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 at Fresno State. The intent was “to create a school that articulated a vision for education in the 21st century” that would be based on the latest educational research, implement best practices in instruction and serve as a model of educational innovation.”
With the support of the University’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 included a clear vision and mission. The school would be a liberal-arts college prep program that included music in its curriculum.
The school opened in the fall of the 2000-01 school year as an independent, direct-funded charter high school, unaffiliated with any larger organization or management group and governed by its own board. The school was initially chartered through Sierra Unified and remained under Sierra Unified until chartering with FUSD in 2007. The school began using classrooms leased by California State University, Fresno and as it expanded additional portable facilities. In August of 2009 after years of delay, the new 22 room permanent facility was begun. The permanent facility includes 22 classrooms with three music rooms, four science labs, and a computer lab and weight room. On November 17th 2010 the school closed for a day so everyone could move from the old facility to the new one. On November 18th 2010 the school held its first day of classes in the new facility and on November 30th 2010, in an official Dedication Ceremony, the school dedicated the building to Former Dean Luis Costa and former University President John Welty, the two men more responsible for our school’s existence.
The vision and mission for University high school have not changed much over the years because they adequately express exactly what the school is trying to achieve. The vision speaks to what UHS has tried to accomplish and the mission speaks to the path the school has chosen to achieve the vision.