South Redford School District – Redford, Michigan

May 30, 2024

South Redford School District

A Vision for the Classroom of Tomorrow

 

Expertly innovating education, supporting its community, and preparing students for a future filled with opportunities.

The South Redford School District, located in Redford, Michigan, is committed to providing its students with a dynamic and innovative educational environment. South Redford is implementing Next Generation Classrooms, across all schools, in line with its dedication to cutting-edge educational practices. Schools are designed to support personalized and collaborative learning and are equipped with flexible furnishings and state-of-the-art technology, including Chromebooks, 3- D printers, Maker Spaces, Robotics Clubs. Such facilities underscore the district’s emphasis on STEAM education, preparing students for future technological careers.

Jason Bobrovetski, Superintendent

Jason Bobrovetski, the Superintendent of Schools, shares insights into the foundational values that propel the district forward. Focusing on the symbiotic relationship between innovation and strong community bonds, Bobrovetski emphasized, “Together, we learn through innovative opportunities and strong relationships. We believe that the core of our educational philosophy revolves around these relationships and the innovative opportunities we provide.”

Bobrovetski further explains the dynamic nature of the district’s strategic direction. “Our mission was crystallized about seven or eight years ago during our strategic planning process. It was designed to be succinct yet powerful, anchored in foundational elements that are essential for our growth and adaptability,” he notes.

Highlighting ongoing strategic developments, Bobrovetski reveals, “We are currently in the process of designing our next strategic planning roadmap for the coming three to five years. This involves a critical revisiting of our mission and vision to ensure they remain aligned with our educational goals and the needs of our community.”

Early Literacy and Beyond

In the South Redford School District, the emphasis on early childhood education is a strategic priority to set a solid foundation for lifelong learning. As Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Amy Davidson, outlines the robust initiatives designed for the youngest learners, which address early academic skills and the holistic development of each child.

Davidson explains, “We’ve long committed to early childhood education, in each of our neighborhood elementary schools. Our Great Start Readiness Program offers a five-day preschool that nurtures the whole child, focusing on early literacy skills and social-emotional development from a very young age.” This foundational approach continues seamlessly throughout elementary school, supporting a continuous learning curve.

Discussing the district’s literacy strategies, particularly post-COVID, Davidson highlights the comprehensive nature of their approach. “Our literacy curriculum is part of a continuous improvement process. Our efforts are rooted in Michigan’s literacy essentials, from the Great Start Readiness Program to the third-grade reading law and beyond. This includes phonological awareness, diverse reading materials, vocabulary instruction, fluency and comprehension.”

Davidson also stresses the district’s adaptability during challenging times. “During COVID, we had to pivot quickly to digital learning, leveraging Chromebooks to ensure that our students continued to receive high-quality literacy instruction, both live and asynchronously.”

Beyond the technical aspects of reading and writing, South Redford is deeply committed to developing communication skills across all grade levels. Davidson adds, “We’re actively encouraging reading outside of the classroom and emphasizing the importance of soft skills like speaking and listening. These are integrated into our curriculum through specific assignments and electives and supported by community feedback gathered during our bond initiatives.”

Integrating STEAM and Career Readiness

Integrating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in education is a pivotal aspect of the South Redford School District’s strategy to prepare students for the future. Assistant Principal, Beth Harris, details the district’s comprehensive approach:

“We’ve been focusing on using technology extensively at the high school level. We are exploring a new science curriculum that integrates engineering standards and meets all NGSS standards, enriching our students’ learning experiences with a blend of physical, chemical, and engineering sciences.”

The drive to incorporate real-world skills into the curriculum extends beyond traditional classroom settings. “We’ve introduced multiple sections of Robotics and Introduction to Engineering,” Harris states. Our CTE programs, particularly, in construction trades and welding, incorporate many engineering and science-related standards. Our welding and fabrication equipment is highly technological, which gives our students a real taste of industry standards.”

Harris elaborates on the district’s progressive co-op opportunities and work placements. “Our district is unique in how we integrate career readiness skills across our programs. We’re excited about our new programs in automotive technology, health occupations, hospitality and tourism, construction trades, and welding and fabrication. Each program requires strong community partnerships and advisory boards comprised mostly of people from industry who influence our curriculum, equipment needs and teaching strategies.”

These partnerships enrich the curriculum and provide real-world applications and experiences for the students. “We have partnerships with big names like Matick Chevrolet, Detroit Diesel, Roush Industries, Western Golf and Country Club and Corewell Health all located in our community. These connections will offer incredible work-based learning opportunities that allow our students to gain practical experience while still in school,” Harris adds.

Addressing the flexibility of career pathways, Harris assures that the district remains adaptable to student needs and evolving interests. “We are developing introductory-level courses and expanded learning opportunities, allowing students to explore different fields before making any commitments. It’s about informing and equipping our students with the knowledge to make educated decisions about their futures, ensuring they know the various careers available and what those careers entail.”

Strategic Investments in Infrastructure and Arts

Superintendent Bobrovetski elaborates on the strategic utilization of funds and the substantial investments made in infrastructure and arts within the South Redford School District. He shares the significant financial commitment made by the community.

