School of the Week: Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School!

Where ALL students are prepared for college and beyond

The motto of Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School is one that principal Ricardo Martin says all schools should have: College is an expectation.

And without a doubt, DC Prep and its partnering organizations are doing their part to ensure ALL students are ready to obtain either a two-year or four-year degree after graduating from high school.

‘It Takes a Village’

As a Michigan Future/Diplomas Now school, DC Prep partners with several organizations including City Year Detroit, Communities in Schools, and Johns Hopkins University Talent Development to keep students on track for college success.

According to the Diplomas Now collaborative model (, Talent Development is an education success model developed by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools where on-site Talent Development staffers work with teachers to help them meet state standards and curriculum benchmarks.

Communities in Schools, a nation-wide network geared toward empowering students to stay in school (, also provides on-site staff members to connect families with community support organizations and specialists. For instance, if a student is habitually absent, DC Prep doesn’t simply make an automated phone call to the student’s home. Effort is put into determining the core problem, such as transportation, and the student’s family is then connected to a community resource that can help with transportation.

Another example is if students display anger management problems. The student—along with his or her family members—is directly linked to a resource that can help. “Everyone has problems,” Martin said. “But life is centered on how resilient we are, and how well we can bounce back from those problems.”

City Year ( offers a year-long AmeriCorps service program where young adult leaders act as “near peer” mentors to DC Prep students. These young adults are trained to provide coaching and academic intervention, as well as tutoring and leading extracurricular activities. City Year also provides two adults for each Math and English classroom every day at DC Prep.

Where It All Began

Created in 2011, Principal Martin jokingly says that he recruited families from the back of his Trailblazer. The small school of roughly 120 students originated in the former Hutchins McMichael school building and is now housed in Northwestern High School.

“We literally recruited all of the students here at DC Prep,” Martin says. “The main idea behind our curriculum is understanding what it takes to get students to college. We understand that in order for students to be successful, they have to value certain things.  We are teaching them to value character and integrity, leadership skills, activities outside of the classroom, community service and scholarship.”

Martin is referring to the five DC Prep Core Values: Character, Leadership, Activity, Service and Scholarship (C-L-A-S-S). The goal behind the value system is to develop the whole student through a comprehensive educational experience.

Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School consists of only 9th and 10th graders and is designed to add one grade level per year through grade 12. Students participate in block scheduling where they attend each class for about 90 minutes in four classes per day.

DC Prep is one of nine Detroit Rising College Preparatory Schools within the Detroit Public Schools family. Detroit Rising College Preparatory Schools are committed to putting every student on a path to graduation and college. Each of the nine schools work to ensure at least 90 percent of incoming 9th graders graduate and at least 90 percent of all graduates go to college. The idea is to delegate power to principals and teachers at the school level, but hold them accountable for performance.

“We are the premier college readiness school,” he said. “Our kids get the type of individualized attention that you can’t get anywhere else. Our goal is for them to walk across the stage not only with a diploma, but with the tools they need to enter a college or university and lead successful lives.”

Click here to view a video highlighting Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School:

Something You Didn’t Know…

Upon entering DP Prep, every student must write letters to their college(s) of choice. This is a requirement, not an option.

While walking through the building, university logos such as Central Michigan, Michigan State, Saginaw Valley, Wayne State, University of Detroit Mercy and plenty more adorn the hallways as a constant reminder that college is just around the corner.

As a Detroit Rising College Preparatory School, DC Prep is stern with its commitment to college success for all students. Each of the 120 students are also linked with a College Transition Advisor who assists them with college applications, scholarships, financial aid and provides support once students are enrolled in college.

Unique student organizations like the Uniform Patrol Team and the Toastmasters Club enhance the high academic standards of DC Prep.  The Toastmasters Club consists of introverted students who were purposely sought out by Martin to help them become more articulate, confident and authoritative speakers.

Another interesting fact: Students are greeted every single morning with warm, welcoming smiles from the City Year team members and the Communities in Schools social workers.

“We call this team our FIRST Teachers and FIRST Learners,” Martin said. “They are the first people the kids see when they enter the building each morning. We need to get their day started off right.”

Some Offerings:

ALFA (Accelerated Literacy for Adolescents) Lab aimed at improving reading achievement while increasing independence, CATAMA (Computer and Team Assisted Math Acceleration) Course, College Counselor, Collegeboard Classes, Honors and Advanced Placement Classes, After-School Tutoring/Extended Day Program, Internship Program, Career Exploration and Mentorships with Community Partners, Accelerated Reading/Math, College Wednesdays, Urban Planning and Design Academy, Entrepreneur Academy, Upward Bound Club, Media Club, Book Club, City Year Near Peers, Talent Development School Facilitator, Communities in Schools, Reading Room, Cooperative Sports with Northwestern High School, Student Government, Business partnerships, such as University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, Michigan Future Schools, specialized uniform blazers. Visit for more details.

If you would like your school featured, send submissions to with the subject line “School of the Week candidate.”

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