The Scoop

University High School and Preparatory Academies

Welcome to the February Scoop!

Dear UHS&PA Families,

During the last two months, our seniors have been receiving college acceptance and wait list letters. Those of you who have college-aged children and beyond may be able to attest to the stress of the college application season. We know students are faced with many challenges as numerous colleges and universities focus on academic success and personal achievement over citizenship. Needless to say, I was inspired as I read an article in The Washington Post that challenged the premise of the college application. In “To get into college, Harvard report advocates for kindness instead of overachieving” Lisa Heffernan and Jenifer Wallace shared results of a report released by Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In this report, more than 80 stakeholders acknowledge the desire to enroll students who have achieved in and out of the classroom. Yet, post-secondary institutions also seek students who demonstrate authentic intellectual engagement and a concern for others. The aforementioned characteristics are more difficult to quantify. Consequently, some colleges are adding essays which require students to elaborate on their contribution to family or the community.

As you work with your son/daughter to develop his/her high school plan, in addition to taking rigorous coursework, consider the following:

  • Help your son/daughter by encouraging him/her to find activities, classes and volunteer experiences that are meaningful to them, but that to not create unnecessary stress.

  • If your son/daughter helps with household responsibilities, babysits young siblings after school or makes other significant family contributions, make sure they write about it on their applications.

  • Help your son/daughter find sustained community service opportunities that extend for a year or more. It should be something meaningful to him/her. Ideas include volunteering at a soup kitchen or political campaign.

Whatever the decision, be sure to stress the importance of authentic engagement. Colleges are looking for students who are authentic and honest about their interests and accomplishments.

Source: The Washington Post, January 20

In the spirit of excellence,

Dean Williams

Announcements & Acknowledgements

Congratulations to our 2016 PTA Founders Day Award Recipients, UHSA Science Instructor, Dr. Sandy Bergh, and Class of 2016 Mom, Mrs. Gina Gallant. Thank you both for your contributions to our learning community. We will celebrate the contributions of all Founders Day Awardees on Tuesday, February 23.

Lyndon Defoe competed in Poetry Out Loud at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. He won the competition and advanced to the state competition! Way to go Lyndon!

Ms. Tiffany Hackworth was named “2016 Future Cities Teacher of the Year” for her unwavering support of our students who complete in the Future Cities Competition. In addition, Ms. Hackworth has been named the Southfield Public Schools Teacher of the Month for January. Great Job Ms. Hackworth!

The Debate Team competed in the Detroit Urban League Debate Tournament on Friday, January 22 & Saturday, January 23 at Wayne State University. Both teams advanced to the novice quarterfinals, with Lyndon DeFoe & Layla Howard winning 4/4 debates and Raymond Mitchell & Jolyna Chiangong winning 3/4 debates. Each pair also won the quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals. Layla & Lyndon were eliminated in the semifinals, placing 3rd overall, but Jolyna & Raymond advanced to the finals against University Prep - Detroit. In the end, after 10 hours of debating...

Jolyna & Raymond took home first place!!! Additionally, three out of four of our debaters earned speaker awards as follows:

3rd Place: Jolyna Chiangong

4th Place: Lyndon DeFoe

10th Place: Raymond Mitchell

Once again, Mr. Mark Trexler has been invited to score Advanced Placement Unites States History examinations in June by the College Board. We are proud to have representation with the College Board!

Congratulations to our Assistant Dean, Harry Patton! Mr. Patton has been nominated as a 2015-2016 LifeChanger of the Year. In the near future, we will send information to you asking for your support.

The Vocabulary and Symbols of Math Describe our World

Mathematics is a topic that connects many of the subjects pursued in school. It is the language and toolbox of science. It is studied directly on its own, and indirectly through the study of Chemistry, Physics, Economics, and others.

