Reaching full potential

Children Playing in Classroom

Accredited Curriculum

The curriculum at UCS is differentiated. This means that UCS is focused on supporting and encouraging every student in reaching their full potential at their own pace.

UCS's faculty employs a layered curriculum in which all students in a classroom study a particular topic. The layered curriculum offers students of varying abilities the opportunity to navigate through the subject matter at their own pace and to obtain the greatest level of comprehension.

UCS's curriculum meets all the standards of the Ohio Board of Education, as well as the Diocese of Cleveland. UCS also is fully accredited (pdf of certificate) by the Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association (OCSAA). Every six years, UCS completes a comprehensive re-accreditation process with an emphasis on continuous improvement through an ongoing evaluation, accountability and enrichment. Throughout the assessment process, UCS must develop two goals: 1) lead the school toward improved student performance; and 2) focus the school's attention on its Catholic identity and mission.

Quality, loving care

Children Reading Outside

Early Childhood Center

Urban Community School offers two licensed Montessori preschool classrooms for children age three through Kindergarten as part of our Early Childhood Center. UCS's preschool program adheres to the basic tenets of the Montessori approach, where each child's learning is self-directed, and students learn through discovery. The Montessori model is based on the understanding that children learn at an intense rate from birth through age six, and the teaching methods are geared to take advantage of this important period in a child's learning cycle.

UCS's preschool classrooms are equipped with specific Montessori materials that allow children to learn how to correct their own mistakes instead of relying solely on the teacher to provide answers. Our educators realize that children most often learn alone during periods of intense concentration, during which the child should not be interrupted. As such, our preschool teachers observe and guides instead of lecturing. Montessori students are also expected to master their school environment and are given the tools and responsibility to manage its upkeep. For example, you will often see children washing dishes or cleaning the classroom windows as part of their learning activities.

Additionally, Urban Community School offers a pre-kindergarten program for four-year-old children. Opened in 2011, the program is geared toward preparing children with all of the necessary skills to transition easily into our kindergarten program. Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, UCS will host three kindergarten rooms, serving a total of 45 children. UCS's Early Childhood Center goal is to set the stage for our students' future success, academically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Learn through discovery

Children Coloring

Religious Education

Founded and sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, UCS is an ecumenical school in the Catholic tradition. While UCS is an independent school, governed by an autonomous board of trustees, the school has maintained a close relationship with its founding Catholic institutions: St. Patrick, St. Malachi, and the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, as well as the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. As such, all students at UCS receive one of two emphasis of religious education, with families making the choice on the best religious track for their children.

Catholic students at UCS are instructed in traditional Catholicism and participate in the Sacramental Programs in the second (First Reconciliation and First Communion) and eighth (Confirmation) levels. Students of other faiths receive a broad-based Christian education focusing on common ideals in Christian religions and emphasizing moral formation, a non-violent approach to problem solving, mediation, cooperative learning, and respect for the rights of each person. School-wide prayer services are all-inclusive as well, focusing on acceptance, peace and commitment to God.

UCS is a non-exclusive school that welcomes children of all faith traditions.

Branch out

Child Reading with Teacher

Student Support Services

Guidance Counseling

Urban Community School concentrates on individualized, differentiated classroom instruction tailored to each student, hence services offered are also based on the individual student and their specific needs. Services can vary from individual to small group sessions.

Title I Reading Specialists

The Basic Skills team is comprised of highly qualified CMSD teachers with expertise in reading and math instruction. Basic Skills Reinforcement is a supplemental academic program for eligible K-12 students who attend non-public schools within Cleveland. In complying with the Federal Title I mandate of No Child Left Behind, CMSD provides equitable instructional support in Reading and Math to identified students who have not achieved grade level standards.

Students not meeting certain grade level benchmarks are eligible for program placement, which is based on multi-criteria (teacher recommendation plus one or more standardized proficiency, or locally developed tests.) Teachers work with groups of four to six students across grade levels to target individual needs. Typically, a teacher will serve up to 50 students per day in a pull out program. Basic Skills is a yearlong program with assessment and accountability for adequate yearly progress (AYP).

School Psychologist

The School Psychologist works with the students, faculty and staff to find the best solution for each student and their situation. At Urban Community School this is achieved by being actively involved on the Intervention Assistance Team (IAT), in which the team discusses interventions to help the students achieve success. The team works with teachers and parents/guardians providing direct support to a student. The School Psychologist is responsible for evaluating children suspected of having an educational disability, which includes testing, observations and reviewing information from other sources.

Speech Therapist

Our speech therapist provides speech-language therapy to children Kindergarten thru 8th grade. Works with the IAT (Intervention Assistance Team) to identify and provide interventions to children with communication difficulties including: articulation concerns, stuttering, language understanding, oral expression, social communication and language learning deficits. Our therapist also collaborates with teachers and parents to best assist children with classroom communication needs and will work with children on an individual basis, small group and/or in the student's classroom.

Art Therapy

Five Master's level interns from Ursuline College, dedicated to the belief that the creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life enhancing,

After School Programs

Urban Community School's after school program exists to complement our academics by providing after school care to children in Kindergarten through the sixth level. The goal is to provide quality, loving care for these children in an atmosphere that will balance the need to do homework with recreational, emotional and mental stimulation and growth.

Instituted in 2007, the UCS after school program operates on school days from dismissal (3:00pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 2:30pm on Thursdays) until 6:00pm, and includes dedicated time for a snack, recess, homework and group activities. The program is licensed by the Ohio Department of Education, and the children to staff ratio is kept at 18:1 or better.

For additional information on the UCS after school program, please contact Esther Melendez, After School Director 216-939-8330 x163 or

Recreation & culture

Girls Playing on Playground

Field Trips

UCS provides numerous of field trips and outside-the-classroom learning experiences during the school day. Some recent cultural and educational destinations UCS students have visited include:

  • The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Carnegie West Library
  • The Children's Museum
  • Cleveland Lakefront Park
  • Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center
  • Franklin Plaza Nursing Home
  • Gymnastics World
  • Hale Farm and Village
  • The Hanna Theater
  • Lake Erie Nature Center
  • Lake Farmpark
  • Lakeview Cemetery
  • Mapleside Farm
  • Monroe Street Cemetery
  • The Natural History Museum
  • The Ohio Theater
  • Progressive Field
  • Preston's Hope Playground
  • Rocky River Nature Center
  • Great Lakes Science Center
  • Temple Shari Tikya
  • West Side Market and neighborhood tour
  • Western Reserve Historical Society
  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Urban Community School strives to provide off-site activities that enhance classroom studies and offer experiences to which students generally do not have access. The City of Cleveland and surrounding communities have vast academic and cultural resources, and field trips to these locales provide creative and innovative opportunities for students to learn and excel as individuals and classmates.

The majority of our students' families do not have the means or opportunity to take advantage of Cleveland's educational, recreational and cultural offerings. To provide our children with the chance to see a theatre production, to tour a museum or to study nature is a valuable asset to their curriculum and childhood. With field trips, UCS students are challenged in their learning and rewarded simultaneously.

Through the generosity of The Cleveland Automobile Club Orphans Outing Fund and other thoughtful donors, students have experienced, or plan to participate in these great educational opportunities.

Moral formation

Children Christmas Nativity

Extracurricular Programs

To compliment the traditional classroom offerings, UCS offers a host of supplemental activities and extracurricular programs, including:

  • Art Club
  • Chime Choir
  • Garden Club
  • Karate
  • Math Competition
  • Power of the Pen(cil)
  • Science Olympiad
  • Sports (Cross-country, Volleyball, and Basketball)
  • Student Council
  • Video Club
  • Vocal Choir