The Academy

Who We Are

The Blanche Kelso Bruce Strict Discipline Academy (BKB), Michigan's first multi-sited strict discipline academy, provides comprehensive, treatment-oriented educational services to students referred to as Youth Outside of the Educational Mainstream (YOEM). Students are eligible to enroll if they are expelled, referred by the court or by a school IEPC.

Our Mission

The mission of the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy (Strict Discipline Academy) is to provide effective educational services to students, who due to legal and/or other environmental risk factors impacting their lives, are unable to participate in regular school settings, and/or are identified as at-risk of academic failure in traditional school environments.

Our philosophy of education is based on a commitment and belief that each child can learn and succeed, that diversity enriches us all, that students at-risk for failure can overcome the risk through involvement in a thoughtful and caring community of learners, that each child has unique contributions to offer to the community of learners, that each child has strengths and needs, and that effective learning results from the collaborative efforts of all engaged adult constituencies.

Equal Opportunity School

While BKBA expressly maintains its status as contractor and not the employer of the employees, BKBA has adopted the following Equal Employment Policy. BKBA provides equal access to all legally qualified students who enroll for school without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, weight, in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. In addition, BKBA complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in every location in which BKBA has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of enrollment.

Board Members

Diana Stewart, President
Term: July 1, 2012 June 30, 2015
Judy Pendergrass, Vice-President
Term: Jul 1, 2014 June 30, 2017
Akbar C. Rasul, Secretary
Term: July 1, 2012 June 30, 2015
Arlene F. Meadows, Treasurer
Term: July 1, 2013 June 30, 2016
Angela P. Wynn, Board Member
Term: Nov 1, 2013 Jun 30, 2016

Management Team

Blair Evans, Superintendent, BKBA
bevans@bkbacademy.org
Sharion Brown, Associate Superintendent, BKBA
sbrown@bkbacademy.org
Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy is a Michigan Public School Academy authorized by Wayne RESA.

BKBA in the News

Partnership with Automation Alley and MAT2

Incite Focus and the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy are proud to join as an Educational Partner with the Automation Alley PLM initiative. Our focus on High School students and young adults who have completed High School complements the MAT2 and other post-seconday partners.

A quote from the preview of the Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center, referring to us:

"They are doing some incredible things about teaching kids how to use PLM. The value of this center, and the equipment that they have, and what they are teaching these students - we are so thrilled to work with them."
- Ken Rogers, Automation Alley Executive Director

Our youth and young adult pathways directly link into this initiative.

Incite Focus Website

Catherine Ferguson Academy Charter Approved

The board of Wayne RESA voted unanimously to approve a new charter for Catherine Ferguson Academy...

Read the press release

BKB West Student Embraces Reading With Read 180

When Markis Johnson entered BKB West as a 10th grade student he was vocal about his plan to change the course of his academic future. He mentioned that he had spent most of his school time focusing on other student’s activities and not his own studies. He was looking to change the way he approached his education.

After a short time of instruction and evaluation, Markis’ biggest obstacle regarding school was revealed. He could not read. Due to struggles with dyslexia and other personal challenges, Markis had not developed the fundamental skills that are vital for academic growth.

Armed with Markis’ determination to learn to read, his mother’s support and the BKB West staff, Markis was placed in the Read 180 program. Read 180 is utilized throughout the BKB district and is facilitated by Jane Varner. The program is a researched reading intervention program designed to raise reading achievement for struggling readers in grades 4-12. Hundreds of studies, peer-reviewed journals, and the federal government’s What Works Clearinghouse have documented its effectiveness on student achievement across multiple grade levels and student populations.

With the help of this program, Markis has made great strides in becoming a reader. He reflects on his situation before becoming a student at BKB West and entering the Read 180 program. “I barely knew how to read because I was on the streets and got locked up.” He admits that he tried to write while in placement but succumbed to the difficulty. Yet in just the last two quarters of school, he has made steady progress in not only the reading program but in his other coursework as well. Reading has opened a whole new world for him. He says, “I can now read signs and things around me, (well) most things.” And he admits that he’s most excited about now being able to send text messages.

Markis recently demonstrated his reading growth by confidently reading 10 full sentences during his exhibition - a feat that serves as a testimony for the effectiveness of personalized learning.

To learn more about the Read 180 program contact Jane Varner at 313.656.2600.

