For many students, attending a large school can be a daunting proposition. For some, small classes offer better learning environments than large classes. Some students have to work to assist their families financially. Others are active in sports, bands, or would like to begin to take college classes at an early age to get a head start on their college education.
Fortunately, Ukiah Unified School District has a place which meets the needs of all of the situations listed above; Ukiah Independent Study Academy (UISA).
It has been my pleasure to serve this year as the principal for UISA. Daily I am impressed by the sense of community, and the genuine warmth and care which permeates our school.
UISA has seven teachers who each have a load of 24 students. These hard-working teachers convey information, check the prior week's work, and set up the following week's assignments during one-hour meetings with students each week.
UISA teachers are not only concerned with conveying knowledge, but they are also concerned with their students' emotional well-being. By meeting with each student individually, the teachers get to know the students well and can provide a personalized setting in which students may feel comfortable and supported.
The flexibility of meeting once a week with a teacher rather than attending classes all day, every day allows the students the ability to have a job or internship while continuing with their education.
Sports, rodeos, and music are very large parts of some families' lives. UISA's flexible schedule provides students with the time they need to practice their sports or music, compete, and fulfill their academic needs, as well.
High school students who are interested in playing sports may join any of Ukiah High School's many sports teams. This is possible because of an agreement between UISA and UHS.
College-oriented students may begin taking college classes as early as their freshmen year. Some very motivated students are actually on track to complete their associate's degree from Mendocino College at the same time that they graduate from UISA. This means they will leave UISA and transfer to a university as a junior. Although these students are exceptional, all UISA students can make some progress toward earning college credits while enrolled. An added benefit to these individuals is the fact that the college credits are free to high school students. UISA students pay for their books and the associated student body fees, but the credits (which cost the general public $46 per unit) are free to them.
In addition to the above supports and benefits which our students enjoy, UISA also offers field trips, free tutoring three days a week, weekly arts and science workshops, a hiking club, and workshops on subjects like caring for bicycles.
All in all, UISA offers the flexibility which is often sought by families who homeschool their students along with the advantages of being part of a school district (sports, field trips, extracurricular activities, guidance from a credentialed teacher, etc.)
If you have a child who you think would benefit from a smaller academic environment, a flexible schedule, and personalized lessons, feel free to contact our office at (707) 472-5905. We would be happy to meet with you and let you know how to get involved in our unique school.