Distinctive Schools is proud to announce an innovative reopening plan for Fall 2020, the Distinctive Schools Community Care Plan. The Community Care Plan was designed in consideration of the diverse needs of Distinctive Schools’ families, students, and staff. All Distinctive Schools students will participate in remote learning, and families have the option to enroll in on-site community care, a safe space for students to learn during the school day. Distinctive Schools is closely monitoring local health data, and working to ensure safety for all on-site participants; local health data may require Distinctive schools to adjust offerings at any point. On-site community care will be available based on district, authorizer, and state allowances, in conjunction with available talent, resources and space.
Distinctive Schools, a network of nine charter schools in Chicago and Detroit, has been recognized as an early adopter and leader in student-centered learning. When school buildings abruptly closed in mid-March, Distinctive Schools teachers and staff converted their classrooms overnight. Distinctive Schools teachers and students were uniquely prepared for remote learning, equipped with technology, personalized learning plans, and adaptive programming to continue robust learning programs while working and learning from home.
Scott Frauenheim, Chief Executive Officer for Distinctive Schools shared, “The heart of our work at Distinctive Schools is being true to our values: culture, equity, innovation, wellness, and exemplary student performance. This is our tenth year as an organization, and as we start this year in a way that we have never done before, the work we’ve engaged in over the last decade has prepared us for this opportunity. We put students in the driver’s seat of their learning, and with these guiding principles, we are committed to fostering a community of care while maintaining high-quality teaching and learning during the global pandemic. ”
The Community Care Plan aims to address the needs of both staff and families, offering choice and options for families, while prioritizing the safety and health of students and staff. All Distinctive Schools students will learn remotely. For families who need child care options that a typical school day would provide, schools will open with a limited capacity and serve on-site Community Care. Community Care Leads, roles held by Distinctive teachers or staff, will create a joyful, safe space for remote learning during the day.
“We gathered feedback from as many stakeholders as possible, and carefully reviewed over 1,000 family survey responses, gaining insight into the staff experience of the school-building closure using the Upbeat survey, attained a deeper understanding of student perspective of their experience of the pandemic using the YouthTruth survey, created an internal task force, and brought together an advisory panel to gain perspective and build this plan together,” Mike McCarthy, Executive Director of Student Services shared, “We always strive to elevate the voice of our students, teachers and staff. The collaboration in the development of the Community Care Plan, and the positive response is a testament to the entire team.”
Educator Bethany Houlehan was appreciative of the options provided, “Distinctive Schools did an amazing job of listening to both the families and staff! They took the necessary time to look carefully at all perspectives and balance those with the science to devise a comprehensive plan for this school year. The Community Care Plan ensures that our students and staff will be safe and learning this fall.”
In the spring, Distinctive Schools sent home 2,480 devices, and saw strong engagement in remote learning. Planned improvements for the fall include the addition of a comprehensive social-emotional learning curriculum, and accelerated teacher training for remote learning. Learn more about the Distinctive Schools Community Care Plan here.
The Distinctive College Prep (DCP) Board of Directors in partnership with Distinctive Schools, the Charter Management Organization (CMO), is proud to announce that DCP–Harper Woods has been awarded a $1.25 million, two-year expansion grant from the US Department of Education. The award, part of the highly competitive Charter School Program grants, is one of only four expansion grants issued this year.
Distinctive Schools is committed to closing the opportunity gap and providing access to rich learning experiences for all students. In partnership with Central Michigan University, Distinctive Schools manages four campuses in Metro-Detroit. At its inception in 2017, DCP–Harper Woods offered seats in kindergarten through third grade, with the intention to build community and focus on strong academic outcomes, starting small and adding one grade each year. Today, DCP–Harper Woods serves Kindergarten through Fifth grade, and will use CSP grant funds to support continued expansion and provide additional opportunities for innovative programming through eighth grade. The DCP–Harper Woods community will benefit from access to additional innovative technology, flexible learning environments, continued professional development for teachers and staff, and opportunities in the arts.
Cassie Williams, Distinctive Schools’ Regional Executive Director is excited to work with teachers and staff to identify opportunities. “Culture is at the heart of what we do. Our organization values diverse perspectives, and is committed to designing our learning communities by teachers, for teachers, and with teachers,” Williams shared, “We are poised for success, the structures our team has established over the past three years puts teachers and students in the driver’s seat, with CSP grant funds fueling innovation for Distinctive College Prep.”
