How I Teach

Rise & Shine: You’re invited to a community discussion about special education

Good morning! Our job here at Chalkbeat Detroit never quite ends. We cover education in a city where there are as many stories as there are parents, students, and teachers. That’s why we’re hosting a series of public discussions about Detroit schools. Our first event, scheduled for a week from today at the office of our co-hosts the Detroit Parent Network, will focus on special education. Parents and teachers will speak about the educational obstacles facing some of the city’s most vulnerable students.

Read on for more details about the event and check out the latest installment of our How I Teach series, which tells the story of a math teacher who also runs a greenhouse. If you know a teacher who should be featured in a future How I Teach, please let us know.

— Koby Levin, Detroit reporter


Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox, or forward to a friend who cares about public education.


LET’S TALK ABOUT SPECIAL ED Are you struggling to make sure your child with special needs receives an appropriate education? Are you a special education teacher with ideas about how to improve the system? Join us. Chalkbeat and the Detroit Parent Network’s community listening session about special education will be on July 24. Chalkbeat

MATH AND MEDITATION Meet a math teacher who might lead a meditation during first hour and teach a lesson in the school’s garden in the afternoon. Chalkbeat

MENTOR TEACHER Three separate studies found that teachers who are mentored by excellent teachers go on to boost their students’ test scores and receive better performance reviews themselves. The research also suggests that simply having a more experienced mentor teacher doesn’t necessarily help new teachers. Chalkbeat

WHY SPECIAL ED? Michigan’s is the only U.S. state to receive a rating of “needs improvement” this year from the federal government for its special education programs. High dropout rates and lower than average test scores among special needs students are just part of the problem. Detroit News

FREE RIDE Michigan universities are discovering that they can recruit first-generation college students by paying for high schoolers to take bus tours to their campuses. Bridge

TEACHER INCENTIVE Two Democratic state legislators are putting forward a plan that would increase pay for teachers who work in hard-to-staff subject areas in low-income districts, especially math, science, and special education. Detroit News

CHARTER BILLIONAIRES Efforts to bring charter schools to individual states are largely funded by billionaires, according to an AP investigation. Major philanthropists have given nearly $500 million dollars to state charter school organizations since 2006. AP

ART x SCIENCE A free exhibit in downtown Detroit aims to draw teenagers into the sciences and the arts by showing off high-tech artwork. Detroit News

TRAGIC BUS RIDE A Detroit special education student died last week after having a seizure on a school bus that was taking him to the first day of a summer camp for children with special needs. The family planned to review video of the incident. Fox 2

THREATS Michigan’s efforts to hold schools accountable for their performance are heavy-handed, a Free Press columnist argues. She points to a state law that would hold back third graders who aren’t reading on grade level and a renewed effort to close low-performing schools. Freep

IVY LEAGUE A Renaissance High School graduate is bound for Harvard University on a four-year scholarship. Britteny Okorom-Achuony started a math club at Renaissance. She plans to major in computer science. Detroit Public Schools Community District

INTERNSHIP They worked for a summer at Drew Transition Center, a special education program run by Detroit’s main school district. Now they say they are more likely to move to Detroit once they graduate from Michigan State. Freep

DOOR-TO-DOOR Redford schools, like Detroit’s, struggle with attendance. That’s why the district plans to mount a door-knocking campaign, sending staff to visit the homes of students who are frequently absent. Click On Detroit

STUDENT ACTIVISTS Students across Michigan have thrown themselves into the political arena, many of them inspired by the young people who demanded gun control measures after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Freep

COOL KID A tech executive and Detroit native set off a minor dustup on Twitter when she told a reporter that “it’s not cool to be smart on Detroit’s west side.” Deadline Detroit

PIC PALS A photo exchange between young people in Detroit and Kabul, Afghanistan revealed what binds children together, even when they’re on opposite sides of the globe. An exhibit of the photos opened on Saturday in Detroit. WDET