Oct 7, 2022 - News

Reinvented Marygrove campus opens new elementary school

The Marygrove principal stands in a classroom with chairs, tables, a big mat, windows and bright colors.

Principal Lisa Williams in a classroom at the School at Marygrove Elementary. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

Leaders of the reimagined Marygrove campus in northwest Detroit have renovated and reopened a public elementary school.

Why it matters: The site where Catholic Marygrove College closed in 2019 under a mountain of debt is now home to a unique educational institution organized while the college was foundering.

  • The campus is still filling out, but the plan is to offer everything from "cradle to career," or pre-k to post-secondary.
  • The Kresge Foundation plans to invest a total of $75 million in the campus. It's working with partners including Detroit Public Schools Community District and U of M.

The latest: The foundation toured Axios through the School at Marygrove Elementary yesterday ahead of its grand opening event Wednesday.

  • The new elementary started this school year with kindergarten through second grade and will expand as students age up.

Between the lines: Marygrove expects an eventual student body of 1,000. Its high school opened in 2019 and an early education center last year. Middle school is yet to come.

  • There's 130 elementary students and 350 in high school now, principal Lisa Williams tells Axios.
  • Students apply to get randomly selected, though preference is given to those living nearby and/or coming from the early education program.

What they're saying: The Marygrove campus's curriculum is focused on social justice and project-based learning that gets kids involved in community, Williams says.

  • For example, students are helping design a Wayne County health center for the campus.
A library has swirling bookshelves, wide windows and green walls.
The School at Marygrove Elementary's library. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

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