What are my options?

Detroit is a city with many educational options, more than most other American cities. Excellent Schools Detroit connects parents to information about those school options. We recognize that great schools possess many elements: excellent educators, strong curricula, community and parent support. We work with all kinds of educational systems and also with partners from business, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations to be sure we are creating opportunities for Detroit’s children.

For infants through age five

Wayne County has more than 1,200 early learning providers and many of these, roughly 500, are in the city of Detroit.

Early learning environments provide children with the foundation for success in life. Look for programs that build social and emotional skills, have highly educated and accredited instructors and that participate in the state of Michigan’s Great Start to Quality Program.

Read our guide for Detroit parents with young kids

Learn about early learning by age

Early Head Start - (up to age 3) this is federal-funded child care for children younger than three years of age and who come from families with low incomes.

Head Start - (ages 3-5) this is federal-funded early learning programs for children who come from families with low incomes.

Great Start Readiness Program - (ages 4-5) this is state-funded early learning programs for children who come from families with low incomes.

Pre-school - (up to age 5) this is a broad, generic word to describe infant and child care that focuses on social and emotional development between the ages of birth and five.

Pre-kindergarten - (up to age 5) often called “Pre-K,” pre-kindergarten is a classroom-based approach to early learning for children younger than age five.

Kindergarten - (usually age 5 or 6) Kindergarten marks the transition for children in their educational journey from early learning to the traditional Kindergarten through grade 12 system. Usually kindergarteners are five or six years old.

Learn about early learning by type of provider

Home-based - many people rely on family, friends and neighbors to watch their children Often this means daycare or babysitting and does not guarantee your child is getting the essential learning needed to be ready for kindergarten.

Center-based licensed - the state of Michigan licenses all early learning and development programs.

Center-based licensed with Great Start accreditation - these programs go above the basic licensure standards and are using Great Start to Quality standards to assess the quality of a program from one to five stars.

For kindergarten through high school completion and college readiness

Detroit has many innovative models of education and more than 200 schools. It’s important to match the benefits of any school to the unique needs of your student. Learn about the types of schools you can find in Detroit and then use our scorecard to see how individual schools stack up.

Charter schools - Charter schools rely on public dollars just like traditional public schools. The difference is that they can open only after getting a “charter” that outlines their desired outcomes. In Michigan, charters can be granted by lots of entities, including public universities, community colleges, and traditional K-12 districts like DPS.

Education Achievement Authority - The Education Achievement Authority, also called EAA, is a statewide school district created in 2011 by Michigan’s governor to address the most poorly performing public schools. With the EAA, the most challenged public schools in the state can be transferred into this new district to turnaround educational outcomes for children.

Parochial schools - these are schools that provide religious instruction in addition to academic instruction. They are private schools, do not receive public funds and are typically attached to a church or religious institution.

Private schools - these are schools that do not receive public dollars to provide an education. These schools often have scholarships that make them accessible to people from all walks of life.

Detroit Public Schools, general admission - The general admission schools run by Detroit Public Schools (DPS).

Detroit Public schools, application admission - Detroit Public Schools’ application schools require potential students to apply to enroll. Students can apply to enroll in multiple schools. Some application schools have a grade point average or test performance criteria for admission.

Detroit Public schools, chartered - Detroit Public Schools also authorizes public charter academies.