- UP Middle—an expansion of University Prep Charter High School (UP High)—is a new school serving grades 5 through 8 in Community School District (CSD) 7 in the South Bronx. UP Middle opened in September 2019 with 60 fifth-grade and 120 sixth-grade students, and it will continue to expand in the 2020-21 school year with the addition of a seventh grade.
- UP High is currently in its twelfth year and is the top performing high school in CSD 7, with an average four-year graduation rate of 98% and a 100% college-acceptance rate. In 2016, UP High was named a National Blue National School by the U.S. Department of Education.
- In 2022, UP Middle will serve 480 students in grades 5-8, after which they will continue to UP High. We aim to have all students pass the Algebra and U.S. History Regents exams at the college readiness rate at the end of the eighth grade, and to have all students score at least a 3 on the New York State ELA and math exams.
As a new school, there is real opportunity for founding teachers and staff members to shape the school’s curriculum, its common instructional practices, and its culture, which are built around three key beliefs:
1. Knowledge-led teaching based on a coherent, cumulative, and content specific curriculum
- A school’s curriculum should intentionally build a foundation of knowledge in all disciplines—and is content-specific, known to all members of the community, and appropriately aligned.
- We believe in teaching from the front of the classroom—that teachers are masters of their content and their craft and that classes are shaped by strong, uniform practices.
- The best lessons are built from great units that are planned in advance and that include meaningful major assessments.
2. An ethos of sharing and open doors
- We gather together on a regular basis to plan, select, workshop, revise, and rehearse lesson plans and texts around shared practices.
- We read, study, and discuss literature around schooling and learning—conversations that start before the school year begins and continue throughout the year.
- We have an open-door culture that asks everyone to learn from one other—teachers regularly do quick observations of each other and then provide feedback.
3. Reading, first and foremost
- Reading is critical to all we do at UP Middle School—and a belief that helping students learn to read better will promote and sustain their learning is our single most important core value.
- We incorporate a range of reading experiences throughout the school day—students read rich texts with teacher support, as a whole class, in small groups, and independently.
- We believe in providing opportunities to repeatedly assess students’ reading levels—to ensure that students who are under-performing in reading receive as much support as possible to bring them up to current grade level as quickly as possible.