As a graduate of this school that attended this school from it's opening day until my graduation day, and as an alumnus that has continued on as a college student, and as a member of the staff of this school's parent organization, I can say from personal experience that this school is a great concept that is growing to it's potential.
Wonderful School! I truly love sending my kids there and they love going there too! If they went to a public middle or high, they wouldn't be as happy and neither would be me. In UPA, everybody gets along with each other and I have NOT heard of any bullying going on. This school provides everything you need, be it counseling, helpful teachers, etc. UPA is sure to not disappoint! Parent involvement is great, parents have to do 60 hours of community service per school year! I would recommend this school to anybody!
If you are heading to high school and are looking at an alternative to the public schools in the area and you have a student who wants to get into college, UPA is worth a look. There are also a number of things that I wish we had better understood on the way in. These include: - This school is run by the Ordanz family and you need to be very careful of crossing any of the family members. His Highness Dan is the Executive Director and truly has little time for the little people (like parents). - Dan's wife and son are also employed by the school and the son in particular tends to throw his weight around - This is NOT a school for super achievers. There is no GATE programming, and little interest in doing anything that Dan Ordanz did not come up with himself. - This is a school for the average to slightly above average kid who wants to get into college and the school has an excellent track record there. The school has more interest in athletics than in any of the serious extra-curricular STEM activity. No participation in MakerFaire, GATE, Tech Challenge or other STEM type activitys.
This is my sixth year going to UPA. I have been given the amazing privilege of attending UPA since seventh grade, and believe me, not everyone is as fortunate. I previously went to charter school which was rated higher than UPA. But, I performed far better at UPA than I did at a charter school which was rated higher and more popular among my community. The teachers all guided me when I needed help in my seventh, eighth, and ninth grade year, but when they know it is best to let go and let you taste the rigors of collage, thats when you realize UPA is the BEST learning environment. Also, the small learning environment is most effective. I have about 19 students (including me) in my Spanish and the most I have in one of my classes is 26 students. Addressing the comments about the intense education, the people posting this probably were involved in one or more of these situations: a. their child came in 9th grade or later and was not prepared since they were not used to the learning style from students who attended in 8 and 7 grade b. they attended without knowing their own child mental capacity (that's the cold truth, your child needs to put 200%. TV is foreign after sophomore year.
As a graduate of University Preparatory academy, and one of the thirteen students that attended the school from its opening year all the way through graduation, I can say from experience that this school has a roughly equal amount of pros and cons. UPA says in its missions statement that it focuses on the students and aims to help its students reach high-achieving schools. This is all true. Many esteemed graduates of UPA have made it to some of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. UPA has one of the highest API Scores in the Silicon Valley. These achievements are due to the incredible staff of caring, attentive teachers. However, as a former student, I believe that this school has focused too much on preparing students for tests, primarily standardized tests, rather than encouraging the students to grow in knowledge and wisdom, in order to be the best students they can be. Essentially, when all is accounted for, the most important thing to this school is the numbers. Not the students, not the teachers, but the test scores and the graduation rate. --Submitted by an alumni
UPA. I have to strongly disagree with the last two posts regarding UPA. This is our 3rd year and we could not be happier after having a horrible experience at the overcrowded and underachieving district public schools. UPA teachers are consistently at school, are always available for students, and stay after school. They are some of the best teachers I have ever come across. Age has nothing to do with quality, and this IS what you get at UPA. It is a school for students who want to do well, and plan to attend a 4 year University after graduation. The reason the school is rated so well is because students and teachers put in extra effort to be successful. There are students who need assistance, but the level of academics is not for everyone. Students are expected to keep pace or they will fail. This is the premise of the school. This is not a school that pushes students ahead who should not be. Parents who want their children pushed ahead when they don't know the work and don't agree with the work ethic, should consider a less challenging school.
UPA - They have a lot of inexperienced teachers that seem overzealous; they give lots of homework, give tests above the grade level and won't hesitate to fail the student even if they've passed all the tests. Anything turned in late results in a failure. I've observed egregious academic impropriety with one teacher. It seems that their oversight is seriously lacking.
