Dearborn Public Schools recently received two honors, including first place recognition as 2014 Michigan Business Champion of the Year and an Education Excellence award, at the Best of MichBusiness Awards presented by the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA).
The district received the first place large employer Business Champion of the Year award for offering innovative programs to students. Runners up in the large business category were Chase Bank and Red Cross Southeast Michigan Region.
Before being considered as a finalist for the top honor, the district’s Henry Ford Collegiate Academy was selected as the winner in the Education Excellence category.
“As a board member for the Dearborn Education Foundation and a product of the Dearborn Public Schools, I was so pleased that the district was honored in two categories by the Michigan Business and Professional Association”, said Maria Dwyer a MBPA member.
Dwyer, along with Education Foundation Executive Director, Eddie Fakhoury, nominated the district for the Education Excellence award.
“The Collegiate Academy provides an innovative educational opportunity which will keep the district at the forefront of education in this state,” added Dwyer.
The Collegiate Academy, a partnership between the district and Henry Ford College is an opportunity for students to attain both a high school diploma and a two-year associate’s degree in only five years, as opposed to six, at no cost to the student or parent. College credits earned in the program will transfer to all colleges and universities in the state including University of Michigan and Michigan State. Students choosing to transfer to a four-year university upon completion of the program are still eligible for scholarships.
“We constantly strive to offer innovative educational options to our students. Our hope is this program will encourage them to earn their degrees and enter the work force right here in the great state of Michigan,” noted Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston.
Beginning in eleventh grade, Collegiate Academy students begin taking college courses on the Henry Ford College campus. However, unlike many other early college programs, students can still be involved through their senior year in athletics, band, homecoming, prom, commencements, and other activities at their home high school.
“On behalf of our partner, Henry Ford College, we thank MichBusiness for recognizing this very unique program and want to thank all the hard working staff and students who have made the Collegiate Academy a success”, Whiston added.
DEARBORN, Michigan (12/5/14)—With a $25,000 grant for Dearborn Public Schools’ high school level math program, three Dearborn organizations, the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Dearborn Education Foundation, and the Dearborn Public Schools’ District, proved once again that they are committed to delivering a 21st century education to Dearborn’s public school students. This time, the focus is on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
In the past, the Ford Motor Company Fund supported programming at the Dearborn Center for Math, Science, and Technology which, as the name implies, is a specialized high school program for STEM studies. This latest grant will enhance the STEM programming offered at Dearborn’s three traditional high schools, Dearborn, Edsel Ford, and Fordson.
While the Dearborn Education Foundation and the Ford Fund worked together to develop the funding for this program, it is the district’s administrators and teachers who determine how best to utilize those funds in the classroom. To that end, the high school and middle school math program staff, including Christine Rosbury (DHS), Dana Addis (EFHS), Terri Faitel (FHS), and Beth Dunleavy (middle school math coordinator), requested an array of technology and professional training that would encourage students to think, inquire, and connect classroom lessons with real world applications. The technology includes hand held devices that allow students to collect and analyze real world data and a computer system that allows teachers to connect to those devices in real time. The professional development trainings are based on multiple resources, each providing a different angle to teaching and engaging students in math and STEM studies and careers. According to Ms. Rosbury, math teacher at Dearborn High, “To say that we are excited about the possibility that this grant holds is a huge understatement.”
Delivering a 21st century education across all subjects at all grade levels requires a community investment from all sectors (individual, for-profit, non-profit, and academic). The Dearborn Education Foundation is always seeking new and diverse partnerships to support the Dearborn Public Schools. To become a partner, contact Eddie Fakhoury, executive director, at 313.827.8790.
DEARBORN, Michigan (10/30/2014)—On October 9th, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America (PASA) granted $2,500 to the Dearborn Education Foundation to support programs at the Dearborn Center for Math, Science, and Technology (DCMST). Given that its closest office is in Farmington Hills and that it is part of the global electronics giant Panasonic Corporation, PASA’s contribution to the DCMST might seem unlikely. But this grant is evidence of the power of small connections bridging a wide divide.
