Thursday, September 14, 2023 View in browser


A rendering of Loyola's new Welcome Center to be built along Fenkell Road near Wyoming.

   Detroit Loyola High School kicked off its 30th anniversary year by announcing a $9 million campaign entitled “Empower Loyola: A Campaign for Exceptional Sons” on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

   Highlights of the campaign include:

• A new Welcome Center along Fenkell Road near Wyoming with prominent Loyola signage and safe ease of entry and exit for students, parents, staff, and visitors alike.

• A beautiful Student Courtyard which will provide a great outdoor gathering place for students and a beautiful place for quiet reflection.

• A New Chapel – a modern, 200-seat chapel that will be the first all-new Catholic place of worship to be built in the City of Detroit since the mid-1960s. 

• A Scholarship Fund to bridge the gap between the cost to serve a Loyola student and the tuition received.

• A Faculty Retention Fund to recruit and retain the dedicated teachers of Loyola.

  The Honorable Archbishop Allen Vigneron was among the many dignitaries, important guests, and respected business leaders who joined the Loyola community to celebrate the milestone event.

  “This is a momentous day in the proud history of Loyola High School,” said Loyola President Dave Smith. “I’d like to thank the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as our co-sponsor The Midwest Jesuits, for their ongoing and unwavering support, along with that of our community and civic leaders.

  “Thanks to our many generous donors, this ground-breaking event will benefit our current and future students and their families for years to come and will be a visible sign of growth and pride for the whole Northwest Detroit community,” Smith added.

  Over the past two years, $6.5 million has already been raised by the small, but mighty, high school – all of it coming from private donors. Wednesday’s event marked the public launch of the Empower Loyola campaign during which Loyola High School hopes to raise an additional $2.5 million to fund the entire project.

  “If you believe in Catholic education in the City of Detroit, if you believe in helping youth in the city of Detroit, of if you’re interested in supporting the first Catholic chapel to be built in Detroit in over half a century, Loyola is a great place to invest,” added Loyola’s Board Chair, Mr. Michael Bernard who is also a member at Dykema Gossett PLLC.

  Founded in August 1993 in a unique collaboration between the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Midwest Province of Jesuits, Loyola High School today is home to approximately 150 young men on an annual basis, primarily from the surrounding community. It is one of only three Catholic high schools still operating in the city.

  With its recent graduation of the 2023 class, Loyola is celebrating its 13th straight year of 100 percent of its graduates being accepted to either a four- or two-year colleges.

A rendering of Loyola's new 200-seat chapel. It will be the first all-new Catholic place of worship to be built in the City of Detroit since the mid-1960s.  

School is back, and so is COVID-19. How Detroit area districts are addressing illness: Michigan students subject to mask mandates and quarantine requirements in recent school years are getting more simple guidance from districts this year: If the student isn't feeling well, he or she should stay home. Michigan, following a national trend, is experiencing a small increase in COVID-19 cases: 3,792 cases in the week of Sept. 5 compared with about 800 two months earlier. The seven-day average in cases has slowly creeped up, though the rise is not as dramatic as other previous pandemic spikes. Nationwide, school districts' responses to rising COVID-19 cases vary. In Alabama, some schools are encouraging students to wear masks again as hospitalizations rise across the state, reported, and, in Maryland, an elementary school principal mandated masks for Kindergartners, according to the Washington Post. Thirkell Elementary-Middle School principal Stephanie Gaines adjusts a student's mask as they are released at the end of the day at Thirkell Elementary-Middle School in Detroit on Friday, November 13, 2020. In Michigan, multiple school districts in metro Detroit and beyond told the Detroit Free Press that they are following guidance from local health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. None of the districts who responded said they were bringing back mask mandates. Detroit Free Press

