From The Principal


Dear Chieftain Families,

Today, March 31st, is the official last day of the Quarter 3 and we leave for the Spring Break. It has been a great quarter with some exciting events and activities. Utica High crowned it’s first, Mr. Chieftain, the Utica Student Council was honored at State Finals with an Award for Community Service, and two UHS artists, Kaley Brenizer (Photography) and Mason Palicke (Drawing and Illustration) were recognized as Silver Medalists in the National Scholastic Art and Writing placing them in top 1% of all student submissions to the context, according to a release from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Our student athletes shined as well. Bowler Taran Heersma was named First Team All-State in Men’s Bowl-ing, and bowlers, that after our Ladies competed to State Quarter-finals, further than any team in UHS History. Our UHS DECA saw five students make it to Nationals in California, our student artists were the shining superstars of the UCS Fine Arts Festival, and we our Utica High Book Club saw it’s “U” Read Night grow to it’s biggest in years, with over 300 students present. And, we awarded Mrs. Julie Wright as our Teacher of the Year. That is important as without the incredibly hard work of our incredible teachers and staff, none of these successes would be possi-ble. Well done all! As we head into April, testing is what’s on our mind, as we return from Spring Break to the SAT, WorkKeys, PSAT and MSTEP, the suite of tests that make up the Michigan Merit Exam (MME).

When we return, we will have the following schedule:

Monday, April 10: Normal School Day, all students are expected to attend

Tuesday, April 11: SAT Day
*Only Juniors attend
* Report to school no later than 7:10 (arrival and complimentary warm breakfast for all students starts at 6:45)
*Standard Time Bus Pickup: 1:00 pm

Wednesday, April 12: WorkKeys/PSAT Day
*Sophomores and Juniors attend
*Report to school no later than 7:10 Food available for purchase in the cafeteria
*Standard Time Testing Bus Pickup: 11:45 am
*Extended Time Testing Bus Pickup: 1:15 pm (Students and families are notified if they have extended time)

Thursday, April 13: Normal Day
*Friday, April 14: Holiday, Observance of Good Friday

The following week we will conclude testing with MSTEP testing (Science and Social Studies) for our Juniors. We will pull out students from their AM or PM classes by Alphabet on Tuesday, April 18 and Wednesday April 19th. This suites of assessments is not only a part of the college entrance process, for juniors taking the SAT, or prep for sophomores taking the PSAT, but is also the way in which Utica High is evaluated by the state for our performance. As such, we take these tests and testing days quite seriously, and hope that you’ll encourage your students to use their time over the holiday to use tools like the SAT Question of the Day app or Khan Academy to practice before the test days. That exposure and practice can be a difference maker.

For our seniors, this last quarter is an exciting one. It’s punctuated by the fact that it starts with Spring Break and ends with Senior Week, the Senior Picnic, and graduation on June 10th at the Palace. This is a fun time of year, but also a serious one. Colleges reserve the right to delay, deny or condition acceptance based on the 8th semester of course work. Transcripts are not finalized until those last grades are entered, and a dramatic shift in a student’s GPA can wreak havoc. In short, seniors cannot take an extended vacation. Monday April 10th students need to be in school ready to go, and their teachers will continue to set high expectations and make each day a learning experience. The result of this hard work will translate into a wonderful awards night on May 24 for our Senior Honorees. Seniors who have earned recognition for academic, co-curricular, or athletic honors, will receive invitations by mail to our Senior Honors Night. That will include our 31 Valedictorians and 4 Salutatorians! Well done Chieftains.

As we prepare for the arrival of our new sophomore class and the transition at each of the other grades, we have nearly completed our student scheduling process. This year’s scheduling process was different, it created more time for 1:1 interaction between students and teachers and counselors, and we hope a more in-formed process. We are currently reviewing requests to assure that students receive the schedules that they need and want and having final conversations with students to ensure they’re truly challenging themselves as much as possible. That is a tedious process, but an absolutely critical part of our spring at the high school. These are exciting times.

When we return from Spring Break, it will be the last quarter of the school year. Report cards for Q3 will be emailed out, as they were at the end of Q2 and Semester 1. We ask, as spring breaks, that parents read and review the Student Handbook with their students to avoid problems or just awkward conversations. Specifically, we ask that students and parents review Dress and Grooming, on pg. 1 and just below that, start and end times for school. The last quarter of the year always has a spike in tardy students as the day starts, and absenteeism as it ends! We’re hoping that a concerted effort from parents and staff will help minimize that!

We’re looking forward to an incredible spring and a great end of the school year. Parents, as the weather gets warmer, please have conversations with your young adults about positive decision mak-ing and all that comes with it. This should be a time of year to celebrate, not to look back on in regret.

Best regards,

Tom Lietz

Utica High School Chieftains Logo

Utica High School Vision Statement: 
Empowering students to reach their full potential as members of a global community. 

Utica High School Mission Statement:  
The mission of Utica High School is to develop successful learners with the support of our community of educators, students, and parents. Our diverse student body will have an equitable, rigorous, and comprehensive education in a safe and supportive environment that promotes self-discipline, motivation, and excellence in learning. We aim to cultivate individual learners with active and creative minds, and a sense of understanding and compassion for others.