UCS Success preserves strong neighborhoods

Christine M. Johns

As we begin another promising school year, Utica Community Schools remains committed to providing exemplary teaching and learning for the more than 28,000 students who fill our classrooms every day.

Doing so, we also recognize our responsibility to the community in creating a well-educated, globally
competitive future workforce. Our work – and the way we go about it – impacts far beyond the families that directly use our schools.

When new residents or businesses locate here, they have chosen to make an investment in this community – and for good reason.

According to local realtors, our school district’s reputation for academic excellence is a driving factor in attracting homebuyers and business owners.

In fact, a number of parents, grandparents, graduates, business and community leaders and others are
confirming this by sharing their stories of what Utica Community Schools means to them through the UCS Means SUCCESS initiative.

Here are just a few of the comments we heard:

  • Angela and Brent Freeman, both active members of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce – “You are going to have a strong customer base for your business if you have quality schools and neighborhoods.”
  • Al Block, who's been a realtor for 25-years – “The information we provide (clients) on Utica Community Schools has always shown a high level of student achievement.”
  • Business owner Ray Lope – “(Utica Community Schools) protects the investment you have made in a community and maintains vibrant and attractive neighborhoods.”
  • Senior citizen Jo Anne Phillips, known as 'Grandma Jo' at Beck Elementary, where she volunteers –“If we can continue to support our schools and that success continues to grow, we are going to have a great future in this community.”

The demand for homes in Utica Community Schools is closely tied to our students’ high academic success.
Buyers know that quality schools protect their investment and increase property and resale values.

As residents and homeowners ourselves, we each can take pride in the fact that UCS students continue to outpace county, state and national peers in achievement.

We can also be proud that all four UCS high schools are named among the nation’s best by Newsweek magazine.

One more fact of UCS pride is that our district’s overall 90-percent graduation rate is 14 points higher than the state average.

And the fact that our schools consistently provide students world-class college and career preparation from kindergarten through their senior year is yet another point of district pride.

UCS continues to offer students the best learning opportunities by focusing on quantified data, best practices and responsible management.

Our secret to UCS Success is by no means a secret. We achieve it by adhering to four proven strategies: setting high standards, teaching students to be productive users of technology, promoting innovative thinking and ensuring accountability to our public.

In keeping success in our sights, the year ahead includes a redoubled emphasis on early childhood literacy by expanding our personalized blended learning initiative in grades K-2, introducing a new reading series in grades 3-6 and implementing the Great Start preschool readiness program.

Back to school means only one thing in UCS. It means we are back to teaching and learning at its best and a new year of success for our students.

It’s the best way I know to protect everyone’s investment in the future.

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