“We’re very excited for Distinctive College Prep, part of our Central Michigan University family of partner schools, that they have been awarded a Charter School Program grant. One of the positives about this improved grant program is that in addition to new schools, it also rewards those that are already doing great things in their communities and wish to expand further to have an even greater impact. This grant will ensure that more students and families in Harper Woods and the surrounding communities will have access to a high-quality education,” Corey Northrop, Executive Director, The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University shared.
As DCP–Harper Woods expands to offer middle school, CSP grant funds will support additional adaptive programming that allows teachers to use real time data to drive personalized instruction. “This funding not only brings vast opportunities to students, staff, and families, it is a significant investment in the bright future of Distinctive College Prep. As we continue to expand our offerings, there is so much to look forward to. We are proud to bring a unique, innovative middle school model to Michigan that will allow our students to reach greater heights," Nikki Mariner, Distinctive College Prep Board secretary shared.
“As an organization, Distinctive Schools is committed to equity and access, and as we continue to invest in the Distinctive Schools innovative learning model, this grant will support our work to provide personalized, supportive environments for all learners,” said Scott Frauenheim, Chief Executive Officer of Distinctive Schools, “We promised to bring innovative educational experiences to the metro-Detroit area, and we’re ready to open our doors to all schools, to collaborate and grow together as we continue to be trailblazers for our students and families we serve.”
To learn more about the DCP model, and the innovations coming to the school this year, tomorrow, Friday, July 24, DCP Harper Woods will host a Virtual Open House. More information can be found at https://www.dcpharperwoods.org/.
Public Notice: Intent to Apply for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program
Distinctive Schools is in the process of applying for a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. This announcement serves as official public notice of this application process. Our application will be in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and in support of service to the following school sites: CICS Bucktown, CICS Irving Park, CICS Prairie, CICS West Belden, and Art In Motion.
Through our grant project, we will be able to provide students at the above named school sites with academic and enrichment after-school opportunities on a year-round basis. We will also be able to serve participating students’ family members with an array of support services.
If you are interested in learning more, supporting year long programming options, or serving as a potential partner, please contact Karin Breo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which #DistinctiveReads will you read during National Library Week?
Did you know that April is National Library Month? April 19-25 is National Library Week, and we're celebrating! It’s hard to believe that this month means not celebrating that milestone by visiting your local library or even the treasure-trove that is your very own classroom library. While we are all still staying home and safe this month, we can honor this special month by celebrating what libraries mean to cultures, humanity and even our school community!
Books are special and our very-own personalized learning tools! We choose the story, take a deep dive with the characters to take an adventure or learn something completely new. Books can transform a boring afternoon into a magical adventure. And it all started with the thought that a library can be the place where adventures begin.
Speaking of getting lost in a good book … want to read one? We are lucky to have Bluestem Award Nominees in Illinois or the Mitten Awards in Michigan as sources of great suggestions from librarians for young readers! Both award lists serve as a referral for works written specifically for our kids hungry for a story to spark their imagination or even to learn of real-life events.
Here are some fun facts you can share with your kids this month:
Help us celebrate this month by letting us know what book you’re currently reading! Post a photo of your favorite book on your favorite social media platform and tag it #DistinctiveReads! We will share photos at the end of April to wrap up our celebration of #DistinctiveReads!
Music In Our [Digital] Schools: Balance, Creativity, & Joy
Did you know that March is Music In Our Schools month? We reached out to our amazing Distinctive Schools music teachers to celebrate their work, and learn more about their classroom practice. This month brought a new set of challenges to our music teachers – we have experienced an unprecedented shift, flipping the paradigm of school overnight. Innovative, student-centered environments, student-directed learning, and a strong culture prepared Distinctive students and teachers to quickly shift their classrooms to focus on At-Home Learning.
As families – and teachers– across the country have adapted to this new reality, Distinctive Schools music teachers are doing their part to continue bringing joy, student-centered curriculum, and artistic opportunities for expression to their students... only, now it's from their living rooms.
Nicole Chopp, music teacher at CICS West Belden, is making great efforts to support students and teachers during the school closures. In the classroom, Nicole’s approach to teaching music is centered around learning through play, imitation, and experimentation. Since moving to at-home learning, Nicole continues to keep play and experimentation central to her teaching. "While my primary role during at home learning is to support community teachers, I am still providing students with opportunities to have fun with music.” Nicole is engaging students through video, sharing recordings that allow students to continue building skills they’ve started to work on in class, and focusing on independent work for now. “I'm doing my best to provide students with access to content they're familiar with so they can be successful and have fun at home."
