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A new approach to education

March 07 2013 | no comments

This month, Detroit 2020 is focusing on education.

The Education Achievement Authority is new this school year in Detroit. The lowest performing schools in the city are now being run by the state…and that means big changes.

Dave LewAllen went to one school in Southwest Detroit to see if the change is working out for students.

It’s a new and different approach to learning…and the early returns at Phoenix Multicultural Academy are promising.

“We have had from September to now a 30 percent growth and that’s with our students that were below average,” principal Alex Cintron told Detroit 2020.

Inside the classroom–the focus is now on student centered learning.

It’s the curriculum model in place here and at 14 other schools that are part of the new state-run Education Achievement Authority. The approach allows students from different backgrounds and cultures—to learn at their own pace.

When you have a persistently low achieving school it cannot be run under normal conditions, it just can’t,” Cintron said.

As a Detroit public school, principals came and went at Phoenix–with a new face every year for a dozen years.

In that long line of school leaders, Cintron was number 12—but it’s his desire to stay. “My heart was here, at Phoenix Multicultural Academy, with the students here,” Cintron said.

This year, as an EAA school, he’s hired teachers who share his passion.  They’ve come from across the country to help change lives here in Detroit.

“These are the teachers who have come here with the passion and understanding that there’s going to be hard work. We are a persistently low achieving school and this is going to be something that you’ll never forget for the rest of your life but you will change children’s lives,” Cintron told Detroit 2020.

And the school is extending its reach and influence beyond the classroom. Vania Ruiz is a parent community liaison who works to meet the needs of the students and their families in the southwest Detroit community. “Through those community partnerships and their parents being involved in and out of the school, we’re able to link parents to organizations that may provide those resources, if it’s a language barrier, if it’s housing, whatever it is, we’re able to create a community atmosphere here at the school,” Ruiz said.

Click here to learn more about the Education Achievement Authority.

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