Thirkell Elementary-Middle School

7724 14th Street, Detroit MI, 48206-2644

Phone: (313) 596-0990 • Fax: (313) 596-0982

Principal: Clara Smith

About Us ESD Recommended Schools Logo

School Brochure

The undisputed, top elementary school in the state, Thirkell was selected as the No. 1 school in Michigan by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the No. 1 school in the city by Excellent Schools Detroit. The rankings are based on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) and confirm Thirkell as an educational pillar in the city of Detroit for nearly 100 years.

Offering grades PreK-6, Thirkell has been acknowledged numerous times by the Skillman Foundation’s Making the Grade Initiative as a High Performing School (2007-2010) and as an Aspiring High Performing School (2010-2011). Thirkell has also consistently met adequate yearly progress (AYP) since 2001.

Multiple high-tech computer labs, an on-site Henry Ford Health Clinic, challenging curriculum and educators who think outside of the box to fully engage students make Thirkell an attractive destination for hundreds of parents and children.

School of the Week: Thirkell Elementary School, where building robots and small cities provides a creative learning experience

Posted on January 22, 2013

If you haven’t met Cassidy the Robot yet, you should make it a priority to stop by Thirkell Elementary School to see how students are learning about geometric shapes

The hand-made robot—standing about seven feet tall—was created by students with the help of Art Teacher Linda Rice, and is made entirely of “I’m In” lawn signs. Rice’s vision for the robot was to make learning about geometric shapes fun for fourth- and fifth-graders in preparation for the MEAP test.

“I believe that if you combine art with any subject, it makes for a greater learning experience because it’s fun for the students,” Rice said. “We do so many crazy things in our classroom with art projects that the students can apply to other subject areas. They have fun while learning.”

The students also submitted the robot creation for a recent contest.

During the current semester, Rice has been assigned to work with K-3 students, but she has been spending her lunch hour working with fourth- through fifth-graders to build a “Geometric City” as another creative method to teach the students about geometric shapes.

The students were charged with designing the city which currently includes a shopping mall, airport, candy store, shoe store and more.

This type of creative thinking is what makes Rice so great, says Principal Clara Smith.

“Ms. Rice is well-rounded. She’s able to think outside of the box,” Smith said. “She’s able to do things you wouldn’t imagine.”

Read the full story:

Click here to view Thirkell Elementary School’s School of the Week Feature!

Watch Now! Learn more about Thirkell Elementary School.


Four leading computer labs, On-Site Henry Ford Health Clinic, Art, Vocal & Instrumental Music, Honors Classes, Tutoring/Extended Day Program, Accelerated Reading/Math, Computer Applications Course, Robotics/Science Clubs, Girls Scouts/Boy Scouts, DAPCEP, Glee Club, Honor Society, Student Government, Beyond Basics, F.A.S.T. Reading Program, Debate Team, Mathematics Bee, Book Club, School Garden, Cheerleading, Basketball, Football, Softball, Volleyball, Volunteer Reading Corps, Business Partnerships, Church/Civic Group Mentors

High Quality Pre-Kindergarten

We offer a high quality early learning experience for special needs and general education students 4 years of age by November 1. Detroit Public Schools’ Pre-K classroom curriculum is aligned with the National Early Childhood Standards and Michigan State Board of Education’s Early Childhood Standards of Quality. For more info, go to

Belief Statement

At Thirkell Elementary School, we believe that learning is a life-long collaborative process. We are dedicated to meeting the challenge of providing support and cooperation to all members of our school community. Our child-centered approach and family/community involvement encourages all students to understand and enjoy the learning process in a secure, caring and nurturing environment.

Our Philosophy

The philosophy of our students and staff is we can overcome many obstacles and still provide an excellent education for all of our students.

Uniform Requirements

Shirts/Blouses: White, Light/Sky Blue.
Sweaters/Cardigans: Black/Navy or White.
: Navy Blue, Black.

Bell Schedule

  Morning Afternoon Half Day
Mon–Thur 8:30 AM 3:40 PM 11:45 AM
Friday 8:30 AM 2:50 PM