Amber Leitsch, Vocal Performance and Piano Teacher at Art In Motion, prioritizes culture in her classroom. Her goal is always to provide a safe and welcoming environment, where her students learn to make music an outlet for creativity, emotion, thought and energy. “Music can be an incredible tool to look into the past, learn about the world inside and outside of one’s own community, communicate with others, make a person’s day and create art," Amber shared. Now that her classroom has moved to the digital space, she is excited to see the many ways her students are embracing the challenges of e-learning. “My students are so creative, they are coming up with all of these ideas! My biggest goal, outside of using their craft as an outlet for emotions, is to make their voices heard. They are responsible for shaping the world.” Amber’s students are diving deep into music theory, and working on ways to take their practice to the next (digital) level.
We asked Frank Cademartori, music teacher at CICS Irving Park and Network Enrichment Coordinator, how things have evolved since making the switch to At-Home Learning. “The most exciting and interactive part are the Live Lessons that we host twice daily.” Frank shared, “These are open to all students and we help walk them through a simple activity from origami to a sing-a-long, to paper mache.” The enrichment team at CICS Irving Park is meeting through google hangouts to plan lessons, collaborate, and develop a new schedule for families to join in on every week. They are sharing resources with families, including independent, guided, and scripted activities, through a shared Google Classroom. What does the future hold for CICS Irving Park Enrichment? “We're working on developing smaller, more specialized, "opt-in" classes that students can sign up for. We all think it's more important than ever to give students time and space to be creative and explore!”.
Historically, during times of crisis, we turn to the arts to lift our spirits, express our feelings, and keep us balanced. We are so grateful to our enrichment teachers for striving to provide balance and a creative outlet for our students (and staff!) during this time of uncertainty. As a strong community, we know that we will get through this together, and we look forward to making music in our schools again soon!
Dear Distinctive Schools Network Families,
This is an update to our last message from February 29th, 2020 regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the network's response and procedures. Because the status of COVID-19 is rapidly changing both here in the U.S. and abroad, we are continually monitoring the situation and will regularly update you with information as it becomes pertinent to what is happening at your school.
We are in close contact with our local school districts and authorizers and have actively engaged with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure that we are following the direction of experts when it comes to safety and preventative measures for our students and staff. We do - and will continue to - follow their guidance. As an update, Chicago Public Schools has announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 and they are working with families and students to ensure tight protocols are in place. If you have a student or family member at Vaughn Occupational High School, we ask that you inform us and follow all IPDH, CDC and CPS guidelines. As stated before, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, but as the number of cases in the U.S. grows, we are taking this very seriously. As testing of COVID-19 becomes more widely available, we may begin to see new cases in the coming days and weeks. Local health departments along with state and federal authorities and local school districts will issue new guidance in the coming days and weeks, and we will keep you updated on changes and its impact on your school. At this time, the local district is not considering closing schools based on the recommendation of local health authorities. We will likely follow local district and authorizer decision making throughout the next few days and weeks.
There are several proactive measures we are taking right now as preventative measures in our schools and beyond, and there are things that you - as families and members of the school community - can do that are critically important as well.
What Distinctive Schools is doing:
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Here are some helpful links if you would like more information on COVID-19:
If you have any additional questions or are showing any signs of a respiratory illness (similar symptoms to the flu: fever, cough, shortness of breath) please consult your health care professional. We will also update you again as the situation changes and more information becomes available. Finally, COVID-19 does not distinguish between race, nationality, or geographic borders. Stigma and discrimination against the afflicted discourages early reporting of symptoms and further perpetuates community spread.
If there is a concern related to student discrimination, please reach out to your School Director.
We are grateful for your partnership in keeping your children - and all Distinctive Schools students and staff - safe as we navigate through this situation.
Scott Frauenheim Mike McCarthy
Chief Executive Officer Executive Director of Student Services
Distinctive Schools Distinctive Schools
Actualización familiar sobre el virus COVID-19
Estimadas familias de Distinctive Schools:
Esta es una actualización de nuestro último mensaje del 29 de febrero de 2020 sobre el COVID-19 (coronavirus) y la respuesta y los procedimientos de la red. Debido a que el estado de COVID-19 está cambiando rápidamente tanto en los EE. UU como en el extranjero, estamos monitoreando continuamente la situación y lo actualizaremos regularmente con información a medida que sea pertinente a lo que está sucediendo en su escuela.
