Welcome from Shelle Peterson


Welcome to the University Preparatory School website.

U-Prep is widely recognized as a high achieving school of choice aimed at preparing students for a successful transition to university-level coursework. The learning environment and school culture is reflected in our motto, Pursuing Excellence Together. The partnerships between our caring and competent staff, supportive school board, engaged families, and outstanding community businesses and organizations enable us to give students a high quality education that strengthens their ability to compete in the world.

Middle School at U-Prep

The Middle Grade Program serves as the foundation for a successful transition to our High School Program. High expectations coupled with strong supports serve to nurture developing confidence and self-efficacy. A plethora of extra-curricular opportunities stretch learning beyond the classroom: 20 athletic teams (girls and boys soccer, cross country, flag football, volleyball, girls and boys basketball, track, baseball and softball); performing arts including band, choir, orchestra, drum corps, dance, fall musical and spring play (open to all grades), and a myriad of clubs (Student Government, Odyssey of the Mind, Peer Mentors, Mathcounts, Science Bowl, and many more). U-Prep also offers an Academic Support and Advisory Program (A.S.A.P.), which is embedded into each student’s school day. During A.S.A.P., students are engaged in learning developmentally appropriate topics including time management, study skills, and college readiness benchmarks; students may also receive tutoring and connect with their teachers for additional academic support. All of our 8th grade students study Latin; those who master the curriculum in 7th may opt to begin a modern language in 8th. High school students interact positively with middle school students through Big Brother/Big Sister, Peer Mentors and other venues within the athletics, arts, and activities programs.

High School at U-Prep

There are several unique features to U-Prep’s High School Program, including: (1) The graduation requirements are aligned to the UC and CSU A-G admissions eligibility requirements; (2) Students take 7 classes daily rather than 6, which increases opportunities to expand interests in fine arts, world languages, and other electives while pursuing the most advanced academic schedule; (3) The World Language Department offers courses in Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and French. U-Prep is the only school in our community that promotes the study and teaching of the Classical Greek and Latin world; (4) U-Prep hosts an award winning Dance program that offers courses in junior high and high school (fine arts credit); and, (5) All students in grades 9-12 take Honors or Advanced Placement curriculum. Freshman students take AP Human Geography, and junior and senior students take AP English and AP history courses as their default course of study. Dual enrollment courses are taught on-site by U-Prep instructors; courses are offered in the math, English, science departments. With 23 different athletic teams students in our small school setting have ample opportunity to develop themselves as competitors. Several extra-curricular programs serve to develop leadership while fostering a sense of personal responsibility and citizenship.

We Deliver on Four Promises

  • 1) We prepare students for university-level admissions through offering a challenging academic learning environment.
  • 2) We provide academic and relational supports within a close-knit community of faculty advisors.
  • 3) We strive to build positive working relationships with students and families.
  • 4) We empower students to develop their unlimited potential through offering new challenges and engagement in leadership opportunities, the visual and performing arts programs, junior high and high school athletics, and rigorous college-preparatory academics.

Selecting the best school for your child is understandably a ‘head and heart’ process. Simply put, we are pleased to provide an opportunity for parents to consider as they navigate through differing educational options and determine a match. Our staff is available to answer questions if we can be of further assistance, 245-2790.


Shelle Peterson

School Profile


University Preparatory School, a public charter school of the Shasta Union High School District, was granted a charter by the state of California in March 2004. Its purpose is twofold: first to provide a small, comprehensive high school alternative for area students and second to support the academic mission of the school and prepare students for an academically rigorous high school experience with its middle school curriculum (grades 6-8). U-Prep’s middle school curriculum includes Latin in 7th and 8th grade. The high school curriculum is comprised of AP, Honors and CP courses. Courses offered at U-Prep include: Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, French, Latin, AP Physics B and AP Physics C Mechanics, AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP World History, AP US History, AP Economics, AP American Government, AP English Language & Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Latin, and AP Studio Art, Drawing, 2D and 3D. Students also participate in a daily Advisory or Tutorial class.

Classes meet daily on campus and are taught by teachers with the appropriate California Credentials. Students are immersed in rigorous academics and meaningful extra-curricular activities and supported by a close-knit community of teachers, counselors, and administration, which will enable them to choose any course of post-secondary education. U-Prep adheres to a non-weighted grading system. A=4, B=3, C-2, D=1, F=0. Students meeting the rigorous graduation requirements of University Preparatory School will receive a U-Prep and Shasta Union High School District (SUHSD) diploma.


