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Project Upward Bound

Vandenberg Hall, Room 120
502 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester , Michigan 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-3218
Fax: (248) 370-3217
[email protected]

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Extended hours on select Saturdays (see schedule) or call for an appointment

Project Upward Bound

Vandenberg Hall, Room 120
502 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester , Michigan 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-3218
Fax: (248) 370-3217
[email protected]

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Extended hours on select Saturdays (see schedule) or call for an appointment

A group of students posing for a photo outside of a Motown building with a sign that says "Hitsville U.S.A."


Objectives: Project Upward Bound (PUB) serves 133 PUB Scholars per year. As a federally funded program, PUB is accountable to Congress through the U. S. Department of Education and submits an Annual Performance Report that documents its achievement of six mandatory objectives. Because PUB continually achieves its objectives, June 2019 will mark its 53rd consecutive year of funding.

Academic, Social, Cultural, and Career Enrichment are the four pillars of preparation that PUB applies enabling Scholars to achieve the objectives of:

  • College-eligible Grade Point Average
  • Math and ELA Proficiency on the State Exam
  • Retention in and Graduation from High School
  • Success in a Rigorous High School Curriculum
  • Postsecondary Enrollment
  • Postsecondary Completion
Academic Enrichment

Project Upward Bound’s academic enrichment is delivered to PUB Scholars in two parts:  the Summer Academy and the Academic Year Program.  PUB’s Summer Academy is a particularly effective strategy for preventing “Summer Slide” (i.e. learning loss) which especially impacts reading and math skills.  So not only do PUB summer scholars retain what they learned the previous academic year, but they get a head start on what will be taught in the upcoming academic year.  During the Academic Year Program, PUB’s focus is on helping Scholars earn the highest grades they can in school and preparing for the state proficiency exam.


Assessment begins when a student applies for PUB admission.  Applicant needs are initially identified based on school grades and state test scores as well as responses to essay and interview questions.  From this, the Academic Coordinator creates an initial Academic Development Plan (ADP); and the Project Advisor meets with the new PUB Scholar and their parent(s) to develop a Student Success Plan (SSP) creating academic, social, cultural, and career goals.  Practice PSAT’s/SAT’s are administered at least once annually to measure academic progress.  Both the ADP and the SSP are adjusted at least once annually developing new goals as existing goals are achieved.

Academic Support

Academic enrichment is provided for PUB Scholars in many ways:

  • Summer Academy classes, staffed by Certified Teachers and Academic Mentors, introduce Scholars to their next semester’s curriculum
  • Oakland University Teacher Education students are PUB Academic Mentors
  • Latest technologies are integrated into the implementation of lesson plans
  • Saturday Academy academic classes prepare Scholars for SAT success
  • An Academic Skills Course is taught on site at select target schools during the school day
  • College Clubs assist Scholars to complete assignments and close academic gaps
  • Competitive Academic Games help Scholars learn content and teamwork
  • Project-based classes encourage research, imagination, evaluation, critical thinking
  • Access to academic support technology from any location makes learning convenient and encourages grade level improvement
  • Access to OU resources makes the PUB experience more college-like

PUB provides one-on-one service to Scholars who need individual attention

High School Credit

PUB Scholars enrolled at Pontiac High School attend PUB's 5th hour Academic Skills class.  Just as with any other class, if PUB Scholars earn a passing grade they will earn course credit.

For all other scholars, once annually PUB sends a report to the School District summarizing the Scholar's academic performance in PUB for the past year.  The schools then award elective credit at their discretion.

All of PUB's target schools have agreed to PUB's Summer Academy being a credit recovery site.  PUB Scholars who need to make up credits may do so in a PUB Summer Academy by making arrangements through PUB's Academic Coordinator.

College Preparation

A university education includes more than academics.  So PUB addresses both the academic and social/cultural aspects of preparing for college.  In addition to offering tutoring, core, and SAT classes, PUB’s College Seminar for juniors and Senior Seminar for seniors help Scholars identify and gain entry into good-fit colleges and career options.  Financial Literacy prepares Scholars to be able to pay for college and manage their finances over a lifetime.

PUB’s Leadership Development Institute allows Scholars to identify and practice positive leadership skills that can be used in college classes, student organizations, and careers.  Performing Arts builds self-confidence and self-esteem while providing an artistic outlet.  Summer Academy, College/Career Day, College Fairs, and College Tours give Scholars access to first-hand college information, advice, and experiences that they may not otherwise have.  Summer trips expose Scholars to a broad spectrum of environments so they can make informed decisions about environmental elements that will help them to thrive in college and careers.