This school is great for high-achieving academic students who are already doing great in the system. However, for those of us who were told in the past we only needed to have a fourth-grade reading level to get in, those who are dyslexic or have any other special needs are being told they cannot help them. There is no funding for such things in Charter Schools as they get less public funding than other schools. Even with the new LCFF promising more money, they have no faith of that happening in this year.
I'm currently a Junior at UPA (this is my third year) I absolutely love this school. The teachers are incredible and the class selections are awesome. My GPA has risen every year despite the challenging curriculum. This is not the school for athletes and this is not the school for people wanting the whole "high school experience" This is the school for a student who is determined to go to college and determined to work hard and get good grades. I honestly have met the most amazing people in my life here and I wouldn't change it for anything.
I'm an undergraduate at Princeton University. I am where I am today because this school challenged me to think and be creative. I have been with this school as a student since the first year it opened and recently graduated from UPA. The beauty of this school is that if you are passionate about a particular group (in my case Science Olympiad) and it isn't on campus, then you can make one. This challenge to create, manage, and run a club really pushes you to your limits in terms of leadership, management, and skill. Plus, it allows you to foster your passion and find out if a certain subject like science is something that you feel strongly about. The lack of groups on campus means that there are endless opportunities to start them. Academically, it is rigorous, but rewarding. If you want to succeed then this is the place to go.
Very impressed with the school. The staff is top-notch and extremely dedicated. The facilities are great. Best of all, the student population is great since the school is self-selected by the kids/parents who value academics.
This is not the perfect school for everyone. If your child is big into HS sports such as football and baseball, look elsewhere. However, imagine the difference in the environment for a school that doesn't have either of these programs... there are positive implications I don't need to spell out. This school has an academic atmosphere; teachers are simply outstanding, expectations are high, class rooms are named after top colleges and universities, and importantly graduation requirements are higher than other schools - 2 AP classes, and 3 years of Spanish are required. If your child attends and they and both parents take the program seriously, they will be prepared for college. Period.
This will be my fourth year going into UPA, I am going into the 10th grade. While in the beginning I felt that the school lacked in sports, organization and communication, it had become better and better over the years. While there have been times where the school slips up, its very normal like with any regular school. There are some things that could improve about the school, it is hard to do so with the limitations and lack of resources that are available to them. -Priya M.
UPA have just posted their Academic Performance Index (API) score of 859...this one of the highest UPI score here in the Santa Clara county and they can certainly be proud to be a member of high performance schools that are located in Palo Alto and Cupertino area. UPA is a young school (less than 4 years old) but they're already showing their potential to be one of great school here in San Jose and Santa Clara county. CONGRATULATIONS UPA!!!
I have been at this school since the first year it has opened. I am currently a junior and I like UPA. It has a small class atmosphere which helps students receive the attention they need from teachers. Small school=Better learning, Big school=Bigger drama, less individualism. This is a school that challenges your skills and definitely prepares you for College! Congrats UPA for your API of 859! -Alec G.
The initial meeting was great, all of the talk from all the staff was great but NO follow through. I have spoken to 2 other parents who have removed their children from this school. Sounds good in theory to have a small charter school, smaller classrooms, but the support from front office staff is non existent.
Lots of promises with no or little delivery. We've been extremely disappointed with the way the administration addresses and handles problems. UPA sounds good on paper and administration are good at talking in circles without actually addressing parent/student concerns.
My son did 7th and is now in 8th. He is having fun and doing well in academics. I hear there have been a couple of teachers who are not able to control classrooms, but most teachers are excellent and doing a great job. UPA started sports and gym in 2009, so now it's an excellent choice.
We are very pleased with the progress and growth my son made in his 7th and 8th grades in 2008-2010. He has been a honor roll student for several years and he continued to shine at UPA with enough challenging coursework. Our neighborhood public school does not provide so much of personalization of coursework. My son also gained a lot of confidence and leadership skills with participation in several co-curricular activities (music, arts, avid, basketball, PE, tech, etc). We never knew that he had any interest in arts and drawing, but this school (thanks to Ms Crump) helped him discover his own talent and now he has become passionate about painting and arts producing superb work to our pleasant surprise. Thank you UPA!
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