University Prep Art and Design School

UPAD – High School

Open Seat: 0
Enrollment: 520
Est: 2009
Grades: 10-12

Creativity. College. Career.

It all starts here.

University Prep Art and Design High School (UPAD:HS), 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, as well as a primary school, where young people develop the foundation they need to be successful in college and dynamic careers, including those in visual arts and design. Located in the heart of Midtown at the College of Creative Studies, our students are surrounded and provided with many experiences and opportunities, including dual enrollment opportunities with CCS. We maintain a broad curriculum of English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, amongst others, all while emphasizing a focus on our prestigious art and design core.

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: HS students are ensured intensive art and design preparation with access to world class instructors, resources and facilities. UPAD:HS 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: HS 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: HS, 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: Giovannie Thomas
School Operations Manager: Giovannie Thomas

August 2, 2019

Greetings UPAD-HS Parent:

Welcome Back! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I also hope you are relaxed, recharged, and ready to start a new school year. I am delighted that you have chosen to remain a member of our amazing learning community for the 2019-2020 school year. I welcome and
value your positive energy, dedication to excellence in education and I look forward to working with you and your child(ren) throughout their academic journey. The school year is less than a month away 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. All signs point to another incredible and productive school year. Our skilled and devoted staff is already planning and preparing for your child(ren). Our enthusiastic office team is registering new families, ordering necessary materials and updating student files. Our hard-working and conscientious facility team have spent the summer thoroughly cleaning and organizing our building. This will ensure that every UPAD high school student will develop an academic mindset to better learn how to learn, master core academic content, think critically, work collaboratively, and communicate more effectively.

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 already happening at UPAD-HS, our phenomenal art and design program, our signature career exploration program-the Senior Mastery Proces and the many community partnerships that enhance student engagement and real-world learning.

On the first day of school, Tue. September 3, 2019 -our staff will be present and ready to provide the best educational experience for your child. Let’s work together to make 2019-2020 school year the best it can be!

We Can. We Will. We Must.

In Community,
Joseph E. Hines II
School Director


January 2020

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  • HFA Boys Basketball vs Ecorse
  • HFA Girls Basketball vs Harper Woods
  • HFA Boys Basketball @ Harper Woods
  • HFA Girls Basketball @ River Rouge
  • HFA Boys Basketball: @ River Rouge
  • HFA Girls Basketball @ Melvindale ABT
  • HFA Boys Basketball vs Hamtramck
  • HFA Girls Basketball vs UPA
  • HFA Boys Basketball: @ UPA
  • HFA Girls Basketball vs Taylor Prep
  • HFA Boys Basketball @ Ecorse
  • HFA Girls Basketball @ UPSM
  • HFA Boys Basketball vs Harper Woods
  • HFA Girls Basketball @ Ecorse
  • HFA Boys Basketball: vs River Rouge
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. 

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
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 – High School

485 W. Milwaukee Ave.
Detroit, MI. 48202
Phone: (313) 481-4000
Fax: (313) 481-4001