Choosing a Detroit School

  • Step 1: Consider Your Options
  • Step 2: Find a School Near You
  • Step 3: Schedule a Tour
  • Step 4: Prepare for Enrollment


Step 1 to Choosing a School: Consider Your Options

Gather information to help you find the right fit for your student and family.

Kid smiling from his school desk

Prioritize what is important to you

Think about what’s most important to you in a school—culture, academics, location, transportation, afterschool activities, resources, etc.—and find schools that offer what you’re looking for. Here are some key topics to consider.


  • What school culture, values, or mission are you looking for?
  • How does the school approach student safety and discipline?
  • What school hours and schedule work for you? (Check the school calendar. Do the holiday breaks, days off, and half days align with your schedule?)
  • How does the school engage and interact with parents and guardians?
  • Is supervised before- and afterschool care offered? What activities are offered on weekends? Do they require a fee?
  • Do you need transportation? If it’s not provided, are you OK with public transportation or private options?


  • What type of academics and curriculum best meet your student’s needs?
  • Are there certain activities or courses that you want the school to offer?
  • How strong is the school academically and how well are students performing? For high schools, what is the graduation rate?
  • How does the school support gifted students or those with special needs? What resources are available (social workers, etc.)?
  • What are the expectations for kids who are enrolling for the first year? How does the school help those coming in behind or who are advanced?

In the classroom

  • What courses does the school offer?
  • What is the average class size and student-to-teacher ratio?
  • What is the level of experience of the teachers and staff? 
  • Are parent volunteers welcome in the classroom?
  • Does your student have special needs that the school must meet?

Refine your list

Use the school profile information to find information about public schools in Detroit and search by neighborhood, grade level, activities offered, school type, and more.

Once you have a shortlist of 4–7 schools, reach out to your friends, other parents, community members, and educators to see what they know about the schools.

Ask about culture, the administration, and any other things you consider important.




Step 2 to Choosing a School: Find a School Near You

Get acquainted with Detroit’s seven districts and find a school in your neighborhood.

Children in the playground

Explore schools by district

Detroit is a geographically large city with many neighborhoods. The school profiles in this guide are divided into the seven City Council districts that cover the city. Use the information below to find a school in your district or the district(s) of your choice. You can then select the district you’d like to explore in our school directory.

Districts map

The choice is yours!

While many parents prefer a school near home, Detroit children are permitted to attend any school in any district in Detroit. We’ve provided the district map simply to aid your decision.




Step 3 to Choosing a School: Schedule a Tour

Find out if a school is the right fit by asking these questions while on school tours and visits.

Teenagers in science class

Plan your visit

Once you’ve created a shortlist of potential schools, make time to visit the school in person. When you schedule your tour, make sure there’s time to talk with the principal, teachers, or other staff.


Look for these things while you walk around the school:

  • Does the school feel welcoming?
  • Is the building neat and clean? Do things appear to be in good working order?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the security measures in place?  Does the location seem safe?
  • How are adults interacting with students?
  • What are students doing? Do they look interested and engaged?
  • What technology is available in libraries or classrooms?


While talking with the principal and school staff, ask things like

  • How are you working to make sure every child is learning and making progress?
  • How does the school support students who have academic, behavioral/emotional, or social difficulties?  How will the school support my student’s needs?
  • What activities are available to students beyond the classroom?
  • How experienced are the teachers? How often do teachers get training?
  • How are parents involved in making decisions at the school?
  • What kind of homework will my student have?
  • How does this school keep students safe? What are the school’s discipline policies?
  • How would you describe the school culture?
  • How does the school communicate with parents? How often can I expect to hear from the school? 

For High Schools:

  • How does this school prepare students for college? For careers?
  • How does your counselor help students choose classes and make decisions about college, careers, and life after high school?

Remember: Always listen to your instincts!

As you work through the process -no matter how stressful it may feel- remember: You know your child best. Always ask:

  • Do I see my child feeling comfortable here? Would I be?
  • Does the administration and teaching staff seem open to input/feedback?
  • Do I have all the information that I need to be comfortable with this choice? If not, what else do I need?




Step 4 to Choosing a School: Prepare for Enrollment

Make sure you have all the documents necessary to enroll in the school of your choice.

Five children in a row smiling at the camera

Gathering your documents

All schools require certain information and documents to enroll. The following checklist will give you a basic idea of what you’ll need to enroll your student. It is still very important that you check with your school of choice to find out their specific requirements

  • Completed enrollment form from the school
  • Parent/guardian photo ID
  • Proof of address
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Immunization record
  • Transcripts/report card from previous schools

What qualifies as an official proof of address? Here are a few options.

  • Driver’s license
  • Detroit ID*
  • Utility bill
  • W-2
  • Pay stub
  • Official government mail
  • Public assistance documents

*The Detroit ID is for ALL Detroiters, including returning citizens, homeless individuals, and immigrants regardless of immigration status. To learn more, call (800) 408-1599 or click here.