the “Come Home” weekend in May (include link here) that you do not want to miss!

We appreciate each and every one of you that have partnered, pledged, volunteered, donated, or simply planted a seed for our students to grow and flourish into amazing, successful young adults. 

From our DPS Foundation family to yours, we send our very best wishes for a phenomenal new year!    

Gratefully,

Pamela J. Moore               Yesenia Roman-Murphy              Amy DeWys             Taneá Menifee

Maria Koliantz                  Raj Dhaliwal             Kris Johnston             Danielle Shields

 

 


Mini-Grant Awards

Our Cycle 2 Mini-Grant program proudly supported 11 student programs.  Awards are granted directly to DPSCD schools, departments, offices and partnership nonprofit organizations. 

Detroit School of Arts
August Wilson Monologues Competition Pilot
$1,700.00
Detroit School of Arts Benefiting Burns and Mark Twain Schools
Middle School Media Awareness/Feeder Program
$4,605.00
Detroit School of Arts
Building a Costume Design & Construction Curriculum at DSA
$4,200.00
DPSCD – Fine Arts
Transportation for Saturday Arts Academy at DSA
$4080.00
DPSCD – Fine Arts
RAMP-UP 2021-22
$4,000.00
DPSCD – Police Department
6th Annual Golf Outing for Renaissance HS
$500.00
Eisenhower Dance Detroit
Dance Residency
$5,000.00
Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program
STEAM Lab
$2,500.00
At Bat, Inc.
After-School Program Winter Semester
$2,500.00
Jive Turkey Detroit
Thanksgiving Food Drive
$13,000.00
Life Directions
Western International & Earhart Middle Peer Mentor, Peer Motivation Programs
$5,000.00

 

 


Calling All DPSCD 2022 Graduating SeniorsScholarships Are Available! 

Thanks to our donors, applications are open now through February 28, 2022. You can learn more by visiting www.dpsfdn.org/programs/scholarships or at https://bit.ly/DPSFScholarships 

Detroit College Promise (DCP) Scholarships.
This one-time lump sum scholarship requires attendance at a DPSCD high school for 4- years, a minimum 2.5 earned GPA, and matriculation to a State of Michigan-based higher educational institution. The DCP may be used for tuition, books, housing, meal plans or technology essentials. Total funds raised annually are divided among the pool of scholars. 
 

 

Detroit Chapter 9 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. Scholarships.
Four scholarships are available: 1. Outstanding Junior ROTC Cadet (Two Scholarships) High School Junior ROTC programs are important, in part, for the discipline and leadership skills that are taught to all cadets. Two scholarships for $2,500 each will be awarded. 2. Unsung Graduate (Two Scholarships). This scholarship recognizing Unsung Graduates, who have confronted their own challenges, assistance for post-secondary education is provided. Two scholarships for $2,500 each will be awarded.  

 

George Curby Newman Memorial Scholarships.
The George Curby Newman Scholarship awards a $1,000 scholarship to 1-male and 1-female DPSCD senior varsity athletes matriculating into higher education. This family-established award celebrates his legacy of professionalism, extreme expertise in his field, stewardship, and love for DPSCD. Mr. Newman was a DPSCD physical education teacher and coach, eventually becoming the Athletic Director at Southeastern High School.  

 

Willie McAllister, Jr. Fine Arts and Education Scholarships.
This scholarship, endowed by ABC Student Transportation, honors now retired Mr. McAllister’s 40+ year tenure and Fine Arts contributions to the District. Accelerate4KIDS The Accelerate4Kids Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality computer science and technology education in underserved communities. Four scholarships at $2,500 each will be offered. 

 

Accelerate4Kids Scholarships.
Accelerate4Kids is a STEM based nonprofit and they are offering $3,500 in scholarships to graduating seniors. $2,000 to a senior attending a 4-year institution, $1,000- to a senior attending a Community College, and $500- to a senior attending Trade School.  

 

Samuel and Margaret Crawford Scholarship.
The Samuel & Margaret Crawford Scholarship Fund rewards $1, 500 to a female student who has exhibited academic promise, tenacity, and self-efficacy. 
 

 

William Laroy Esters Scholarship.
The William Laroy Esters Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a scholar-athlete at Detroit Collegiate Preparatory at Northwestern High School who demonstrates strong athletic ability and scholarship. Award amount TBD. 
 

 

US Ecology Scholarships.
US Ecology, an environmental services organization, is offering four non-renewable scholarships totaling $5,000 each as a commitment to furthering opportunities in STEM. The scholarships will be awarded to 2- female and 2-male graduating seniors who plan to pursue a science major, full-time, at a four-year Michigan Institution.
 

