Recognized as a national model by the Education Trust, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Newsweek Magazine, the University Park Campus School has compiled an unparalleled record of academic achievement since opening its doors in 1997. UPCS, a grade 7-12 school serving 231 students, has ranked first among urban schools serving low-income students on state-mandated English and math graduation exams, and in the top quartile of all high schools in the state over the last four years. All members of its first three graduating classes have gone on to college, each a first-generation college attendee.
The school’s record of accomplishment is all the more remarkable given the low academic skills and limited English proficiency of its entering students. Located in the poorest section of Worcester, UPCS has as its only requirement for entry that students live in the immediate neighborhood of the school. Chosen by lottery, the vast majority of students enter at least two grade levels behind in reading and math. Three-quarters of the students qualify for free lunch; two-thirds come from homes where English is not spoken.