When a child goes to school, teachers are not the only integral component of his/her education. The people waiting for each student at home should provide a foundation of support to help in a child’s overall growth. At Detroit Service Learning Academy, they value the importance of creating a well-rounded individual in nourishing their minds as well as their character. Here is an example of the effective practices thriving in this school’s Primary Academy:


Students are enjoying their gator dollars.  Every other week parent volunteers bring the Gator Store to the classrooms for students in grades K-8.  Students are awarded these dollars by staff members who witness the students using good character traits such as Responsibility, Good Citizenship, Trustworthiness, Respect, Caring and Fairness. The Gator Store selections vary in price from one gator dollar to $20.  November’s character trait is Respect.


The Reading Intervention Specialist provides daily, intensive, small group instruction to students in grades K-3 who are reading significantly below grade level.  Frequent assessments are given to monitor progress and plan instruction. Students participate in research-based activities aimed at providing them with the skills necessary to be successful readers and writers.

Ms. Julie Hines, Reading Intervention Specialist Detroit Service Learning Academy (313) 541-7619  ext. 2000.


Instructional Coaches are part of the Tier 2 RTI Model.  They support 1st through 3rd grade general education students who need support sharpening their early literacy skills.  This pull-out program intervenes through small group instruction, re-teaching skills that were introduced  in class, playing literacy games, and providing opportunities for one-on-one reading practice.


Parents are important to student achievement at DSLA.  Parents influence their children through their speech, attitudes and actions.  There are many ways parents can let their children know how important quality education is.

       1.       Arrive on time—every student at DSLA is offered breakfast when they arrive on time. They have time to visit with their friends prior to school beginning.  They are able to complete their “do now” work and get the instructions for the day first hand.  It empowers students when they are on time as they don’t feel the need to catch up.

       2.      Support the educators—DSLA hires certified Michigan teachers who use the latest technology and methods to teach our students.  There are many other trained personnel and volunteers who interact with students daily to enhance their educational opportunities. Let your children know that the teacher and other adults deserve their respect.

3.            Allow your children to stay for the full day—Leaving early causes students to lose those valuable minutes of education in their last class of the day and those final instructions that give them a firm grasp on what is coming the next day.

4.           Pick students up on time—DSLA format allows for the most minutes of education of any school in the community; however, students who must put in waiting time for a ride and are not enrolled in the YMCA program or after-school activities get tired waiting and do not do their best work on their homework assignments.

5.          Attend school activities—Opportunities are offered to parents to attend school functions which show students that their parents value their education.  PTA, Board meetings, Parent Universities, S.W.A.G., Parent/Teacher conferences as well as teachers being available during their planning times each day to take telephone calls offer parents a variety of ways to demonstrate their interest.

Try these ideas to let your children know how much you care about their education.

Check out more about DSLA’s effective practices for their Elementary and Junior Academy here.