Estamos en estrecho contacto con nuestros distritos escolares y autorizadores locales y nos hemos comprometido activamente con los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC) para garantizar que seguimos la dirección de los expertos en lo que respecta a medidas de seguridad y prevención para nuestros estudiantes y el personal. Seguimos, y seguiremos, siguiendo su guía. Como actualización, las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago anunciaron un caso confirmado de COVID-19 y están trabajando con familias y estudiantes para garantizar la existencia de protocolos estrictos. Si tiene un estudiante o miembro de la familia en Vaughn Occupational High School, le pedimos que nos informe y siga todas las pautas de IPDH, CDC y CPS. Como se indicó anteriormente, no ha habido casos confirmados de COVID-19 en Michigan, pero a medida que aumenta el número de casos en los EE. UU., nos estamos tomando esto muy en serio. A medida que las pruebas de COVID-19 estén más disponibles, podemos comenzar a ver nuevos casos en los próximos días y semanas. Los departamentos de salud locales junto con las autoridades estatales y federales y los distritos escolares locales emitirán una nueva guía en los próximos días y semanas, y lo mantendremos informado sobre los cambios y su impacto en su escuela. En este momento, el distrito local no está considerando cerrar las escuelas según la recomendación de las autoridades sanitarias locales. Probablemente seguiremos la toma de decisiones del distrito local y del autorizador durante los próximos días y semanas.
Hay varias medidas proactivas que estamos tomando en este momento como medidas preventivas en nuestras escuelas y más allá, y hay cosas que ustedes, como familias y miembros de la comunidad escolar, pueden hacer que también son críticamente importantes.
Qué hace Distinctive Schools:
QUÉ PUEDE HACER:
Aquí hay algunos enlaces útiles si desea obtener más información sobre COVID-19:
Si tiene alguna pregunta adicional o muestra signos de una enfermedad respiratoria (síntomas similares a la gripe: fiebre, tos, falta de aliento), consulte a su profesional de la salud. También lo actualizaremos nuevamente a medida que la situación cambie y haya más información disponible. Finalmente, COVID-19 no distingue entre raza, nacionalidad o fronteras geográficas. El estigma y la discriminación contra los afectados desalientan la notificación temprana de los síntomas y perpetúa aún más la propagación de la comunidad.
Si hay una preocupación relacionada con la discriminación estudiantil, comuníquese con el Director de su escuela.
Agradecemos su colaboración para mantener seguros a sus hijos y a todos los estudiantes y el personal de Distinctive Schools, mientras navegamos por esta situación.
Scott Frauenheim Mike McCarthy
Director Ejecutivo Director Ejecutivo de Servicios Estudiantiles
Distinctive Schools Distinctive Schools
The Secret to Mentoring
Our middle school students are learning about self-direction and self-management, facing challenges head on, and finding success – both inside and outside of the classroom. Distinctive Schools teachers and leaders recognize how mentoring is beneficial for both their students and their practice, “Being a mentor has impacted my practice, it has given me a whole new insight into learning from a student lens.” says Rachael Beucher, Assistant Director of CICS Prairie, “Mentoring has changed the way I hold students accountable in my class.”
Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? We asked Distinctive leaders to nominate mentors who have made an impact on the teaching and learning in their schools. We’re excited to celebrate the impact of these mentors, and share a few keys for implementing a mentoring program in your classroom.
“You have to build trust and a strong relationship with students before anything else. Most of my beginning sessions don’t focus on academics as I get to know the students better. They need to know that, as their mentor, they can come to you about anything, not just schoolwork,” shared Frank Cademartori, music teacher at CICS Irving Park. Mentoring has allowed students to see a new side to Mr. Cademartori, “It’s totally different from my job as an enrichment teacher, and has allowed me to connect with students in a new and meaningful way. It allows them to see that I am more than the content that I teach.”
Building trust is an important component to mentoring. “It takes time to set a solid foundation of trust. Authenticity, transparency, and consistency in my actions helps students to identify who I am as an educator and mentor,” shared Le’Ka’le Darden, sixth grade science teacher at CICS Bucktown. “Starting the year with questions about who they are, what's important to them, and what support they think they will need allows me to learn more about them as well.”
