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MacKenzie Scott Gives Detroit School District $20 Million Gift That Will Help Students

The Detroit school district will receive $20 million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, money that will be used to support academic improvement efforts.

“The district intends to use the funds to increase student achievement by implementing its literacy and math intervention model on a large scale, particularly targeting lower grades,” Superintendent Nikolai said. Vitti in a statement.

The money will allow the district to hire more academic interventionists who will work one-on-one and in small groups with students. Vitti said the plan will be reviewed and discussed with the district school board in January.

The donation comes at a critical time in the district. Academic achievement, which had been lacking for years before the COVID pandemic, deteriorated as students struggled with many months spent learning remotely. The district is using some of its federal COVID relief money to expand tutoring efforts for struggling students. But this money will soon run out, while the needs will remain.

Scott released a list of 343 organizations on Monday that had received recent donations. She said the total amount was nearly $2 billion over the past seven months. Schools have been a big beneficiary: Chalkbeat reported Scott donated $150 million to public school districts across the country.

Other educational and youth institutions in Detroit also benefit. New Paradigm for Education, which operates charter schools in the city, received a gift from Scott, as did Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, Friends of the Children Detroit, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. It is not known how much these entities received.

Vitti said Scott’s gift “is testament to our improvement over the past five years as a district, particularly through strategic planning tied to budget management.”

“We will ensure that the funds are used to improve the performance of our students and address other challenges that impact our student outcomes,” he said.

Lori Higgins is the office manager of Chalkbeat Detroit. You can reach her at [email protected].

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