Covenant House photoCovenant House Academy East, located at 7600 Goethe Street, on the lower east side is an oasis of educational opportunity in one of Detroit’s most challenged neighborhoods.

In 2005, the Detroit Public Schools authorized Covenant House Michigan to open three charter schools in order to better serve the needs of homeless and other at-risk youth who lacked a high school diploma. The three schools located on the east and southwest sides of Detroit serve youth aged 16-22 and are named Covenant House Academies.

The school offers an instructional day that ends at 3 p.m. but also provides breakfast and tutoring before school and after the day’s official schedule. It’s not uncommon, in fact, for students to remain at the school for tutorial assistance, an extra meal, or even fellowship.

“School is over at 3 (p.m.) but we have kids who come back and say, ‘Hey, where’s Ms. Owens (referring to the school’s outgoing and motherly-like community liaison)? Do you have some of that food we had for lunch?’” chuckles Nathaniel King, principal and longtime public school educator who grew up not far the Covenant House campus.

The institution, which enrolls students between the ages of 16 and 22, has graduated more than 1,000 young men and women between its three city campuses since August 2005. Special needs students can enroll up to the age of 25. Sixty percent of its graduates have gone on to higher education and improved employment opportunities.

Covenant House’s motto is “retention, progress and graduation.” Its mission is “to touch the lives and improve the achievement levels of students who have previously been school dropouts, homeless, or otherwise at risk.”

Its curriculum blends individual, hands-on instruction with a computer-aided model that allows students the opportunity to learn and advance at their own pace. In addition, students can access their practice sessions and homework materials online–24 hours, seven days a week and receive credit for that work.

Additionally, Covenant House Academy East offers a myriad of wrap-around services including parenting classes, anger management, English as a second language, and one-to-one counseling. Some students have been placed in jobs at businesses like CVS Drug Store. The school is an active member of the community and partners with the area police-community relations organization and other groups.

The Covenant House Team declares: “Absolute love and respect in addition to individualized education equals success.”

For more information about Covenant House Academy-Detroit East Campus at 313-267-4315.

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