University High School Information Session and Reaction to Low-Achievement Level Listing

From Ferndale Public Schools


University High School invites students who will be entering 9th and 10th grades next fall to attend a special presentation by Principal George Tomey, and learn more about this unique high school opportunity on Thursday, June 17 with the presentation beginning at 6:30 pm.  The event will be held at Lawrence Technological University, in the Science Building, Auditorium S100, Southfield .  Interested students should RSVP and receive directions by calling 248/586-8846.


University High School is a four-year public high school with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.  Students at UHS benefit from a dynamic partnership among Ferndale Public Schools , Lawrence Technological University , and business partners throughout the metro area.


Now in its fifth year, University High School serves 420 students in grades 9-12.  The curriculum is rigorous and project based and features a unique, teacher-created College-Prep/ACT Prep Course.  All students take four years of math, science (culminating in physics), English language arts, and social studies.  Full-time college transition and campus support staff assist students with college applications, scholarships and financial aid, and with ongoing success once in college.  To date, two classes have graduated with a graduation rate of 99%, and as of Spring 2010, 85% of UHS graduates are actively enrolled in colleges and universities across the country, many with full-ride scholarships.


Students’ classroom experiences are enhanced by direct career immersion made possible with Lawrence Tech educators and business partner mentors. Advanced UHS students have opportunities to earn college credit from Lawrence Tech while still in high school. Academically successful students will also be guaranteed admission to the University.


Among their many accomplishments since UHS opened in 2004, students have won Robotics competition trophies, participated in an award-winning Innovative Vehicle Design (IVD) competition through the Convergence Education Foundation, and recently received state and national recognition for DECA marketing club competitions. 


Admission is open to students who reside in Oakland County or any bordering county. New students entering grades 9 and 10 next fall are invited to apply for acceptance through Schools of Choice.


Applications are available at UHS, at the Info Session, by calling 248/586-8686 or visiting


The following is an important message from Gary Meier, Superintendent of Ferndale Public Schools, issued June 15, 2010:

“I’m writing to you today to advise you that we received some very troubling news yesterday.  The Michigan Department of Education posted on its website a listing of schools in the State of Michigan identified as the “persistently lowest achieving schools.”  To our disbelief, Ferndale ’s University High School is one of the 108 schools included on the list.


It is important that I communicate with our school community directly about the meaning of this designation to our school, to our school district, and to the future of school reform in education.


At this writing, we know Michigan Merit Exam (MME) scores for math and English language arts in Spring 2007, 2008 and 2009 were used as the basis for determining this ranking.  While the formula is complex, we are carefully assessing the exact calculations that led to this designation.  We will report them to you as we learn more.  In the meantime, our commitment to serving the educational needs of our students will not waiver.


Needless to say, the news that University High School would be on such a list is a shock to us.  Our vision since University High School opened in 2005 has been to create a reform model for a high-performing small high school that would improve student achievement, prepare students for college without remediation, with an ultimate goal of college graduation. 


It is hard for us to believe the designation that University High School is a “persistently low achieving school.”   It is a new initiative in school reform, and in only five years we’ve been seeing and documenting college success and retention.  Based on information in January 2010, 85% of our graduates are actively enrolled in college courses.  This year, 100% of the Class of 2010 was accepted to colleges and universities, and 99% of our students have graduated from high school on time.


Even though we have celebrated these successes, we know that we have much work to do in the area of student achievement.  We know our scores on the MME are not what they need to be, and this will continue to be a focus for us in the future. At the same time, we intend to continue our strong support of the belief that success in college is a primary definition of student success at University High School. 


University High School’s greatest attributes are the principal, Mr. Tomey, and the excellent teaching staff.  Their commitment to our student’s success is extraordinary and I know they will work hard to prove this designation to be undeserving.”