University Prep Art and Design School

UPAD – Middle High School

Open Seat: 0
Enrollment: 875
Est: 2009
Grades: 6-12

Creativity. College. Career.

It all starts here.

University Prep Art and Design School (UPAD: MHS), Detroit’s premier art and design middle/high school, serves students in grades 6-12. UPAD: MHS is built on the idea that learning needs to be hands-on, connected to the real world, and should develop not only students’ academic knowledge and skills, but also their potential as creative thinkers and innovative problem solvers. As a public school academy all enrolled students attend all enrolled students attend tuition-free.

Our focus is on engaging our middle and high school students and preparing them for the future through our college preparatory curriculum, career exploration, and real world experiences that focus on innovation and creativity. Through our partnership with the College for Creative Studies, UPAD: MHS students are ensured intensive art and design preparation with access to are ensured intensive art and design preparation with access to world class instructors, resources and facilities. UPAD: MHS also provides students with:

  • Inspiring teachers and other caring role models in an environment that is nurturing, safe and secure
  • Immersion in a college-going culture
  • Small class sizes, targeted support for student success
  • Project-based learning that incorporates community resources and technology
  • Structured workplace experiences in the community, such as internships and job shadowing
  • Seamless transition between middle and high school
  • Gymnasium, sports program and state-of-the-art facilities
  • And so much more.

UPAD: MHS is a Thompson Foundation 90/90 school, committed to graduating at least 90% of our students and sending at least 90% of those graduates on to college.

“At UPAD: MHS, my child has been given many opportunities to hone her talents and make real things she only got to dream of three years ago.”

– Brenda Cook, High School Parent

School Director: Joseph E. Hines II
School Director: Joseph E. Hines II
School Operations Manager (SOM): Abram Miller
School Operations Manager (SOM): Abram Miller
Click to email the School Director and Operations Manager

July 30, 2018

Dear UPAD: MHS Parent:

Greetings and welcome to University Prep Art and Design Middle High School!

We appreciate that you’ve chosen our school to educate your child in the 2018-19 school year. The school year is quickly approaching and we have been working diligently to prepare for a phenomenal year. We are extremely excited about the various strategies and trainings that we have worked on in collaboration with teachers, parents and students that support our overall school goals. Our three primary goals for this year are 1) provide students with a culturally relevant educational experience 2) provide stronger academics and 3) create an environment of deeper learning. By accomplishing these goals every UPAD student will develop an academic
mindset to better learn how to learn, master core academic content, think critically, work collaboratively, and communicate more effectively.

To support these efforts we’ve strategically organized our school day to foster a community that promotes deeper learning. UPAD: MHS school hours are 8:00am – 3:05pm. Twice a month on Wednesdays students will have an early dismissal at 1:52pm. On these days our entire staff participates in professional development trainings to better serve our students. All students in middle and high school will be engaged in learning for an hour and fifteen minutes per course. This will allow more time for project based learning and student’s use of critical thinking to solve more complex problems. All scholars also follow a daily rotating class schedule, attending five out of their six classes per day. Students will be able to focus more on core subjects, college readiness, art and design. More information regarding school schedule and basic procedures can be found in our Family and Student Handbook.

Besides looking forward to the start of a new year, our leadership team, teachers, and staff members are also looking forward to continuing to build upon the great things that are already happening at UPAD: MHS- our phenomenal art and design program, our signature career exploration program- the Senior Mastery Process, student performance growth on the PSAT and SAT tests, and the many community partnerships that enhance student engagement and real-world learning. On the first day of school, September 4, 2018 -all of our teachers and support staff will be present and ready to provide the best educational experience for your child. Let’s work together to make 2018-2019 school year the best it can be!

We Can. We Will. We Must.


Joseph E. Hines II

School Director


September 2019

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UPrep’s core values are developed and harnessed as a means of contributing to the community. Our students take pride in their community and demonstrate their pride through their actions and words. Our visible environment is a reflection of our values.

We ensure our students will be college ready through the development of strong work habits and a growth mindset. Our students understand the significance of a college degree and align their efforts in school with a college-bound trajectory.

Students internalize and value the culture of high expectations within UPrep schools. They reflect on how this culture manifests itself through their academic and character development. Key moments- serve as capstone projects for students.

You can learn more about our curriculum if you visit the academic model page.

Frequently Accessed Curriculum Resources

Creativity. College. Career. It all starts here.

