Detroit Future Schools is a digital media arts program committed to humanizing schooling in Detroit. We work in a small number of anchor schools in addition to coordinating an afterschool program, called the Out-of-School Project. Through these programs we develop and evaluate core instructional practices. We then share our best practices through a local and national DFS network of educators.
For one year, classroom teachers in anchor schools are paired with digital media artists to integrate critical instructional elements and to design media projects that sync up with and enhance the core curriculum. Through these projects, students create media that explores essential questions about their lives and their communities, empowering them to use media to shape their worlds. In DFS classrooms, media-making is not the end goal but one of the vehicles through which we develop essential skills. This yearlong in-school program consists of teacher professional development modules that support teachers in designing their classrooms as incubators of the DFS “11 Essential Skills” as well as student media- projects that put those skills into practice.
The Out-of-School Project (OSP) is an afterschool program that brings together students ages 13 – 21 from all over the city – including Detroit Public Schools, charter schools, private schools, alternative schools, and college. In this program, students create media that inserts youth voice into the conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing Detroit’s public education system.
The goal of the OSP is threefold: 1) to confront the systemic problems in our schooling landscape, 2) to address the lack of youth voice in organizing around school reform and 3) to provide an opportunity for youth to follow their passion to make media.
The DFS Network
We are committed to an “open source” approach to humanizing schooling that
will allow the maximum number of people to benefit from the practices and ideas that emerge from our anchor schools. Towards this goal, Detroit Future Schools thoroughly documents and evaluates our core practices and exchanges them with a network of educators, youth, researchers and artists – in Detroit and beyond – who are engaged in work for humanizing education. This exchange takes place through DFS network gatherings and training institutes and through our participation in other local and national networks of social justice educators.