Below are profiles featuring the top 19 high schools in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. In order to be featured as a Top High School, the school must have a 2010 Education.com TestRating of 10 out of 10. The TestRating compares a school's standardized test scores for a given year with scores from other schools in the same state. Find your school and see how it compares.
Troy School District
The staff at Athens High School makes school-wide decisions based on what is best for its students. The staff gives both struggling students and those looking for a challenge individual attention to meet their potential by creating a supportive and family-centered environment.
While all academic programs at the school have a reputation for excellence, the science department and classes are one of the best programs around. Students can choose from a wide variety of electives, including human geography, forensics, and classics. Music and fine arts are also popular among students.
Athletics have a top reputation and each spring a number of students receive scholarships with top universities. Many of the sports teams hold titles and are nationally ranked.
“We are very fortunate to have a good community and great teachers. We are very willing to try new avenues and are all about choices and options for kids,” said Lara Dixon.
Bloomfield Hills School District
Bloomfield Hills Andover High School has a student body diverse in ethnicity, religion and socio-economics. The school has around 1000 students and offers a wide variety of programs. Students can select from 26 AP courses to earn college credit by passing an exam. The school is also home to the only International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in Michigan.
Sports are important on campus and the school holds many state championships in its history. Students can play on over 28 different teams or individual sports. After school, students can pursue their interests by signing up for over 30 different clubs.
The popular band and orchestra performed a concert in Carnegie Hall this past school year, while the drama department takes on challenging productions, such as RENT, Hairspray, and Phantom of the Opera. Many visual arts students have also won high honors on both a state and national level for their work.
Many of the clubs on campus continue the school's mission of helping students make positive choices. These clubs include Be the Change Club, Friendship Circle, and SOS (Respect for self, others, and school.)
“We have simply one of the most terrific staffs in the State of Michigan,” said Rob Durecka, Principal.
Bloomfield Hills School District
Bloomfield Hills Lahser High School's staff has high expectations of the students, but the school simultaneously provides a warm and inviting environment for the kids. As a testament to the student-centered focus, students can design an academic program that meets their interests.
For a small school of 875 students, Bloomfield Hills offers a large variety of academic programs, including an IB program, STEM program, and a host of AP courses. The school also offers diverse electives. Each staff member holds at least a Masters degree and many of the degrees are in their subject area.
The school works closely with its sister school, Andover High School, and a shuttle takes student to and from the schools, which allows for an exchange of information; for example, Lahser offers Chinese while Andover has Japanese. The student body is very involved on campus and over 85 percent of the students are a member of a club or sports team.
“We are a community that values education, the parent and community support is high and we are very lucky to have that behind us,” said Joe Aller, Principal.
Brighton School District
Brighton High School focuses on college preparation and 98 percent of graduates head to a post-secondary school after graduation. Many students participate in the AP program, which offers numerous courses. The school also has a large Career Technical program which helps students prepare for future careers. There is an active Child Care Center on campus in which students gain hands-on experience in early childhood education, and a Heath Occupations lab for those considering a future in the medical field. The school works hard to keep kids in school and boasts a 96 percent graduation rate.
The athletic program on campus is very large, with 34 different programs and 99 teams. Students can also choose from over 50 clubs in almost every interest area. Students with a flair for performing can hone their talents with an active choir, theater department, and an award winning band.
“We have an excellent school climate at Brighton High School. Visitors comment that our students are well dressed and well behaved. Our ACT scores average much higher than the state and national average scores,” said Gavin Johnson, Principal.
Rochester School District
If you walk into a lunchroom at one of the three high schools in the Canton-Plymouth Education Park, you will see students wearing different school varsity jackets and paraphernalia sitting at the same table. making plans for the weekend or talking about classes. Canton-Plymouth Educational Park is a 300 acre complex that contains three high schools – Salem High, Plymouth High and Canton High. Students are assigned to one of the three schools randomly through a computer instead of geography, and a common slogan is “Three Schools – one Park.”
During the ninth and tenth grades, students stay on their home campus, but upperclassmen may take courses at any of the three high schools. Through this unique educational concept, students have access to courses, clubs, and facilities that wouldn’t be possible at one school. Students have access to numerous AP and specialty courses, such as four years of Chinese and Eastern Studies. The three schools share a large football complex, two swimming pools, two tracks, and a large auditorium.
