Mlive: Plan to turn Detroit schools into neighborhood hubs gets boost from bank

April 29th, 2013
Gov. Snyder, DPS Emergency Manager Roy S. Roberts, President of the Michigan Market at JP Morgan Chase Sarah McClelland, President of Southwest Solutions John Van Camp. (Tanya Moutzalias for Mlive)

Plan to turn Detroit schools into neighborhood hubs gets boost from bank

By Khalil AlHajal |
April 29, 2013

DETROIT, MI — A set of grants from JPMorgan Chase will boost community services at three Detroit public schools in an effort to make them more vital neighborhood hubs, district and state officials announced Monday.

And more money for expansion of the effort could be on the way.

The $1.5 million will help community groups implement job training, foreclosure protection and financial literacy programs based at three southwest Detroit schools, Western International High School and Harms and Maybury elementary schools.

President of community group Southwest Solutions John Van Camp said existing programs have been limited in the number of families they reach.

“They’ve had to come to us. Now, we’re coming to them,” he said. “It’s being able to provide those services right in a school setting.”

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said the district is in talks with nine other corporations that could potentially pitch in to expand the programming to more schools.

“We’ve identified, I think, 30 schools that can be community schools,” Roberts said.

Gov. Rick Snyder was at Western High School for the announcement. The initiative is part of the state’s push to turn schools into communities hubs.

“I’m excited to see the private sector diving into projects like this,” Snyder said.

He said he envisions expanded public use of school gyms and possibly opening health clinics inside schools.

“It gives you hope that we can make this work,” said Roberts. “… We’ve got 53,000 students who come to us with the desire to learn and the ability to learn, and we don’t always get there… If we don’t educate these kids, nothing else is sustainable.

“Any time you can get the comm to wrap there arms around a school, they help with attendance, they help with activity and they own it. And that’s what we need.”

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