Pamela Fischer is an employee of PASA, and her daughter is a graduate of the DCMST, so, when PASA announced that it would be awarding grants to schools and increasing its community outreach, Pamela saw an opportunity to give back to the school that helped lay the foundation for her daughter’s future. (Currently, her daughter is pursuing a doctorate degree in astrophysics). Pamela notified the DCMST staff who, in turn, asked the Dearborn Education Foundation for assistance in applying for one of the grants.
Given that Dearborn Public Schools enrolls approximately 19,000 students each year, the Dearborn Education Foundation is confident that many more parents have connections like Pamela’s—connections to businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, and clubs that can impact the school district. The foundation’s executive director, Eddie Fakhoury, noted, “If only 25% of parents reached out to two of their contacts, and those contacts reached out to their contacts, the positive impact on Dearborn Public Schools would be profound. We are grateful to Pamela for exemplifying what is possible.”
The foundation is grateful to all of our donors and partners who make our mission possible. In honor of all of them, we proudly post the thank you notes that we receive from Dearborn's teachers, students, and staff. Our most recent thank you note came from Mrs. Julianne Spencer of Henry Ford Elementary.
Mrs. Spencer's note as well as many others are posted on our home page under the "Teacher and Student Testimonials" section. Just click on any of the notes to understand the impact the foundation is having in our classrooms--from the perspective of the people whose opinion means the most: our teachers and students.
DEARBORN, Michigan (10/20/2014)—Last summer, Janet Jacobs made a contribution to the Dearborn Public Schools’ high school culinary arts program through a planned giving partnership with the Dearborn Education Foundation. Like so many individuals who partner with the foundation, Janet has close ties to the school district, not only because she works within it, but also because her son is pursuing a culinary arts degree from the Henry Ford College. Janet’s planned gift was an opportunity to give back to the educational system that had so profoundly impacted her own family.
Janet reached out to the Dearborn Education Foundation because she knew of its many fundraising events to benefit the Dearborn Public Schools (fall’s FORE Golf Outing, winter’s Mardi Gras Party and Big Shot 50/50 Raffle, and spring’s Green Tie Dinner). While critical to the foundation’s funding strategy, these events often overshadow its equally important role as a planned giving partner. With planned giving, donors can contribute cash, property, life insurance, stocks, a specific item, or a percentage of an estate that will be contributed at some point in the future per the donor’s specifications. The foundation’s executive director, Eddie Fakhoury, noted: “The beauty of planned giving is that it allows donors to impact future generations of students who share their same passions.”
While the Dearborn Education Foundation has long handled planned gifts, this year, through a more aggressive campaign to attract new donors, the foundation established five new planned giving funds. Mr. Fakhoury added, “The foundation is grateful to these families and individuals for their partnership and investment.”
(08/22/2014)—Ten years ago, William Brehm, a philanthropist and Fordson High School alumnus, founded the Brehm Scholars Program. While directly covering the costs of higher education for a select group of Fordson graduates, the program has also inspired many other Fordson students to reach goals that previously seemed unattainable. Now, Mr. Brehm, an avid music lover, is broadening his impact by granting $17,000 to the district-wide choir program.
This grant was sparked by the Fordson High School vocal ensemble director, Matthew Laura, who applied to the Dearborn Education Foundation for $30,000 in funding to upgrade decrepit risers, aging recording equipment, and worn out uniforms. The foundation used its inaugural Green Tie event to spotlight Mr. Laura’s request (one of many it receives each year). In the audience that night, Mr. Brehm saw another opportunity to help his alma mater and its district. Thus, a partnership between Mr. Brehm, the Dearborn Public Schools’ district (contributing $6,500), and the foundation (contributing the remaining $6,500) was launched.
This grant will insure that there is continuity of equipment between Dearborn’s three traditional high schools. In addition, with upgraded recording equipment, the choir can improve its performances as well as submit audition recordings for performance opportunities at local, national, and international events. Perhaps most importantly, the new risers will give students a safe, stable platform on which to practice their craft.