The Utica Academy of Science Charter School (UASCS) will provide support, challenges and opportunities for its students, and it will instill the necessary skills and knowledge in math, science, and technology to empower students, through high intellectual standards, preparing them for college, career, and citizenship. The school seeks to graduate students who can think critically and creatively, who are committed to a lifetime of learning and civic involvement, and who are conscious of local, global, and environmental issues.
Utica Academy of Science Charter School primarily serves the students of the Utica City School District, however enrollment is open to students from surrounding districts if any seats are available.
The home of Utica Academy of Science Charter School (UASCS) is at 1214 Lincoln Ave. Utica, NY 13502.
School Size and Grades:
The Utica Academy of Science Charter School (UASCS) is planning to start serving the students in August 2013 by serving grades 6 through 9 and will expand according to the following table. By the fifth year of its opening, the school will reach its entire expected population of 462 students in grades 6-12 grades with 60 students in each grade.
Replicating the Success:
The Utica Academy of Science Charter School (UASCS) will be a replication of Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School, whose board members will be the founding board members of UASCS. The SASCS has been a NYSED-authorized charter school since 2003 and newly renewed for its third, five-year term. SASCS is accredited by Middle States Association, a nationally acclaimed K-16 accreditation organization. It has successfully surpassed its local district in all state exams and has a current cohort graduation rate of 92.5%.
Academic Program Partner:
As an academic program partner, the SASCS will serve as a model for the UASCS. We have the ability to readily replicate the SASCS's parent/guardian inclusion and communication programs and policies, its expansive scheduling approach to core curriculum remediation and improved performance, its embedded tutoring program, and its extensive supplemental educational activities through academic clubs and competitions.
The school will replicate the strengths of an existing college-preparatory public charter school, which has a similar mission and has proven to be effective in its operation, educational methodology, and curriculum. The school's key design elements are the following:
The importance of college readiness will be paramount at the UASCS. The charter school will create a college-bound culture and will provide an extensive and targeted curriculum aimed at college preparation. Enrolling all graduates in a college will be the most important feature and focus of the proposed charter school's educational model. The school will organize college fairs, college visits, summer residential college programs, after-school and Saturday SAT programs, and more, to ensure every student has an opportunity to attend college.
Focus on STEM:
The curriculum will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) which provides the necessary foundation for college entrance and careers in technical fields. STEM education is a high national priority because of lack of skilled workers in these fields.
The school will teach thinking globally and acting locally. The school will combine extensive local and international interactions through local, national, and international field trips, and through visits by local, national and international leaders and members of institutions. The school will actively recruit a diverse student population (e.g. ELL, free and reduced lunch, etc) in order to create a small-world community within the school to promote its glocal educational mission. In order to achieve high community involvement, the school will invite community leaders to participate in education by sharing their experiences and challenges with our students.
Youth Leadership Program:
The school will incorporate character education by teaching universally recognized values such as honesty, stewardship, kindness, generosity, courage, freedom, justice, equality. As a complementary program to the character education, adventure-based education will provide engagement, challenge, and risk management in a group setting to enhance interpersonal growth, leadership abilities, self-concept, academic achievement, and personality. This program will be offered as extracurricular activities on a monthly basis and it will last three to four hours. In addition, UASCS will have a civic involvement program which includes inviting local leaders from politics, service, business, and academia as speakers or judges of student projects and performances, students will also participate in job shadowing opportunities, and visit workplaces. The community involvement will directly carry the school experience into the real world, throughout higher education, work, family, and community and civic affairs. Graduates at UASCS will have completed 50 hours of community service prior to graduation.
Environmental education is a learning process that increases people's knowledge and awareness of the environment and associated challenges; develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges; and fosters attitudes, motivation, and the commitment to make informed decisions and take responsible action (UNESCO, Tbilisi Declaration). The school's environmental education will promote awareness of the environmental challenges and quality, and will include environment related programs for practicing acquired knowledge.
Tutoring and After-School Programs:
These programs will increase the performance of low-achieving students and will prepare high-achieving students for regional, national, and international science and engineering fairs. The school will offer some athletics program, Saturday school for interested students, and clubs mainly organized by students teachers advisor. The school will include a master schedule that includes daily remedial instruction or academic enrichment for all students, including at-risk students, during the regular school day, Title 1 tutoring for core academic subjects (including push-in and pull-out attention given to students at risk), a monthly advisory program incorporated into the regular school schedule, four days each week of tutoring available after school, Saturday Academy, Saturday IVY League, Saturday SAT Classes, MathCounts, Science Olympiad, and the SUNY Oswego Summer Science Immersion program.
Parental Involvement and Home Visits:
Students' success and performance are affected not only by teachers, but also by their parents and environment. Therefore, parental involvement is a significant part of our school's strategic goals. The school's teachers will perform home visits to understand the students' problems and abilities and to create a better triad of parent-student-teacher relationships. As part of this program, the SASCS educators contact a minimum of ten school parents each week, and carry out a minimum of four home visits each academic year.
Extended School Day:
The school hours will be from 8:20 am to 4:00 pm. Teachers will provide extra help, one-on-one tutoring, or after-school activities until 5:00 p.m.
Performance Based Accountability:
Student progress and teacher effectiveness will be measured quarterly through data collected and tracked by multiple assessment instruments, including NWEA MAP Testing, Benchmark Exams utilizing ExamView Software, and full-length practice tests for state assessments such as the Regents exams. Student performance will be documented and reviewed by teachers and the Academic Dean to create action plans to improve individual student achievement. There will be an extensive teacher observation and enrichment program, where each and every teacher is visited biweekly and given feedback, with resources tailored for their individual needs using the Observation 360 program. In addition, the school will use a comprehensive electronic dashboard system based on its performance metrics to more effectively oversee school operations.