Curriculum & Typical Day

The REACH curriculum is rigorous and innovative and taught within small groups. It is therefore possible to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that make for lasting experiences.

After the daily morning assembly, the students proceed to their hour-long core classes.  Core classes are offered in English, math and science and are taught by an experienced mentor teacher. The English curriculum focuses on enhancing writing skills through journal writing, writing blues lyrics, and an 8th grade research paper. In 6th and 7th grade math, students explore geometry and algebra. Eighth grade math focuses on the use of complex calculators to understand graphing. The science curriculum takes advantage of University School’s wooded rural campus to learn about tree identification and ecosystems in the 6th and 7th grades and culminates with the exploration of genetics in 8th grade.

For the afternoon, each REACH student selects two elective courses, which are 45 minutes in length and are taught by members of the college faculty. With the guidance of selected mentor teachers, these highly creative classes are vibrant learning experiences for both the college faculty members and REACH students. Many of the courses are designed to deepen the student’s understanding of the African-American experience. The elective classes include: • creative writing • art and drawing • computer literacy • film and video • speech and debate • poetry and hip hop • black leadership and civil rights • crime scene investigation • intro to swimming • jammin’ instrumental music • making the White House my house • Spanish

The final activity of each day is an hour-long recreational period. Students are given a choice of two sports in which to participate during the five-week program. Faculty members monitor these sports. Selected students are given the responsibility to report the highlights of each sports team’s progress in daily morning assembly.

Supplemental Activities

Olympic Day
The REACH Olympic Day is a valued event that promotes teamwork and athletic ability. Each grade level is divided into three groups to compete in an afternoon of various track-and field events. Students compete in the 200-meter relay, kick ball, tug-of-war and the obstacle course. In every event, the winning teams receive certificates of achievement.

Field Trips & Service Projects
To reinforce concepts studied in class, REACH students extend their learning through interesting field trips and service projects. Students have visited the Western Reserve Historical Society, Quicken Loans Arena, and the Cleveland Municipal Courts, where they observed court cases and met with judges. The annual Eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. is a much-anticipated activity for all of the graduating students. Over two days, students and faculty tour Gettysburg, the Blacks in Wax Museum, Howard University and the home of Frederick Douglass. The highlight of the trip is always the camaraderie amongst the boys as they enjoy their last moments together as a class.

Service projects have included volunteer work at the Harvard Community Center where students provided assistance to the elderly and participated in neighborhood cleanups.

Closing Ceremony
The Closing Ceremony is the culmination of the summer program and is the most significant tradition in REACH. It is a day for celebrating a summer of hard work, dedication and teamwork. Eighth graders receive diplomas. Sixth and Seventh graders receive certificates. Selected students deliver speeches to the entire REACH community describing the lessons they have learned from their experiences. Under the direction of the choir director, the REACH instrumental ensemble performs along with the choir. Following the formal ceremony, parents are invited to a reception to view a video made by students.

Follow-up Activities
Students ensure their place for the next summer by demonstrating continued dedication to their academic work and by participating in ongoing activities throughout the traditional school year.

Great Expectations is a panel discussion series that is designed to introduce students to a diversity of career options. African-American males representing many careers address the students about their personal paths to success. Students hear from lawyers, engineers, medical doctors, and other professionals. Great Expectations is a vital opportunity to introduce students to respected community leaders and to re-emphasize the benefits of a college education.

In addition, we remain in contact with our students through Saturday Clubs which provide a way to maintain relationships and the sense of community that is created among REACH participants during the summer months. Club offerings have included art, computer, newspaper writing, and sports.

REACH also offers ongoing college guidance for all alumni beginning in their junior year of high school. College nights are held to discuss the application process and financial aid. University School faculty members facilitate workshops in SAT/ACT preparation and writing college essays.

REACH Prep is a half-day, five-week summer program for 9th grade REACH graduates. Its goal is to encourage students to understand how the real world works as well as to develop future leaders who will assist less fortunate students. The program focuses on leadership development and personal finance. Local business professionals meet with students to discuss such topics as understanding the stock market, the value of saving, and how to purchase a car. REACH Prep students also tutor younger, underprivileged children in the community.

The REACH Effect

I wish there had been a program like REACH when I was young. It's exciting when it's the middle of summer, 90 degrees outside, and your son comes home excited about his day filled with math and science classes.

Shaker Heights Campus

20701 Brantley Road
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
Phone: 216-321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
Hunting Valley, Ohio 44022
GRADES 9 – 12
Phone: 216-831-2200
University School serves over 850 boys in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence. University School is a diverse and inclusive community where each boy is known and loved. 
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