The mission of the Universal High School (UHS) program is to create a pathway to a high school diploma that is independently designed, flexible and student-centered, standards-based and rigorous
A brainchild and creation of the SVVSD’s Talented and Gifted Coordinator, Debra Hutchinson, UHS was designed in 1998-1999 with the goal of offering an alternative for gifted and highly able students who might otherwise elect homeschooling or private educational options or be at risk for dropping out of public school. The program design was presented to the Board of Education for approval in February 2000 and piloted the following school year. Believing that some very capable students struggle with the pace and delivery models typical of traditional classrooms and school settings, Ms. Hutchinson’s effort deserves credit and gratitude as this academic alternative has recaptured students and proactively intervened with many high-ability, educationally at-risk youth.
The Universal High School program is unique in that it embraces the concept of a standards-based system in combination with access to all the educational options currently available within the St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD). We believe that by involving students more deeply in the design of their education, we support the development of lifelong learning and the capacity for students to optimize their abilities and make continuous educational growth, both within and following their high school careers. UHS students are capable of high levels of achievement when they are involved in their own program design and when they are given more freedom to execute how, where, and when their learning will occur. By creating tasks that are more open-ended and requiring more thought on the part of students, we create the potential for more depth, complexity, and creativity to emerge.