About UHHS

University Heights is a small, alternative school on the campus of Bronx Community College. We serve neighborhood children from a predominantly African-American and Hispanic community.  Most students come from the Bronx, some come from Manhattan, and a few from Brooklyn and Queens. Our mission is to serve students who have not been successful in previous schools and prepare them for college and employment. We take in ninth graders whose parents have heard through work of mouth that the school is safe and has small classes. Guidance counselors often recommend UHHS to older students. Some students come because they have been truant, some for safety violations, and some because their safety is in danger.

The school is divided into four teams, one middle school team and three high school teams, although middle school will be phased out in 2001. Teams are subdivided into seminars of approximately 60 students that work together for the academic year. In addition, each teacher has a Homeroom (what we call Family Group, like the class pictured above) of under 20 students. One of the keystones of our program is personalized, caring instruction, which allows us to get to know the strengths and needs of students while providing them with the full range of academic requirements.  The Family Group teacher is the point person for contact with the parents or guardians, and the Family Group teacher is responsible for monitoring the academic progress of her of his students.

Our assessment system also maximizes personalization. Students maintain portfolios of their academic work. Once project are completed within a curricular area, student write a detailed piece reflecting upon their learning and connecting the work to one of our five Domains.  All of this is then presented at a Roundtable of family members, student peers, and outside guests,  gathered to assess the student´┐Żs mastery of the material and of the Domain,  facilitated by the Family Group teacher. Only after students have mastered a certain number of Domains through this process (and through a new credit system) are they allowed to progress to the next level. Of the students who graduate from University Heights, 90% go on to college.

School Organization Highlights

Our Timeline shows some of the changes that have taken place in UHHS organization over the years. You'll still find the following teams and structures:

School Leadership Team:  This group of parents, students and staff meet monthly to work together, make important decisions affecting the entire school community. They discuss issues of budget, curriculum and philosophy etc.  Teamwork and consensus building are core values of UHHS, and are built into its organization and schedule.

Curriculum & Assessment:  Each school year is divided into four cycles. During a cycle students work on projects and assemble portfolios in each curricular area.  If they choose to exhibit a particular project portfolio at a roundtable, students  write a cover letter which pulls all of their work together, relating it to one of our five domains. The work is then presented to an evaluative group consisting of teachers, parents, peers and outside guests.

Tier System: Tier I is our 7th and 8th grade, to be phased out in Fall, 2001. Tier II is comprised of new high school admits,  including students who have few if any high school credits. Tier III students are those who have completed one to five roundtables and have some accumulated credits.  Tier IV students comprise the Senior Institute, who are preparing to graduate.

LYFE Program: The LYFE program provides a rich early childhood experience for the infant children of our students, focusing on social emotional, physical, and cognitive development.  A supportive environment helps our young parents grow in their roles as parent and student. The center operates as a team where staff and parents are one. The staff, which is composed of an early childhood teacher, social worker, family assistant and educational paraprofessionals, work as a caring child care team with parents. Children admitted are 2 months and can stay in the program until they are 3 years old.

Academic Programs: See our Program List and Activities page.