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Welcome to Excellence for Detroit! Our mission is to facilitate cultural and intellectual growth within the City of Detroit (and the insular communities of Hamtramck and Highland Park) by assisting urban high school students in undertaking projects--grounded in the liberal arts--that have lasting value for the city and the students. Our approach is centered on intensive workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions led by high-achieving college students, college professors and working and retired professionals.
What We Do
At over half of Michigan’s schools, fewer than 10% of high school seniors are deemed to be college-ready. That number is even lower at many high schools in the City of Detroit, where just a handful of students graduate every year at the minimum academic proficiency levels required by colleges and universities. Many organizations and agencies on the local, state, and national levels are working to rebuild Detroit’s educational infrastructure.
More troubling is a fact that this small group of college-ready graduates is still at a tremendous disadvantage when they do enter the world of higher education. Standardized tests of the sort typically used to measure college readiness ultimately assess a student’s ability to memorize facts and learn an evaluation system. While factual knowledge and test-taking skills are certainly good to have, they will only get students through their introductory classes. In order to excel in college, students need to be able to think and work independently, "outside of the box."
Our Educational Philosophy
Excellence for Detroit pushes students to surpass the confines of a high school classroom. E4D’s innovative curriculum emphasizes the skills that are necessary to excel in a college environment--critical thinking, argumentation, professional writing, the use of scholarly sources, and presentation skills. By acquiring these skills early in their academic careers, students who go through the Excellence for Detroit system will be better-positioned for success after high school.
Students receive individual support from a mentor throughout the entire program. We use project-based learning as a way for students to acquire these core skills while working on something that interests them. A letter-writing campaign to clean up a local park, a biographical essay on a local political figure, or a neighborhood oral history project are just a few examples of what students could choose for their projects. The guiding principle is that projects should give something back to the community. Depending on the project, additional special mentors may be brought in to offer their advice and assistance. E4D utilizes other innovative practices--including co-teaching and collaborative learning--to enhance the student experience.
Students propose, research, and develop their projects with guidance from their mentors. At the end of the program, students present their work to the public. Mentors will investigate other venues for finished projects, including publishing and/or presentation to a specialized audience. Students can use their finished projects as part of a college application if they so choose.
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