Volume 5 No. 9
WESTLAND, MI - “At the end of the day, we all recognized ourselves as being first year teachers and first year administrators,” says Principal Layal Boussi, recounting how her school adapted to the Covid-era classroom. She views the spring semester of 2020 as a test run, providing an opportunity to refine their approach to instruction. “That allowed us to design and come into the fall with a very structured system of how we will run the instructional process – how Google classroom is going to be the vehicle of instruction,” Principal Boussi says. She acknowledges that the challenges gave Universal Learning Academy (ULA) a pathway to learn, which benefitted them both professionally and personally.
“I was very worried about the motivation aspect,” Principal Boussi says about the Class of 2021, “they didn’t necessarily have the typical activities, the enrichment, the interpersonal relations – just the schoolwide events that we typically do. Although they missed out on that, they’re motivation continued to be there.” At the end of the year, ULA seniors cumulatively had great GPAs, graduating with two salutatorians and one valedictorian.
“There was a lot of quality maintained despite the challenges… in nothing really did we take a shortcut,” Principal Boussi shared. The college prep for upper-level students stayed mostly the same, adapting virtually. And with a curriculum that includes a unit focused on career readiness, ULA did not stop there. Principal Boussi recounts, “We were also able to host after school evening sessions to support our students with college applications and scholarship applications. They had one-on-one meetings with a counselor to get that individual support on how to apply for college.”
This year’s growth can be viewed in light of Principal Boussi’s educational philosophy: Empowered collaboration. “If you walk into a traditional day of ULA, you will see student leadership and a lot of staff leadership. The more empowered your stakeholders are within this community of educators, students, and parents, the more you’re going to find yourself really capable of delivering your goals.” This is what she sees as the bedrock of school administration, “This is not a one-person job, this is a collaborative team effort.” With Covid, this philosophy has been put to the test, “I’m a true believer in conversations and really having healthy disagreements to reach agreements and this was the perfect year for it.” The key to the successful school year became communication between all areas of education: parents, administration, professional support, teachers, and students. It is evident that this philosophy proved indispensable this past year.
ULA’s summer will be full of learning programs as well as preparations for the fall. “We are going to be designing what the transition to the fall will look like,” Principal Boussi says, “and that transition will impact instruction, curriculum, assessment planning, and identifying the standards. We recognize there was a gap this year. And the gap does not exist just at ULA or in Michigan. The gap exists globally.” Principal Boussi says that the gap could be social, emotional, academic, or athletic. But if their past track record of adjusting to the needs of their stakeholders is any indication, the ULA Blue Jays will succeed at closing that gap as well.
Universal Learning Academy is a public school academy with a well-rounded program based on the Michigan core curriculum and focused on the study of international cultures.
ULA encourages students, who come from more than two dozen countries, to tear down walls and build bridges by sharing and celebrating their diverse cultural backgrounds. Students learn not to fear their differences, but to draw from one another’s strengths and maximize each student’s potential. In this safe and respectful environment, dedicated educators lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning, offering an innovative, world-class education that inspires students to academic excellence and prepares them for their future roles as responsible citizens and community leaders. Universal Learning Academy: a unique, superior alternative to traditional public school education.

Great job, Universal Learning Academy!
To learn more about ULA, visit their website: http://www.ulapsa.org/
With the first conference championship in their six-year history, West Michigan Aviation Academy’s soccer team has surprised themselves! And yet their accomplishment reveals a pattern of hard work, team unity, and dedication to every opportunity to hone their craft.
“It has been a little bit of a surprise,” Aviation Coach Andrew Lewis said. “But we have a lot of girls who are playing travel and played a lot in the off-season. We knew we had a good amount of talent and off-season work that we could get there. I think the thing that surprised us the most was how united we are as a team.”
Lewis cites their off-season as the source of the change, “We offer something literally every day but Sunday in the winter. Our girls hang out all winter and have grown so close. This unity and off-season work has allowed the program to grow in such a short period of time.”
This buy-in from students who saw the value in investing in the sport and in each other has resulted in success on and off the field. This can be seen with the team’s cumulative grade point average at 4.189. “Our girls’ mindset in every game was that we wanted to be a team that is tough to play against,” Aviation coach Andrew Lewis said.
Outscoring the other teams in the league 41-3, it’s clear that Aviation’s team has a future. “We hope to start competing more at the statewide level,” Lewis says, “We aren’t done growing yet. I could see a couple of our current girls playing in college, and we hope to start competing more at the statewide level.”
Great job, girls!
To learn more about WMAA, visit their website: https://www.westmichiganaviation.org/
About Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools
Bay Mills Community College began authorizing charter schools in the year 2000 and now authorizes 46 schools serving approximately 23,660 students.
Our Mission: To ensure a quality education for urban, minority, and/or poor children by improving and expanding educational opportunities through innovative oversight methods. To provide academy boards with the necessary support and training so that they may make educated decisions that are in the best interest of the students that attend their academies.