Each school has separate athletic teams who compete against each other in friendly rivalries. Many of the teams have won state and regional titles over the years. The extracurricular clubs are park-wide, which allow students to participate in over 100 different clubs. The drama program, the Park Players, includes students from all three schools and performs six productions each year. The band, another cross-park program, regularly performs at home games for all three schools.
The three schools work with each ninth grader to connect younger student with adults and upperclassmen mentors. In the ninth grade, the students are part of the learning community, where 125 students sharing an English, Math, and Science teacher, which enables teachers to get to know them better.
“It’s a fun place to work and a fun place for kids to go to school,” said Bill Zolkowski, Park Principal.
Birmingham School District
There is a long tradition of excellence at Ernest W. Seaholm High School, a school that boasts a 96 percent college rate and high ACT scores. Academics are a high priority for the community and the families of the students at this medium-sized school (the student body is around 1250). The administration describes the student body as focused, committed, and academically intellectual. The school offers an extensive AP program with 22 different courses for students to enroll in.
Athletics are popular and the school has several championship trophies in the trophy case; the swimming, golf, and tennis teams in particular have a history of winning. Additionally, a variety of clubs are available for students to participate in. The band and the orchestra are popular and well-known in the area, and each year the drama program puts on an acclaimed musical for the school and community.
“I am blessed with a focused and committed group of students and a talented group of faculty and this makes a combination for success,” said Principal Terry Piper.
Grosse Ile School District
Walking through the Grosse Ile High School hallways, you may notice that almost all of the student lockers on campus do not have locks -- students feel secure that their peers will not steal their belongings.
Discipline issues are extremely rare on campus and class changes are calm and orderly. Students benefit from the smaller student body, but also have an impressive range of programs and courses to choose from.
Since the majority of the students take a foreign language and music, the administration moved to a seven period day to allow students to be able to pursue their interests while meeting graduation requirements. Of the 680 students on campus, close to 300 AP tests were given in a recent school year and almost every junior and senior take at least one AP course.
The music program is very popular on campus. One of every six students play in the band and over 100 students participate in the Woman’s Glee Club. In addition to the traditional athletic teams, students can participate in crew, competitive dance, and figure skating. In the past three years, the school has been crowned state champions in the different three sports.
“We are proud of an extremely, safe, kind, and caring school culture,” said James Stewart.
Grosse Pointe School District
Grosse Pointe South High School has long history of tradition and education, starting in1928. Over the years, many renovations have taken place, including updating the auditorium and adding athletic facilities, including a swimming pool, gym, and fitness center.
The school produces many National Merit Scholars and National Merit Semifinalists each year. The strong AP program offers over 20 different course. In a recent school year, students took over 950 AP exams with an 86 percent pass rate. Languages offered include Spanish, German, and Latin, and the school also offers a variety of academic electives, such as Medical Investigations and Astronomy.
The school has a history of athletic success, especially in tennis, lacrosse, hockey, and swimming. Performing arts, such as choir, Pointe Players, drama club, producing numerous productions are also popular.
The school's motto, as noted on their website, is, “Communicate, Collaborate, Create, and Celebrate.”
Bloomfield Hills School District
The International Academy combines a rigorous curriculum with a global focus and is the only school in North America where all of the students graduate with an IB diploma. Courses such as Interdisciplinary literature, world studies, and international economics courses help provide a global aspect to the school.
Teachers spend an hour each day after school helping students and graduate assistants are on campus to tutor and assist in the classroom. Only one half of a student’s grade can be based on tests, while the remaining portion of the grade must include other assessments such as projects, speeches, or essays.
Students choose five of the 130 Enrichment Opportunities and spend 20-25 hours a week outside of school exploring topics in depth, such as learning chess, yoga, small animal dissection, and international trips. The students are also required to spend a semester in a group working on a concrete project, which provides hands-on experience as leaders and collaborators. Other activities on campus include Model UN and a nonprofit Build On, in which the school raises money to build schools in an undeveloped country; later, students can travel to the country to work on the school.
“We have a collaborative decision making culture in the school with teachers having a lot of say in the fine points in the school and decisions,” said Bert Okma, Founder of the International Academy.
