(Wayne State University Press Release, Dec. 6, 2013)
A group of more than 100 Detroit-area high school students are learning firsthand how to navigate the college experience thanks to a newly formed partnership between Wayne State University’s College of Education (COE) and the Ferndale Public Schools’ University High School (UHS).
In September, Ferndale Public Schools designated Wayne State as the college-prep school’s exclusive partner to execute its “school without walls” initiative. The partnership gives students from traditionally underrepresented populations the opportunity to gain exposure to higher education through an on-campus experience during their senior year.
More than 80 percent of UHS’s students will be the first in their families to go to college. The supportive learning environment at UHS includes two special staff positions — a college transition specialist and college success advisor — to ensure all students successfully enter and complete college. Since their first graduating class in 2008, UHS students have consistently achieved close to a 100 percent graduation rate, 100 percent college acceptance rate, and 85 percent of all graduates who entered college are continuing toward their degrees.
“All of us at University High School are excited about our new partnership with Wayne State University. We believe that the on-campus experience and the opportunities that Wayne State can provide for our students through this collaboration will only continue to improve our graduates’ success as they transition into college,” said Jason Beatty, school leader for building operations.
Throughout the year, students will take their traditional high school courses at Wayne State. They will be taught by their teachers in the morning and, in the afternoon, will attend dual enrollment courses taught by WSU faculty.
“The partnership is reciprocal and presents a win-win situation for everyone. All of our COE students and faculty will have an opportunity to participate in mentoring, leadership and research. The UHS teachers and faculty will engage in research and innovative practices that inform instructional methods in order to ensure their students’ success,” said Carolyn Shields, dean of the College of Education.
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.
The Ferndale Public Schools are located just north of the City of Detroit, and serve more than 3,000 students from preschool through adult. Ferndale’s University High School was opened in 2005 with a grant from Michigan Future, Inc. to serve as a rigorous, college-preparatory public high school focused on ensuring a supportive learning environment for Detroit’s high school students.
Editor’s Note: UHS previously operated in partnership with Lawrence Tech. University in Southfield. “The school board views the partnership with Wayne State as a tremendous opportunity for our UHS students. The faculty and staff at Wayne State have expressed great enthusiasm for the education of our students on Wayne’s campus, all in a location at the cultural and educational heart of Detroit. We have nothing negative to say about Lawrence Tech. This change is simply a matter of ensuring the best educational experience and college preparation for our University High School students,” said School Board President Jim O’Donnell.