University Prep Schools, one of Detroit’s longest-standing charter school systems, today announced an all-new sailing program in partnership with the Detroit Yacht Club. Continuing its commitment to access, opportunity and experience, U Prep Schools will offer the four-week class to 25 of its University Prep Science & Math (UPSM) middle and high school students this summer. Given its STEAM curriculum, the school system will pilot the program within the UPSM district, as an extracurricular supplement to the students’ science and engineering coursework. The program, which was made possible by an initial anonymous donation of $100,000, is slated to run from July 7 to August 1.
“We are really looking to change the game when it comes to urban education in Detroit; not only in the classroom, but beyond,” said Mark Ornstein, CEO of University Prep Schools, which oversees operations at UPSM and its sister district, University Prep Academy. “University Prep Schools’ students deserve every advantage and opportunity afforded students with significantly more resources. With the help of the community and that of the Detroit Yacht Club, we’re leveling the playing field with this program.”
The first partnership of its kind, University Prep Schools and the Detroit Yacht Club will launch the program in conjunction with the club’s prestigious Junior Sailing Program. UPSM students will learn the basics of the sport from some of the club’s most noted instructors and returning sailing program alumni. Students were required to apply to participate in UPSM’s inaugural sailing club and were selected based on both academic performance and essay compilation. University Prep Schools received more than 30 applications from across its STEAM district and culled the applications down to the allotted 25 seats.
“We could not be more thrilled to be able to offer this program in partnership with University Prep Schools,” said Commodore Frederick Carr of the Detroit Yacht Club. “As one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious boating clubs, we have always offered our members a robust sailing program. To be able to share that opportunity with students who have a demonstrated interest in the sport and help further their learning in a meaningful way, is truly awesome.” Carr, once an educator himself, went on to note the importance of the science behind sailing and how he believes the sport can add practical, real-life value to learning beyond the classroom.
The collaboration with Detroit Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Program will afford UPSM students the opportunity to participate for at least the next five summers. While the anonymous donation will help to fund the startup costs associated with the program, the school system is still in need of donations to not only cover the costs associated with equipment, life jackets and materials for the students, but to ensure the longevity of the partnership.
“We couldn’t be more grateful to the Detroit Yacht Club and our generous donor for making this program a reality,” said Margaret Trimer-Hartley, Chief External Relations Officer at University Prep Schools. “When people realize the importance of education and how much the little things can change a child’s life, everyone benefits. Sailing is a fun way to infuse rigorous STEM content into an extracurricular activity and demonstrate a practical application of math and science. Such real world connections make learning more powerful, improve retention and stimulate a student's desire to learn more."
University Prep Schools has long been working to build its athletic offering for UPSM students. Its liberal arts-focused district, University Prep Academy (UPA) has established more competitive traditional sports teams for both male and female students. While UPSM has seen successes with its high school football team, the district is actively building more non-traditional sports programs. The sailing program is just one of the “college prep” sports that school leadership will add to its roster in the next academic year. Prior to building out the inaugural sailing club, University Prep Schools facilitated an exploratory stage to gauge parent support. UPSM parents were surveyed over the course of a month, and were largely supportive of the initiative. Results of the survey, however, indicated a few barriers to participating in the program including the ability to swim and transportation to and from the island. As a result, the school has engaged key community partners such as Safeway, which will provide transportation to and from the sailing class for participating UPSM students for the duration of the program. The Boll Family YMCA has also agreed to provide swim classes at minimal to no cost for the students accepted into the program. University Prep Schools and the Detroit Yacht Club will continue to seek support from the community to ensure the program’s continued growth.
To make a donation to the University Prep Schools sailing program, please visit the school’s recently launched Indiegogo
page. For additional information about how to support the program, visit uprepschools.com/get-involved
About University Prep Schools
Known as one of Detroit's longest-standing charter school systems,University Prep Schools (U Prep Schools) launched in 2000, with the opening of its first tuition-free public charter, University Prep Academy High School. Today, the University Prep Schools network is comprised of two districts, University Prep Academy (UPA) and University Prep Science & Math (UPSM), and seven campuses. Serving more than 3,000 students, the University Prep Schools system prepares students for the world around them through a unique combination of individualized and expeditionary learning models that extends education beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. The schools foster a holistic approach to learning that is rooted in providing its students access, opportunity and success. Follow University Prep Schools on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UniversityPrepSchools
and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UPrepSchools
. For more information about University Prep schools, visit www.uprepschools.com
About Detroit Yacht Club (DYC)
The Historic Detroit Yacht Club, founded in 1868, is one of the oldest private boating and social clubs in North America. Dedicated to providing a variety of outstanding dining, social, recreational, and boating programs for members, families and guests, the DYC offers a wide range of elegant and casual dining options, full catering and event services, and various leisure, health and fitness and social amenities. The club’s harbor facilities and service have been voted the ‘Best in Detroit’ and rank among the finest on the Great Lakes.
Designed by noted architect George Mason and completed in 1922, the DYC clubhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as one of the Midwest’s finest examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture. The clubhouse ranks as the largest yacht club structure in the United States and, presiding over the Detroit River just off of Belle Isle, is one of Detroit’s most distinguished buildings.
For more information about the DYC, please call 313-824-1200
or visit www.dyc.com