Universal High School
Grades: 9th - 12th
Mary Kennedy, Program Coordinator
The mission of the Universal HS Program remains the same since its inception in 1998: to create an alternative pathway to a high school diploma that is student-centered, standards-based, and rigorous. The program design was presented to the Board of Education for approval in February 2000 and piloted the following school year.
Universal High School is unique in that it embraces the concept of a standards-based system in combination with access to all the educational options currently available and yet to be envisioned. This alternative program for secondary students is intended to recapture very accomplished but disenfranchised students. Each student is encouraged to explore a variety of learning experiences in order to determine what works best for them.
Individualized Learning Plans
In order to graduate from the Universal High School program a student must address the district-wide standards and specific UHS requirements and attain proficient, advanced, or highly advanced grades. Students choose from a menu of learning options. These include: Traditional high school classes including Honors & AP
- College classes
- Independent Studies
- Online courses
Achieving Academic Success
Some very capable students struggle with the pace and delivery models typical of traditional classrooms and school settings, but could nonetheless thrive given a different educational venue. This alternative has the potential of recapturing students and proactively intervening with high-ability, educationally at-risk students. However, this option may also appeal to students who appear successful in a traditional setting but are anxious for alternatives that would allow them to develop their capacities in more non-traditional settings with options for independent study and autonomy. These students are capable of high levels of achievement especially when directly involved in their own program design, and are given more freedom to execute how, where, and when their learning will occur.
Universal High School Program graduates receive an official St. Vrain Valley School District diploma. They receive a UHS transcript which is based on learning unit credit, is approved by the district, and includes a description of the Program which specifically highlights the student’s independently designed program. GPA can be figured from this transcript. UHS graduates have been accepted to a variety of in-state and out of state public and private colleges and universities. The Universal High School coordinator and counselor work closely with students to assist them in the college application process.
What Makes the Universal High School Unique
This option often appeals to creative students who are comfortable with ambiguity, and risk-takers who are willing to go outside the bounds of the more traditional educational establishment. Students who enjoy learning, students who develop strong interests (within or outside of school) and want to explore specific disciplines in greater depth, and students who often like to work independently yet are willing to collaborate with others all have a great chance for success within the Universal High School program. These students are capable of high levels of achievement when they are involved in their own program design, and when they are given more freedom to execute how, where and when their learning will occur. Students who choose to participate in this program generally have a unique vision of what they would like to accomplish as a secondary student that would be considerably enhanced by a more open, flexible educational design.
In addition to addressing the standards, all students must demonstrate the Universal High School Program Essentials throughout their studies as well as two required Electives.
- Habits of Mind - UHS students focus on Habits of Mind including persistence, flexibility, humor, effective listening skills, interdependence, striving for accuracy, creativity, and problem solving.
- Workforce Skills - UHS students work to demonstrate skills that are required for success in post-secondary education or the workplace, such as organization and personal management, communication, and group effectiveness.
- Advanced Study - UHS students must show progressive growth in at least one academic or applied area to a highly advanced level.
- Applied/Service Learning - Students build connections to the community through meaningful service and/or real-world applications of learning.
- Personal/Career Exploration - Students explore the world of work and complete personal resumes along with an electronic portfolio.
|St. Vrain Valley School District • 395 S Pratt Pkwy • Longmont, CO 80501 (303) 776 - 6200|