Heart of Detroit: Principal works to bring students back to Detroit schools
Meet Regina Haywood, a lifelong teacher and administrator who, as a new principal, addressed the shrinking populations of 103-year-old Nichols Elementary and Middle School in Indian Village by going door to door in the neighborhood, trying to lure students back.
"I had some literature in my hand asking parents, you know, where their students attend, where's your child attending, letting them know about all the offerings that we have here at Nichols," said Haywood. "Basically it is a sales pitch."
Haywood is a good saleswoman. Once in danger of closing, Nichols has seen a jump in its enrollment. It parallels the jump in performance, spearheaded by Haywood, who has instituted aggressive goals-oriented programs and an emphasis on raising reading levels.
Haywood's door-to-door approach was suggested to her teachers, who now regularly visit students' homes to encourage family involvement in education.
"Parents have been very welcoming, very receptive to the idea," said Haywood. "Kids get to see their teacher in a different light and now we have the buzz around the school, the kids are talking, saying, 'My teacher came to my house,' and of course to the teacher, 'When are you coming to my house?'"
"I love children. I love helping children and I just want to make a different for them," Haywood added.
From door to door, to the windows of the young minds, Haywood is opening new ways for our children to learn and stirring the heart of Detroit.