Groundbreaking at Academy of Warren!

Even if the event doesn’t look exciting (that’s me on the left digging furiously next to Camille Martin, Oronde Kearney, and Sara Fields), the project really is exciting: Transforming the Academy of Warren, a K-8 charter school in a former strip retail property on a largely empty stretch of East Eight Mile Road, into a place where students are excited to arrive and, at the end of the day, reluctant to leave.

And we’re doing this with no fund raising, no foundations, no new government funds, and no diversion of funds from the school’s limited operating budget.

The trick? At Equity Schools we call this “Nonlinear Project Funding.” For more info on our process (including a short video), see our About page.

A Challenge, To Be Sure

AOW is serving some of the lowest-income families in Detroit, all African-American. The kids are absolutely great, and the educators are committed to making a difference, but … the school is in an old supermarket building, surrounded by acres of asphalt.

Windowless classrooms, no natural light, and really none of the learning environments you would hope for (eg, no library, no science labs, no gym, no art … you get the idea). Unfortunately, these students have nothing to compare it with and they think it’s normal. And their families have no real choices for other schools.

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