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Types of Schools in Detroit

Explore the types of schools in Detroit and get a better sense of how they’re different.

Types of Schools in Detroit

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD)

Schools operated by DPSCD are free to all children who reside in Detroit. Starting in kindergarten, every child who lives in the district is guaranteed a spot in a DPSCD school.

Transportation and other services may be provided based on the address where the child resides, the child’s educational needs, and any additional needs the child may have regarding transportation and/or student support.

To apply, most DPSCD schools require families to complete an enrollment form at the school of their choice. Some schools may require a specialty application or examination, which is noted in this guide on the school profiles. Click here to review documents that you’ll likely need to enroll in the school of your choice.

Schools are directly overseen by an appointed superintendent and an elected school board. Board meetings must follow the public meetings laws.

Specialized DPSCD Programs

Application Schools

DPSCD has 18 “application schools,” which include elementary, middle and high schools, that require an application to enroll. Five high schools are “exam schools,” which require special testing. For current deadlines, click here.

Exceptional Student Education Campuses

The district also offers full-service special education service campuses at the Charles R. Drew Transition Center, Diann Banks Williamson Education Center, Jerry L. White Center, Keidan Special Education Center, Moses Field Center, and Turning Point Academy. To learn more, click here.

Adult Education

The district provides free classes for adults, including high school completion, GED programs, Adult Basic Education and Pre-GED, English as a Second Language and job readiness training. Click here to read about Opportunities for Parents.

Charter Schools

Charters operate under “open enrollment requirements” that mandate that any child who applies must be enrolled unless a seat is not available. When demand for a school is higher than availability, a public lottery is held to assign open seats.

These public schools are open and free to all Detroit students, regardless of their neighborhood boundaries. Students from anywhere in the city may apply to any Detroit charter school.

Each school has its own application process. Enrollment requirements can be found by reviewing school profile pages, by visiting the school’s website, and/or by contacting the school.

Charters open via charter contracts issued by a select group of authorizers that are responsible for oversight of charter schools in Michigan. Charters must meet the same laws as traditional public schools for serving families experiencing homelessness/transition, special education students, and youth returning from incarceration. A board oversees each school and holds public meetings according to law.

Private Schools

These are non-public schools that charge tuition for attendance. Some offer school-based financial aid and/or accept scholarships or outside forms of financial aid.

Some have religious affiliations.

Each school has its own application process.

Private Schools are NOT included in this guide.

Virtual Schools

These web-based schools typically provide all textbooks and instructional materials, and students are assigned to certified teachers. A growing number are available in Michigan. Some are classified as charters (such as Michigan Virtual Charter Academy and Highpoint Virtual Academy of Michigan) while others are operated by a local school district. Tuition-based options are available.

Each school has its own application process.

Virtual Schools are NOT included in this guide.