When new Detroit schools chief Nikolai Vitti arrives in Detroit as soon as next Monday, he plans to make daily school visits with an early focus on some of the city’s most struggling schools.
Those visits will include trips to the schools in the state-run Education Achievement Authority, which are set to return to the Detroit district this summer amid deep uncertainty.
Vitti will also meet with a long list of Detroiters as he tries to develop what he says would be the district’s first “strategic plan.”
Those are some of the details in the 100-day plan that Vitti shared with Detroit school board members during his interview process. He sent a copy to Chalkbeat over the weekend; read it below.
In an interview with Chalkbeat Saturday, Vitti said major changes to the district won’t happen immediately.
He expects to keep most school principals in place as he begins to get his bearings in Detroit, he said, though he’ll be looking for improvements he can make right now.
“The question for me is … do I have a window to make some adjustments at the district level moving into the beginning of the year?” he asked.
By next year, Vitti plans to convert the district to a “zero-based budgeting” system, which starts the budgeting process from scratch rather than basing next year’s budget on last year’s spending. (He used that approach in his Florida district.)
But for now, he said, he’s focused on an “engagement process” that will include teachers, parents, administrators and community leaders in identifying problems and solutions.
Vitti told Chalkbeat that he plans to put together a leadership team in Detroit that will include a “good balance” between current Detroit educators and people he plans to recruit from elsewhere.
“A balance between the two … allows for good strategy conversations about what direction we need to move in,” he said.
Among veteran Detroiters who could be part of his team is Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather, whom many Detroiters wanted to see appointed to the position permanently.
“I’ve been impressed with the work that she’s done as interim superintendent,” Vitti told Chalkbeat.
Here’s Vitti’s 100 day plan: