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Rise & Shine: Meet the Detroit district’s teacher of the year

Good morning!

Some teachers rely on smartboards to make their lessons work. Others on highlighters or coffee.

Imelya Eberhardt-Ellison, the Detroit district’s teacher of the year, depends on something more basic: a comfortable classroom.

“Not too hot, not too cold,” she told Lori for our latest How I Teach, a regular feature across Chalkbeat in which we ask decorated teachers to talk about their craft, from their favorite lessons to physical objects they can't do without.

That comment from Eberhardt-Ellison, a 25-year veteran of the district, underscores the lack of facilities funding that has left some Detroit schools without adequate air conditioning or heat, but her interview with Lori is far from gloomy. It offers a fascinating window into one of the city's most effective classrooms. Do read it in full.

In other news, we are thrilled to welcome the latest addition to the Chalkbeat Detroit team. Imani Harris, our 2019 summer intern, is a native Detroiter and a student at Northwestern University.

When she was a junior at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Imani helped launch our bureau by sharing her experience in the city’s schools. We're looking forward to the stories she'll tell this summer.

Be sure to keep an eye out for her byline, and don’t forget to check out the weekend’s headlines below.

— Koby Levin, reporter


Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.


TEACHER OF THE YEAR The 2019 Detroit district teacher of the year has been working in classrooms for decades. Here are her biggest challenges — and the reasons she’s still in love with her job. Chalkbeat

SAVE BENTON HARBOR A member of the Michigan school board begs Gov. Whitmer to call off a plan to close a high school in western Michigan, saying the state should try to fix it instead. Bridge

RACIAL OVERTONES The state’s plan to close the high school in Benton Harbor would send hundreds of African-American students to surrounding districts that are predominantly white. The Detroit News

NO SCHOOL, NO GOLF? The mayor of Benton Harbor threatened to make things difficult for the organizers of a professional golf tournament in his city if the state moves forward with plans to close the local high school. “Keep your seatbelt on because there will be turbulence,” he said. The Herald Palladium

TEACHER PAY Low teacher salaries in Michigan are pushing some educators out of the profession. The state ranks 32nd nationally in starting teacher pay. The Detroit News

ROADMAP FOR SCHOOLS Two Michigan CEOs lay out their vision for improving Michigan’s ailing school system. Their recommendations include increasing funding for the state’s neediest students. Crain’s

CHARTER TROUBLE Top students who blasted their Detroit charter school in graduation speeches last week were partly concerned about the firings of teachers who had raised concerns about the school in a board meeting. Detroit Free Press

SAFETY ISSUE? Staffers at a Detroit center for students with special needs said they don’t feel safe at work. Speaking anonymously with a local television station, they called for Detroit district police officers to be present at the school. Local 4

UNION VIEW The president of Michigan’s largest teachers union makes the case for the governor’s proposed education budget as it comes under pressure in the legislature. Crain’s