Northville School District
Northville High School is comprehensive school with many activities, sports, and academic programs. Parents have many opportunities to get involved through the PTA, Music Booster Club, and the Athletic Booster Club. Students can earn college credit through AP courses and dual enrollment options are also available. To help new students adjust on campus, the school developed the Adopt-a-Student program.
There is a wide variety of clubs offered on campus, including Gaming Club, Book Club, NHS, S.A.D.D., and Sign Language Clubs. Academic clubs and teams, such as Science Olympiad, Robotics, and Language Clubs allow students to learn more about subjects they are interested in. The Student Congress is very active and helps organize campus activities and events.
The school also has an extensive and competitive athletic program with a wide range of teams to try out for. Several athletic clubs, including Women’s Hockey, Lacrosse, Bowling, and Figure Skating supplement the teams.
The school's mission statement details, “We, the staff of Northville High School, in partnership with the students, parents, and community, are committed to mutual responsibility for learning through effective teaching. Our mission is to challenge all students to reach their potential and to develop responsible citizens in a caring and supportive environment.”
Novi School District
Novi High is a diverse school that provides a wide range of opportunities to students, from unique electives to extracurricular activities. Academically-inclined students can find a challenge in the newly launched IB program and 15 different AP course. Students can also participate in a wide variety of career tech courses in topics such as automotive, business, and medical that partner with the community and business to provide students with real world experiences.
Visitors comment on the beautiful campus, complete with meticulous landscaping, ceramic tile, wall-to-wall carpeting, and atrium area for students to gather. Technology is integrated throughout the school with laptops for students on carts, six computer labs in the media center, and a state-of-the-art TV and radio station on campus.
The competitive athletic teams have a record of success and have won three recent state championships. The school also boasts phenomenal bands and dance programs.
The after school programs are very popular and students can choose from many activities, including SPUD (diversity club), Science Club, and Drumline.
“The extracurricular activities and core classes that we offer are amazing,” said Carol Diglio, Principal. “We have a great school culture and our diversity helps create a unique campus.”
Detroit School District
Renaissance High School provides a college preparation education for students and offers many programs that support students' interests. The school has achieved high acadmic success and offers an extensive AP program in which many students participate.
The PTA is active on campus and frequently partners with the school. Students can study world languages including Spanish, French and German. Those needing extra help or struggling in classes can participate in the after school tutoring program. The school also offers fine arts and performance arts programs.
The school building was recently built and is equipped with state of the art facilities, including langauge and computer labs. This “green” building uses environmentally friendly cooling systems and harvests rainwater. The school's athletic facilites are also impressive.
Rochester School District
If you walk through the halls at Rochester High School, you will likely hear students and teachers greet each saying, “It’s a great day to be a Falcon.” School pride is also evident from the sea of blue and white on campus on spirit days, the amount of time it takes to find a parking spot at school events, and the filled courtyard at 7 a.m. on home football game days, when students arrive early for a very jubilant pep rally instead of sleeping a few more minutes.
While the school is focused on college prep and has extensive AP courses, it also has an active Occupational Tech program and provides real world experiences for students. The facilities on campus are impressive and the campus centerpiece is a huge indoor mall used for lunch period, gatherings, and even the homecoming dance.
There are many state title trophies in the school's trophy case; Competitive Cheerleading alone has won 13 state championships in school history. Both the choir and band have taken top honors in competitions and have statewide rankings.
“I feel blessed to come and work here every day as principal,” said Wendy Zdeb, Principal. “Our parents are incredibly supportive and our staff is very hard working.”
Rochester School District
Rochester Adams High School creates partnerships with the parents and community to help provide students with college preparation and life skills. The school is known for its strong school spirit and has a high level of participation in all events. Parents are welcome on campus and often comment on the open channels of communication within the school. The students are committed to giving to others and participate in fundraising for charities.
Students interested in pursuing a career in animal science can get a jump start on their studies through the on campus Vet Science program. The school partners with a school in Germany to provide cultural education for students in both countries.
The athletic program has many winning teams, especially football, basketball, and softball. Many students earn athletic scholarships and go on to play sports at top universities.
