OPINION: In the face of great challenges, we must remain united.


By Jaleelah Ahmed

It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been a difficult year. The past seven months have required more of our community than we could have ever thought possible. As we move into the final months of the year, and the number of COVID-19 cases in Wayne County increases significantly, the challenges unfortunately remain. Thus, it has never been more important for us to stand united as a community and face these challenges together.

While the last eight months have been challenging, they have also demonstrated the importance of collaboration, mutual support and creative problem-solving. Despite the significant upheaval of our day-to-day lives, the Hamtramck community has time and time again stepped up and provided needed resources to our students and families. We have seen the successes of this work during the school year thus far: student engagement rates have been high and our amazing teachers continue to provide challenging and unique lessons. When combined with activities and sports that are taking place across the Hamtramck Public Schools (HPS) district, our students continue to receive a robust learning experience that is essential to academic, social and emotional growth.

If we’re going to successfully overcome the pandemic, we must continue to work together as a community. Last week, the overall COVID-19 risk for Wayne County increased from Medium to High Risk. The rise in cases across the County, as well as the increased risk, illustrate the urgency of the current situation and the critical need for us to remain united in our purpose: providing our students and families with the support they need to succeed.

Schools are at the heart of our community.  I know I speak for everyone at HPS when I say that we want to be back in the classroom. There is no substitution for face-to-face learning. However, our first priority must be the health and safety of our students and staff as well as the Hamtramck community. At this time, HPS is doing everything possible to make the school year less challenging for all involved. However, these efforts require the community’s help.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and to keep schools open, we ask that all social and community gatherings continue to adhere to safe mitigation protocols. We’ve worked too hard over the last several months to reverse course now. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.

Tau Beta School is one of the earliest HPS Buildings where someone connected with the community tested positive for COVID-19. 

Additionally, collaborative partnerships between schools and the community foster lifelong learning skills for our students. Like other districts across the County, HPS is fortunate to receive critical support from Wayne RESA – support that benefits our students and our community. As you may be aware, the Wayne RESA regional enhancement millage renewal is on the November 3rd ballot.

The enhancement millage provides financial support for local districts faced with state budget cuts – allowing districts to promote safety, prepare students for jobs and provide world-class programming for special education and general education students.  At Hamtramck Public Schools, we have used the enhancement millage in the past to lower class sizes, improve technology and security in our schools, add STEM and career education programs, and strengthen facilities.

With the vote scheduled for Nov. 3, what residents should know is that, if approved, the millage would be renewed at its current rate and will continue to cost the average Wayne County homeowner less than $8 per month with a 100% of the funds doing to Wayne County public schools and public school academies. For those interested in learning more about the millage, please visit www.resa.net.

It has never been more important for us to come together and support each other. When united, there is no problem that Hamtramck cannot solve, and no success we cannot achieve.

Jaleelah Ahmed is the superintendent of Hamtramck Public Schools. For the entirety of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Superintendent Ahmed has been leading the school district’s response to one of the toughest public safety challenges of this century.