Note: These curriculum pages do not reflect the current curricular structure at UHHS, which is in a process of evolution to conform to New York State standards and assessments.

Students are assessed and teaching instruction tailored to their individual needs. We do not assume that a student can do fractions very well, for example, just because he has completed the sixth grade. Students may use the same math book but work on different areas based on interest and ability.

Development and Use of Instructional Materials

Teachers meet 2 to 3 hours every week by Seminar and Team to discuss current curriculum and make plans for the next marking period. In these weekly meetings, we also discuss progress of the students in general and make suggestions on ways to help those who seem to be having particular problems with the work or socially. We adjust instructional materials as needed. For example, we might find that the readings we have chosen for the Project is a bit difficult for some of the students and decide to use something or just require them to read a part of the story or article.

In addition to looking at our students, teachers do ongoing peer evaluation and participate in monthly Critical Friends Groups where further critique and advice are given. All instructional materials are selected based on the curriculum that will be covered.

Homework is given on a daily basis reflecting work covered during class. There is also ongoing homework in Reading, Math, and Science. Students are expected to read for at least 30 minutes every night and write a Literature Log. Math could be in the form of a weekly project or skills review and Science is a report based o the topic of the week.

Students are given an overview of the Project with clear expectations and a rubric of assignments with levels of achievement. Most Projects also include an independent research and the reading of a novel.

Students are divided into Family Groups. Family Groups meet every morning from 9 to 10. During this time students participate in discussions or write about current issues, gender issues, health, family, conflict resolution, or issues of social emotional development. Sometimes representatives from outside agencies, or parents come in and share life experiences with the students.

Instructional Practice

Teachers consult with other teachers on their Team or in other areas of the school to refine and enhance their instructional plans. Parents and students are also asked to give feedback on ideas for motivating and involving all students of a particular class. Lessons are designed to engage all students taking into consideration grade and developmental levels. The classes are small enough for students to request and get any additional help they might need.

Since the classes are so much smaller than in regular high schools, and teachers consult with each other almost continually, each teacher is aware of the needs of each member of her family group so that lessons are arranged to continue where the student left off. Lessons include activities for individuals to give oral and written responses. Teachers are able to move around and check students work. There are also many opportunities for peer evaluation through small group work.

Homework is assigned based on lessons and also requires students to do interviews, watch a particular program, read newspaper articles, or bring materials for projects.

Students are given opportunities to build on knowledge gained in the classroom by participating in field trips, career workshops, and doing community service.

Multiple Instructional Strategies/Approaches

Teachers sometimes start with a "Do Now" in the form of a question which leads to a discussion and the students having to find answers for themselves. Others times they use visuals and share information. They also employ video and audiocassettes and computers.

The majority of class settings take the form of small groups or pairs. Students are responsible for recording information and sharing with the larger group. Most classrooms are arranged with chairs and tables in a circle.

Our school is inclusive so students with special needs are in the classroom with mainstream students. Resource Room teachers are available to see them on a one to one basis as necessary.

The classroom environment promotes informal group work, where students can work together and discuss whatever they are studying and have a conversation on their findings. They are also free to move around the room as long as it is done in a non-disruptive way. Depending on the instruction for the time, a student might be responsible for leading discussions or sharing a discovery they have made that day.