High School (9th - 12th Grade)

UrbanPromise Academy is a private, Christian high school that fulfills the needs of students who have not met their academic potential in traditional school settings and often enter two to three grade levels below national standards.

Founded in 1997, the Academy offers Camden youth a unique schooling opportunity with a low teacher to student ratio, a family-style learning environment, an emphasis on community service, and experiential and expeditionary learning. UrbanPromise Academy currently boasts a 100% graduation rate  and sees 90% of graduates enter college. Extracurricular opportunities include the school’s Elite Cycling Team, UrbanTrekkers, Urban BoatWorks, and Students In Action (SIA).

Despite living in a city where nearly 50% of high school students drop out, 100% of UrbanPromise Academy seniors graduate each year.

Cross-cultural experiences, historical perspectives, leadership development, and team-building exercises are just some of the key elements of UrbanTrekkers 15 annual expeditions.

Through a myriad of neighborhood-based programs, UrbanPromise educates and empowers around 640 Camden children and teens each year.

Math

Education experts agree that mastering math skills is necessary in scholastic success and in the complicated, high-tech-world our children will inherit and navigate. UrbanPromise schools recognize that a solid foundation in mathematics will serve our students well, allowing them to compete and succeed in college and career. Our math curriculum allows students each year to master concepts and move on to more difficult math levels. With a commitment to small class size and individual attention, opportunities to work with mentors and real-world experiences to use what they learn in the classroom, students are given every opportunity to succeed.  With math mastery comes academic confidence.

Pre-Algebra

Curriculum Focus

  • Compare and manipulate real numbers and apply number theory concepts to solve mathematical and life problems
  • Create, analyze, and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations
  • Use functions to model relationships between quantities
Algebra

Curriculum Focus

  • Write expressions in equivalent forms to solve problems
  • Use polynomial identities to solve problems
  • Create equations to describe numbers or relationships
  • Be able to solve equations using the process of reasoning and be able to explain the reasoning
  • Represent and solve equations and inequalities graphically.
Geometry

Curriculum Focus

  • Determine congruency using rigid motions
  • Define trigonometric ratios and solve problems involving right ratios
  • Understand and apply theorems about circles
  • Visualize relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects
  • Apply geometric concepts in modeling situations
Algebra II

Curriculum Focus

  • Solve equations and inequalities involving absolute value
  • Write linear equations using real world data
  • Solve radical equations
  • Solve any quadratic equation
  • Find composition and inverse of functions
  • Simplify, evaluate and solve equations using logarithms

Experiential Learning Integration

Wooden Boat Building

As part of their mathematics curriculum, UrbanPromise Academy’s 9th grade class is working on two projects: a 30' dragon boat for the UrbanPromise dragon boat team, and repairing our existing fleet of canoes and kayaks from their heavy use in the summer paddling program.

Science

According to the U.S Department of Labor, the future of our economy depends on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.  We need to encourage young people to pursue careers in these critical fields. The path to success in these areas can start in the high school classroom.  At UrbanPromise schools, science education highlights our belief that children learn best through experiential processes that allow them to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real life.  In addition to our classroom curriculum, UP students have many opportunities to learn and grow as scientists, work and interact with real-world mentors and thought leaders from local tech companies, and develop curiosity for the world around them and confidence that they can and will make a difference.

Environmental Science

Curriculum Focus

  • Understanding of scientific principles through hands-on experimentation
  • Application of investigative environmental and ecological science through indoor laboratory and outdoor exploration
  • Understand personal roles in affecting the ecosystem to improve the environment within their neighborhoods as well as surrounding areas
  • Develop, maintain and secure a diverse, balanced, and sustainable living environment
Biology

Curriculum Focus

  • Comprehensive understanding of life and life processes for various plant and animal species
  • Learn effects of the environment on life from viral and bacterial diseases to nutrition and even lifestyles
  • Perform both simulated and real-life dissections of various animals. 
  • Extensive experience with forensic science by using Rice University’s Virtual Crime Scene Investigation (CSI)
Chemistry

Curriculum Focus

  • Fundamentals of matter, chemical reactions, and the energy involved in those reactions
  • Collaborative learning framework for project-based solutions and experimentation
  • Cross-disciplinary case studies using chemistry principles to solve mock-Crime Scene Investigations (CSI)
  • Observe, organize, compare and contrast, question, study, and judge chemical processes, reactions, laws and phenomena
Physics/STEM

Curriculum Focus

  • Experimentation of the laws of physics including motion, force, gravity, momentum, energy, heat, fluids, waves, electricity and magnetism
  • Introduce engineering through design and construction of various DC circuits and robotics to demonstrate several laws of physics 
  • Experience aviation working directly with trained pilots and airplane designers to build a flyable 2-seater aircraft
  • Experience flight through flying in an actual aircraft and visiting several airports

Experiential Learning Integration

Urban River Advocacy

Camden was born on the water, yet few residents have any connection to the city's waterways. Our students are becoming the exception to that rule, however. UrbanPromise students are paddling on their city's rivers, testing its waters and learning about its watershed through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Students share what they have learned by speaking at conferences with stakeholders who are making a difference in the rivers' health and future. 

