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  • Rick Joseph

Detroit Achievement Academy Reaches Higher


Kyle Smitley sets the tone immediately. Upon meeting the founder and director of the Detroit Achievement Academy on the northwest side of the city, Kyle makes it very clear that their expeditionary learning model works.

With a combination of a deep commitment to establishing a compassionate culture and climate and the primacy of a project-based learning approach, students feel part of a community where they are both valued and empowered. This is a school where teachers invest a significant amount of time at the beginning of the school year building their classroom environments one child at a time. Students at the DAA know that expectations are high for both how they treat each other and how they learn.

The DAA: a place where teachers, students and family members come together to foster holistic growth in every student, every day.

A spirit of compassion and concern guides interactions at DAA

Students feel part of a community of care that transcends academics at DAA

The library at DAA greets visitors upon entrance to the school and establish literacy as a central focus

From one Teacher of the Year to another at DAA

Classrooms are collaborative places of discovery

Student work adorns the hallways and establishes an ethic of student voice and choice

Small class size helps foster student engagement

Students travel from throughout the city to attend the DAA


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