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    The UCS Empowered strategic plan adopted by the Board of Education on Monday represents more than a year’s work with representative voices from across the district.

    Staff, students and parents met, surveyed, reviewed, discussed and tested the language and goals over and over to create a solid plan for the future.

    One of the areas that was discussed in depth was the word “remarkable.”

    Our new mission reads: “Utica Community Schools ignites a passion for learning in all students. We strengthen our community by welcoming all learners, honoring culture and inspiring remarkable growth and achievement.”

    Early versions of the mission talked about inspiring student achievement. During discussions, a student commended that there needs to be some word that describes our expectations for success.

    By definition, the word “remarkable” is “worthy of attention” or “striking.”

    For our district, the word remarkable represents the high standards all of us have for our children.

    Student achievement and success are what this district is all about. While our students are performing at levels that outpace their state and national peers we are committed to a collaborative environment that will take our schools to the next level.

    The foundation on which this improvement will occur is strong. Our students and staff continue to be recognized for excellence. This week alone, UCS students represented nearly half of the Class A Academic All Stars in Macomb County and the Academic Dream Team; Mr. Battaglia from GLK-UAIS was named a finalist for a national award for science teachers; the ThunderChickens are in Texas going for their fourth world title; students were selected for national and state fine arts competitions; and we were once again honored as one of the best communities for music education.

    In a word, our week has been remarkable.

    Thanks to the collaborative efforts of this community, we will continue to have weeks, months and years like this where we celebrate UCS outstanding student success.

    Robert S. Monroe

    Superintendent of Schools