University Prep Academy

UPA Elementary School – Ellen Thompson Campus

Open Seat: 0
Est: 2005
Grades: k-5
Enrollment: 433

University Prep Academy (UPA) Elementary School-Ellen Thompson Campus offers students a stellar academic experience that cultivates future success in middle school, high school and college. The program at UPA Elementary School- Ellen Thompson Campus is rigorous, comprehensive, and personalized to meet the individual needs of students. Providing students with a wide range of engaging experiences helps us work with students to begin to identify their passions, which is a critically important engine for future success.

School Director: Kyra White

School Operations Manager: Autumn Dailey
School Operations Manager: Autumn Dailey
Click to email the School Director & Operations Manager

Dear UPrep ET Families;

The future of our young people is the most valuable asset that exists and it is the school community’s responsibility to usher scholars to the finish-line with confidence and competence. As a proud Detroiter, it is a great privilege to help create an environment with high academic standards where scholars flourish in maximizing their talents to infuse back into our city. Ellen Thompson is the longest standing elementary school in the Detroit 90/90 network and we commit to continuing its great legacy and as we champion every child’s educational success. 

My name is Kyra White and I am the new School Director (Principal) at University Prep Academy Ellen Thompson campus. It is with great humility and excitement that I approach this work alongside the dedicated UPA ET family who have graciously welcomed me. Together, we will provide scholars with a robust curriculum with field experiences that support content mastery. It is our desire for every scholar to be highly engaged in a multitude of learning opportunities. 

The UPA ET family is fully committed to serving every ET family as it is our goal to fully develop scholars. This is an impossible task without your support. Because we can’t teach a scholar not seated in a chair, helping to ensure that your scholar is present and prepared to fully engage every day is the most critical level of assistance that families provide. We appreciate your commitment to this partnership and extend a resounding “Thank You” for all that you do. 

I am full of expectation and look forward to connecting with scholars and their families as we embark on the 2019 school year.

Educationally yours,

Kyra White


January 2020

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U Prep’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 U Prep 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.


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.

Early Literacy Assessments

The early literacy screeners are used for students in grades K-3 to identify potential reading challenges.  They are a required component of our assessment program, and the results are used to inform conversations between administrators, teachers, and parents about student’s’ progress.  The tests are administered in two phases–an initial screening test and a diagnostic test to help identify specific areas for support.


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.

At UPA Ellen Thompson, students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities early on in their academic career. Learn More
Note: We offer breakfast from 7:30 am to 8:00 am

Note: We offer breakfast from 7:30 am to 8:00 am

Food Service Quick Links
From Our Food Director

Dear University Prep Parents,

As the 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 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 2019/20 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 U Prep 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


The board is committed to providing intellectually stimulating school environments that promote and protect children’s health, social and emotional well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating, physical activity and other behaviors that contribute to student wellness. Good health fosters student attendance and education. Children and adolescents need access to healthy foods and opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn, and thrive.  To meet this commitment, the district will be guided by the following policy:

  1. The health of our students is essential to their academic success. When faced with conflicting priorities or issues of implementation, this policy will be interpreted in a way that favors student health. 
  2. All students in grades K-12 will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  3. Schools will provide access to a variety of nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of students; take into consideration the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the student body in meal planning; and provide clean, safe, and pleasant settings and adequate time for students to eat. 
  4. To the maximum extent practicable, all schools in the district will participate in available federal school meal programs.
  5. The school district supports a coordinated approach to school health which includes: comprehensive school health education, physical education, school health services, school nutrition services, counseling, psychological, and social services, healthy school environment, school-site health promotion for staff, and family and community involvement.

Physical Activity

  • During the School Day

Physical activity includes regular instructional physical education, co-curricular activities, and recess at the elementary level. All students will be expected to participate in regular physical activity and will be provided with appropriate opportunities for participation in physical education. All students will be encouraged to further participate in physical activity through co-curricular activities and recess. The district will encourage the integration of physical activity with the academic curriculum, based on research findings relating physical activity and learning. Recognizing the critical importance of sufficient physical activity for students, schools will withhold recess to allow students ample time to complete assignments when necessary. Physical education will not be withheld as punishment.

  • Before and After School Activities

Students will be encouraged to participate in 30 minutes of physical activity through before- and/or after-school programs including intramurals, interscholastic athletics, and physical activity clubs. To encourage broad participation in extracurricular activities, the district will work with the community and other agencies to reduce barriers to participation and expand opportunities through partnerships with youth activity organizations, scholarships, subsidies, and other methods.

  • Parent and Community Support

Schools will encourage parents and guardians to support their children’s participation in physical activity, to be physically active role models, and to include physical activity in family events.

Nutrition Education

  1. Fostering Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits

Students will receive nutrition education that is interactive and teaches the skills they need to adopt lifelong habits of healthy eating. Students will receive consistent nutrition messages throughout schools, classrooms and cafeterias.

  1. Nutrition Education Curriculum

The aim of the curriculum will be for students to acquire knowledge and skills to understand and make healthful nutrition choices that contribute to growth and vitality and help prevent chronic disease. Nutrition education activities should be coordinated with the food service program, the core curriculum and the school health program, as appropriate, and should be enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally- relevant, and participatory.