We are encouraging our students to read daily during the summer months

In an effort to prevent “summer slide” (losing the reading progress made during the school year), our Read 180 instructors provided a selection of their favorite books for students.

• The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
• Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
• The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
• Slam! by Walter Dean Myers

BKBA East Student Premiers Sketch Art at Gallery Exhibition

Dezjuan Smith, also known as Dez, is an Artist. He is also a student at Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy East. His passion is putting pencil to paper to create works of sketch art.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, as part of his personalized learning plan, Dez participates in the Learning Through Interest Internship program. Internships are a major component of the education model at BKBA East. The internship allows students to apply their academic knowledge and learn twenty-first century skills that prepare them for career and college.

This quarter, Dez interned at the Grosse Point Art Center under the mentorship of Amy DeBrunner. As part of his internship and in honor of Black History Month, Dez created sketch portraits of African Americans who have given him inspiration. The diverse works include sketches of President Barack Obama; director, Spike Lee; activist, Malcolm X; music mogul, Jay-Z; and the late rapper Biggie Smalls.

Dez’s work was later showcased in an exhibit at the Grosse Point Art Center where he became an entrepreneur and sold 2 sketches.

To learn more about the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy Internship program contact Deitra Covington at 313.656.2600 extension 214.

BKBA Students Travel To Ethiopia To Help A Developing Community Generate Energy
Produced and narrated by Kaeta Ribbron



Photo credits: Kaeta Ribbron

Imagine not being able to receive medical care because the sun has set. In rural Ethiopia where many medical facilities don’t have access to electrical power, the sun is the major source of light. Under these conditions, not only are some services performed in darkness, these facilities lack the appropriate resources to store blood and medicine because of a lack of refrigeration. These are obstacles in the way of health, safety, and efficiency. These are the types of challenges to developing communities that students from BKBA West, BKBA East, and Catherine Ferguson Academy seek to resolve.

This January, BKBA students traveled more than 7,000 miles to help Tulla, Ethiopia (a rural community 10 miles outside of Hawassa) resolve issues of energy generation. The students were part of E-Three Lab’s International Knowledge Transfer (IKT) program that focuses on community development through sustainable practices. Each year, the IKT program identifies communities that face tremendous barriers – barriers less likely in the United States because of access to resources and the growing knowledge of sustainability practices. This year, the IKT program partnered with Incite Focus and the Ethiopian North American Health Professional Association. Together, these organizations identified the community of need and prepared BKBA students to become change agents.

The preparation required of BKBA students in the IKT program is extensive. Students are expected to not only help provide solutions to community challenges; they are also expected to transfer knowledge by training community members to replicate applications. In the case of Ethiopia, the application was photovoltaic solar energy systems. Leading up to travel, students spent months building skills in solar energy principles; environmental and food justice; cultural competency; solar energy module parts and assembly; and tools and safety procedures. In addition to earning school credit for participating in the program, each student’s growth potential is limitless. Students gain the capacity to develop academic, technical and job readiness skills.

Once in Tulla, BKBA students partnered with students from Tulla High School for a 10-day intensive knowledge exchange where they focused on PV-Solar Technology and designed applications of PV-Solar systems. By day eleven, Tulla High School students had the educational and technological knowledge to replicate solar installations throughout their communities. The ability to install these systems will tremendously increase the quality of life for the Tulla community. Health clinics gain the capacity to provide services in a lit environment. Physicians are able to maintain patient information with fully powered computers and patient’s comfort levels increase because of the facility’s ability to provide stored blood and medication.

BKBA students arrived in Ethiopia determined to help a community create a sustainable solution to a problem. Yet, year after year, students describe their IKT experience as having received far more than they have given. Students gain the true meaning of community, a great sense of accomplishment, and a global view of problems solving.

The following students participated in the 2013 Ethiopia - International Knowledge Transfer Program:

Octavia Rodgers (West)
Dayana Purdy (West)
Tiychina Wilbourne-Little (CFA)
Raeven Locke (CFA)
Micah Thompson (CFA)
De Andre Woods (East)
Eann Stokes (East)
Kaeta Ribbron (Home Schooled)

For more information on the Learning Through Interest and International Knowledge Transfer programs contact Susan Matous at 313.656.2600 extension 213.

Catherine Ferguson Academy Featured on the Today Show

Read the article on The Huffington Post

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