5 Top High Schools in Detroit

Students in Detroit have high-quality high schools within their reach. Among them are five college preparatory institutions of learning that offer competitive coursework, career exploration opportunities and extracurricular activities to ensure a well-rounded educational experience. Each unique in its approach, these five fantastic high schools, chosen by Excellent Schools Detroit, offer a snapshot of the city’s diverse and evolving approach to educating the city’s youth and preparing them for a lifetime of learning.

Strong ACT Growth

Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine

  • Address: 571 Mack Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-1805

Located in the heart of the Detroit Medical Center’s campus, Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine provides its 440 students regular exposure to science and careers in medicine. In fact, students can choose to wear actual medical scrubs as an alternative to the standard school uniform. The school’s Future DOcs program is a partnership with the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) to give high school students an opportunity to explore careers in medicine through mentorship by current MSUCOM students and participation in Saturday health series sessions.

Rigorous and distinctive learning experiences are the hallmark of a Benjamin Carson education, notes the school’s principal, Brenda Belcher.

“We offer dual enrollment at the University of Michigan-Dearborn,” she says. “Students not only explore college courses but participate in internships and engage in authentic service projects.”

In addition to MSUCOM, Benjamin Carson partners with a number of community organizations including the DMC, Henry Ford Health Systems, Greektown Hotel and Wayne State University.

“Students work on community projects connected with their core academic subjects and present their findings and recommendations to an external customer,” Belcher says. “Students have the option of participating in career and technical courses in the health sciences. Some Benjamin Carson students are enrolled in phlebotomy or patient care assisting programs and complete their clinical training at area hospitals and specialty centers.

“Students exit high school with state and national skill certificates.”

Strong College Enrollment

Detroit Edison Public School Academy Early College of Excellence

  • Address: 1903 Wilkins St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-1100

The 94 graduating seniors of Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA) Early College of Excellence (ECE) class of 2014 were 100 percent college-bound and collectively earned more than $4 million in scholarships, grants and financial aid. This tuition-free public charter high school on Detroit’s east side opened its doors in September 2010 and is the state’s first Michigan Future Schools site.

The ECE offers innovative, rigorous and relevant college-prep learning experiences to prepare students for ongoing achievement. To that end, the school provides opportunities for students to be dual-enrolled at colleges and universities across the country, earning college credits well before they receive their high school diploma. The high school’s learning environment mirrors that of college with innovative, inspiring and integrated student work areas for its 500 students.

The new ECE College Advance Center features the latest technology and serves as a pipeline for all ECE students and their families as they prepare for the college experience.

DEPSA is also an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) school for the Middle Years Programme. Designed for students ages 11 to 16, the IB program provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world.

Strong College Success

Communication & Media Arts High School

  • Address: 14771 Mansfield St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-866-9300

With a graduation rate of 99 percent, Communication & Media Arts (CMA) High School is making a name for itself. From an award-winning marketing program to a radio and television broadcast program, CMA offers its 610 students unique learning opportunities with an emphasis on the communication arts and with access to some of the best in 21st century technology.

Multimedia resources abound and include interactive whiteboards, notebook computers in every classroom, and Mac and PC computer labs. A recording studio, writing center and media center are other resources available to each student.

CMA is ranked one of the top three of all Detroit Public Schools and has been recognized by Excellent Schools Detroit for five years running. Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment for college courses are opportunities for the entire student body. All CMA students must be accepted to a two- or four-year college prior to graduation. Students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA and a score of at least 21 on the ACT qualify for full-tuition scholarships to attend a four-year college in Michigan.

Strong Overall Grade

Renaissance High School

  • Address: 6565 Outer Drive W., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-416-4600

Renaissance High School offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum to students in grades 9-12.

“Being a premier high school here in Detroit, we pride ourselves on academics first,” says Krista King, vice principal at Renaissance and an alumna of the school. A motto she quotes? “A school for the mind; a mind for the future.”

Advance Placement and honors courses, marco and micro economics, chemistry and psychology are offered to students in a college-like setting. French, German and Spanish are available as well, along with studio art, robots, National Honor Society and a nationally recognized dance program.

Renaissance High School has received the distinction of Blue Ribbon School of excellence by the state of Michigan, in addition to being named a three-time silver-medal rated school by the US News & World Report.

Students interested in attending Renaissance must submit an application for consideration and take an examination. Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

Strong Teacher & Student Rating

University High School

  • Address: 1244 Paxton St., Ferndale
  • Phone: 248-586-8846

College graduation is a huge part of University High School’s mission. To prepare students for the university level – and help their college success – the school has established a partnership with Wayne State University.

“Many of our students are first generation college students,” says school leader Katie Jeffrey. To expose kids to campus life before they graduate, UHS offers a college-immersion experience. “They get to see what it’s like to take classes on college campuses,” Jeffrey says. Student mentors, financial aid presentations and more are available to seniors – and spending time on WSU’s campus gives them a taste of what’s to come.

Support continues after graduation, too. The school has college transition specialist and success advisor to help students through college graduation.

In addition, student-teacher relationships are key at this school, which opened in 2005 with the vision of “relationships, rigor and relevance,” Jeffrey says. Every student has established a great relationship with at least one teacher in the building.

The school is a recent recipient of the Michigan Association of School Boards Education Excellence Award for one of the top 20 innovative programs in the state for its college-immersion.

Check out the Excellent Schools Detroit Scorecard for each of these schools at scorecard.excellentschoolsdetroit.org.

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