October 25, 2021

GPS Solutions Academic and SEL Specialists make positive impact on adjudicated youth in Highland Park, MI

Christopher Plum, Ph.D.
GPS Solutions Academic and SEL Specialists make positive impact on adjudicated youth in Highland Park, MI

In the summer of 2021, educational programming for adjudicated youth in the Spectrum Juvenile Justice system in Highland Park, MI had all but collapsed. The organization operating programming for the students had been removed and there did not seem to be a clear direction forward to provide educational opportunities for the incarcerated youth within the facility. Spectrum Leadership knew that something had to be done quickly to provide academic support to its 85 residential students in both the Lincoln and Calumet residential centers in the heart of Highland Park.

GPS Solutions was engaged in late June of 2021 to begin services immediately. Tareia Caldwell, Director of Impact Services and Special Programs at GPS Solutions, worked quickly to assemble a team, stage necessary technology and materials and prep staff for implementation. The resulting program was a “high priority” math and literacy skills-based intervention program design, utilizing both technology as well as face-to-face teaching. A Social Emotional Learning (SEL) component, “Mind Up!”  was also implemented to best meet the wholistic needs of the learner. The results of the one-month comprehensive program were significant with students’ academics stabilizing and/or growing.  Self-reporting data revealed that >80% of students were satisfied or highly satisfied with their GPS Solutions academic experience and >85% reporting high levels of satisfaction with the social emotional learning components.

One Spectrum Case Manager commented, “At the end of the day when the GPS Solutions Specialists left, our students on the block were still talking about what they had done that day. Anytime we have our youth excited and talking about positive learning experiences, that’s a very special thing!”  

The GPS Solutions Specialists assigned to the Spectrum project were:

Sean Waters- Academic Intervention Coordinator

Andrei Nichols- SEL/Behavioral Specialist

Dr. Denyse Jones- Academic Interventionist

Jamal Ross- Academic Interventionist

Katina McKinney- Academic Interventionist

Katrina McKinney- Academic Interventionist


Christopher Plum, Ph.D.

Dr. Plum is co-owner of GPS Solutions and has served as an elementary, middle school, high school and university educator as well as an assistant principal, principal, chief academic officer, and superintendent.  Dr. Plum holds a Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership and an M.A. in Educational Psychology. He has served as both a teacher and an administrator in charter, traditional public, and private schools for nearly 30 years.  As a building and district-level leader, Dr. Plum was responsible for creating a district- wide vision of readiness for all students, directing support services programming, leading school improvement, creating curricula, leading NCA accreditation, launching a district-wide K-12 Mandarin Language Program, creating innovative staffing programs, and successfully launching and staffing a high school in Detroit which graduated nearly 100% of its students and sent over 90% of graduates to 2-4 year colleges and universities. He is most proud of his on-going work aimed at restoring and growing learners of ages, building community in and outside of school walls, and positively impacting the field of education.