When asked about her approach to mentoring, Traci McCullough, eighth grade teacher at CICS Bucktown, shared “My strategy is to help my students help themselves. I help them to build on their strengths, so they gain self-confidence to chase the challenge.” Being a mentor has impacted Traci’s classroom and the way she teaches; the relationships built through mentoring time deepens her understanding of student learning. It has changed the way Traci communicates with her students and families, and made it easier to assist students in meaningful goal setting.
If you are considering a mentoring practice for your classroom, we have three keys to help you get started:
The mission of Distinctive Schools is to support each child in becoming an engaged and curious learner, as well as ensure that each and every one of our students thrive in college, career and life. Through community support, we are able to provide all our students the tools and resources they need to be successful in, and outside of the classroom. This year, Distinctive Schools is excited to honor an individual who truly embodies the role of a Distinctive Citizen.
A Distinctive Citizen is someone who embodies the Distinctive Schools Mission & Vision:
Diana Mendley Rauner, Ph. D., learned early from her parents the importance of participating in the community. As a young adult, Diana spent time volunteering at a settlement house in New York to help teach ex-offenders to read. After witnessing the education inequities in our country first-hand, she realized this was an issue she wanted to focus on long term. Today, Diana serves as President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, based in Chicago, with impact across the country.
The Ounce is a public-private partnership that provides and advocates for the highest-quality care and education for children in poverty from birth to age five. With an operating budget of approximately $74 million, the Ounce develops direct center-based and home-based programs and services to children and families, provides professional development tools and trainings to scale best practices within the field, innovates new solutions for continuous quality improvement, and advocates for effective public policies and funding.
Diana joined the Ounce staff in 2007 and was appointed president in January 2011, having previously served as an Ounce board member. Prior to joining the Ounce, Diana was a Senior Research Associate at Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago and an associate at private equity firms in San Francisco and Chicago.
Diana holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Chicago, an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. from Yale University. She and her husband, Bruce, are the proud parents of six children and grandparents of Ella, aged one.
We look forward to sharing more about the impact Diana has made in Chicago and throughout the country as we honor her at the Distinctive Schools Gala! To learn more about the Gala and purchase your tickets, visit: https://www.distinctiveschools.org/gala.html
Guest post by Sarah Gaw, SEL Network Coordinator for Distinctive Schools. Sarah works to support positive student behaviors, social-emotional learning, and coaching teachers across the Distinctive Schools network. Her work ensures that the PRIDE framework is aligned with PBIS and integrates SEL competencies into the school culture in order to support broad student growth and development.
PRIDE at Distinctive Schools
PRIDE at Distinctive Schools stands for: Problem Solving – Responsibility – Integrity – Drive – and Empathy, all traits we look to instill in our students. Problem Solving: Student ability to plan, strategize, and implement complex tasks. Responsibility: Student disposition and ability to reliably meet commitments and fulfill obligation of challenging roles. Integrity: Student quality of being honest and exhibiting strong moral principles. Drive: Student capacity to take action, sustain motivation, and persevere through challenges toward an identified goal. Empathy: Student ability to relate to others with acceptance, understanding, and sensitivity to their diverse perspectives and experiences.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, Distinctive Schools welcomed new members to our community, the PRIDE Mascots! These characters shared the PRIDE characteristics with our youngest scholars. To help celebrate their arrival to the Distinctive Schools family, the PRIDE Mascots hosted a design contest for all students. Students were encouraged to write a story, song, comic strip, movie, (anything!) that shared the story of one or more of the PRIDE Mascots as they demonstrated the characteristics of PRIDE. Three submissions were chosen as winners and I had the pleasure of interviewing their creators.
Students Edwin, Giovanni, and Isabella, from the 3rd and 4th grade Team Ohana at CICS West Belden submitted a booklet of cartoons.
When you heard about the design challenge, what were you most excited about?
How did you decide or come up with your comic strip? The story?
What do you want other students to know about PRIDE or the PRIDE Mascots?
What was a lesson you learned because of the PRIDE Mascot Design Challenge?
In addition to the 3rd and 4th graders in Team Ohana at CICS West Belden, CICS Irving Park 3rd grader Sophia won for an individual submission. I sat down with Sophia as she shared her design process with me:
Sophia, you are a very talented artist. What were you most excited about when you heard about the contest?
Where did the idea for your story come from? What was your inspiration?