U-Prep opened in August 2004 with 252 students in grades 6 through 9. Today the school has over 900 students in grades 6 through 12. U-Prep received a six year term of accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and graduated its first class in June 2008.

In 2013 U-Prep earned its second recognition as a California Distinguished School. In 2013 and 2014 U-Prep was twice awarded a Gold Medal by US News & World Report and in May 2013 was ranked 241 by Newsweek, putting it in the top 500 high schools in the nation. The school’s Academic Performance Index (API) for 2013 was 910, maintaining U-Prep’s top 10% ranking in state testing.

University Preparatory School was born of the stakeholders’ common goal to make a classical, college prep public school uniquely available in Shasta County. U-Prep meets the following statutory purposes for charter schools identified in Education Code Section 46601, including:

  • Improving pupil learning,
  • Encouraging the use of different and innovative teaching methods,
  • Providing parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system, and
  • Being accountable for meeting measurable pupil outcomes

Vision, Mission & Student Learning Outcomes


University Preparatory School is an educational community invested in developing confident, capable, and compassionate citizens.


We work together to provide students with many opportunities to excel academically and develop their potential as educated leaders and citizens in the 21st century through a rich and varied extra-curricular program. This vision is supported by offering a seven-period day to students from grades 6 through 12 so that they may pursue academic interests, such as studying multiple world languages or continue their development in the arts, including dance, drama, art, and music. Our vision is to enable all students to become self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners.


University Preparatory School is an educational community invested in developing confident, capable, and compassionate citizens; its mission to immerse all students “in rigorous academics and meaningful extra-curricular activities” is supported by a collaborative and close-knit community of staff, students, and parents and based upon educational research and professional experience.


In addition to the school’s academic goals for students are the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), which articulate the values of the school community and are central to both the academic and Advisory curriculum as well as the student recognition program.

The U-Prep Student is...

A Mature Communicator
Able to read, write, speak, question and listen effectively and professionally to support all aspects of communication.
An Information Manager
Able to ethically and morally access, organize and evaluate information for a complex and technological world.

UPREP Graduates of 2015

A Problem Solver
Able to be innovative through critical thinking and decision making to produce solutions, while adapting and facing new challenges.
A Positive Member of a Diverse Society
Able to demonstrate compassion and empathy throughout the community, both locally and globally.
A Lifelong Learner
Able to be accountable in setting and achieving education, career, and personal health goals to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

So that he or she can serve the world with character, skills and leadership.

UPREP Founders

University Preparatory School came about as a result of three major factors: a group of five educators/teachers committed to the idea of a new, small, academically rigorous 7th through 12th grade school; a visionary district superintendent who recognized the value of such a school; and a community that was both willing and ready to support a small public school option aimed at providing an academically focused opportunity for all students.

In the fall of 2003 the founders began meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a charter school sponsored by the Shasta Union High School District that educated 7th through 12th grade students:

  • Erin Stuart: SUHSD teacher and Principal at the College Connection Program
  • Sally vonDachenhausen: Foothill High School AP English teacher and department chair,
    District English Department Chair
  • Kathy Malain: Counselor/Team Leader at Sequoia Middle School
  • Andy Hedman: Shasta High School AP English teacher
  • Susan McGrath: Foothill math teacher, former FHS Math Department Chair

In September of 2003, the Leadership Team sent a formal petition to the Shasta Union High School District asking its board members to consider the merits of a District sponsored charter school. The Leadership Team conducted public meetings throughout early November of 2003 to share the goals and structure of the school with anyone interested. In November of 2003, the Shasta Union High School District’s Board met, discussed, voted and granted permission for University Preparatory School’s original eight page charter. At that time the Founders/Leadership Team identified and assumed the leadership roles/responsibilities that would form the foundation of U-Prep:

  • Erin Stuart: Principal, later Superintendent/Principal 2004-2012
  • Sally vonDachenhausen: English Department Chair, AP English, Yearbook,
    Senior Exit Project/Senior Transition
  • Kathy Malain: Counselor, Special Education Coordinator, later Associate Principal,
    Superintendent/Principal 2012-2014
  • Andy Hedman: Athletic Administrator, AP English teacher, New Teacher Mentor
  • Susan McGrath: Math/Science Department Chair, advanced mathematics teacher