Charter Schools Program Grant Fuels Expansion at Distinctive College Prep

The Distinctive College Prep (DCP) Board of Directors in partnership with Distinctive Schools, the Charter Management Organization (CMO), is proud to announce that DCP–Harper Woods has been awarded a $1.25 million, two-year expansion grant from the US Department of Education. The award, part of the highly competitive Charter School Program grants, is one of only four expansion grants issued this year. 

Distinctive Schools is committed to closing the opportunity gap and providing access to rich learning experiences for all students. In partnership with Central Michigan University, Distinctive Schools manages four campuses in Metro-Detroit. At its inception in 2017, DCP–Harper Woods offered seats in kindergarten through third grade, with the intention to build community and focus on strong academic outcomes, starting small and adding one grade each year. Today, DCP–Harper Woods serves Kindergarten through Fifth grade, and will use CSP grant funds to support continued expansion and provide additional opportunities for innovative programming through eighth grade. The DCP–Harper Woods community will benefit from access to additional innovative technology, flexible learning environments, continued professional development for teachers and staff, and opportunities in the arts.

Cassie Williams, Distinctive Schools’ Regional Executive Director is excited to work with teachers and staff to identify opportunities. “Culture is at the heart of what we do. Our organization values diverse perspectives, and is committed to designing our learning communities by teachers, for teachers, and with teachers,” Williams shared, “We are poised for success, the structures our team has established over the past three years puts teachers and students in the driver’s seat, with CSP grant funds fueling innovation for Distinctive College Prep.” 

“We’re very excited for Distinctive College Prep, part of our Central Michigan University family of partner schools, that they have been awarded a Charter School Program grant. One of the positives about this improved grant program is that in addition to new schools, it also rewards those that are already doing great things in their communities and wish to expand further to have an even greater impact. This grant will ensure that more students and families in Harper Woods and the surrounding communities will have access to a high-quality education,” Corey Northrop, Executive Director, The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University shared.

As DCP–Harper Woods expands to offer middle school, CSP grant funds will support additional adaptive programming that allows teachers to use real time data to drive personalized instruction. “This funding not only brings vast opportunities to students, staff, and families, it is a significant investment in the bright future of Distinctive College Prep. As we continue to expand our offerings, there is so much to look forward to. We are proud to bring a unique, innovative middle school model to Michigan that will allow our students to reach greater heights,"  Nikki Mariner, Distinctive College Prep Board secretary shared.

“As an organization, Distinctive Schools is committed to equity and access,  and as we continue to invest in the Distinctive Schools innovative learning model, this grant will support our work to provide personalized, supportive environments for all learners,” said Scott Frauenheim, Chief Executive Officer of Distinctive Schools, “We promised to bring innovative educational experiences to the metro-Detroit area, and we’re ready to open our doors to all schools, to collaborate and grow together as we continue to be trailblazers for our students and families we serve.” 

To learn more about the DCP model, and the innovations coming to the school this year, tomorrow, Friday, July 24, DCP Harper Woods will host a Virtual Open House. More information can be found at