Which is your favorite PRIDE mascot? Why?
What do you want other students to know about PRIDE or the PRIDE Mascots?
Can you share something that you learned as a result of the design challenge?
Finally, our grand prize winning submission was awarded to Ms. Gupton’s first grade class at Distinctive College Prep: Redford! The first graders shared a compilation of skits that incorporated the PRIDE Mascots helping students display each of the characteristics. I had the pleasure of interviewing three of the actors, Maliyah, Aiden, and Jo’Lla.
Thinking back to when Ms. Gupton explained the design contest, what were you most excited about?
Which is your favorite PRIDE mascot?
What do you want other students to know about PRIDE or the PRIDE Mascots?
The design challenge was a big project. What was something that you learned?
This year, we were so proud to welcome the PRIDE Mascots into our communities. Students spent the year thinking about the PRIDE Mascots and encouraging PRIDE behavior in each other. The PRIDE Mascots look forward to next school year and continuing to celebrate each student and the PRIDE they show every day!
–Sarah Gaw, Distinctive Schools SEL Network Coordinator
The Plymouth Educational Center (PEC) Governing Board is thrilled to name Distinctive Schools as the Charter Management Organization (CMO) for PEC. Distinctive Schools is a 501(c3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and accelerating the work of charter schools. Distinctive Schools provides intensive supports that accelerate achievement, performance, and college-preparedness. Through their innovative personalized learning model, coupled with dedicated social-emotional learning coaching and development, Distinctive Schools has a proven record of highly successful schools in both Metro-Detroit and Chicago.
"The Plymouth Educational Center (PEC) Governing Board reviewed a number of Charter Operators. After a rigorous interview process, we are excited to share that Distinctive Schools was selected as the CMO for PEC," stated Darwyn Fair, President of the PEC Governing Board. "We are confident that Distinctive Schools is the best choice for our PEC students, and look forward to a strong partnership and successful future for our school community."
Under the leadership of The PEC Governing Board, in partnership with Distinctive Schools, Central Michigan University plans to present a reauthorization plan for PEC with their board of trustees. Since 1995, Plymouth Educational Center has been a pillar of the community, developing rich traditions and a legacy that will continue to support students and families long into the future. The board, in partnership with CMU, has worked to ensure the longtime legacy of PEC continues through reauthorization and the new partnership with a full-service charter management organization.
“This is an exciting opportunity as we look to the future of PEC, and positively impacting families in Detroit, Michigan, into the future,” said Scott Frauenheim, Chief Executive Officer of Distinctive Schools. “We are committed to closing the opportunity gap by providing access to rich personalized learning experiences for students and families.”
Distinctive Schools is proud to announce that Mrs. Schranda Battle has been selected as the school principal for the campus. Battle is a graduate of Wayne State University and Detroit Public Schools. Her school restart work has a proven track record of improved culture, climate, and increased academic gains. She has served as an English teacher, Special Education teacher, Special Education Director and School Principal over the course of 19 years in education.
“It is an honor to be part of the PEC and Distinctive Schools’ family,” stated Battle. “I’m excited to work side-by-side with the PEC staff, board, students, and families to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education. PEC will offer unparalleled services for our students and families academically, socially, and emotionally.”
PEC will serve students in K-8 for the 2019-20 school year and is currently accepting applications. Visit www.PlymouthEd.org for more information about enrollment. PEC is the third Distinctive Schools managed campus in the metro-Detroit area, Distinctive College Prep – Harper Woods opened in Fall of 2017 and Distinctive College Prep – Redford opened in Fall of 2018. All three campuses are free, not for profit, charter schools.
For more information on employment opportunities or how to enroll your child at Plymouth Educational Center, visit http://www.PlymouthEd.org.
About Distinctive Schools
Distinctive Schools is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and accelerating the work of charter schools. The team includes passionate educators and determined leaders who innovate, trailblaze and collaboratively lead a public education transformation, as well as ensure that each and every one of Distinctive Schools students thrive in college, career, and life.
Art In Motion: The Newest Distinctive Schools Campus
“On behalf of the AIM Board of Directors and staff, I thank the Chicago Board of Education for the approval of our facility,” said Dr. Karen Ratliff, chair of the AIM Board of Directors. “We could not be more excited to open our doors this fall and bring an arts-infused school to the South Side of Chicago.”