  1. Community Involvement

Schools will promote family and community involvement in nutrition education, such as developing school gardens and providing students with opportunities to learn about sustainable agriculture and how food is grown in the community.

Other Activities That Support Student Wellness

The district will strive to provide access to Local Health Clinics for all students, as fiscally possible.

Nutrition Standards

Decisions regarding the sale of foods in addition to the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program meals will be based on nutrition goals, not solely revenue.

  1. National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs

The district’s food service operations will provide nutrient-dense, tasty, food that reflects the district’s cultural diversity, including a variety of fruits and vegetables. The district will set nutrition standards that meet or exceed those set by the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs. To the extent possible, the district will operate the National School Breakfast Program in schools and employ strategies that encourage participation in the program. Recognizing the importance of sufficient time to eat and of a pleasant, relaxed eating environment, schools will adopt a minimum number of minutes that students have to eat breakfast and lunch and will consider other strategies that contribute to healthy eating.

Foods From Home

  1. It is paramount that we ensure that those students who suffer from severe allergies are protected at all times. Pursuant to the FDA Food Guidance Regulation, Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. The following common allergens are prohibited from being brought onsite to UPREP Schools: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, and Shellfish.
  2. Parents/Caregivers will be encouraged to promote their child’s participation in the school meals program. If their child does not participate in the school meals program, parents/caregivers will be encouraged to provide a healthy alternative.
  3. UPrep Schools Wellness Advisory Board will establish nutrition standards for all foods and beverages consumed within the Local Education Authority (LEA).  Any food and beverages that are not provided through the school meals program but consumed during the school meals program sessions must meet nutrition and portion guidelines set by U.S Department of Agriculture,  Michigan Department of Education, and UPREP Schools Wellness Advisory Board. The following foods are prohibited: Fast Foods, Food delivered to schools via restaurant services. This list is not all-inclusive , please refer to Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Recommendations for all Foods and Beverages Available in Michigan Schools (2010).

Competitive Foods (If exempt)

Competitive foods include a la carte, fundraising, school stores, classroom parties, foods used during classes as part of the learning process, vending machines and anything that competes with breakfast and lunch programs. Competitive foods shall meet nutrition and portion size guidelines set by the CEO, with input from the Wellness Advisory Committee. The District encourages “Healthy Snacks” and “Healthy Parties”. Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value, as defined by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, shall not be sold to students on school campuses during the school day.

  • Distribution of Competitive Food

Nutritious foods are encouraged when used as part of a social or cultural event in the schools. During the school day, schools should limit the use of food at celebrations that are not related to the curriculum. Parents and staff are encouraged to provide party foods that are consistent with the Healthy Parties guidelines and to serve such items after the lunch hour whenever possible.

  • Use of Food as Incentive or Reward

Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are not to be distributed by staff as a reward for academic performance or good behavior. The use of any candy as a reward for academic performance or good behavior is strongly discouraged. Other food as an incentive, or reward, or as part of the curriculum for students should be used judiciously, taking into consideration the nutritional value of the food being served and the frequency of use

  • After-School Events Sponsored by District

Food offerings at concession stands operated on school campuses (such as, but not limited to, athletic events and concessions, after school programs, performances and school dances) shall include healthy options such as water, milk, 100% juice and nutritious foods as delineated by the Healthy Snacks guidelines.

Policy Implementation The CEO is responsible for implementation of this Wellness Policy. To assist in this effort, the CEO  will appoint a Wellness Advisory Committee. The committee will advise the CEO on the development of administrative rules related to this policy and provide guidance on implementation of the policy.


  • Fundraising activities using foods and/or beverages will meet the standards set forth in the Michigan Nutrition Standards Recommendations for Foods and Beverages Served Outside the USDA Child Nutrition Programs at Elementary, Middle, and High Schools pages 8-9 unless Fundraising activities selling foods and/or beverages cannot be held 30 minutes before the first lunch period starts, or less than 30 minutes after the final lunch period ends
  • Foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snack Standards may be sold during the school day with no time or location restriction unless prohibited in UPREP Schools Local Wellness Policy
  • Fundraisers that sell pre-ordered bulk items not meant for immediate consumption (ex. pizza kits, cookie dough, girl scout cookies) are allowed as long as not sold in food service area during meal times
  • Foods and or beverages that DO NOT meet the Smart Snack Standards are allowed :
    • During Classroom and school parties as long as money is collected before the event.
    • Nutritional value may be provided for all foods and beverages sold via picture or photocopy of nutrition label
  • Exempt fundraisers – monitored by the food nutrition team
  • Two (2) exempt fundraisers per school, per week
  • May only last one day; can be sold at multiple times during school day
  • May not be sold in food service area during meal times
To view and download our handbook, code of conduct, and other important schools documents click here.


UPA Elementary School – Ellen Thompson Campus
957 Holden
Detroit, MI 48202

Phone: (313) 874-9800
Fax: (313) 874-9822