UPAD: MHS is the only tuition-free school in Detroit created for teens who are passionate about visual arts. Today it is Detroit’s premier art and design middle | high school, where young people develop the foundation they need to be successful in college and dynamic careers, including those in visual arts and design.

Our Curriculum

The world is in need of creative problem solvers, innovative thinkers who can produce new ideas and come up with new solutions. Students at UPAD: MHS study everything required by the State of Michigan as outlined in the Michigan Curriculum Framework. In addition, they learn the processes and ways of approaching problems of “design thinkers.”  This means that they have many experiences exploring real-life problems and learning a specific way to understand and solve those problems.  This allows students to apply the skills and information they are learning in their other studies in an interesting and real way.

Art and Design: Each year, every student takes art and design as a part of the core curriculum. Our partner, the College for Creative Studies (CCS), provides dual enrollment opportunities for our most advanced students who are interested in pursuing post-secondary art studies. Students also have the opportunity to incorporate art and design in to their other subject area classes through various projects.

Science: At UPAD: MHS, science concepts and skills are taught by “doing science.” Based on the State of Michigan Curriculum Framework, these science units are organized to allow young people to carry out investigations, talk and write about their observations and understandings, and discuss ways to test them. They learn scientific concepts by doing what scientists do.

English Language Arts: UPAD: MHS students develop their reading and writing skills using the Oakland MAISA Common Core Curriculum. This curriculum embeds students in a Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop framework where lessons are student centered and focus on explicitly taught strategies, teacher modeling, peer collaboration, focused practice, self-reflection, and student-teacher conferencing.

Math: Our middle school curriculum is Connected Mathematics, a problem-centered, inquiry-based program which focuses on developing students’ ability to reason and communicate proficiently by strengthen math knowledge, understanding, and skill through mathematical discourse and problem solving. Our high school math curriculum is Carnegie Learning, which is designed to raise students’ math knowledge through a combination of classroom activities, adaptive software, and teacher professional development.

Social Studies: Social studies at UPAD: MHS is based on the Oakland Scope/MAISA Common Core Curriculum. The units build upon each other and provide opportunities for students to make arguments about cause-effect relationships, turning points, and continuity and change over time. We also offer an AP Government course for students who excel.

Physical Education and Health: In health, students learn through the Michigan Model for Health, a comprehensive, skills-based health education curriculum that addresses the major youth health risk behaviors at every grade level, with age-appropriate instructional activities. In physical education, students learn and practice movement and motor skills, content knowledge and vocabulary, and personal/social behaviors and values.

Spanish: High school students take two years of Spanish with the opportunity to take a third. They learn Spanish language and culture through experiencing both components. Hands on activities are frequent. Students also have the opportunity to speak, read, and write Spanish daily. Students participate in several cultural events throughout the course of the year such as Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Design Thinking: UPAD: MHS students learn Design Thinking through a variety of experiences and challenges each year. These activities give students the opportunity to innovate solutions to real-life human problems while at the same time applying concepts and skills from other disciplines.These experiences will, over time, develop students’ understanding and ability to use Design Thinking processes, Design Thinking mindsets (ways of thinking) and Design Thinking dispositions (ways of being).

Focus on College and Careers

We are committed to graduating at least 90 percent of our ninth grade students and sending at least 90 percent of graduates on to college. A full-time College Transitions Counselor, college tours, college speakers, career speakers and fairs, career exploration courses, and on-site admissions are just a few elements that create a school environment where college is an expectation. Collaboration with CCS enables UPAD: MHS to have a focus on Art and Design careers and exposure to professionals working in these fields.

All students complete the Senior Mastery Process (SMP), which includes a deep dive into career and college pathways, a 60-hour internship in the career of their choice, and a doctoral defense style presentation of their experience and research to a panel of adults and peers. This capstone University Prep experience cements the link between what is learned in high school and the world of work and college.

School Culture

UPAD: MHS students participate in daily forum activities because getting along well with others and cooperating and following established behavioral guidelines is so fundamental to a productive and positive learning experience.

This approach uses the following key strategies to develop social competence:  daily routine, rule creation, interactive modeling; goal setting, positive teacher language, logical consequences, learning studio design that promotes independence and responsibility; working with families; and collaborative problem solving.

Restorative Practices: The use of Restorative Practices has been shown to be a highly effective way to build and maintain positive school culture that supports a safe, productive and high performing learning community for students and adults in school settings. This approach allows UPAD: MHS students to experience some of these important aspects of community: respect and safety; consideration and appreciation; encouragement and belonging; and, empathy and inclusion.