History

The City of Camden makes headlines for many things, not always positive. But for UP students, it is a daily civics lesson. It provides the perfect setting to learn about their urban world, their state, their nation, their world, and their role and responsibility in each. From meeting President Obama, to studying the Civil War through the restoration of an historic cemetery, to serving their community through a local food pantry, our students connect to and feel a part of an ever changing living classroom.

World History

Curriculum Focus

  • Master the essential facts of ancient world history from the beginning to the Renaissance
  • Analyze and interpret non-fiction texts
  • Create a research paper using Chicago style citation
  • Analyze and form opinions about the visual, written, and musical arts of past civilizations
  • Compare and contrast primary sources from ancient world history
US History I

Curriculum Focus

  • Master the essential facts of US History from 20,000 B.C. to 1860
  • Analyze and interpret non-fiction texts
  • Create a research paper using Chicago style citation
  • Analyze and form opinions about the visual, written, and musical arts of early American history
  • Compare and contrast primary sources from early American history
US History II

Curriculum Focus

  • Master the essential facts of US History from 1860 to the present
  • Analyze and interpret non-fiction texts
  • Create a research paper using Chicago style citation
  • Analyze and form opinions about the visual, written, and musical arts from recent American history Compare and contrast primary sources from recent American history
  • Conduct original research on grave sites at Johnson’s Cemetery, a resting place for African American veterans of the Civil War and Spanish American War
American Government and Economics

Curriculum Focus

  • Master the essential facts of the American Government
  • Compare and contrast varying economic systems
  • Analyze and interpret non-fiction texts
  • Create a 10-page, college level research paper using Chicago style citation
  • Compare and contrast primary sources about politics

Experiential Learning Integration

Johnson Cemetery Memorial Park

Johnson Cemetery is located on Federal Street at Terrace Avenue, only a few hundred feet away from the students’ U.S. Government and Economics class. Veteran soldiers who fought for the 54th Regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War, veterans from the Spanish-American War, and trailbreakers in Camden's African-American community were all laid to rest in Johnson Cemetery. Motivated to make a difference, the students have adopted the cemetery, cleaning the grounds regularly, clearing the tombstones that have been covered over by inches of dirt so that they would once again be visible, and raising money to dedicate a new sign for the park.  

English

From a foundation in grammar, spelling, and literacy to an exploration of ethnic literature, our English curriculum is both fundamental and exploratory.  As in all subjects, students are provided with individualized instruction to insure they stay at grade level and to allow for greater understanding of the world around them through the written word.

English I

Curriculum Focus

  • Read Mankind: the Story of all of Us (graphic Novel by the History Channel); Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Ancient Greek Myths, by Bernard Elvsin; Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare; I know why the Cage Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; and other novels
  • Explain why literacy is important
  • Identify a “favorite author”
  • Develop a personal “culture of reading”
  • Cite and use vocabulary skills, including context based understanding and etymology
  • Master important grammar skills, which includes an understanding of basic parts of speech, subject-verb agreement, and common grammar mistakes (there/their/they’re, to/too, your/you’re, etc.)
  • Write a literary research paper using MLA citation
English II

Curriculum Focus

  • Read Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi; Lord of the Flies, by William Golding; Animal farm, by George Orwell, and other novels
  • Explain how a society can benefit from or be harmed by revolution
  • Explain how individuals might experience revolutions within themselves
  • Cite and use vocabulary skills, including context based understanding and etymology
  • Master important grammar skills, which includes an understanding of basic parts of speech, subject-verb agreement, and common grammar mistakes (there/their/they’re, to/too, your/you’re, etc.)
  • Write a literary research paper using MLA citation
English III

Curriculum Focus

  • Read The Book of Genesis; Grendel, by John Gardner; Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley; Our America, by José Marti; Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, and selected readings from the Harlem Renaissance
  • Explain how God controls humanity, how people try to control nature, and how people try to control other people
  • Cite and use vocabulary skills, including context based understanding and etymology
  • Master important grammar skills, which includes an understanding of basic parts of speech, subject-verb agreement, and common grammar mistakes (there/their/they’re, to/too, your/you’re, etc.)
  • Write a literary research paper using MLA citation
English IV

Curriculum Focus

  • Read The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto Che Guevara; Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama; Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson; Walden, by Henry David Thoreau; and other novels
  • Understand and explain the rites of passage to adulthood that others have gone through
  • Experience and explain a rite of passage by spending a night on an island alone and writing about the experience
  • Cite and use vocabulary skills, including context based understanding and etymology
  • Master important grammar skills, which includes an understanding of basic parts of speech, subject-verb agreement, and common grammar mistakes (there/their/they’re, to/too, your/you’re, etc.)
  • Write a literary research paper using MLA citation

Experiential Learning Integration

Scavenger Hunt at the Art Museum

As part  of the English curriculum, students  visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art at least once each year.   While exploring the museum and becoming familiar with its treasures, they photograph artwork that represents current vocabulary words, and then they present the photographs to class. This assignment connections different subjects and reinforces the fact that vocabulary words exist everywhere, making vacabulary lessons far more interesting.

