Apply Now for the 2016 Rida Institute


Detroit Future Schools mission is to humanize education in Detroit.  We believe that in order to transform our school system, we as educators must begin by transforming our own practices and by designing our classrooms to nurture the transformative leadership of our students. Detroit teachers and students need these leadership skills more than ever, as the actions of Michigan’s legislature threaten to dissolve public education as we know it, and as the learning environments of all schools (public, charter, and EAA) in Detroit become increasingly dehumanizing.

We are now accepting applications for the Rida Institute, a year-long professional development training with a focus on critical pedagogy.  The Institute will begin with a three day curriculum planning retreat taking place Monday, August 1 through Wednesday, August 3 in Detroit. The retreat will introduce teachers to the “Rida Framework,” one of Detroit Future School’s education planning tools for humanizing schooling. Participants will be trained in DFS’ best practices for curriculum planning and classroom culture-setting. DFS will continue to support participants in the Institute to reflect and course-correct throughout the year.

Apply here for the 2016 Rida Institute. The deadline to apply for the 2016 Rida Institute is July 18th.

Participants of the Rida Institute will attend the following training sessions:

 Rida Institute Retreat – August 1-3, 2016
This three day retreat will introduce teachers to the Rida Framework, DFS’s education planning tool. The tools supports teachers to articulate their purpose as educators within their context of their school, their neighborhood, their city, and the world. From there they will identify the skills and practices they need to cultivate (in themselves and in their classrooms) in order to fulfill that purpose. They will learn best practices for nurturing student agency and leadership. With the support of DFS staff, teachers will create unit plans and self-defined metrics by which they will measure progress towards their stated purpose and goals.

“Tune-up” Meetings in September, January and May
Throughout the year, teachers will have the opportunity to come together to “tune up” their classroom plans and practices. The “tune-ups” will focus on classroom culture and instructional practices. Teachers will grow a supportive community of peers with whom they can troubleshoot challenges and share successes. Tune-ups will happen over brunch on the last Sunday of September, January, and May.

Classroom Documentation & Evaluation
Every classroom will be observed and evaluated once throughout the year, using the Detroit Future Schools rubric of “11 Essential Skills” – skills which are needed to prepare students to solve real world problems. DFS staff will conduct interviews with students to evaluate their perceptions of the classroom and their attitudes towards school overall. Teachers will then reflect on these student evaluations during “Tune-up” meetings to understand what is working or not working in their classrooms, and adjust their instructional practices accordingly.

 The cost for the year long institute for individuals is $300. The cost to participate as a representative of an institution is $500. Meals will be provided throughout the three days of the Rida Institute Retreat and at other events throughout the Institute.

Scholarships are available – please indicate your need for a scholarship in the application form.

NOTE if you are not based in metro Detroit, please select the non-local option on the application. As a non-local participant you can only participate in the three day Summer retreat in August, for a cost of $150.


The Rida Framework
The Rida Framework is the primary planning and evaluation tool that DFS uses to humanize schooling, inspired by the educational theories of Paolo Freire, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, and James and Grace Lee Boggs. Freire, a Brazilian educator and theorist, believed that cycles of critical reflection and action were key to any transformative learning process. From this approach, users of the Rida Framework articulate practices (action) that will result in desired/outlined outcomes within their classrooms, which they will document and evaluate via predetermined metrics (reflection).

Learn more about the Rida Framework here.

Read a recap of the first Rida Institute held in 2014 here.