DPSCD labor contracts with pay increases win board approval: Collective bargaining agreements between the Detroit school district and its employee unions for 2023-24 won approval Tuesday from the school board. The Detroit Federation of Teachers, the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals, the Teamsters union, as well as nonunion staff such as security guards, principals, and central office administrators, all reached agreements with the Detroit Public Schools Community District in late August and early September. The one-year deal ratified by DFT members in August raises pay for senior teachers by 6% and provides retention bonuses to all members. “Our most veteran teachers deserve the increase,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said at Tuesday’s school board meeting, adding: “And they deserve even more than that. But we also have to get more competitive … . We’re losing mid-career teachers, and we have to pick up in that area as well.” He said he’s optimistic that next year’s contract can provide more competitive salaries and incentives to attract teachers to DPSCD. School districts across Michigan have had to contend with challenges in recruiting and retaining employees in recent years, and DPSCD in particular faces competition with surrounding and suburban districts that can pay enough to lure away DPSCD educators. Among the other school employee unions, Teamsters Local 214 members and paraeducators received 5% wage increases, as well as retention and seniority bonuses. Nonunion staff get a 4% salary increase and a holiday bonus. Chalkbeat

Michigan School for the Deaf planning for dorm project after $40M state windfall: The state’s newly adopted budget includes a $40-million earmark for a new dormitory on the campus of the Michigan School for Deaf, the biggest such set-aside for any institution in Genesee County this year. In all, the earmarks in this year’s budget amounted to nearly $1.6 billion statewide and 10 Flint area projects received the grants, including funding for the MSD, an institution that was founded in Flint in 1848 by an act of the State Legislature. “The (existing dorms) are old and don’t really meet the needs of the student body,” said state Sen. John Cherry, D-Flint, who helped shepherd the earmark through the budget process. “We have not invested as we should have ... This is about making sure the kids who attend Michigan School for the Deaf receive a great education and live in a facility that is modern.” Michigan School for the Deaf started the 2012 school year in a new building and its former school building -- Fay Hall -- was renovated before becoming the home of Powers Catholic High School. The new 80,000-square-foot, 26-classroom MSD included cutting-edge educational technology and design, but student dorms, some of which were built in 1948, were not replaced, said Rebecca McIntyre, assistant director in the Office Of Special Education for the Michigan Department of Education. MLive

Dearborn Public Schools teams with Highland Electric Fleets on new grid for busses: Michigan’s third-largest school district, Dearborn Public Schools, is partnering with Highland Electric Fleets, the leading provider of school bus fleet Electrification-as-a-Service in North America to deploy up to nine standard capacity Type D electric buses and up to nine lift-equipped special needs Type D buses. The buses will be provided by local Michigan Blue Bird bus dealer, Holland Bus Company. Over the course of a multi-year contract, 10 dual-port 60 kW chargers will be installed as part of this initiative to support fleet electrification, bringing cleaner transportation to students. “The District is excited to take these first steps as part of our efforts to explore how electric buses can best meet the transportation needs of our students,” said David Mustonen, Director of Communications at Dearborn Public Schools. “Dearborn is dedicated to providing an outstanding educational experience for its students. Highland is thrilled to partner with the district and Holland Bus Company to help the transportation program reflect this commitment to excellence,” said Michael Callender, Director of Fleet Solutions at Highland. “We’re on a mission to make school bus electrification accessible and affordable for schools across the country, and bringing in electric school buses to improve air quality for the community continues the long history of automotive innovation and leadership in the hometown of Henry Ford.” Dearborn Press & Guide


The Charter-School Movement’s New Divide: In early June, a state board in Oklahoma did something that seemed obviously unconstitutional: It approved a new, openly Catholic charter school. Students at the proposed St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School would receive religious instruction, and the online school would participate in “the evangelizing mission of the Church,” according to St. Isidore’s application to the state. By law in Oklahoma, and in every state where charter schools are allowed, charters are public schools—they receive government funding and some state oversight, and they cannot discriminate against students and staff. St. Isidore would apparently be public, too, raising questions about whether it violates the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. If St. Isidore opens next year as planned, it would represent a profound shift in American education, and could potentially allow for religious charters to open across the country. It would also represent a remarkable change for the charter-school movement itself, which has long tried to rally support for charters on the grounds that they are public. In the three decades that charter schools have existed, some have opened with an emphasis on, say, “classical” values or Hebrew language and culture, but none has been explicitly religious. And though the charter movement has always had broad appeal on the left and right, including from skeptics of public education and people who believe that charters introduce healthy competition into the public sector, supporters have generally agreed that charters should be secular. Now new players such as the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City are pushing the movement in a radically different direction, arguing that charter schools can offer religious education. Atlantic