The five core elements to the school model are:
1. Small Learning Communities – All students at University Prep Academy are placed in an “advisory” comprised of 17-18 students who stay together for multiple years during their academic career. The advisory takes the home-room concept to another level where powerful relationships are developed between the students themselves and the students and the advisor. This model is designed to promote a sense of safety, nurturing and support through the development of long-term relationships.
2. Powerful and Enduring Relationships – In addition to the small classrooms, relationships with many different adults are emphasized as a way to engage students in learning and to motivate them. This includes job-shadowing and internship opportunities where a student’s interests are paired with a real-world job or career and a professional in that field who can introduce him to it.
3. Individualized Learning Plans – At University Prep Academy, the Individualized Learning Plan guides every student’s academic work and is determined based on personal interest, skill-level, maturity, and learning style. The student, his/her advisor and a parent/guardian provide the input necessary to create concrete learning goals for each child. Traditional class work is incorporated into the plan along with interest-driven projects as a strategy for generating both the motivation to learn, as well as the skills required for college preparation.
4. Preparation for College and other Post-Secondary Learning – University Prep Academy primary’s focus is ensuring that all of its students are preparing for college or other educational pursuits following high school graduation. This is an expectation, not an exception.
5. Partnerships with the Community – University Prep Academy focuses on creating unique partnerships with area colleges, universities, government organizations, businesses, and cultural institutions to offer students experiences that help them develop their career goals and make what they are learning in school relevant to them.