Spanish

Being able to read, write, and converse in Spanish is only becoming more important as the Spanish speaking population of our city and our country grows.  Whether is in in the workplace or the neighborhood, learning to communicate in multiple languages opens up new opportunities, exposes new ways of thiking, and create the opportunity to build new connections with diverse people.

Spanish I

Curriculum Focus

  • Focus on development of skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • Study of Spanish/Latino/Lantina Diaspora world, daily life, and history
Spanish II

Curriculum Focus

  • New grammar and structural concepts with increased emphasis on reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • Study of Spanish/Latino/Lantina Diaspora world, daily life, and history
Technology

Over the next thirty years, more software engineering jobs will be created in the U.S. than in any other field.  The Academy's technology classes ensure students can use technology in school and in everyday life, and allows students to begin to develop an interest and skills in this improtant job field.

Technology 101

Curriculum Focus

  • Keyboarding skills, word-processing, file-management, utilizing an email account, internet applications
  • Design personal webpage using HTML and JavaScript
  • Develop three different video games using storyboarding, character, action, and scene development.
  • Utilize Microsoft Office suite to format APA style papers, create tables, presentations, blogs, and a host of other computer applications
Computer-Aided-Design (CAD)

Curriculum Focus

  • Basic engineering drafting procedures and techniques
  • Extensive use of Google SketchUp, and AutoCAD
  • Develop simple and complex shapes, both 2D and 3D extrusions, multi-body parts, and simple vector mechanics
  • Correctly dimensioned 3D drawings to produce physical prototypes using 3D printers
Physical Education

We take a holistic approach to education, focusing not just on the mind but on spiritual and physical growth as well with the goal of producing students—and citizens—equipped to live healthy and productive lives even in the midst of stressful circumstances. Cooperation, team work, mindfulness, and the importance of healthy eating habits are all stressed at UP at every grade level through health and physical education classes.  While we do not have sports teams due to our size, our students can and do participate in local sports, have opportunities to explore their physical world and challenge themselves through UrbanTrekkers, and learn about making healthy choices to support strong body, mind, and spirit.

Grade 9

Curriculum Focus

  • Team sports: Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Lacrosse, Floor Hockey, Soccer
  • Physical fitness testing: Muscular fitness and endurance, Cardio-respiratory endurance 
Grade 10

Curriculum Focus

  • Team sports: Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Lacrosse, Floor Hockey, Soccer
  • Physical fitness testing: Muscular fitness and endurance, Cardio-respiratory endurance 
Grade 11

Curriculum Focus

  • Team sports: Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Lacrosse, Floor Hockey, Soccer
  • Physical fitness testing: Muscular fitness and endurance, Cardio-respiratory endurance 
Grade 12

Curriculum Focus

  • Team sports: Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Lacrosse, Floor Hockey, Soccer
  • Physical fitness testing: Muscular fitness and endurance, Cardio-respiratory endurance 

Experiential Learning Integration

UrbanPromise Academy Elite Cycling Team

The Elite Cycling Team is made up of students from UrbanPromise Academy who have committed to a 12-week intensive training regimen of spin classes at a local gym and weekend team rides in Camden all in perparation for Pedal for Promise in May. Depending on their ability, students chose to cycling either 30 miles or 60 miles in the fundraiser.

Art

Our Art program provides students with a perspective of how art both reflects and influences society and culture in their own communities and throughout history. At the same time, the Art program helps students develop their unique inner artist, identify and nurture their own abilities and artistic expression. Our students work with various artistic media, getting hands-on instruction in the foundations of art, art theory and art history. They learn how to channel their creativity to illustrate their own personal story, in conjunction with what they are learning and experiencing across the UP curriculum.

