clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

As Detroit works to appeal to more families, hundreds apply to new high school at Marygrove

The former Bates Academy building on the campus of Marygrove College will be home to an innovative new "cradle to career" program.
The former Bates Academy building on the campus of Marygrove College will be home to an innovative new "cradle to career" program.
Ryan Southen, courtesy The Kresge Foundation

The Detroit school district’s newest examination high school could open with a strong enrollment, if application numbers are any indication.

Of the nearly 3,000 students who applied to one of the district’s examination schools, 214 selected the new high school at Marygrove College as their first choice.

Another 372 students selected the school as their second choice.

That’s a good sign for the new school that’s set to open — with ninth-graders only in the first year — in time for the 2019-20 school year. A new grade will be added each year until the school covers grades 9-12. At that time, it’s expected to enroll 1,000 students.

The school will focus on engineering and social justice.

The high school will be part of a unique “cradle to career” campus at Marygrove that eventually will also include an early childhood center and a K-8 school. A $50 million contribution from the Kresge Foundation is paying for the effort. A partnership with the University of Michigan also will include creating a teacher residency program that will train teachers similar to the way teaching hospitals train doctors.

Of course, filling out an application isn’t all students must do to be admitted, and the numbers don’t necessarily mean that many students will actually enroll at the school.

The process for attending an examination also included, of course, taking an exam. Students also had to write a statement of interest, submit a letter of recommendation, and submit a transcript that shows their grade point average.

The application numbers were highlighted during a recent board of education committee meeting. Overall, the district is seeing more interest for its examination schools — with applications increasing from 2,607 to 2,937.

“There was a big fear that by adding Marygrove, we would lose participation in other schools. And that just wasn’t the case,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said at that recent meeting.

The other examination schools are Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School, King High School and Southeastern High School.

Students are expected to find out this week if they got into the schools they selected. An appeals process also begins this week. The district is trying to increase enrollment at the examination schools, particularly for students attending elementary and middle schools who haven’t typically attended those high schools.

A couple of other details:

Mulling a name

A name hasn’t been selected for the new examination high school, but one thing is certain, Vitti said: “Marygrove” will be included in the name.

A couple of possibilities being considered, Vitti said: Marygrove Preparatory or Marygrove High School.

Geographic priority

Students who live near the Marygrove campus receive an advantage in enrollment, something that hasn’t been tried at the other examination schools. But Vitti said it’s worth exploring.

“It needs a broader conversation,” Vitti said.

As part of the selection process, students can earn up to 100 points based on performance on the entrance exam, grade-point average, a writing sample, and references. Current district students earn an additional 10 points. Here’s where the geographic preference at Marygrove comes into play: Students who live within a mile of Marygrove earn an additional 10 points, and those who live within two miles earn five points.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Connect with your community

Find upcoming Detroit events

Sign up for the newsletter Chalkbeat Detroit

Sign up for our newsletter.