 

American Heart Association STEM Scholarships for Girls. 
This Scholarship Contest (Award to Winner $2,000 and $1,000 to Runner-Up) is open to 11th Grade DPSCD Female Students. Applications must submit an essay that presents a bold idea that could change the culture of health in Detroit. The topic of the essay should relate to the work of the American Heart Association.  Submit essay and accompanying documents to info@dpsfdn.org by February 1st, 2022. For more information click here!

 


LOOKING FOR ALUMNI

Alumni!  Our students need you!  Due to state control, negligence, and debt payments, our District needs rebuilding; everything from support for families, to career exploration and internships, to state-of-the-art technology in classrooms.  We need you to partner with DPSF and support our vision to provide a rich and rewarding k-12 experience to our children.  

 Our inaugural Come Home weekend in May will salute our DPS/DPSCD alumni. Save the date May 20 – 22, 2022. Sign up to get more information here.  Activities include school visits, a Meet & Greet Reception, An Evening of Fine Arts featuring our talented students, an Alumni and VIP Sponsors Brunch, a Meet and Ride Bike Stroll, a Taste of Livernois Block Party, worship opportunities on Sunday, an Alumni VIP Reception culminating on Sunday with the Alumni Hall of Fame Black Tie Gala and After-Glow Party!  Whew!  COME HOME! Interested in hearing more? Contact us at info@dpsfdn.org  

 If you are a DPS/DPSCD Proud Alum, show your DPS/DPSCD love and submit a 1-minute video for our website:   DPSCD Proud OR send us your story.  Stay in touch, hear more about our students and follow us on facebook!

 


Our Students are High Achievers – Keyaira Johnson

Keyaira Johnson, a 14-year-old student at Renaissance, was recognized by the Urban League of Detroit’s ‘Do the Right Thing Award’. Having a soft-spot for families and children without housing, Keyaira has spent time volunteering at soup kitchens and resource pantries with her mother.  “I really wanted to impact in a way that would stick with people” says Keyaira, who gave a room in Genesis House a complete make-over for a family staying there. Using bright colors, and her eye for design, she made the room feel more like a home. Keyaira credits her long-term service to her Girl Scout Troop at St. Cecilia, and especially her

 Troop leader for helping her complete the 50-hour project.  

After the project was complete, I already knew I wanted to do it again next year but at the Awards ceremony, I was approached by COTs to do a room for them too! I never expected this to turn into such a project, but I’m thankful that it did. Not only has Girl Scouts taught me how to be a leader, but how to be of service to my community. Making an impact is priceless”. 

When asked about her future plans, Keyaira wants to study mechanical or biomedical engineering at either Stanford or University of Michigan. We can’t wait to see the young lady fly – DPSCD Proud! 

 


Partner Praise

A Delta Dental grant was awarded to support a school site coordinator at the Family Resource Distribution Center (FDRC) located at the Adult Education Center – West! The coordinator will manage District-wide basic needs and health (including mental) resources, and supplies.  The Center responds to critical physical, social, and economic challenges facing students and families by providing wraparound services including school health clinics and hubs, and dental and vision services.  The FDRC is overseen by the Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE).  Thank you, Delta Dental!

 


SALUTING THOSE THAT GO ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL: 
Carl Williams and Skyla Butts, School of Nutrition

(Interview courtesy of ChalkBeat)

Carl Williams and Skyla Butts aren’t just leaders in the office of school nutrition in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Sometimes, they are also cooks. Or servers. And when the team needs an extra dose of encouragement, they’re also motivators.

Williams is the executive director of the school nutrition office. Butts is the communications and marketing manager. Recently, they were honored by the School Nutrition Association of Michigan as director of the year and manager of the year, respectively. 

It’s been a tough year for school employees tasked with ensuring students get the healthy meals they need. Initiatives aimed at increasing lunch participation and putting chefs in schools to teach students about healthy eating have been stalled. Staffing and supply shortages caused by the pandemic have created immense challenges. Sometimes, it means people in administrative roles must lend a hand. 

“Everyone in the central office is out in the field, hands on,” Williams said. “I spent several weeks cooking, cleaning, and serving food in the kitchen, because we were so short-staffed.” 

These two, however, are part of a team that has been relentless in making sure students have a quality dining experience. The district recently was featured in a No Kid Hungry video for its efforts during the pandemic to get meals to students, especially those who are medically fragile. In the video, Williams says food service employees were essential before the term “essential workers” was coined to refer to workers whose jobs were vital during the pandemic. 

“The pandemic changed how we did things, but it didn’t change what we did,” Williams said. 

“When this pandemic happened, it was like, ‘OK, we’ve been doing this, this [has been] a dress rehearsal. We know what to do,” Butts said. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve encountered since the pandemic began, and how are you combating them? 