“Our kids are great. I think that this is not only this great representation of the community but a great shows that our kids are respectful and really involved in a positive community culture,” said Principal Diane Flack.
South Lyon School District
South Lyon High School prides itself on offering support to each student, from those taking challenging AP courses to those needing extra help. During the freshmen year, each student takes part in a yearlong mentor-ship with upperclassman. The school provides seminars throughout the year to help parents support their ninth grade children in the transition to high school.
Parent involvement is high at the school, where parents attend curriculum nights, school performances, and volunteer throughout the year. Students can find something that interests them on campus from the wide variety of athletics and clubs. Band and music are popular on campus and the athletic teams are competitive. Other activities include choir, robotics, and Pom and Dance.
“Our culture and climate is driven by our students and teachers. Our teachers enjoy coming to work and their focus is doing what’s best for kids,” said Chad Scaling, principal. “We have great kids and great families. You put those together and you have a nice school culture.”
South Lyon School District
The administration at South Lyon East High School credits the joint cooperation between parents, students, and teachers for the school’s successful track record. Parents are very involved on campus through volunteering and running the student store.
The arts programs are a focal point on campus and have great reputations. There are an extensive number of fine arts programs for students, including sculpture, photography, ceramics, drawing, and painting. Music programs are also popular and the school has a piano lab where students can learn to play. The drama program performs many productions that are high quality, including a recent production of The Phantom of the Opera.
Extracurricular activities, including many clubs, are a high point in student life with a wide variety of excellent programs to choose from. Sports are important on campus and many teams have won championships, especially bowling, swimming, and wrestling. In addition to the traditional sports, students can play on the hockey and lacrosse teams.
“Our school focuses on academically, rigorous curriculum where students are expected to do well and the results show when time to go to a college or university,” said Larry Jackson, Principal.
Livonia School District
Through a wide variety of challenging courses and interest clubs, students at Stevenson High can prepare for college and their future careers. One of the programs, the Center for Science and Industry department, allows students to gain experience in specialties such as Arts & Communications, Business, Management, Marketing & Technology, Health Sciences, and Human Services.
Many clubs are available to students, such as the Environmental Club, Debate Club, Auto Club, Book Club, and Ultimate Frisbee. Some clubs, such as Future Nurses of America, Health Occupations, Business Club, and Young Entrepreneurs, help students pursue future career paths.
The website states, “the mission of Stevenson High School is to create a positive and challenging learning environment, which will encourage all students to achieve their greatest potential as responsible, productive members of a diverse society.”
Rochester School District
Even though there are 1700 students at Stoney Creek High, the school works hard to provides a small school feel with individualized education for each student. The campus is only nine years old and is up to par with the latest technology; they even offer online courses.
Each year the school selects a theme and plans activities and events around it, such as a pink football game for the Courage Theme or writing to soldiers as part of the Hero theme. Giving back to the community is a focus and the school has an active Rachel’s Challenge program, in honor of the first student shot at Columbine, to help welcome new kids on campus.
When you walk down the fine arts wing, the hallways are lined with awards that the program has won. The school also recently won its first state athletic championship in school history. In addition to the interest clubs, the school also has active honor societies for various academic areas.
“The school helps the students find balance and slow down. We let kids be whatever they want to be,” said Larry Goralski.
Troy School District
Troy High School works to make sure that each student has the educational opportunities they deserve. While the school offers over 21 different AP courses, the staff supports students who want to take additional tests in other subjects. Through partnerships with local colleges, the school offers dual enrollment courses in advanced calculus and linear algebra, which enables mathematically inclined students to earn college credit.
The school offers 24 varsity sports, many of which have a history of wining. Other clubs on campus include language clubs, student government, NHS, and a service organization called Project LEAD. The award-winning yearbook is also a point of pride, and academic clubs, such as science Olympiad, Math Team and Biology Club often take home top honors at regional and state competitions. The popular arts program attracts a number of students who participate in the band, fine art, or performing art program.
“We want to do all we can to achieve our mission of ensuring learning for all in our community,” said Mark Dziatczak, Principal. “Our students are highly motivated by a faculty that values relationships with students and rigorous, college prep lesson planning.”
Please note that only schools in the following Michigan counties were considered for this article: Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Claire, and Wayne