A college preparatory curriculum with small class sizes
University High School is a free public charter school that is located on the Fresno State campus. We offer a college preparatory curriculum in a supportive environment with small class size and free tutorial services. We enroll approximately 130 students of incoming freshmen who are selected through a lottery process. We encourage all potential applicants and a parent to attend one of our Information Days. These orientations provide you the opportunity to learn about our program and tour the UHS campus.
If you are considering UHS for your student, you must ask yourself two questions:
Does my child have a sincere interest in music? In order to apply, students must have two years of music instruction. They can achieve this by singing in a choir, taking private music lessons or playing an instrument in their middle school band or orchestra. Their interest in music must be genuine as they will play or sing in one of our ensembles during their four years with us. They will also take four years of music theory.
Is my child willing to work hard in a demanding academic environment? Our students enroll in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. During their junior and senior years, they will be enrolled in AP classes and will take courses at Fresno State University. They must be willing to meet the challenges of our program.
If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, we encourage you to explore the information on this website. First, you’ll want to visit our “FAQ's” where many of your questions will be answered. You are always welcome to call our office if you have additional questions.
“to create a school that articulated a vision for education in the 21st century”
At the end of the 1990’s, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities on the campus
of California State University, Fresno, conceived the idea of starting a charter high
school on campus and received grants to do so. The Dean appointed Dr. Wendy Costa
to write the charter, and Dr. Vida Samiian oversaw the project. The intent was “to create
a school that articulated a vision for education in the 21 st Century that would be based
upon the latest educational research, implement best practices in instruction, and serve
as a model of educational innovation.”
With the support of Fresno State’s President, the Dean began the process of creating
the school. He called on many different educational leaders in the community to assist
him. This collaboration included University administrators, professors, master teachers
from local high schools, and community members from throughout Central California.
The result of this collaboration was the UHS Charter and its unique curriculum and
organization, which includes a clear vision and mission. The school would be a liberal-
arts college prep program that included music in its curriculum.
University High School opening in the Fall of the 2000-2001 school year as an
independent, direct-funded charter high school, unaffiliated with any larger organization
or management group, and governed by it own school board. The school was initially
chartered by Sierra Unified School District and remained under Sierra Unified until
chartering with Fresno Unified in 2007, as required by new charter law. UHS began
using classrooms leased by Fresno State, and as it expanded, used additional portable
facilities. In August of 2009, after years of delay, the new 22 room permanent facility
began construction. The permanent facility includes 22 classrooms with three music
rooms, four science labs, computer lab, and a weight room. On November 17, 2010, the
school closed for a day so everyone could move from the old facility to the new one. On
November 18, 2010, University High School held its first day of classes in the new
facility, and on November 30, 2010, in an official Dedication Ceremony, the school
dedicated the building to the former Dean, Dr. Luis Costa, and the Fresno State
President at the time, Dr. John Welty, the two men significantly responsible for our
The vision and mission of University High School have not changed much over the
years because they adequately express exactly what the school aims to achieve. The
vision speaks to what University High School tries to accomplish and the mission
speaks to the path the school has chosen to achieve the vision. For the past 20+ years,
University High School has grown into the crown jewel of education in the Central
Valley, winning many awards for its academic achievement.
Students will feel confident to express themselves
University High School will be a 9-12th grade Liberal Arts high school on the campus of California State University Fresno where ALL students will experience an accelerated college preparatory program with two years of Latin and the full inclusion of music theory and performance.
The school culture will be caring, supportive of learning, promote understanding and encourage students to foster personal development. Students will feel confident to express themselves as they mature into young adults.
The school will address the academic, personal, and social development of the students while providing a solid academic foundation for a college career, with the goal that all graduates are prepared to enter the adult world where they will be ready to pursue any goal to which they aspire. In short, UHS will continually work to create for its student's nothing less than the best high school experience possible.