University Prep Joins Making Care Common Project

University Prep has been selected to join Making Care Common, a project of the Harvard School of Education, which "helps educators, parents, and communities raise children who are caring, responsible to their communities, and committed to justice." "By joining MCC we are affirming UPrep's commitment to launch not only smart but also healthy, balanced, and kind students into the world," says Kelly Herrington, Director of College Counseling and Student Services. UPrep is currently the only school in Washington State to have joined the MCC.

The application to MCC included the following list of criteria: Build a caring, inclusive community; implement an evidence-based social and emotional learning or character education program; support high-quality, sustained community service; regularly assess school culture and pace of life by reviewing student survey data in an ongoing effort to create a schedule and culture that is balanced, promotes adequate sleep, pursuit of interests outside of school, and over all student well-being; discourage students from enrolling in a large number of extracurricular activities; and reduce the influence of commercial college rankings, which have little to do with a college's real value.

Reading the criteria, Kelly Herrington remembers thinking, "We are doing almost all of this already!" Here are some of the ways in which UPrep addresses the ideals of the MCC:

  • We administer the Independent School Health Check (ISHC) and the High School Survey for Student Engagement (HSSSE), both of which provide great data on school climate and mental health issues, which informs our programming.
  • We are hiring a full time SEL coordinator, which grew out of our SEL initiative. A robust SEL program is a stated goal of our Strategic Plan 2020. We have spent two years generating a scope and sequence for SEL and developing a five-year plan.
  • We changed our schedule to add more community time and a later start time, thereby improving student wellness.
  • UPrep's community service requirement and service days highlight our commitment to fostering "other oriented" students.
  • Our advising program has been strengthened by the addition of grade level deans, which results in more thoughtful academic and extracurricular advising.
  • Our college counseling program has always been focused on the developmental arcs of our students' lives.