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Shelby Township, Sterling Heights

Published January 16, 2013

UCS partners with U of M-Flint for dual-enrollment program

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University of Michigan-Flint professor Mehrdad Simkani teaches calculus to Utica Community Schools seniors Jan. 10 at Magahay Elementary in Sterling Heights as part of the University of Michigan-Flint’s partnership with the district.

STERLING HEIGHTS — Utica Community Schools students can now shake off the Blues as they work toward an a-Maize-ing education

A partnership between UCS and the University of Michigan-Flint gave students a taste of what it’s like to attend classes in one of the region’s most prestigious institutions Jan. 10 at the building that previously housed Magahay Elementary in Sterling Heights.

“The fact that it is a college professor, it will provide a chance to see what a college classroom is like,” Henry Ford II senior Steven Lafeir said when naming one of the program’s aspects that he was looking forward to Jan. 9.

The classes open the eyes of students to collegiate curricula in a continuing partnership between the district and the University of Michigan.

UCS Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Robert Monroe said students, who qualify for courses by meeting university entry standards, are able to earn credits that count toward high school graduation and transfer to colleges and universities.

“The partnership succinctly delineates our commitment to community engagement, particularly as it relates to supporting K-12 initiatives,” University of Michigan-Flint Provost Gerard Voland said in a release. 

“The planned dual-enrollment and academic programs provide a unique opportunity for the University of Michigan-Flint to join Utica Community Schools in helping the region’s students pursue their higher-education goals.”

The classes are the latest step in a growing partnership between UCS and local universities and colleges, and it’s one that officials are hoping to further in the future.

“The conversation existed very early with the University of Michigan about partial course offerings to get administrators up-to-date and teachers up-to-date, and I approached them about programs for kids,” Monroe said.

Prospective-student surveys helped choose the courses offered during the program’s first semester.

“We have a Calculus 1 course, and we’re also offering a computer science course with a focus on programming,” Monroe said.

“We will do an extensive review of what programming needs our kids are interested in, and we will expand in the fall based on what those interests are for students in the fall of the (2013-14) school year.”

Along with building a larger course catalog within the partnership, there are plans for a university center featuring virtual learning, an early college program through the University of Michigan-Flint and programs for residents pursuing four-year degrees.

“Utica Schools is dedicated to creating a college culture for the community,” Monroe said.

“We have a partnership with the University of Michigan-Flint to really tailor some specific programs and needs for our kids. That’s what the emphasis of the partnership is.”

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