The M-STEP is the state of Michigan’s primary test to measure student achievement in English Language Arts (ELA), math, science, and social studies.  Students in third through eighth grade complete the test every spring, and parents usually receive results the following fall.  Students’ scores provide information about how well they have mastered grade-level material.  This is a computerized test.

Students in grades two through eight are required to take the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in reading and mathematics.  This test is administered three times per year.  In the fall, students take the assessment to receive a baseline score.  They take a winter test to monitor their progress.  After taking their final test in the spring, students’ scores are compared against their fall scores to determine how much growth they have demonstrated throughout the year.  Each test takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Interim Assessments
Administered 3-4 times per year, interim assessments provide information for students and teachers about how well they have mastered grade-level material.  These results give teachers valuable information about how to tailor their instruction to students based on their needs.  Tests generally take about 2 hours per test to complete.

For students who are learning English as a second language, the WIDA test is administered to determine progress in the acquisition of the English language.  The test is formatted differently for different ages, and it generally includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening components.  The results from the WIDA inform a student’s placement and level of services for English language learners.

Learning must extend beyond the four walls of a classroom. UPAD: Middle High School offers its students a variety of extracurricular opportunities. Learn More Here.


UPAD: MHS offers both male and female students the opportunity to participate in a variety of competitive sports and be a part of our Mustang athletic program. Learn more about UPAD athletics programs here.

Clubs and After School Activities

UPAD: MHS provides a range of after school activities for students. All students in the building after the end of a regular school day must be involved in a specific club, activity, athletics, or other program. Learn More

As a school on a college campus, students have the privilege to eat in a college cafeteria, where they held to high expectations for behavior and maturity. We provide free breakfast and lunch for all students. As a part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, our school participates in the Community Eligible Provision Program; each year our school eligibility for additional state funding and grant programs is dependent on the completion of Household Information Surveys collected from each family. 

Food Service Quick Links

Dear University Prep Parents,

As the new Food Service Director for University Prep Schools, it is my mission to ensure we provide a high-quality school lunch program to every student every day.

As a parent with two children, I understand how difficult it can be to make lunch on the fly or wonder if they are even going to eat what you pack them. While I support your any parent who chooses  to prepare their children’s lunch, I also want you to have confidence in the school lunch program that we are providing in the building.

With this in mind, for the 2017/18 school year and I am proud to announce some exciting enhancements to our University Prep food service program! This year our organization has selected Variety Food Services Inc. to serve our young scholars nutritional meals.

Variety has over sixteen (16) years experience providing meals in child nutrition programs that include breakfast, lunch snacks and after school supper. Variety has consistently met the strict USDA nutritional standards for each meal type via annual SMI Nutritional Reviews conducted by the Michigan Department of Education.

Variety’s K-12, breakfast and lunch menus strictly comply with the USDA’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and they consistently incorporate the use of fresh fruits and vegetables (both hot and cold) every week in monthly menus. Additionally, variety has never introduced any fried foods into their programs.

I take tremendous pride in my job and believe school menus are an opportunity to model good nutrition and encourage healthy eating practices. I will work with Variety to provide our UPrep scholars with nutrition information such as an explanation of calories and intake, the dangers of fad diets and nutrition, and the importance of a balanced diet.

In regards to quality assurance I will conduct quarterly food service progress reports, monitor delivery standards, provide lunch staff with robust training and be vigilant about special dietary needs for individual students.
Also, this year our University Prep school menus will contain the following important food nutrition facts:

  • Calories
  • Calories from fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat grams
  • Fat percentage
  • Saturated fat
  • Protein

I thank you for your continued support of our program, and I welcome feedback and ideas throughout the year.

Sandra Collier
Director of Food Services
University Prep Schools

Student Handbook
The UPAD: MHS Student Handbook is a guide to assist students and parents in understanding our school’s policies and procedures. It is the responsibility of all staff, students, and their parents/guardians, to become familiar with the Student Handbook. Download the 2019-20 UPAD District Student/Family Handbook here.

Frequently Used Documents

Click here to access our digital campus and find additional important school documents.


University Prep Art and Design – Middle High School

485 W. Milwaukee
Detroit, MI. 48202

Phone: (313) 481-4000

School Director: Joseph E. Hines II
School Operations Manager: Abram Miller