By providing a comprehensive approach that incorporates academic, social, cultural, and career enrichment, PUB Scholars are more likely to be prepared to experience college success.

Funding College

  • All PUB Scholars participate in Financial Literacy classes appropriate to their grade level.
  • PUB hosts an annual FAFSA workshop for seniors and their parents each October to make sure their financial aid application is submitted on time.
  • As part of College Seminar, Scholars identify scholarships for which they can qualify by the time they are seniors.  In Senior Seminar they apply for them.
  • As part of College Seminar, Scholars compare and contrast the financial aspects of attending each of their good-fit college choices so they can make an informed choice.
  • Pontiac Promise Zone works closely with PUB to assure that PUB alumni who are eligible Pontiac residents receive the annual college financial support they are due.
  • As TRIO Programs participants, PUB Scholars are eligible to apply for scholarships sponsored by the Michigan College Access Programs and Personnel (MI-CAPP) Scholarship.
  • PUB alumni who enroll at Oakland University automatically receive an equal portion of book scholarship dollars raised in the preceding summer.
  • McCree Scholars may also participate in PUB during high school as a strategy for maintaining scholarship eligibility.

Communication and Technology

  • PUB employs a variety of technologies, from “snail mail” to social media, to communicate with Scholars and Parents.
  • A periodic newsletter is published to inform all PUB stakeholders of progress toward achieving annual objectives.
  • Computer and other electronic technology is integrated into classroom learning.
  • PUB has mobile computer labs as well as access to OU’s computer and science labs.
  • Cell phone technology is used for select activities in the classroom and on trips.

Scholars are allowed to bring cell phones to PUB Summer Academy and other activities. But, like in school, there are designated times that it is allowable to use them. This policy helps Scholars stay in the moment and focus on their reasons for being here.

Cultural Enrichment

A focus on cultural enrichment exposes PUB Scholars to people, customs, standards, and experiences to which they may not have ever been exposed. The goal is to equip them with a knowledge base to help them more easily navigate higher education and, ultimately, career environments.

Diversity and Inclusion

In PUB’s target geographic area, students tend to see people who look like them. But the world is made up of people with a vast array of characteristics and qualities. PUB seeks to introduce Scholars to all types of human diversity to broaden their knowledge of and comfort level with people who may or may not look like them; and to prepare them to succeed in a global community. Consequently, human diversity is intentionally included in our staffing, our student body, our field trips, and in all of our activities to the degree possible.

Dining Etiquette

PUB’s Project Director facilitates dining etiquette training during each Summer Academy. Training begins with the requirement for Scholars to RSVP to an invitation, continues with a cocktail hour, and concludes with a sit-down dinner. Knowing dining etiquette increases Scholar’s confidence in both social and career situations where dining habits can make a critical difference such as a job interview over lunch, a conference meal, or even a date.

Appropriate Attire

Scholars transitioning from childhood into adulthood when important opinions will be formulated about them based on their appearance. It is important that Scholars learn how to dress to suit the occasion. PUB tries to employ fun ways of getting the message across such as fashion shows, fashion design elective classes, and designated days to dress in specific attire.

Effective Communication

With adulthood also comes the need to communicate appropriately and effectively. This becomes more of a challenge with all of the acronyms and shortcuts used to communicate on social media. Limiting cell phone time encourages face-to-face communication which increases Scholars’ ability to “read” non-verbal communication signals. Incorporating diversity helps to develop an ear for international accents and interpret the body language of other ethnicities, a skill essential for success in college and careers. Enhanced communication skills complement dressing appropriately and using acceptable dining etiquette; altogether they enhance self-confidence.

Performing Arts

Every PUB Summer Academy ends with a stage performance. This is the capstone event of the Performing Arts class which incorporates drama, dance, music, and stage production. Scholars write their own script which is usually reflective of a current cultural situation. Then they facilitate all of the tasks associated with presenting a successful live performance. Friends and family are invited in for the production and, once again, self-confidence is boosted when Scholars perform on a stage in front of an audience.