The U Math Department is equipping our students in a number of ways. Over the last couple years we have adopted the SpringBoard materials, a series of textbooks published by the College Board, the organization responsible for the SAT and AP programs. The series embraces a discovery and real-world, context-based approach. The series is filled with situations based on small companies, amusement parks, and other applications of math. The new curriculum addresses changes based on Common Core and updated testing including M-Step and the new SAT. As students discover and apply the math, they have better ownership of the learning. The U Math Department has embraced technology in a number of ways. We recommend the TI-84 graphing calculator. It is an indispensable tool in a high school and college math and science course. It allows us to explore math in a very thorough way. We are using Google Classroom as a way to handle documents. Many of the math teachers post practice problems and links to resources on Classroom. There are occasions when teachers assign online videos as either supplementary or primary teaching with discussion to follow in class.

Studying math can be somewhat elusive. We encourage students to seek out help as soon as they may have struggles. Please don’t wait until the end of a unit to find that there are issues with understanding. Practice is key. Just like music, or athletics, math is a very practice oriented skill. The student knows he or she really "has it" when answers are consistently correct during practice, such as homework and classwork. Students are also encouraged to “spiral” or circle back a do a few review problems as they practice. Too often we hear of students studying and they mean they looked over notes or skimmed a chapter, watched a video, or got help from the teacher or another student. All of this information gathering is good, but what really brings it together is practice. Until the practice is working, the student is not truly prepared. This is a daily, ongoing process. With successful practice comes confidence. This brings success.

While ultimately practice is key, intervention does often need to happen. Time with the teacher (before too much piles up) can be very helpful. All of us here in the math department have times when we are accessible for extra help. Tutoring can be arranged before school, after school, or during seminar. Check with the teacher. Online videos can also help. Sites such as,,,,, and, are some of the MANY excellent sources available online. Consulting resources posted on your Google Classroom page can also be very helpful.

We at the U are very student-focused. We are here to help encourage, equip, and assist in whatever way we can. Thank you for trusting us with your student’s education.

- UHSA/UPREP Mathematics Department

The Testing Corner

Register for AP Exams This Month!

AP Exam registration opens on Monday February 22 and concludes on Friday March 11. Students must first sign up on Mrs. Maas' Testing Site by completing the registration form. Once you are registered online, you may bring in payment to Mrs. Maas in room 205.

Exam fees are as follows:

AP Seminar $139

All other AP Courses $92

If you are eligible for free or reduced lunch, be sure to complete the Sharing Information With Other Programs Form. This form will entitle you to a $39 discount on each exam. Forms can be picked up from Mrs. Maas in room 205 or downloaded here.

Black History Month at the U

Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and learn more about the contributions of African Americans. This year, the Jr. National Honor Society is coordinating a picket sign contest between seminars. Each seminar will create a picket sign representing a significant topic that pertains to Black History. The National Honor Society is planning a special assembly that will include poetry, skits and dance. Our teachers have incorporated a host of learning experiences for students including essay contests, speeches and presentations/projects related to the Civil Rights Movement and to contributions of little known African American Scientists including, Henrietta Lacks and Vivien Thomas. Students will research African American Pioneers and their contribution to science and history.

College Fairs

Attending college fairs is an excellent way for high school students to learn about a variety of colleges and universities. The Metro Detroit National College Fair will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace which is located at 46100 Grand River in Novi.

The hours for this fair are Sunday, March 20, 2016 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and Monday, March 21 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Click here to view a list of the colleges that will be attending.

Summer Programs

There are a wide variety of excellent enrichment programs offered to high school students both during the summer months. Now is the time to consider these opportunities. The Center for Photonic and Multiscale Nanomaterials (C-PHOM), a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center funded by the National Science Foundation hosts a research experience for high school studenst at the University of Michigan. For more details please view this link:

Visit our website for an extensive list of programs offered as well as summer program search engines.

UHSA/UPREP PTSA - Bowling Night

You're invited to a fun night of bowling along with a 50/50 raffle and silent auction at Hartfield Lanes! This year's event will take place on Thursday, March 17 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm. Tickets are available in the main office. Check out the flyer below for more details.
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Madrid & Barcelona

April 1, 2017 - April 8, 2017


Round-trip airfare, all transportation, sightseeing tours and site visits, all hotels with private bathroom, breakfast and dinner daily, full-time multi-lingual tour director.

All-inclusive insurance is available.

Click on the link for more information & check out the flyer below.

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