University Park Campus SchoolIMG_3145

On the corner of Freeland and Lowell Street sits a small brick building. The plaque above the door reads “A School With A Promise.” Started as a collaboration through Clark University, UPCS is a neighborhood school that serves grades 7-12, with a focus on preparing all students enrolled for a college education.¬†UPCS has a reputation for success, having “ranked first among urban schools serving low-income students on state-mandated English and math graduation exams” for the last five years (Clark University). Because of this, students and teachers know that they are all held to high standards, and the school is a place where student achievements are highly celebrated.

IMG_3146The size of this school creates a school culture that is heavily community-oriented–high school students are often paired with 7th and 8th grade students to mentor and tutor them, and students claim that the school feels like one big family. During morning and afternoon announcements, you can often hear students being called by first name only, as the school is small enough that you can get to know everyone by name. While this can sometimes make social interactions frustrating, as students complain about having to go to school with the same people all the time, it ends up creating a school culture where everyone individually is supported.