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Detroit Public Schools (DPS)

"...a needed philosophical jump start"   (Detroit News)

Efficiency and Effectiveness Study. Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive management review of the entire school district. The primary objectives of this study were to evaluate the district’s organization, management and operations to identify opportunities to streamline operations and to redirect resources; to work with district leadership to determine how DPS should be organized and managed to achieve district goals; to identify and develop specific recommendations to address priority issues to ensure the fiscal and operational integrity of the school system; and to create a baseline of the District’s current performance against which the success of district improvement initiatives can be gauged.


All study recommendations were accepted by DPS leaders and the district continues to work aggressively to implement the study recommendations.  The study recommendations were also extremely well received by most stakeholders in the Detroit community.  According to an editorial in the Detroit News – “[the study plan presents] a strategy to shake the school system to its roots in the interest of efficiency and better education.  Beyond the details, the new plan is a needed philosophical jump start.”


Special Education and Student Support Services. Based on the critical compliance and service issues identified in the Efficiency and Effectiveness Study Berkshire Advisors consultants were requested to assist Detroit Public Schools with restructuring of special education and student support services.  Berkshire Advisors assisted the district in developing an organizational and management structure to support the growing percentage of special education and high-risk students as the district’s overall student enrollment was growing. Berkshire Advisors continues to provide consultation and technical assistance as the district works to modify its service delivery system.


Quality Improvement Initiatives. Berkshire Advisors consultants have managed the district’s implementation of their Malcolm Baldrige Approach for School Improvement and Performance Excellence.  This project has included not only managing grant implementation but also facilitating quality improvement teams across all divisions of district operations. The most critical component of this project was the development of a comprehensive school improvement process which integrated the requirement of No Child Left Behind, Michigan’s Education YES, and Baldrige continuous improvement principles.


Deficit Elimination and Transition Planning.  Similar to many school districts across the country, Detroit Public School has been faced with severe financial challenges, declining enrollment and increasing costs. Additionally in January 2006 the district will be transitioning from a CEO and appointed school board form of governance to a Superintendent and elected school board form of governance. Berkshire Advisors’ consultants are currently assisting the district with development and implementation of a comprehensive transition planning process and development of their deficit elimination plan.