Principal Michelle Parker has high expectations as she heads back to Cody High School this fall. The school, which underwent massive ren-ovations in 2012 as one of three small-er Detroit Rising College Preparato-ry Schools locat-ed within the Cody building, also experi-enced a dramatic shift in student culture with the introduction of its one-of-a-kind Med-icine and Community Health (MCH) school curriculum. Students began to look and act differ-ently from the inception of the program launch (last year), according to Parker, who noted that everyone at MCH—from its administrators, teachers and parents to students —recognizes and appreci-ates the fact that they are participat-ing in a new era of education, as well as a leading-edge development program designed to help students compete for highly-coveted scholarships and medi-cal posts. MCH is the kind of school that DPS officials wish everyone would take the time to see.
“What’s happening at the school defies expectations and debunks long-held views about DPS’ former large re-gional high schools with generalized curriculums, standard programs and a culture that did not always stimulate ac-ademic excellence,” noted Parker. Last year, DMC Children’s Hospi-tal President and MCH partner Herman Gray headed hosted a “pinning” ceremo-ny for more than 120 students, which evoked the rite of passage that occurs at U.S. medical schools throughout the country annually as medical stu-dents graduate and embark on the next phase of their careers. The tradition will continue in the 2013-14 school year as seniors and ad-ministrators once again proudly don in their “whites,” the fresh-pressed medical coats that signify the ranking of phy-sicians, affixed with a pin which bears the dis-tinctive medical serpent symbol (Caduceus) and MCH initials worn twice weekly throughout the school year.
CARING, COMMITTED TEACHERS
Students will continue to be taught by an impressive cadre of professionals, who were specially selected due to their practical backgrounds, education and commitment to education. A unique aspect of the teacher-stu-dent relationship at Cody MCH is that each staff member must make a com-mitment to voluntarily serve students one to two hours out-side of the instruc-tional day at least twice a week.
This extra time, combined with consistent school culture, high expectations and committed staff, makes MCH a place where children want to be. Medicine and Community Health Academy’s goal is to provide students a background in medicine and communi-ty health with a college readiness track. Each student must complete four years of science as well as a health-related in-ternship during their junior year.
A Residents-in-Training program pre-pares students for medical-related ca-reers, and a college readiness portfolio is required of all first semester seniors. Students report that the program not only provides welcome academic sup-port, but more personalized mentoring designed to make sure that students that enter the program stay in it through graduation. “At MCH, we focus on providing a whole village of supporters,” states Parker, who notes that students makes lasting friendships, in a nurturing, caring environment supported by com-mitted role models.
”There’s a lot of laughter, love and teamwork here at MCH.” Communication is key, especially with parents. Parents and guardians are kept well-informed of student progress via the school’s Sunshine Call program, designed to highlight and celebrate stu-dent success and achievement. “The communication a family re-ceives from a student’s school should not always focus on the negative, states Michelle Shorter, a MCH senior advisor and Leadership and Development teach-er.As is quickly becoming the norm across Detroit Public high schools, the expectation of graduation and college admission will hang over every class, program and activity, as well as from ceilings, walls and bookcases.
Medicine and Community Health lists among its partners many institu-tions of higher education and medicine, as well as others including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Michigan, Wayne State University, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Howard University, Inside Out Literacy Program DTE Energy, WSU Nursing, Don Bosco Hall, Women of To-morrow, Oak-wood Hospital, Michigan State University, Junior Achievement, United Way and DMC Children’s Hospi-tal. The village, known as Medicine and Community Health Academy, has become a tight knit community-a fami-ly-and children are their most valuable members. That’s why the program is gaining at-tention and recognition across Detroit.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Cody High School’s Medicine and Com-munity Health (MCH) school curricu-lum can visit: http://detroitk12.org/