‘'Smart People make very smart decisions’
‘'Smart People make very smart decisions’
Posted on 12/04/2018
Student with shirt that says "Smart Moves"A group of Utica Community Schools sixth graders recently learned five easy steps to take when faced with an unhealthy decision:

1.    Say No
2.    Repeat No
3.    Walk A Way
4.    Give a Reason
5.    Suggest Another Activity

It is a simple process that could mean a lifetime of opportunity for students making the transition into their teenage years. It is also a message that was shared to students by local police officers through the new Smart MOVES (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) program.

This month, the first group of students completing the nine-week program celebrated their accomplishments at “graduation” ceremonies in their schools.

“Smart people make very smart decisions,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said at the celebration for more than 100 Schuchard Elementary students. “The one person that is in control of you is you.”

Community leaders with group of students holding certificatesSMART Moves focuses on the importance of decision-making and addresses issues such as bullying, substance abuse and responsible use of digital devices. SMART Moves content includes friendships and healthy relationships, refusal skills and media influences.

SMART Moves is being offered to students at seven UCS elementary schools in Sterling Heights. The remaining six schools will have their programs in early Spring. The program is taught by a Sterling Heights Police Department officer trained in the program.

Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski, a Utica Community Schools graduate, noted that the students have a strong community behind them to help them make good decisions.  

“This school district gave me everything,” he said. “You guys are so lucky you already have a head start. We want to make sure you guys are happy and safe.”

Officer Jessica Wilhelm told families attending the celebration that students took to heart their role in making good life choices.

“I am proud of what they have accomplished,” she said. “I look forward watching all of you grow and continue on the right path.”

Smart MOVES is part of the safety and security program developed in collaboration by Utica Community Schools and its local law enforcement partners.

UCS students in Shelby Township, Macomb Township and Utica receive Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) through the Shelby Township Police Department and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department.