DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit has seen a big comeback in recent years, with dozens of new businesses and thousands of new residents moving in. But the new superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District says Detroit can’t really become a world-class city without a better school system.

“The city will not reach its potential despite the large amount of economic investments that’s happening in the city — unless we have a stronger traditional public school education system,” said Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. “What’s recognized is that the school district can not do that alone – that we need the support of business partners, we need the support of the mayor’s office, the governor’s office …”

One of the issues plaguing the district is chronic absenteeism:

“We have to improve our curriculum so that it’s more relevant and engaging,” said Vitti. “We have to strengthen our relationships with our students because when there is trust, students will come to school despite their challenges — got to improve parent involvement and parent engagement to understand the importance of coming to school.”

Vitti, who grew up in Dearborn, came home to help DPS. He moved to Detroit and says his four children are attending DPS schools this fall.

“I think it’s important to say that we don’t have different sets of expectations – so it’s not about my children should go to these schools and other children should go to other schools.”

The district has seen a revolving door of leaders in recent years. But the new leader of the district doesn’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon.

Dr. Nikolai Vitti appearing on “Michigan Matters,” which airs Sunday mornings at 11:30 on CBS 62.



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