DETROIT.- On Friday, May 13, 2016, faculty and students from UM-Dearborn College of Education, Health, and Human Services enjoyed a delightful and informative morning as they went on a tour exploring the vibrant community of Southwest Detroit while visiting its most well-known public schools.
|Ines De Jesus, coordinator of Community Schools|
program at Southwest Solutions, was the tour guide.
Associate Professor Martha Adler, Director of the Field Placement program in the college (CEHHS), decided to organize the tour to make faculty and students alike knowledgeable of the neighboring, largely Hispanic community, to UM-Dearborn. Even though there are some students who are already doing their practicums in some of these schools, the goal is to increase the college's presence in SW Detroit through more practicum placements and student teaching.
A year ago, UM-Dearborn and Southwest Solutions joined together to bring both communities closer and therefore, mutually benefit from each other’s assets. Ines De Jesus, coordinator of Community Schools program at Southwest Solutions, was the tour guide who led the group through the city's Hispanic neighborhood making stops at area public schools such as Bennett Elementary School and Western International High School.
|The CEHHS group made its first stop|
at Bennett Elementary School
De Jesus said that the objective of this tour is to show this neighborhood from a different perspective away from what is shown in the newspapers and on TV, but from a positive view as to engage UM-Dearborn students so they may be inspired to get involved in the local schools.
The group made its first stop at Bennett Elementary School which is well known for the quality of its teaching staff and which is working closely with CEHHS in the revival and upgrade of their library. Community School Site Coordinator at Bennett Kaity Nicastri who is part of the School Library Project, was the host during the walk-through of the Pre-K-5 facility.
On the way to the second scheduled visit, the group drove by Neinas Elementary School in which Associate Professor Chris Burke and his class are working on transforming empty lots into gardens. The group was also able to see other schools such as Harms Elementary School, a Michigan Department of Education "beat the odds" school. Clippert Academy Middle School well known for its professional staff and high achieving students; Academy of Americas K-8 known for its very committed parents and professional staff trained in full dual language Spanish-English immersion programs.
|Inside Western International High School|
There were also some surprising visits that helped the group experience how engaged and bustling this community really is. Stops at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center as well as the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation showed that Southwest Detroit is committed to a better way of life.
The group returned satisfied with positive comments about the experience. UM-Dearborn student Josselyn Gorman said the tour was "really informative as far as knowing how the community ties in with schools". Professor Danielle DeFauw said, "I just feel like there are so many people making such a difference and I cannot wait to collaborate with these individuals and continue to help push our students out of their comfort zone" and Professor Margaret Rathouz referred to Southwest Detroit schools as "the hub of the whole community" while Professor Chris Burke called it an "informative, inspirational and fun tour".
Overall, all participants were inspired with this community looking forward to expand projects in partnership with Southwest Detroit schools.
|Professors Chris Burke and Danielle DeFauw along with|
student Josselyn Gorman buying mexican pastry
during a quick stop at a bakery in Southwest Detroit
|The final stop was at one of the most well known|
restaurants in Southwest Detroit to enjoy authentic