Students return to in-person learning in Utica Community Schools

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published September 17, 2021

 Second grader Graziella Militello and kindergartener Elisa Militello are excited to be back at school at Beacon Tree Elementary in Shelby Township.

Second grader Graziella Militello and kindergartener Elisa Militello are excited to be back at school at Beacon Tree Elementary in Shelby Township.

Photo provided by Jennifer Swanchara

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA/STERLING HEIGHTS — Students at Utica Community Schools have returned to school for the 2021-22 school year, and things are looking a little different.

Some additions to the buildings and full in-person learning are just some new changes that have come with the start of the new year.

Antionette Hamilton, the principal of Jeannette Junior High School, said by email that the students will be seeing quite a few additions.

“With the help of numerous building improvements, especially our brand-new, state-of-the-art media center featuring individual pods for collaboration, small-group conference rooms, expandable seating for group presentations and individual charging stations, there is a renewed sense of excitement that lends itself to a positive learning experience for our students,” she said.

She said that both students and teachers have been enthusiastic about the new school year starting.

“The enthusiasm adopted by our teachers surrounding this year has helped our students seamlessly transition into the routine of in-person learning. Since the learning environment is so important to the success of our students and our staff, it feels great to be able to welcome them back with an encouraging in-person atmosphere that is conducive to academic success,” said Hamilton.

Students are back to full in-person learning, and the UCS Virtual Academy provides all-online learning and was offered for K-12 students.

Tim McAvoy, the district’s director of school and community relations, said officials are working closely with the Macomb County Health Department during the school year. Face coverings are strongly recommended for students and families.

Robert Monroe, the superintendent of Utica Community Schools, said it has been great to welcome back UCS students and staff for a full, in-person learning experience.

“There was an evident sense of positivity shown by our teachers welcoming students into their classrooms that was truly inspiring. This encouraging energy brought forth by our staff and embraced by our students and their families makes us determined, now more than ever, to remain committed to providing in-person learning in a safe and positive school environment,” he said via email.

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