AIM will cultivate a strong learning and working culture, and actively embed artistic, cultural, linguistic, and social emotional learning supports throughout the instructional day. Students will select a personalized arts path, receive mentoring daily and learn from theater, dance, music, digital media and visual art experts in a workshop setting.
Art In Motion is a community-driven partnership, which has the signed support of scores of community-based organizations and residents from the Greater Grand Crossing area. New Life Covenant Church Southeast and The Lynn Group partnered to bring this school to life.
"It all began with a vision four years ago and now that vision is our reality," said Senior Pastor John F. Hannah of New Life Covenant Church Southeast. "For AIM to become our reality, various parties had to come together and now AIM is scheduled to open this year."
The Lynn Group, founded by Lonnie Rashid Lynn – also known as Academy Award and Grammy-winning artist, actor and activist Common – is an ideal partner, given its authentic connection to Chicago families and Lynn’s passion for the arts. The Lynn Group brings vision, design, resources and arts expertise in support of closing equity and achievement gaps. It is dedicated to community engagement and development efforts to ensure the school’s success.
“We are focused on the whole student – academics, arts, and wellness. Our commitment is to provide all the support and access to get them ready for a bright future,” said Common, founder of The Lynn Group. “I am most excited about what these young leaders will do in the world. I’m also very grateful for this opportunity to give back to my hometown in such a meaningful way.”
The AIM Board, with support from New Life and The Lynn Group, chose Distinctive Schools as the strong charter management organization (CMO) to lead day-to-day school oversight and management.
“We are thrilled to take our final step towards bringing a personalized, 21st-century performing arts curriculum to the South Side of Chicago,” said Scott Frauenheim, CEO of Distinctive Schools. “Distinctive Schools is dedicated to serving families throughout the community and creating a school that help students achieve their highest academic and artistic potential.”
AIM will accelerate student achievement with an innovative personalized learning model and reimagine the educational experience to address inequities and provide deep academic impact for students. It will serve seventh and eighth grade, growing one grade level each year to serve seventh through twelfth grade by 2023. Seventh and eighth grade applications for the 2019-2020 school year will open Thursday, April 25.
For more information, visit http://www.aimchicago.org.
Distinctive Schools National Board
We are making a series of Distinctive Promises – to our communities, students, educators, and leaders – to make a difference in the lives of all Distinctive students.
The first of these Distinctive Promises honors diversity, champions collaboration, thrives on optimism, and goes the extra mile to engage and support students. Join us in The Distinctive Promise – follow along as we celebrate the Culture of Distinctive Schools. We will share stories, reflections, and celebrations from across the Distinctive Schools network.
Distinctive Schools was founded in 2011 with a commitment to social justice and access to high-quality education in all communities. Over the past 8 years, Distinctive Schools has remained committed to the values that all children deserve a rigorous public education regardless of zip code; teachers know best what children need to thrive and grow and should have a strong voice in their school; and that communities can be transformed by the presence of an excellent school.
Click the video below to learn more about Distinctive Schools!
Our mission is to support each child in becoming an engaged and curious learner, a confident self-advocate, and a creative problem-solver by setting high expectations and nurturing a positive culture that honors diversity, collaboration, and optimism.
Last year, Distinctive Schools engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process to guide our work and to position the organization for successful scaling and growth. A diverse stakeholder group contributed to the development of the plan, which frames our work and ensures that all members of our Distinctive Schools team are pointing in the same direction as we innovate and incubate creative ideas for a reimagined public school experience.
The core objectives and strategies guide our planning, development, and collective efforts to achieve specific results and to reach our mission and vision for the future. The strategic plan has strengthened our organizational identity and provides the guidance and direction that allows for campus autonomy, innovation, and trailblazing.
We’ve seen tremendous growth through our innovative approach to teaching and learning, and we’ve developed a rigorous 5-year plan to anchor each of our schools.
It's time for us to take the work that we've done in our first decade to scale. Read more about the Distinctive Schools Strategic Plan on our website. Follow along with us as we share stories, celebrations, and ways you can get involved to support Distinctive Schools.
This is our Distinctive Promise – look for more in the coming weeks!
Distinctive Schools was created to disrupt and transform public education, with a focus on innovation and choice. We're excited to share more about who we are in this #WeAreDistinctive introduction video!
Tomorrow we are sharing our vision for the future of Distinctive Schools! Check back to learn more about where we are going, and the way our teams are pointing in the same direction! #ALLin #WeAreDistinctive #TheDistinctivePromise