WHI member organization spotlight: Ypsilanti Community Schools

Year founded: 2013

Mission: YCS is dedicated to developing mindful, engaged, and connected students with the knowledge, skills, and work ethics to prepare them to pursue their career aspirations and contribute to a community that celebrates diversity, equity, and justice.

Key services:


College and Career Readiness:

  • Free Dual Enrollment Opportunities with Washtenaw Community College
  • Home to STEMM Middle College, where our students can graduate with an Associate Degree
  • SAT Prep Courses and sustainable University Partnerships
  • Use of Xello Career Cruising to help students explore future workforce opportunities
  • Seal of Biliteracy that grants high school graduation credit for their language proficiency


  • At YCS, we have been intentional in establishing sustainable partners that meet with us regularly to ensure that our students, families, and staff receive the services they need to thrive and contribute to our community. Our partners are in a relationship with us—their voice matters at YCS. We work in the spirit of collaboration, change, and prosperity. As a result, we have secured alternative funding sources and partnerships integral to our success as a Full-Service Lighthouse District in Washtenaw County.

Social Justice and Culturally Responsive Practices:

  • YCS, where we intentionally cultivate the genius in every child by ensuring that our daily instruction infuses these 5 pursuits: Identity, Skill, Criticality, Intellect, and Joy.
  • We intentionally ensure that our classrooms model a culture of belonging and relationship centered on the use of restorative practices that help students to feel psychologically safe in school.
  • All instruction at YCS must offer choice, voice, and student and adult agency.
  • The district spent over $150,000 dollars to purchase a diverse literacy library in every school in the district.


  • Home to YPSI Connected Community School – A K-8 Fully Online School where students learn all their content virtually. Classes are taught by highly certified staff using the HMH Anywhere online interactive curriculum.
  • Home to our Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program in grades Preschool through First Grade.

Culturally Responsive K-12 Curriculum:

  • Adoption of a culturally responsive and rigorous curriculum that places the student as leaders of their own learning.
  • Purchased appropriate interventions that support struggling students in the areas of reading and mathematics: Systems 44, Read 180, Math 180, Reading and Math Corps, Arima, Lexia, Imagine Math Facts, Waggle, and other interventions that support students to thrive.

Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness:

  • At YCS, we see, hear, seek to understand, value, respect, but most of all care about our students. Our educators must model this practice with consistency and fairness.
  • Home of the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS), where Michigan Medicine provides youth the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Our Coordinated School Health Team ensures that our students receive the balanced nutritious, physical, and emotional support they need to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • At YCS, we provide comprehensive nursing services throughout the district to ensure that our students live a healthy life.
  • TRAILS SEL Units are taught with fidelity to support student wellbeing.


  • One-to-one technology infrastructure throughout the district.
  • Free Internet access and devices for students
  • Use of a Blended Learning Instructional Model to ensure that students are being prepared for a future yet to be defined.

Marketing and Student Recruitment Campaign:

  • Through Boots on the Ground, YCS aims to market to students and families in the Ypsilanti area by canvassing neighborhoods.
  • The vision of the F.A.C.E. Conference for Ypsilanti Community Schools is to provide tools, supports, and resources for families based on the needs identified under care, safety, academics, and community partnerships.
  • YCS’s Marketing Plan involves expanding our visibility and exposure through billboards, radio, and community events.

Superintendent: Alena Zachery-Ross

Address: 1885 Packard Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Phone: 734-221-1210

Website: https://www.ycschools.us/

Facebook: @ypsilanticommunityschools