Innovative & challenging

Group science activity

Urban Community School provides primarily low-income children from Cleveland's Near West Side with an individualized, innovative and challenging education. Founded by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, UCS is an ecumenical school in the Catholic tradition.


Urban Community School (UCS) seeks to develop well rounded children through five core areas of development: academic development, social development, emotional development, spiritual development and physical development. Through small class sizes and a focus on small group learning, UCS strives to know each child and make our children feel known and cared for. UCS's curriculum also complies with all Ohio Department of Education standards and is fully accredited by the Ohio Catholic Schools Accrediting Association. The curriculum is a continuous work in progress, but many of the core approaches have remained the same since the school's inception.

The fundamental core of UCS's curriculum is to provide children with an individualized education. UCS believes first and foremost that every child must be treated as an individual as she or he learns at her or his own pace and ability. Thus, teachers at UCS employ a differentiated educational approach focused on the individual needs of each student. Students are taught at their own academic readiness level, progress at their own rate, and are evaluated independently. Each child's progress is measured by individual goals that are mutually determined by both the teacher and student.

UCS also offers a Montessori preschool program for children ages three through five, employing many Montessori concepts throughout all grade levels, such as self-directed learning and multi-age classrooms. All UCS classrooms, except the Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and 1st level classes, are multi-age. The preschool children are in the same classroom for all three years, while levels 2/3, 4/5, even 6/7/8 are each paired for subsequent years.

The non-graded evaluation system focuses teachers and students on progress in specific learning areas as opposed to striving for grades. Teachers utilize standardized tests and academic testing software to further identify a child's needs and benchmarking, but it is not the sole indicator of a child's performance.

Through the use of assessments, multi-age classrooms and small classroom sizes, UCS's educational program naturally promotes individualized education. This educational model allows faculty and staff to dedicate increased instructional time to each child.

Raising Responsibility

UCS classrooms strive to cultivate a sense of responsibility in each child for his or her own actions and empower students to make more thoughtful decisions on their own. This process places the responsibility of behavior management on the students and emphasizes self-reflection.

Safe Environment

Urban Community School believes that safety goes beyond physical safety, and we strive to create a learning environment where students feel safe from physical violence or bullying, but also emotional and social harm. At UCS, we teach our students to respect one another and refrain from all hurtful behavior toward one another. Above all, school must be a place where students feel safe and look forward to coming every day. Thus, since its inception in 1968, UCS has cultivated a strong commitment to non-violence, especially through the UCS Peer-Mediation Program.

Family Engagement

Urban Community School endeavors to be an educational resource for children, but also a resource for the entire family. Through community partnerships, UCS strives to be a hub for families, connecting them with healthcare, nutrition, education, housing and other resources to support their growth and development.

UCS expects and encourages parents to be involved in their children's education. UCS has a very active Parent-Teacher Organization and parent volunteers. Also, mandatory parent-teacher conferences are held twice per year in November and March.

Parents and friends of UCS can support the school through donations and your normal daily routine, including saving Box Tops and Campbell's Labels as well as through retail charity programs at Target, Giant Eagle, Heinen's and other stores. Please visit the Retail Partners page to find more information on these programs and how to enroll.