The UCAP School: UNITY, COMMUNITY, ACHIEVEMENT, POSSIBILITY.
The UCAP School opened its doors in 1989, as “The Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program,” to balance the scale for students at risk of dropping out. We are the only middle school in Rhode Island to partner with other school districts to identify and help at-risk students to catch up with their grade and return to high school prepared and ready for success.
Our supportive learning community has helped over 1,600 middle school students from Providence, Cranston and Central Falls through personalized, enriched journeys.
UCAP’s faculty lead by our Executive Director Dr. Michael Finley, are highly trained in and keenly focused on helping students learn at an accelerated pace while building self-esteem and character. We inspire their learning, tap into their creativity, and help them realize their potential.
Our students are supported by the whole community, including area businesses, parents, and other community members. Our generous donors make it possible for UCAP to offer them unique opportunities outside of school. This support system shows students that we believe in them and value their individual successes.
Students who have fallen behind in school tend to have lost confidence and belief in themselves. Those same children who once dreamed of becoming astronauts and leaders suddenly lose faith and lower their expectations, discouraging their efforts. This downward spiral leads to higher incidences of dropping out, a barrier for future success.
While schools work hard to help at-risk students, our current system leaves too many behind. UCAP is their safety net. We believe in the promise of every child. Our approach re-energizes each student, helping them regain confidence, and return to high school ready to begin a brighter future.
UCAP School provides what most urban schools are not able to offer to students who face socio- economic challenges:
Early and Intensive Intervention
Most intervention programs are geared towards high school students. At UCAP, we intervene sooner. Student first show signs of being at risk in middle and elementary school. The single greatest predictor of a student dropping out of school is repeating a grade: 60% of students accepted by UCAP have repeated at least one grade.
UCAP reaches out to students completing the 6th grade who are not doing well in school. We respond quickly and involve the student’s parents, including making home visits. Through early and intensive intervention, UCAP students receive support in overcoming their struggles. In welcoming and supporting students, we make school a place they want to be. We reduce absenteeism. Through a variety of enrichment and supportive activities, such as Beyond U, we emphasis social learning, building relationships with adults and students, and give students opportunities to accelerate their learning.
Since it’s founding in 1989, UCAP has understood that students learn at their own pace and should move on as soon as they TRULY UNDERSTAND the topic, instead of being forced to move up because of their age. UCAP students accelerate by demonstrating their skills and knowledge and meeting certain standards. Today, UCAP’s approach is now recognized as a best practice in many schools.
Personal attention to each student’s needs
At UCAP, students are at the center of all that we do. Here, student learning is a personalized, enriched experience that is supported by caring adults in school and in the community. The UCAP School’s staff, students and families are united in our mission to help students learn how to learn and to gain the skills necessary to succeed in high school.
UCAP’s personalized approach begins with a visit to the student’s home, before he or she begins attending our school. This gives staff an opportunity to get to know the student and his or her family and understand their goals and challenges.
Adult relationships matter. Time is devoted to helping students develop positive relationships with their teachers, who become role models.
Students participate in advisory groups along with a small group of students to help build each student’s strengths and support their needs.
Beyond U - Extended social learning and enrichment opportunities
Our Beyond U programs, which are 100% funded by the Fund for UCAP, through a combination of grants and private donations, provide out-of-school time programming to support our students’ academic and social needs. Beyond U’s Director, Elisa Almonte, coordinates a wide range of activities to boost a student’s school experience and keep them engaged in a safe and nurturing environment.