There is a widely-held misconception that there are no good K-12 schools in Detroit. While Detroit Public Schools have certainly faced its share of woes, Detroit is not without some excellent private, charter, and even public schools where children get an well-rounded education (often with particular emphasis in the arts or sciences).
Excellent Schools Detroit
releases an annual list of top-performing (and bottom-performing) kindergarten through eighth grade schools based on MEAP test scores (out of the 181 schools that agreed to participate) to help parents navigate their options and make informed decisions for the next school year. Find the 2012-2013 list here
. Below some of these schools are highlighted, as well as several other private and charter options known for their well-rounded curriculums and high student performance.
For another excellent resource on childhood education and the lifestyles of young famiies in Detroit, check out the City Kids
series from Model D.
(educational daycare for infants through first grade
So much more than daycare, KidSpace Montessori in Midtown provides caring developmental instruction to children from infants all the way through first grade. At Montessori, children learn Spanish, French, tumbling, art, music, dance and yoga. The facility includes a gym, a library, and a park-like playground. Students are fed healthy, organic meals. The child-directed and teacher-supported environment provides essential social development opportunities while children receive a strong basis for further arts and cultural education.
Detroit Waldorf School
(preschool to 8th grade
Detroit Waldorf School offers a rich academic and artistic education and nurturing environment for students at all development levels from preschool through eighth grade, with a blended education that includes science, mathematics, language arts, literature, history, geography, fine and practical arts, foreign language, music and physical education.
Burton International School
(preschool to 8th grade
The Burton International School is a multilingual and multicultural school. It offers a balanced academic program in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, physical education, performing arts, music, foreign language and computer education.
Detroit Innovation Academy
The Detroit Innovation Academy is a public charter school operated by the YMCA. Students remain with the same teacher for two years, allowing for more targeted education design. Teachers utilize a blended learning approach to promote and support academic excellence. DIA is dedicated to promoting and supporting a healthy lifestyle with a comprehensive health, wellness, and physical education program. The Academy also aims to develop leaders of global citizenship and civic engagement.
Detroit School of Arts
The Detroit School of Arts (DSA) provides a specialized integrated academic and arts education to intelligent, gifted students. Students enroll from all over the state and come from a variety of different socioeconomic, family and educational backgrounds. This K-12 school's mission is to produce proficient students equipped to succeed in a global society. DSA is a nationally-renowned arts and academic high school with a strong college preparatory curriculum, which includes pre-professional study in vocal music, instrumental music, music technology, dance, theatre, speech, radio and television production, visual arts and visual communication. The DSA's performing groups travel around the world.
Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences
The Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences offers a comprehensive curriculum with a strong emphasis on the arts and sciences, using technology in evidence-based instructional practices. Students receive a core academic instruction further enhanced with "elective" courses of their choosing in physical education, choir, band, art, music, astronomy, forensic science and more.
Cesar Chavez Academy
Cesar Chavez Academy is Michigan's first NCA-accredited multi-campus charter school district with hopes of becoming the premiere college preparatory academy in the state. With an inclusive education policy offering dedicated programs for students of different needs and skill levels, Cesar Chavez Academy also participates in education enhancement programs such as the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) and the Academic Learning and Strings (ALAS) program offered through Wayne State.
Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies
The Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies is Detroit's premier college preparatory art and design school, built on the idea that learning needs to be hands-on and connected to the real world. Small class sizes are targeted towards students' success. State-of-the-art facilities allow for project-based learning that incorporates community resources and technology, and the school also provides structured workplace experiences in the community with opportunities for internships and job shadowing.
University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
U of D Jesuit is committed to racial, religious, and socio-economic diversity. This all-boys, college preparatory school trains students to excel mentally, spiritually, and physically, and prepares them in the spirit of the Jesuit mission to be reflective, to be committed to the service of personal faith and the promotion of justice, as well as to excellence in academic performance.
Communication and Media Arts High School
Named by the U.S. News and World Report
in 2008 and 2009 as one of the best high schools in the country, Communication and Media Arts High School (CMA) offers a rigorous academic program with a small student-to-teacher ratio. The academic focus here is on communications, using multi-media resources and technology to enhance student achievement including wireless technology, interactive whiteboards, notebook computers in every classroom, Mac and PC computer labs, a media center, writing center, and recording studio.
Cass Technical High School
A nationally-recognized college preparatory high school with a variety of different academic focuses built around individual students' interests, Cass Tech is known as much for its arts and music programs as it is for its athletics. Students choose a curriculum path their freshman year, similar to a college major, which include architecture, music, graphic arts, business, human services, and chemical/biological sciences. It is also the only school in Detroit with a Harp and Vocal Ensemble.