More than half of California schools met academic achievement goals this year, that's according to a report released Thursday. Statewide, the Academic Performance Index target score was 800 out of a possible 1000.
But one Shasta County charter school blew that figure away. University Preparatory only started as a charter school 8 years ago, but the school proves it’s worth in academics year after year.
Since it opened in 2004, U-Prep has been working toward an Academic Performance Index higher than 900.
“So we got a 910, its where we wanted to go and the kids were delighted that they were able to perform that well,” said U-Prep Principal Kathy Malain.
U-Prep has a different teaching style that's apparently working
“The biggest significant difference that I can see is the collaboration between the teachers,” said Teacher Jaspal Gaddy.
Sixth through 12th grade is offered at the school so students learn important skills early.
“They have you learn to be responsible for your own work, your own stuff, so they prepare you for high school a lot,” said Derek Younkers, a 7th Grader at U-Prep.
But at the same time, teachers make themselves a friend to the student. They double as coaches and club leaders.
“If you have an issue, you can go talk to them and they are really comforting,” said 7th Grader Cameryn Taylor.
The U-Prep community is very welcoming which is part of why it the school is so successful.
“I like how at U-Prep, you don't have to be smart to be in this school, you just have to be a hard worker and be very self motivated,” said Joban Gill, a Junior at U-Prep.
But most of the students are very smart and the school wants them to be challenged. That’s why Latin is mandatory at 8th grade, and only Advanced Placement and Honors courses are offered in high school.
“I was instantly amazed as I started teaching at the fact that a public education can offer the same caliber of excellence and intensity and rigor,” said teacher Brad Baker.
After all, the goal of the school is in its name, University Preparatory.
U-Prep only has 920 students which means class sizes can range from 7 to 30. Students and teachers say this creates a better learning environment.