Educational Design

Our educational design allows teachers to stay with their students for a two year period as they are promoted from one grade to the next. The following year, students will receive a new teacher for another two years. This approach allows continuous learning over a multi-year period which builds meaningful relationships and ensures that students receive adequate, individualized support and academic challenge. Students will “loop” with their teacher for grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5.Daily activities for all grades include:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Math
  • Science
  • Spanish
  • Art

Academic Excellence

YDLA will promote, encourage, and support academic excellence. Students will master a determined body of knowledge within the state required core curricula and will acquire the skills necessary to use their knowledge to successfully graduate from high school. Students will learn:

  • to read with comprehension,
  • to write intelligently,
  • to speak articulately,
  • to understand the scientific nature of the world,
  • to think creatively and analytically,
  • to be proficient with technology, and
  • to appreciate and value artistic expression.

YDLA will utilize Core Knowledge for Kindergarten through the 6th Grade, as the framework for its curriculum. In addition to Core Knowledge, textbook series and computer-based instructional learning tools will be selected to supplement and complement the core curriculum. For more information on Core Knowledge visit

YDLA recognizes that learning differences exist within its student population and will work within its mission and resources to determine the best strategies for developing individual students’ potential. YDLA staff will work one-on-one with students and consistently partner with parents to ensure the needs of all students are met.

Health & Wellness

YDLA is dedicated to promoting and supporting a healthy lifestyle. Students will participate in a comprehensive health, wellness, and physical education program that fosters self-discovery, personal responsibility, teamwork, leadership, and a positive sense of accomplishment. We are committed to collaborating with our lunch provider and local organizations to offer healthy meals and snacks. Our school garden will also contribute fresh produce to incorporate in our lunch program. We will work closely with the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and medical facilities to provide on-going information and classes on healthy strategies to implement at school and home. The YMCA and the YMCA Detroit Leadership Academy are devoted to improving the health and well-being of our students, families and communities.

Leadership Development

YDLA believes in strong, well grounded moral values and ethical behaviors in developing a foundation for one’s life and in becoming responsible citizens. In keeping with these beliefs, the school will engage students and integrate student learning experiences across the curriculum that will incorporate the basic tenets of values and ethical behaviors, which are essential to responsible citizenship within a democratic society. These tenets include a respect for diversity, an understanding of the importance of inclusion, fundamentals of group work and conflict resolution, and the fundamentals of ethical behavior. By valuing both differences and similarities among students, faculty, families and the community, students will be encouraged to develop a positive self-image and a respect for the rights of others.YDLA is inspired by Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, “The Leader In Me” which incorporates the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, with academic achievement as a strong foundation for the school’s culture.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive® • You’re in Charge
  • Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind® • Have a Plan
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First® • Work First, Then Play
  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win® • Everyone Can Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood® • Listen Before You Talk
  • Habit 6: Synergize® • Together Is Better
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw® • Balance Feels Best

For more information visit

Global Citizenship

The YMCA and YDLA are committed to working with students to acquire an appreciation of world cultures, diversity, foreign language and global inter-connectedness. YDLA will partner with the YUSA International Group and other organizations to:

  • Increase students awareness of global issues
  • Cultivate respect and appreciation for diversity
  • Help students understand the connections between their local actions and experiences and what is happening in the rest of the world
  • Prepare students for 21st century careers

Throughout the school year, students will participate, organize and lead a variety of activities including:

  • International speaker series
  • International celebrations and festivals
  • Oversees/International experiences for students
  • Virtual interactions with students from other countries

Civic Engagement

The YMCA and YDLA are committed to building strong kids, strong families and strong communities. We believe that each student has a role to play in serving others. Staff will connect community service projects to classroom learning. Students will collaborate with staff and community members in the planning and design of service projects. Students will also engage in thoughtful reflection following each project and create presentations that will be shared with the community.Community service projects will help students:

  • Apply academic, social, and personal skills to improve the community
  • Make and influence decisions with real results
  • Grow as individuals, gain respect for peers, and increase civic participation
  • Experience success no matter what their academic ability level
  • Gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community, and society
  • Experience reciprocity
  • Develop as leaders who take initiative, solve problems, work as a team, and demonstrate their abilities while contributing to community development


The Y Detroit Leadership Academy is a public charter school funded through State School Aid. As an alternative to the Detroit Public School system, parents do not pay tuition for their children to attend our charter school.

Grade Levels Served by DLA

The DLA Elementary School educates children from Pre-K through 8th grade, and our DLA High School currently serves 9th and 10th grade students. DLA will be expanding to 11th and 12th Grades within two years, so students now enrolling will be able to finish High School at DLA.

How to Apply for Admission

To apply for admission to the YMCA Detroit Leadership Academy, please download an application. Once your application is complete, either:

1. Drop it off at school

Applications can be left at the main office of the YMCA Detroit Leadership Academy.

2. Drop it off at your local YMCA

YMCA staff can collect your completed application at the front desk. To find out which YMCA is nearest you, please click here.

3. Mail it to the following address:

YMCA Detroit Leadership Academy
13550 Virgil
Detroit, MI 48223

4. Fax it to 313-242-1527, our school office

An open lottery process will be used if the number of applicants exceeds capacity.


We are pleased to answer any questions about our school. For more information, please contact our Principal, Julian A. Roper, at 313-242-1500.

School Location

DLA is conveniently located off of Telegraph Road near I-96 (Jeffries Freeway at the Davison Avenue Exit) in Detroit.

DLA Elementary Address

YMCA Detroit Leadership Academy
13550 Virgil
Detroit, MI 48223
Phone: 313-242-1500

Using the interactive map below, you can scan the nearby area or get directions to the DLA school.

Contact DLA

Questions about DLA?

We are pleased to answer any questions about our school. To contact us, you may fill out the form below and we will respond as quickly as possible.

However, don't hesitate to call us on the phone at 313-242-1500.

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