Our Teaching Approach
Uncommon Charter High School's educational program is based upon three pillars.
1 - We believe that creativity flourishes within a structured academic environment. Good work cannot occur unless there is a safe and orderly environment in and out of the classroom.
2 - We have high academic and behavioral expectations. High expectations demand significant amounts of extra support before, during, and after school and on Saturdays.
3 - We know that without great teachers, nothing else matters. Teachers must have the time and professional tools and resources to do their jobs effectively.
Core Elements of Educational Design
Focus on Literacy
In grades 9-10, Uncommon Charter High School's literacy program includes 100 minutes of daily literacy instruction, at least 30 minutes of required independent reading each night, and required summer reading accompanied by fall comprehension assignments.
Targeted Curriculum Focusing on Basic Skills
UCHS does not use an off-the-shelf curriculum. The school develops its curriculum directly from the New York State Learning Standards that ensures students master a core set of basic academic skills before they can master higher-level, abstract material.
Make More Time
To ensure that every student masters each and every standard, UCHS provides more time on task. This means a longer school year, an extended school day, mandatory homework help and afterschool tutoring and required four-hour Saturday School for struggling students.
Assess Early and Often to Drive the Instructional Program
UCHS uses internally developed Interim Assessment Exams to diagnose student needs, measure instructional effectiveness, adjust curricula, and build a culture of continuous reflection and improvement.
Emphasis on College
Students will be actively engaged in the college search process from day one of high school. College Counselors and Grade Level Deans will coach students throughout high school to ensure that students explore their academic and extra-curricular interests, successfully complete all testing and college application requirements, and pursue financial aid opportunities. The school will support students to find summer internships in New York City and will also aim to provide students with yearly opportunities to travel abroad. In addition, UCHS will partner with local universities to provide opportunities for our students to take college electives for credit. The goal is for the freshman year of college to become a natural extension of graduating from high school.
Provide Structure and Order
Students need a safe and orderly environment to be productive. UCHS creates a calm, composed, and disciplined environment to maximize the amount of time on-task, including a strictly enforced school dress code, a merit and demerit system that defines clear expectations for and immediate responses to positive and negative behavior, a rubric system that provides constant feedback to classes, and a common Blackboard Configuration consisting of a Do Now, Objective, Agenda, and Homework.
Internet and Computer Use
The Uncommon Charter High School computer network is provided for students to conduct research, complete assignments, and communicate with others. Access to network services is given to students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner. Parent permission is required! Access is a privilege - not a right. Access entails responsibility.
Students are responsible for good behavior using the computers just as they are in a classroom or school hallway. Computer network storage (hard drives and personal folders) may be treated like school lockers. Network administrators and teachers may review files and communications to maintain system integrity and ensure that users are using the system responsibly.
The following misuses of the computer system are not permitted
- Sending and/or displaying hateful or pornographic messages or pictures
- Using abusive, threatening or inappropriate language
- Harassing, insulting or attacking others
- Engaging in or promoting violence
- Engaging in racial, gender, or other slurs
- Receiving or transmitting information pertaining to weapons, such as bombs, automatic weapons, illicit firearms or explosive devices
- Damaging technology equipment (computer systems, computer networks, TVs, VCRs, digital cameras, or scanners)
- Violating copyright laws (copy internet or other materials without permission)
- Using others' passwords
- Trespassing in other students and/or teachers' folders, work, or files
- Intentionally wasting limited resources
- Employing the computer network for commercial purposes
- Transmitting personal information without written parental consent
- Accessing areas considered borderline without written parental consent
- Hacking (attempt to gain unauthorized access to files, folders, and/or other systems)
All student internet usage is monitored and managed with our electronic monitoring systems. Violations will result in loss of computer use as well as other disciplinary or legal action.