As teachers open their classroom doors in Detroit, a new superintendent and a newly elected school board mark a fresh start to the school year. Schools chief Nikolai Vitti has created a new cabinet to tackle the big issues facing Detroit. On the ground, one parent has taken a hands-on approach to improving schools by sharing her story of how relationships with teachers ensured her child’s success. Another parent challenged critics of Detroit’s schools to look deeper than its systemic issues.

In addition, other issues, like the challenges many families face in transporting students to quality schools, and the district’s effort to boost art and music instruction remain top of mind. As families and teachers prepare to kick off the school year, here’s six stories to get ahead of the curve.

The secret to her child’s success in Detroit schools was getting involved, letting teachers know ‘that we were partners.’

Superintendent’s inner circle: These are the people Detroit’s new schools boss Nikolai Vitti has tapped to help rebuild the district

Nearly half of Detroit schools offered no music or art last year. Next year could be different.

Six hours, eight buses: The extreme sacrifice Detroit parents make to access better schools

Here’s Detroit’s slimmed-down testing schedule, which Vitti says is only a first step in reducing pressure

Friends, family, and even strangers questioned how I could move to Detroit with kids. Here’s what they should ask instead