Gospel Explosion

PUB’s Annual Gospelfest evolved into an Annual Gospel Explosion effective in the summer of 2018. The difference is that it is a bigger production in a larger venue. The purpose is twofold: to generate scholarship dollars for PUB Alumni who enroll at Oakland University and to engage with the Pontiac community where most PUB Scholars live. The Gospel Explosion gives PUB Scholars another stage performance opportunity since, as the hosting group, PUB sings the first songs to open the show. With the Gospel Explosion, there is absolutely no attempt on PUB’s part to persuade Scholars’ religious views. On the contrary, the Gospel Explosion simply celebrates this rich cultural genre by presenting it in all of its forms - vocal music, instrumentals, dance, step, spoken word, mime, drama, etc.

Career Enrichment

Given PUB’s mission, the ultimate end goal is that PUB alumni earn a postsecondary degree and move into a productive career. Although that career may be several years away, high school is not too early to begin practicing skills and developing habits that will enhance PUB alumni’s ability to attract potential employers. These are some of the ways in which PUB provides career enrichment.

Career Exploration

  • Each PUB Scholar takes the Careers Occupational Preference Survey (COPS) and receives a printout of potential career options that are a good fit for his/her characteristics.
  • In College Seminar, Scholar’s select 3 primary career options and research the majors that support them. Then they identify realistic options for postsecondary institutions with the majors, environmental factors, and financial structure that best suit them.

College/Career Day, Motivational Speakers, Role Models

  • Each February, PUB hosts a day in which Scholars are immersed in career-related activities. Sometimes it’s an alumni panel. Other times it’s a field trip. Yet other times it has been an interesting experiential learning exercise or a series of workshops in conference format.
  • On Summer Academy Sunday evenings during Dorm Meeting, motivational speakers address the student body with encouraging presentations about their life’s experiences and how they overcame barriers to achieve success.
  • Assuring that we are engaging positive role models is integral to selecting PUB Team members.  Summer Scholars often maintain long term relationships with their Peer Mentors and Head Resident. By doing so, they remain encouraged to persist in high school and college.

Leadership Development Opportunities

  • One-week PUB Leadership Development Institute every summer
  • PUB Club Officers at each school
  • Summer Academy Student Council
  • MI-CAPP Student Leadership Summit every February
  • EOA Women in STEM Conference every May
  • EOA Men of Excellence Conference every June
  • COE National Student Leadership Congress every June

OU Day at the Capitol

  • PUB Scholars get an opportunity to network with University Congress, the governing body of students at OU.
  • PUB Scholars get an opportunity to ask questions of and network with members of a legislative panel of OU alumni who work in state government.
  • PUB Scholars receive the honors of being recognized from the floor of the House and/or Senate.PUB Scholars receive the honors of being recognized from the floor of the House and/or Senate.

Public Address Skills

  • Scholars who attend Summer Academy participate in two group stage performances
  • Scholars develop a PowerPoint slide show in College Seminar and deliver it as an oral presentation to peers and parents.
  • Seniors develop and deliver oral presentations to peers, parents, school officials, and sometimes legislators annually at PUB graduation
Social Enrichment

Being in Project Upward Bound provides endless opportunities for social enrichment. Since it services several high schools, participants regularly interact with students from other communities. At student leadership conferences, participants interact with TRiO students and staff from across the state, the region, and the nation. In addition, PUB participants are constantly surrounded by PUB alumni and professionals who consistently model acceptable social behavior for participants.

Social enrichment activities also include:

  • Visiting with and hosting other Upward Bound Programs
  • Learning social graces/courtesies 
  • Hosting participants from other pre-college programs
  • Being surrounded by PUB alumni
  • Participating in Family Fun Day each summer
  • Hosting guests for the Annual Scholarship Gospelfest
  • Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation Training
  • Living on campus in a residential academic community
  • Negotiating Privileges as a part of Student Council
  • Hygiene, health, and healthy relationship workshops
  • Dining Etiquette Training
  • Final Exam Blowout at local games venues
  • Choosing the attire for the occasion, body language, and conversational speaking workshops
  • Learning/practicing acceptable social behaviors
  • Learning/practicing self-responsibility through the summer trip incentive system
  • Appropriate behavior in hotels, tipping, packing for travel
  • Teamwork, Time Management
  • Giving and earning Respect in relationships, behavior, and communication
  • Appropriate timing and usage of cell phones and social media

In essence, by the time participants graduate from PUB, they are a lot more “polished” than when they came in!

Community Service

PUB arranges several community service opportunities annually that help Scholars learn to become compassionate world citizens. Long-term service sites have been the Lighthouse of Oakland County, the HAVEN, and the Regency at Waterford. If Scholars use these opportunities to do 10 hours of community service each year, they will easily meet their 40-hour Community Service high school graduation requirement.