The 2018-2019 school year is now officially under way with a renewed sense of energy and commitment. Utica Community Schools remains a destination district focused on success, thanks to an involved community, dedicated staff and a commitment to making sure our students have a competitive advantage for college and career. We create that advantage through four key strategies: providing academic excellence, promoting student innovation, preparing positive digital citizens and ensuring accountability.
This year, two Career and Technical Education programs are being introduced that are a direct response to fields in demand by industry leaders. A new cybersecurity course for high school students will give students access to the careers and fields that will help drive this region’s economy.
In addition, we have worked closely with area business leaders to create the Stevenson Center for Manufacturing, Automation, Design and Engineering (MADE). This four-year program will give students rigorous academic content blended with practical experiences in fabrication, automation and design engineering. Specialized courses and advanced manufacturing principles will be integrated into all core academic courses of English, social studies, math and science.
At the junior high school level, a Computer Science Discoveries course is now offered at all seven schools to give students concentrated experiences in coding and programming. The course also promotes computer science as a medium for creativity, communication and problem solving.
For elementary students, a new mathematics series – Math Expressions – addresses the rigor of all Michigan Academic Standards and eight key mathematical practices, such as understanding the meaning of a problem and being persistent in solving it or how to use tools (computers, devices, paper and pencil, etc.) effectively. This new series blends the traditional instructional approach to mathematics instruction with newer, research-based best practices.
School safety and security remains a top priority for our entire community. This year we are continuing to partner with local law enforcement by providing all UCS sixth graders prevention programs that promote positive decision making. The Sterling Heights Police Department will introduce the SMART Moves program, which will serve as a complement to D.A.R.E. offered in Shelby Township, Utica and Macomb Township. These important programs give our students strategies to address critical issues such as bullying, digital citizenship and substance abuse. D.A.R.E. and SMART Moves also provide students the opportunity to have a positive interaction with local law enforcement officers.
These are among the many ways we work to ensure UCS remains an educational leader in our region, state and nation. We recognize the strong foundation of success that is a hallmark over many generations in UCS. We honor this legacy by ensuring a UCS diploma will always be a recognized symbol of high achievement that continues to open doors for our graduates.