• Metro Detroit students’ school year starts with a lot of changes

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    169271385After a school year that ended sadly last spring, Inkster students started classes today hoping for solace, warmth and progress.

    More than 2,200 students returned to school in new districts because of the dissolution of Inkster Public Schools this summer. They were among the state’s 1.5 million public school children who kicked off the 2013-14 school year across the state.

    A transition also was happening in Saginaw County, where the dissolution of the Buena Vista School District dispersed nearly 250 students to nearby districts. Gloria Rubis, superintendent for Bridgeport-Spaulding Schools, said many of the former Buena Vista parents weren’t aware they would need to register before their kids could attend school, and that led to a hectic day for office staff.

    “It wasn’t disorganized. It wasn’t chaotic. It was just busy all day long,” she said.

    And Detroit Public Schools, the state’s largest district, began the year with what it’s calling new community schools. Twenty-one school buildings will be open up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, offering a range of social services and extracurricular activities to students and parents.

    So far, the community schools each have a caseworker from the state Department of Human Services on-site to serve parents who receive state assistance and to connect other parents with medical, housing and job assistance. In total, DHS has placed 87 caseworkers in 90 schools in Wayne County — 80 in DPS buildings and 10 in Detroit schools in the Educational Achievement Authority, the state’s district for the lowest-performing schools.

    At the Detroit School of Arts, staff cuts drew protest and angst. The school, housed in a $122-million building, enrolled less than 500 students last year, though it has a capacity of 800. DPS cut the eighth period from the schedule and cut eight staff at the specialized school. Amid outcry from parents and students, four positions were restored during the past week.

    While most public schools started today, Wednesday will be the first day of school for students who attend 12 schools in the EAA. It also will be a belated first day for students at Crothers Elementary in Warren — in the Center Line School District — which was closed today after weekend storms caused flooding.

    Read more about the latest updates for this school year in the Detroit Free Press

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