Williams: Our challenges have been in three categories: staffing, logistics or procurement of items … and perception of the program. With staffing, when the pandemic came, we lost some employees who chose to retire and not return. So a third of my staffing is vacant.. We were trying to maintain our standards, meaning, variety of food, variety of options on a daily basis, maintaining the quality of food, maintaining the safety of our food and operations with less employees. {During the pandemic and to this day,} we greatly increased our communication, how we communicate, and how often we communicate. We had the leadership team communicate every day at 2:30 p.m.on a call. It lasts about an hour and a half. We talk about the issues of the day, strategize about tomorrow. As we’re short staffed, our manufacturers are short as well. So the challenge of getting enough of the same products to keep the menu consistent throughout the district is relatively impossible. You may have some schools serving barbecued chicken today, and another school serving pizza, and a third set of schools serving chicken nuggets. Manufacturers that have a COVID outbreak are sometimes unable to deliver because they have no delivery drivers to work that day. So we’re missing delivery day. And we’re finding ourselves driving out to our supplier to pick up our own food. 

During the pandemic, a lot of students were at home and they went back to eating a lot of unhealthy food. We had been making some very good progress with the reducing the sodium and controlling the calorie intake and removing high-fructose corn syrup and all the harmful seven ingredients from the food. We’re proud to be a district {where} 95% of our product does not have the harmful 7. Unfortunately those are the items in the food that tastes really good. 

So for a whole year students were eating all that high-fructose corn syrup food and all this McDonald’s burgers that got all this crap in it and now they back to eating our food and their taste buds have changed a little bit so now we got to get their taste buds back to being used to eating healthier, more nutritious food. 

What motivated the district to make this big push toward more healthy products? 

Butts: The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was the push we needed to go in a direction that was healthier, had less processed foods, more whole foods. With [the Detroit school district] having a two-acre farm and 84 school gardens, that was right up our alley. 

Williams: Also … when you’re fueling your body with food that’s good for your body it helps combat a lot of our social diseases that we have — diabetes and obesity. Also, I was at a conference, and I listened to a professor show how your brain reacts to certain nutrients, when you eat it for breakfast in the morning, and how it fires certain areas in the brain for learning. There’s so much data that when your body is fueled properly it eliminates absenteeism because you’re sick less often (and) able to concentrate when you’re in school. 

How has the pandemic affected some of the district’s efforts to improve school nutrition programs?

Butts: I have this board … that I keep all my tasks on. And a lot of it has the word “paused” next to it because of the marketing initiatives that we were rolling out or were doing very well, and then COVID hit. I had been on this bandwagon — I needed to have food trucks in the district. We were asked to put together a proposal and do a write-up on why we should have them. And then the board voted on it and voted for two. And then we were all set, and doing some of our soft openings. Then, of course, you know what happened in March of 2020. So we had these two beautiful food trucks just sitting. We’ve had opportunities here and there to take them out to different schools. But we’ve never had the opportunity to use them as intended. We wanted to bring these vehicles into the schools, we wanted to offer additional lunch items that aren’t on the current lunch menu to excite the students, get them excited about lunch again, and increase our lunch participation. 

How have you kept staff motivated through a difficult time? 

Butts: We know that this pandemic has hit our staff, hit our team so hard. We know we have to keep motivating our staff. We acknowledge them when we go to the schools and we say, hey, I’m just dropping by and just want to say, ‘You’re doing a great job.’ We have great partnerships with some organizations, some industries, who’ve given us some gift cards that we were able to go to our staff and say, you know, “I see you, I see what you’re doing, I know that you’re putting in that extra, you know, oomph.” 

The pandemic helped a lot of people see how hard school nutrition employees had to work to ensure students received their meals. What was that time like for the department? 

Williams: Honestly, food service workers are used to dealing with challenges and working in that manner and putting out fires every single day. That’s kind of what we do as an industry. We’ve got to be ready to feed [students], no matter who called off for the day, or what food shortage we got because at one o’clock, the doors got to open and we got to feed kids. So when all of this happened and it just got a lot worse and our staffing got shorted, nobody whined. We just went to work. 

Butts: It’s just what we do. If a kid needs to be fed, we’re going to do what we need to do to get them fed. 

You both received big honors recently from the state nutrition association. What does it mean to be recognized by your peers? 

Williams: I was very happy that individuals see what we’re doing here is making a difference. And I’m very humbled and thankful. But internally, I gotta be honest, what I see is, how much more I have to do, and tomorrow, what I want to accomplish. I’m just focused on that. 

Butts: We’re the type of people that are more comfortable behind the scenes. We are so team focused within our department, and I know that there are plenty of managers who do just as good or a better job in their roles. I look at it like this: I was selected to represent us as a team because nothing — and I mean nothing — that I do is singular. We need each other to make it happen. 

Carl Williams (left) is the executive director of the school nutrition office for the Detroit Public Schools Community. Skyla Butts (right) is the communications and marketing manager in the school nutrition office for the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Photos courtesy the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

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