Detroit Dropout Prevention Summit

Summit Location: Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI

Vision Statement: All children and youth in southeastern Michigan graduate from high school prepared for life, work, and postsecondary education.


  • United Way of Southeastern Michigan announced a $10M campaign to support post-summit action plans and sustain work on the ground.
  • More than 300 local education and business leaders, policy makers, philanthropists, parents, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, Michael Brennan, president and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Michigan, and Detroit Public Schools superintendent Dr. Connie Calloway.
  • Governor Jennifer Granholm reiterated her commitment to the “Small Schools Initiative” to allocate $300M to create 100 small high schools implementing proven best practices.

Progress Since Summit 

  • Significant media exposure for the issue of dropout prevention (both print and television)
  • Renewed commitments from school administrators to take action on the issue
  • Outreach to the state legislature around topics like increasing the compulsory school attendance age, reviewing current truancy policies and increasing parental engagement.
  • Detroit’s action plan has a long-term goal that high schools in the region with dropout rates of 40% or higher will be transformed into small schools or learning communities graduating 80% of youth with an average ACT score of 18 within four years after entering 9th grade.
  • Of the 35 schools identified as dropout factories, 11 have been shuttered, reconstituted or clustered together for a comprehensive turnaround process.  5 schools are funded for comprehensive turnaround consistent with the Mass Insight Turnaround Model, which commits the schools to improving projected graduation rates from less than 60% to more than 80% in one year.
  • The Greater Detroit Venture Fund was created to incentivize school turnaround efforts in high schools with graduation rates of less than 60% for three consecutive years. The Fund was launched with a $10 million fundraising goal which will support partnerships between high schools and proven educational intermediaries that will work to create small, personalized learning environments.

Detroit's Dropout Prevention Action Plan