Partnerships for College Success
Clark University and the University Park Campus School
While Clark University and the Worcester Public Schools have collaborated for several years, the University Park Campus School (UPCS) was expressly created by both entities to serve the needs of neighborhood students. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s PCS grant will enable the partners to build on this strong, continuing relationship to improve college success for all students.
Founded in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts is a highly regarded teaching and research institution with nearly 2,000 undergraduate and 600 graduate students. The neighborhood around the university, Main South, is one of Worcester’s most challenged communities. Clark has committed to strengthening Main South with educational and developmental programs, and its Hiatt Professional Development School Collaborative has received national recognition and support for its work with the Worcester Public Schools.
The University Park Campus School, which serves approximately 230 students, is nationally recognized for its ability to help students from Worcester’s underserved community exceed expectations in academic achievement, in standardized test scores, and in graduation rates. In acknowledgement of its achievements, UPCS has been recognized by national organizations including the Education Trust, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Newsweek magazine. All members of the UPCS’ three graduating classes have attended college.
The Partnerships for College Success initiative is helping Clark and the University Park Campus School examine and improve the persistence and retention rates of UPCS students as they enter college. Results of this effort are informing a PCS study of current programs to increase academic rigor and preparation for post-secondary study, helping expand the success of the UPCS model to other schools in and beyond Worcester.
The Clark-UPCS partnership has had exceptional success in getting UPCS graduates to college. With the national college graduation rate at 60%, however—and much lower for students of color—getting to college is no guarantee of getting through college. The Partnership for College Success grant will, over the long term, support UPCS students’ efforts to thrive in college and to graduate with a college degree. By monitoring and analyzing UPCS students’ transition to college and feeding back results into the current UPCS curriculum, the PCS effort seeks to ensure that 75% of each graduating class from UPCS earns a college degree at either a two-year or a four-year institution within six years.
Jack Foley, Clark’s Vice President for Government and Community Affairs and Campus Services and the primary contact person for the Clark-UPCS partnership, can be reached at (508) 793-7444.