To New Heights

Patrick T. Gallagher, Head of School  
At the climax of Sarah Orne Jewett’s story “A White Heron,” the young protagonist, Sylvia, does something remarkable. She climbs a tree.
I have often made use of this selection from Jewett’s story in my teaching. Students quickly come to see—through Jewett’s pace, diction, and imagery—how Sylvia’s ascent takes on the scale of an epic adventure. Thanks to Jewett’s craft, they understand the feat as transformative because they share in and appreciate Sylvia’s perspective. They, too, are on top of the world. 

Similarly, a big day at US came early this fall. 
For many weeks, the Outdoor Learning and Play Area at the Lower School looked like a desert. Everything familiar was gone; all that remained was dirt. Then, within a matter of days, the outline of the design so long in the making became discernible. The shapeless was, finally and swiftly, taking shape. 
Colleagues and I had joked that we might well just put folding chairs out on the perimeter
of the construction site as our boys were mesmerized by the comings, goings, and doings of all the heavy construction equipment at work on campus. But that interest had nothing on the arrival of the playground towers. As the crane lifted them into place, the Outdoor Learning and Play Area had its landmarks and, correspondingly, students’ excitement reached new heights. The faculty and I join them in their anticipation of the moment later this year when the space is complete and open to them, and when, like Jewett’s protagonist, they might climb higher than before and be “wholly triumphant” at the accomplishment.
US is continually reaching new heights. The past year has seen progress on all of our Strategic Plan’s priorities, aimed at making US even better in the decades to come, sharpening our focus on character and leadership education, and solidifying our place as one of the country’s very best boys’ schools. The pages of this report are filled with stories of those enabling us to fully realize our plan and propelling our momentum with each turn of the school calendar.
Defining Excellence in Boys’ Education
US will be recognized nationally as providing world-class curricular, extra-curricular, and co-curricular programming for boys in a diverse community, by creating a uniquely supportive and inspiring place where boys can aspire to be their best authentic selves. Our deans of students in each division collected feedback from students on their experience of the school, gauging our success at our ambitious mission of creating a culture where they feel “known and loved.” The Boys Education Series continues to serve those working with boys at US and beyond, on timely and timeless topics, and recent entries will be published in book form this year.
Setting the Standard in Exemplary Teaching 
US is first and foremost a school for boys during the critical years of their development into men, and all faculty and staff who work with our boys will exemplify excellence, both in their disciplines and in their care for students, in maximizing boys’ experiences. This year began with the Teaching & Learning Institute, with some 50 sessions of faculty presenting to colleagues on their own recent professional development pursuits and in their own areas of expertise. In the coming year, US faculty are scheduled to present at various state, regional, national, and international conferences—including the International Boys’ School Coalition (IBSC) in New Zealand—spotlighting their work with and for our boys.
Connecting Our Community 
Broadening and deepening students’ world outlook will happen with further expanding the concept of “the classroom” to embrace the culture, perspectives, and learning opportunities available in Cleveland and beyond, and throughout their lives. We have strengthened bonds within our community with the help of reimagined community activities in partnership with the University School Parents Association (USPA). Beyond campus, we are identifying and expanding opportunities for civic engagement and social entrepreneurship, including through an exciting avenue for Upper School students to develop their own projects fueled by their own passions.
Constructing Superior Learning Facilities 
US will provide an intentionally prepared educational environment with buildings, classrooms, and campus spaces that complement and enhance the School’s longstanding experiential emphasis and that support boys’ growth and learning. From the Chilcote Family Commons to the Class of 1970 Arboretum to the Outdoor Learning and Play Area, US is alive with students’ energy like never before. We, too, are excited about our momentum to provide boys and teachers alike with the best possible learning spaces.
Ensuring Long-Term Financial Resources 
To serve the broadest group of boys today and to develop aspirational plans for tomorrow’s generations of students, US will increase revenue beyond tuition while prudently managing costs associated with our Junior Kindergarten – Grade 12 program. Philanthropic support for the school continues to thrive as new financial commitments have topped any two-year period in the school’s history, while our Annual Fund continues to grow despite economic unpredictability. 
We are inspired by the growth in support for our strategic priorities, as outlined in these pages, as we work together to ensure that US is serving Northeast Ohio’s “boys of promise” and fulfilling our mission to create “young men of character” who lead and serve 100 years from now.
Last spring, US hosted its annual Class of 1935 Political Awareness Essay Contest. As is customary, student honorees were recognized in a special assembly. The assembly’s keynote speaker was the United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Don Graves ’88. In sharing his story with our students, he told of his first trip aboard Air Force One at the invitation of then-President Obama. He recalls looking out the window over the Greater Cleveland area he had long called home and trying to get his bearings. He did just that when he spotted an iconic tower near Shaker and Warrensville. Spotting that home, as he soared to new heights, brought the magic of the moment into perspective for him.

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.