The University of Texas-University Charter School (UT-UCS) is a university charter school within The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.
UT-UCS is currently comprised of twenty-three campuses serving approximately five hundred students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Each campus is located on and provided classroom and office space by its facility partner. UT-UCS operates in a variety of settings, including:
- residential treatment centers,
- psychiatric hospitals,
- a residential home for children who, for a variety of reasons cannot live at home,
- a shelter housing families escaping domestic violence,
- a home for girls in crisis pregnancies,
- a medical facility for children who require specialized services due to brain injury or neuro-behavioral issues and/or who are considered medically fragile, and
- one elite gymnastic program
The students enrolled in UT-UCS have diverse educational backgrounds and needs. These varied backgrounds include a history of success in schools to not attending school regularly. Backgrounds of students include success and pervasive failure in school. Many students have not attended school on a regular basis. The abilities of the students range from gifted and talented to severe intellectual impairment. At any given time, thirty-five to forty-five percent of the students are eligible for special education services. On some campuses, this number may go as high as one hundred percent. The state average is about nine percent.
A challenge UT-UCS faces in delivering quality educational services is the mobility rate of its students. Mobility rate reflects the turnover of students throughout the school year. The UT-UCS mobility rate is over eighty percent compared to the state rate of slightly less than twenty-one percent. This mobility rate is a result of students transferring in and out of facility programs and transitioning back to their home schools. More than 2,000 students were served during the 2014-2015 school year.
Students in the residential treatment centers often demonstrate severe neurological and learning dysfunctions as well as emotional or behavioral disorders. Sixty-four percent of UT-UCS students are economically disadvantaged and approximately ninety-five percent are considered at-risk of dropping out.
Approximately two-thirds of the student population is male and one-third is female.
Staffing requires most teachers to teach multi-grade level classes within each class period. The faculty, staff and administrators must be highly skilled in order to ensure that each child has access to excellent educational opportunities. All teachers are required to hold special education certification in addition to subject-area certification. In some settings, English as a Second Language certification is also required.