Applying to Detroit Public Schools' Exam Schools

Both Bates Academy and Renaissance High School are among Detroit’s most coveted schools, ranking in the top of their leagues on Excellent Schools Detroit’s Scorecard and earning high praise and recognition from numerous organizations.

Bates, a pre-K-8 school, and Renaissance, a 9-12 school, are two of Detroit Public Schools’ examination schools, which means there is an application process that includes testing. Other talents and attributes in students can factor in, too.

Steps for applying

Students apply for DPS’ examination schools by filling out an application during the district-wide application period, explains Krista King, vice principal of Renaissance High School. Students are also called to take an examination, which is implemented through the DPS Office of Research, Evaluation and Accountability.

DPS’ application period for 2015-16 was open March 2-16, 2015, but be sure to check with the district throughout the year for deadline updates. Bates is accepting applications until available spots are filled, for example.

Both Renaissance and Bates have an appeal process for students applying for the first time or those who did not get accepted after taking the examination. Students fill out appeal packets, which can be found at for Renaissance and for Bates, and are then retested. The appeal process for Bates is open June 1-12, 2015 and was March 2-April 30, 2015 for Renaissance, according to their appeal application websites.

Preparing your child

What does it take to earn a spot in these premier schools, and how can you prep?

Academics matter. Bates principal Dr. Cleo M. Moody says academic performance is a key consideration. The same is true at Renaissance, says King. Students at Bates must have a 3.2 GPA to apply, according to the school’s application, and are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA. At Renaissance, students should have at least a 3.0 GPA when applying and have to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA once at school. Be prepared to submit standardized testing scores and transcripts/report cards when applying.

Have a conversation. Parents should have basic conversations with kids around 4-5 years old about knowing their parents’ first and last names, phone number and address. It seems simple, but knowing these factoids can “have a very positive impact on how they achieve in school,” Moody notes. Talking to kids about expectations for achievement and behavior is important, too.

Teach independence. Older students looking to get into Renaissance must have good time management and study skills. “Help put your child in situations where they’re either able to acquire or improve upon those skills,” King says. Encourage your child to advocate for herself. Going home sick? Have your child be responsible for collecting her missed work, for example.

Apply. Think your child would be a good fit? To apply and to look at the applications and list of required info, visit and visit the individual schools’ pages.


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