“Over the past three years, our district has been fortunate to receive approximately $90 million for improvements and sustainability. This includes $8.5 million earmarked specifically for our Innovation Center, which will house four of our five Career and Technical Education programs.”

The investment extends beyond career and technical training facilities. Bobrovetski highlights the attention given to safety and security enhancements. “We secured funds for vestibule entrances and additional security measures a few years back. Following a cyber-attack a year and a half ago, our robust cybersecurity measures helped protect critical student and staff data.”

Bobrovetski also underscores the district’s efforts to promote physical activity and the arts, which are vital for holistic development. “We’ve built new playgrounds and are adding auxiliary gymnasiums at our elementary schools. Furthermore, our arts programs have flourished, evidenced by our state-of-the-art auditorium and the numerous awards our students achieve.”

This focus on the arts is deeply tied to the district’s geographical and cultural placement, as Bobrovetski explains. “Being just 12 minutes from downtown Detroit, our students frequently engage with major cultural venues like local theaters, restaurants, markets, museums, and entertainment, music and sports venues. These experiences are complemented by local initiatives, such as participating in poetry slams and contributing to the vibrant mural society in Detroit.”

The strategic location near significant educational institutions like Wayne State University, Madonna University, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan further enriches the opportunities available to students. Bobrovetski adds, “Our proximity to these universities, along with offering over ten Advanced Placement courses, ensures that our students are exceptionally well-prepared for higher education.”

Addressing the Teacher Shortage with Strategic Support and Competitive Compensation

As school districts nationwide grapple with the challenges of teacher shortages, South Redford School District is taking proactive steps to attract and retain top-tier educational talent. James Kinsey, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Operations, and Technology, articulates this commitment. He notes that the national teacher shortage has had minimal impact on the district.

“We’ve managed to somewhat shield ourselves from the teacher shortage. This stability is largely due to our district being where people come to stay, not just pass through,” he explains. Kinsey believes the familial atmosphere and competitive compensation are critical to their success.

Kinsey further details the financial incentives offered to teachers, “Our teachers are among the top 25% in terms of pay within our area. Next year, our most experienced teachers will earn close to

$100,000 annually.” This competitive salary is part of South Redford’s broader strategy to prioritize the well-being of its staff.

 

Beyond competitive wages, the district invests in comprehensive support structures for its teachers. “We provide a supportive environment with coaching available in multiple areas, including academics, technology, and behavior management,” Kinsey states. This approach ensures that teachers receive the necessary support to excel in their roles and effectively address classroom challenges.

Kinsey also emphasizes the district’s philosophy of growth and support over criticism. “Our administrators believe in nurturing rather than penalizing. We focus on constructive and affirming feedback, fostering an environment of growth and cooperation,” he adds. This philosophy extends to staff members’ encouragement to recommend potential hires, creating a community-focused recruitment process.

Kinsey reiterates the importance of relationships when describing the district’s teaching philosophy to potential hires. “It’s all about caring for the students, supporting them, and collaborating with colleagues. Those who join our team are expected to share this commitment to nurturing relationships, ensuring safety, and advocating for the needs of our students,” he says.

 

Vision and Strategy: Looking Ahead to 2025

As South Redford School District approaches a pivotal phase in its strategic planning, Superintendent Bobrovetski outlines the top priorities for the district, starting by emphasizing the critical role of professional development in the district’s plans, particularly in the context of an ever-evolving job market.

“Professional development remains a cornerstone of our strategy, ensuring that our staff is prepared to meet the demands of future careers that have yet to be created,” he asserts. Meanwhile, in addressing the challenges posed by demographic shifts and the cessation of federal COVID relief funds, Bobrovetski highlights the need for thoughtful planning. “With the population in Michigan stabilizing and aging, and as educational options diversify, we face the challenge of right-sizing our resources responsibly while continuing to offer high-quality programs.”

Moreover, he stresses the importance of social and emotional support for students, which is essential for academic and personal success. “We are committed to bolstering our social and emotional learning initiatives. It is crucial that students feel a strong sense of belonging and receive support to forge quality relationships within the school community,” he notes.

In closing, Bobrovetski acknowledges vital partners who have played significant roles in the district’s recent successes. “It’s important to recognize the contributions of our partners like Lecole Planners, TMP Architecture and Barton Malow, among others. Their collaboration has been vital in bringing our projects to fruition and will continue as we move forward.”

Looking ahead, South Redford School District is poised to adapt and innovate in response to challenges and opportunities. The strategic planning roadmap for the next three to five years will guide the district towards continued excellence, prioritizing professional development, adapting to demographic shifts, and enhancing student support systems, ensuring that every student can reach their full potential.

AT A GLANCE

South Redford School District

What: A dynamic school district that provides innovative educational environments and comprehensive student support.

Where: Redford, Michigan

Website: https://www.southredford.org/

PREFERRED VENDORS

Barton Malow – https://www.bartonmalow.com/

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