UCS high schools named among nation’s most academically challenging
UCS high schools named among nation’s most academically challenging
Posted on 07/19/2019
Compilation of high school graduation photos

All Utica Community Schools high schools have been named among the nation's most challenging by the country's most established ranking system.

The district's comprehensive high schools - Eisenhower, Henry Ford II, Stevenson and Utica – and the Utica Academy for International Studies were recognized for their work to challenge students through rigorous Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.

"We have extremely high expectations for all students that they will experience rigorous academic programs that successfully prepares them for post-secondary educational success," Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said.

The UCS schools were recognized through the "Jay Mathews Challenge Index," a ranking system originally created in 1998 that has been featured by both Newsweek and the Washington Post.

The system ranks schools based on the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge tests taken by students, divided by the number of graduating seniors at the school. Mathews writes: "Success on the exams has been linked with success in college.”

Under the evaluation system, all UCS high schools are recognized as among the top 25 Michigan public and private high schools. In addition, the Utica Academy for International Studies was ranked as the most challenging high school in Michigan and the 53rd most challenging in the nation.

In UCS, the number of students taking AP exams has grown by more than 250 percent since 2006. The percent of students earning a 3 or greater since that time has remained stable – even as more students were taking exams.

In addition to providing students with a comprehensive Advanced Placement program, UCS students are offered an International Baccalaureate curriculum through UAIS, which opened in 2008.

For more information on the UCS honor, please see this link: