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The Detroit Public Schools Community District’s newest school will feature a first-of-its-kind “cradle to career” approach to education through a partnership with the University of Michigan and a private donor.

School board members in September approved a new school on the campus of Marygrove College that will feature an early childhood center funded by the Kresge Foundation, a K-12 school staffed by the school district, and a medical school-style residency program for educators from the University of Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“I’m really excited that we’re doing something innovative at this new school,” said board member Sonya Mays, who also commended Superintendent Nikolai Vitti for the project “because I know it was not an easy get.”

District spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson told the news site “if this goes the way that it has been planned … what I can say is that it will be a state-of-the-art program and partnership and it will be one of a kind nationwide.”

Board members did not discuss details, but materials distributed at the meeting state “the school’s focus will be social justice and leadership through engineering.”

“The school will (strive) to serve neighborhood students while offering seats to students outside of the area,” the materials read.

“Once we get input from the community, then we’ll be able to move forward in understanding how many students will be enrolled, and the resources we’ll need at that point,” Wilson told the Free Press.

Marygrove College largely abandoned its northwest Detroit campus after steep enrollment declines in recent years, despite the Kresge Foundation’s support of both the college and the community. The new partnership allows DPSCD to lease the campus for no more than $1 a year, which opens up a unique opportunity to serve students from birth through to adulthood.

“As the District continues to improve enrollment, innovative and unique schools/programs are necessary to recruit and retain students and families,” according to the board materials. “This innovative school offers Detroit families … a traditional public school experience while addressing its human capital needs.”

Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture noted the importance of a school’s structure and connection to the community in “The Content of Their Character,” a summary of character education in a wide variety of American high schools.

“How a school is organized, the course structure and classroom practices, the relationship between the school and outside civic institutions – all these matter in the moral and civic formation of the child,” wrote James Davison Hunter, editor and Institute founder.

Much of the new school’s focus will undoubtedly center on preparing students for college, and there’s a lot students and teachers can do to increase success beyond high school.

Education Corner offers a plethora of resources and advice on what students in high school today can do to prepare themselves for the challenges of higher education, from developing good study habits to money management, admissions and financial aid tips, and timelines for the application process.

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