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UCS high schools named among best in country for preparing students for post-secondary success
UCS high schools named among best in country for preparing students for post-secondary success
Posted on 10/07/2021
Great Schools LogoAll four comprehensive Utica Community Schools high schools are among the top eight percent of Michigan schools recognized for helping students enroll and succeed in college.

Eisenhower, Henry Ford II, Stevenson and Utica high schools have earned the 2021 College Success Award for their work to help students prepare to enroll in college, succeed in college-level coursework and persist into their second year. Only 1,838 – or less than seven percent – earn the recognition. 

“This recognition reflects the very heart of our school district’s mission – to ensure students are positioned to successfully pursue the post-secondary option of their choice,” Superintendent Robert Monroe said. “A UCS diploma continues to open doors for our graduates whether they choose college, vocational school, active service in the military or go directly into the workforce.”

The award is based on high school and postsecondary data provided by state education agencies.

"Since we launched the College Success Award in 2018, we have learned so much about what makes high schools tick and how successful schools and leaders position their students on a path to success in college," said GreatSchools CEO Jon Deane. "Our goal is to find and recognize these bright spots while uncovering common practices and insights from Award-winners — especially those that serve historically marginalized students well — that any high school can adopt. These practices can then become a basis for policies that enable all students to succeed in college."

The Award methodology and full list of winners is available at

The GreatSchools recognition mirrors the district’s strong graduation rate of 95.53 percent – more than 13 percentage points over the state average. 
UCS strategies that focus on graduation and post-secondary success include:
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support – Utica Community Schools uses this proactive approach to meet each student’s unique needs to make sure they are successfully making academic progress. Teachers have been trained to promote learning through three levels – or “tiers." The first tier represents the core academic instruction that a student receives; the second tier would include strategies targeted to each student’s unique learning style; the third tier gives students access to other resources to develop their skills.
  • Achievement Via Individualized Determination (AVID) – AVID is a research-based college readiness support program.  Students take rigorous courses and receive additional support in such areas as organization, study skills, and critical thinking, and participate in motivational activities that promote the importance of continuing education after their high school diploma.
  • Credit Review and Recovery – School counselors and administrators begin in ninth grade to closely monitor students to ensure they are staying on track to earn the required credits for graduation. Students needing additional assistance are provided individual support in ninth grade and future years to maintain their focus on graduation and successful post-secondary experiences. Through recovery, schools work with students to recover specific credits needed through after-school or summer school opportunities.