From The Principal


Dear Chieftain Families,

We rush into March after a quick February, and it feels like we’re off to the races! AP Registration is up on the website, scheduling has begun, we have our Freshmen Orientation coming up in a two weeks, we have our UCS Fine Arts Festival March 20th-23rd and at the end of this week, we begin to process grades for progress reports. We are nearly through the first three quarters of the school year. That also means Parent Teacher Conferences are around the corner. Next Tuesday, March 7, we will have conferences in Media Center, Main Gym and Cafeteria from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm. That will lead promptly into scheduling of our sophomores and juniors. Mr. Paulon and our incredible counselors have distributed information and will start meeting with students about AP, Dual Enrollment, elective and other options. Though there are myriad options for students’ post-Utica High, it is literally our mission to create prepared and active learners ready for any option life presents.

As you sit with your students and think about their next year or two years at Utica High, it’s important to begin talking about long-term plans. Students shouldn’t be dandelions in the breeze, but firmly rooted in the ground. That ground is their Career Pathway. Those pathways include: Arts and Communication, Business Management Marketing and Technology, Health Sciences, Engineering and Manufacturing and Industrial Technology, Human Services and Natural Resources and Agriscience. Utica has offerings to facilitate those interests, but conversations with your students about what pathway they’re headed down and why is a starting point. That should focus around interest as well as ability. Both play a role! They’ve already begun that work with their EDP (Educational Development Plan) which they established as freshmen, that identified that pathway.  We have courses to meet those needs. We have incredible AP offerings including the unique AP Capstone program at Utica High, but also have a one-of-a-kind Medical Health Science Program, award winning arts and CTE programs, a growing choir, a newly established Jazz Band class, and many other options including courses at Utica High and around the district. There is nothing wrong with taking multiple art classes if that’s your passion and interest.  In fact, if applying to Kendall College, College for Creative Studies or Parsons, it would be to your benefit to do so. Knowing where and how that benefits where you’re going is key. Parents, you need to have that conversation with your student. The college conversation should not start senior or even junior year, but freshman year or sooner. But, if that’s where you are, that conversation needs to start in earnest. 

The Naviance program that your student completed this EDP on is available to you and your student to examine their options. The Naviance tools can help students look at possible career choices, and from that inventory, students can work back to the classes they can take to get there. They can then use College Match to look for the college that fits based on cost, location, size, programs,
majors, and other selections to start narrowing down choices. College match will then allow you to compare schools, look at required entrance test scores, and GPAs, as well as a host of other information.

Those choices will then help them to determine class selections. If a student wants to go to the University of Michigan, it’s essential they have two years of language as well as Chemistry and Physics if they plan on going into engineering. If a student wants to study Biology, perhaps they find that MSU’s Lyman Briggs program is a better option that University of Michigan for them. This information is all available through Naviance. After comparing colleges, students can then use the Naviance scatterplot to see how they size up to the averages at that school. Thought the average GPA may be a 3.5, it’s important to realize there are a lot of exceptions! 

These tools give you, as parents, and your students, unprecedented access to the information that ought to be critical in helping you make decisions on classes, on test prep, and on the options that are available to you! And, once your student
has been accepted, Scholarship Match will help find a way to subsidize payment of tuition. Senior parents, this is where you and your students ought to be now! Not only does it match you to scholarships based on everything from parent jobs and student demographics, but a host of other indicators as well, it also links you directly to the appropriate forms and application deadlines. Each year millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed and we’d like to make sure that’s not the case at UHS!

As we wrap up the winter sport season, we’re excited about playoffs and the successes of our teams. Our girls bowling team made it to states and three of our boys bowlers made it as individuals! Not only have we had a host of athletic signings, but we continue to see students excelling as student athletes. This and next week we have playoffs for Hockey (3/2 at Fraser against GPS), Boys Basketball (3/8 against Rochester @ Utica HS), and we’ll hope for play beyond those rounds. And, our Destination Imagination Team finished 3rd at Regionals to Advance at States. We have a lot to be proud of and more to come as Science Olympiad, Baseball, Track and our Musical are ahead as well as HOSA and DECA States this month.

Finally,  juniors have one month until the SAT! April will be here before we know it, and Tuesday, April 11 is around the corner! Make sure you are encouraging your Junior to use the SAT Question of the Day and Khan Academy tutorials to prepare for that assessment. They are doing incredible work in their Math and English classrooms to prepare for those two sections as well as work in Science and Social Studies classes as well. That is the easiest way to ensure your college choice, and we want to make sure our Chieftains have the best possible options! The SAT is an integral part of that!

We look forward to a great March, and an exciting spring to follow!


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.