Grade 9

Curriculum Focus

  • Create works of art that explore personally meaningful themes using a variety of materials and approaches
  • Engage in discussion and constructive critique with peers in response to personal artwork and ideas
  • Explore connections between works of art and social, cultural, and political history
  • Compare uses of art in a variety of cultural and historical contexts and make connections to contemporary and local examples
  • Investigate how knowledge of culture, tradition, and history may influence response to a work of art
  • Investigate ways in which creative works and material culture shape understanding of human experience throughout time
  • Analyze, select, and critique personal artwork for a collection or portfolio presentation
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ethical implications of making and distributing creative work
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of balancing freedom and responsibility in the use of images, materials, and equipment in the production and circulation of creative work
  • Key artworks & artists: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Tibetan sand mandalas, stained glass from a variety of cultures, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, Banksy, Isaiah Zagar, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Renoir, Vincent van Gogh
Grade 10

Curriculum Focus

  • Create works of art that explore personally meaningful themes using a variety of materials and approaches 
  • Engage in discussion and constructive critique with peers in response to personal artwork and ideas 
  • Explore connections between works of art and social, cultural, and political history 
  • Compare uses of art in a variety of cultural and historical contexts and make connections to contemporary and local examples 
  • Investigate how knowledge of culture, tradition, and history may influence response to a work of art 
  • Investigate ways in which creative works and material culture shape understanding of human experience throughout time 
  • Analyze, select, and critique personal artwork for a collection or portfolio presentation 
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ethical implications of making and distributing creative work 
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of balancing freedom and responsibility in the use of images, materials, and equipment in the production and circulation of creative work 
  • Key artworks & artists: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Tibetan sand mandalas, stained glass from a variety of cultures, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, Banksy, Isaiah Zagar, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Renoir, Vincent van Gogh
Grade 11

Curriculum Focus

  • Create works of art that explore personally meaningful themes using a variety of materials and approaches 
  • Engage in discussion and constructive critique with peers in response to personal artwork and ideas 
  • Explore connections between works of art and social, cultural, and political history 
  • Compare uses of art in a variety of cultural and historical contexts and make connections to contemporary and local examples 
  • Investigate how knowledge of culture, tradition, and history may influence response to a work of art 
  • Investigate ways in which creative works and material culture shape understanding of human experience throughout time 
  • Analyze, select, and critique personal artwork for a collection or portfolio presentation 
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ethical implications of making and distributing creative work 
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of balancing freedom and responsibility in the use of images, materials, and equipment in the production and circulation of creative work 
  • Key artworks & artists: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Tibetan sand mandalas, stained glass from a variety of cultures, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, Banksy, Isaiah Zagar, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Renoir, Vincent van Gogh
Grade 12

Curriculum Focus

  • Create works of art that explore personally meaningful themes using a variety of materials and approaches 
  • Engage in discussion and constructive critique with peers in response to personal artwork and ideas 
  • Explore connections between works of art and social, cultural, and political history 
  • Compare uses of art in a variety of cultural and historical contexts and make connections to contemporary and local examples 
  • Investigate how knowledge of culture, tradition, and history may influence response to a work of art 
  • Investigate ways in which creative works and material culture shape understanding of human experience throughout time 
  • Analyze, select, and critique personal artwork for a collection or portfolio presentation 
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ethical implications of making and distributing creative work 
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of balancing freedom and responsibility in the use of images, materials, and equipment in the production and circulation of creative work 
  • Key artworks & artists: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Tibetan sand mandalas, stained glass from a variety of cultures, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, Banksy, Isaiah Zagar, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Renoir, Vincent van Gogh

Experiential Learning Integration

Art for the President

The UrbanPromise Academy art class had the opportunity to design Christmas ornaments that decorated one of the White House’s Christmas trees. The students were inspired by Marc Chagall's Peace Window, a stained-glass artwork on display at U.N. headquarters in New York, which they studied earlier in the year. They decided to design their ornaments in a similar stained-glass style and drew their designs first on tissue paper. They drew religious symbols, as well as pictures to represent racial diversity, peace, and harmony, such as a world map and two hands holding.

Health/Life Skills/Wellness

This is a variable topic course where students develop skills that will make them health-literate adults. Students gain an understanding of the knowledge and behaviors necessary to promote health. Students are taught how to access accurate information that they can use for themselves and others.

Grade 9

Curriculum Focus

  • Personal health
  • First aid & safety
  • Community and enviromental health
  • Adolescent health problems
  • Personal social and family relationships
  • Use problem-solving, research, goal-setting and communication skills
Grade 10

Curriculum Focus

  • Personal health
  • First aid & safety
  • Community and enviromental health
  • Adolescent health problems
  • Personal social and family relationships
  • Use problem-solving, research, goal-setting and communication skills
Grade 11

Curriculum Focus

  • Personal health
  • First aid & safety
  • Community and enviromental health
  • Adolescent health problems
  • Personal social and family relationships
  • Use problem-solving, research, goal-setting and communication skills
Grade 12

Curriculum Focus

  • Personal health
  • First aid & safety
  • Community and enviromental health
  • Adolescent health problems
  • Personal social and family relationships
  • Use problem-solving, research, goal-setting and communication skills