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Ralph Bland Sets a New Standard for Education in Detroit

As CEO of New Paradigm for Education – and with an extensive background in education – Bland is helping to change children's lives through rigorous academics and student support

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Days at DEPSA

Back at DEPSA, parents expressed a need for a high school. That desire became a reality when DEPSA was the first grantee awarded high school start-up funds by Michigan Future Inc.

The Early College of Excellence was the first Michigan Future high school, opening in 2010. This year will mark the first graduating class.

"One of the things in creating the high school is that it was real critical for us to continue to set these benchmarks of rigor and quality education," Bland says.

Part of this quality education included a partnership with Harvard. The school had an opportunity to send students to Harvard for eight-week courses and receive eight college credits.

"Those students returned from Harvard with all A's and B's in both of the courses," Bland says.

Then, the opportunity came along to take dual enrollment courses with University of Michigan-Dearborn.

"I was thinking, if we can really put the kids in an atmosphere where they're at a Tier One university, then we can really find out if they're college ready before they actually get to college," he says. "It will put us in a better situation – not just as a school, but for the city of Detroit."

So 15 students were sent to U-M-Dearborn to take math.

"Out of that class, the kids averaged a B. So then in my mind, I'm thinking we need to send more kids – so the next semester, we sent a total of 38. This last semester, we sent a total of 63."

Thanks to these opportunities, when many of the students graduate this year, they will be going into college with anywhere from 15 to 29 credits from Harvard or the U-M-Dearborn.

It's a huge accomplishment for the students, the school and Bland, whose leadership has impacted the school's progress.

Bland says the future is bright for the four schools that New Paradigm for Education manages and the students who attend them. His goal is to continue to open more schools and "impact more families, so they can receive that level of quality education that they deserve."

Learn more about New Paradigm for Education Schools:

Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA)

  • Address: 1903 Wilkins St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-1100
  • Grades: K-8

DEPSA Early College of Excellence

  • Address: 3404 St. Aubin, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-877-9380
  • Grades: 9-12

New Paradigm Glazer Academy

  • Address: 2001 La Belle St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-852-1500
  • Grades: Pre-K-6

New Paradigm Loving Academy

  • Address: 1000 Lynn St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-252-3028
  • Grades: Pre-K-6

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