Academics » Curriculum


University Prep Value High School’s curriculum is designed to prepare students for the rigors of college level work. Students are required to select from a list of courses that are UC approved and pass each “a-g’ class with a “C” or better. These courses align with national Common Core Standards. To better support students, University Prep Value offers a wide array of educational enhancement supports.

"To and Through"UPVHS Graduates

At University Prep Value High School, we believe students deserve every opportunity to make smart, well-informed choices that prepare them for college and beyond. The proven success of our “UP Process” provides students with opportunities to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and career interests.

As part of freshman matriculation, incoming 9th graders work with the College Counseling Team to complete a personalized, four-year educational plan and career interest profile. As a core part of the “UP Process,” every student commits to developing a plan for college and/or career.  No one is left behind. All students will take rigorous UC approved courses that develop students’ critical thinking skills, collaborative working skills, study skills, and communication skills necessary for success in college and in life.

Common Core

The state-led effort to develop the Common Core State Standards was launched in 2009 by state leaders, including governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, through their membership in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). State school chiefs and governors recognized the value of consistent, real-world learning goals and launched this effort to ensure all students, regardless of where they live, are graduating high school prepared for college, career, and life.

The standards are informed by:

  • The best state standards already in existence
  • The experience of teachers, content experts, states, and leading thinkers
  • Feedback from the public

Language Arts Standards

The Common Core asks students to read stories and literature, as well as more complex texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas such as science and social studies. Students will be challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what they’ve read. This stresses critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life.

Mathematics Standards

The Common Core concentrates on a clear set of math skills and concepts. Students will learn concepts in a more organized way both during the school year and across grades. The standards encourage students to solve real-world problems.

The full list of criteria used to develop the standards is available here.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The Value Schools model is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach. What directs the instructional process is student needs, not the dictates of a particular curriculum or methodology. Good teachers always analyze student needs regardless of who selects the methods and materials. The Value Schools model focuses the teachers’ attention first on the needs of the student, and gives responsibility for choosing the most effective means to the teacher in collaboration with the principal and other on-site learning professionals. If the methods and materials are not successful, there is no blame assigned to the curriculum planners for poor decisions; responsibility is immediate and local.

Value Schools is not organized around a particular pedagogical style; rather it is organized around the twin centers of the five core values and the student needs. Educators know a variety of sound pedagogical methods. Using their professional judgment, they determine the learning strengths and needs of each student and the most efficient way for each student to acquire the knowledge or skill set by the curriculum.

Do you have questions about the English Language Development (ELD) Standards? The California Department of Education (CDE) has published resources for understanding the ELD Standards and their alignment to English Language Arts Standards. Read more about it out here.


University Prep Value School uses the standards-based curricula adopted by the California State Board of Education and the State Department of Schools for the essential subject areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.  University Prep Value School also uses the California State Board of Education’s standards-based curricula in the areas of Fine Arts, Health/Physical Education and World Languages.

University Prep Value High School’s curriculum is developed internally by an entire team of highly qualified teachers and our Academic Council, our curriculum governing board. Each department collaborates on developing a Scope and Sequence that is within the framework of the common core standards. A curriculum framework from the CA Department of Education is provided for guidance and the implementation of the standards in all areas including English Language Arts, English Language Development, Social Studies Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Foreign Language, Physical Education, and Visual and Performing Arts. Our curriculum is designed to prepare students for the rigors of college level work. Students are required to select from a list of courses that are UC approved and pass each “a-g” class with a “C” or better. To support the curriculum and their studies, students are given opportunities to enhance their learning of a given topic, which include the following:

  • SAT and ACT Workshops
  • Khan Academy for SAT Prep and Math
  • Naviance
  • Khan Academy for SAT Prep
  • Educational Field Trips
  • College Prep Electives
  • Senior Seminar
  • Freshman Seminar
  • Sophomore Seminar
  • Life Skills

Social Studies

  • English 9 CP
  • World History
  • US History
  • AP World History
  • AP US History
  • US Government*
  • AP US Government*


  • Integrated Math 1
  • Integrated Math 2
  • Integrated Math 3
  • AP Calculus A/B *
  • College Mathematics *
  • Pre-Calculus *


  • English 9
  • English 10
  • English 10 World Literature H
  • English 11
  • English 11 Honors**
  • AP English Language
  • English  12 H*
  • Expository Writing *
  • AP English Literature *

Language Other than English

  • Spanish 1
  • Spanish 2
  • Spanish 3
  • AP Spanish Language *

Laboratory Science

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry *
  • AP Biology *
  • AP Environmental Science *
  • Environmental Science *

Visual & Performing Arts

  • Art 1
  • Drawing and Painting 1
  • Drawing and Painting 2 *
  • Intro to  Theatre
  • Advanced Drama *
  • AP Art History *
  • AP Studio Art *

College-Prep Electives

  • Psychology
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Computer Science A
  • Public Speaking
  • Dance Production *
  • Principles of Economics *
  • Film Studies *
  • Ethnic and Women's Studies *
  • Latin American Studies *


  • Freshman Seminar
  • Sophomore Seminar
  • Senior Seminar
  • SAT Prep
  • Media Arts
  • Life Skills

*Classes are Planned and Will be submitted for UC approval during Phase 1 in February 2018
**Currently under review pending approval by UC

Materials and Resources

Each College Prep course at University Prep Value High School has a primary textbook and supplemental workbooks, other books, and novels. Each teacher and department is allotted a budget to purchase additional materials relevant to their subjects. Suggestions and recommendations regarding course materials and other resources are made by the CA Department of Education. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance for implementing the standards in our core courses, and these readily available online from the Department of Education. Additionally, the College Board site has resources including sample tests and course framework for all of the AP classes. Our teachers have access to the AP Community for updates on new strategies and other lessons relevant to their subject. Our College Preparatory English classes all use the Common Core Reading textbooks series (9-11) from Pearson so that each year follows a Scope and Sequence as outlined by Pearson. Similarly, our Spanish levels (1,2,3) use Descubre (1,2,3) from Vista Higher Learning as they follow a Scope and Sequence from year to year. The following is a list of subjects and the textbooks they use:

  • Integrated Math 1, 2, 3—CPM from Core Connection—Scope and Sequence with Professional Development workshops for math teachers
  • Biology — Biology 1 from Pearson
  • Physics — Principles and Problems—McGraw Hill
  • Computer Science — Edhesive and supplemental online materials
  • Drawing and Painting — Glencoe Art Talk by McGraw Hill
  • World History — Prentice Hall World History @2014
  • US History — Prentice Hall United States History

Additionally, we use Achieve 3000, a web-based reading development program, for our students who need English Enrichment and supplemental grammar workbooks. Our Advanced Placement courses use materials recommended by the College Board as indicated in each teacher’s College Board approved course syllabus. The following textbooks are used for each of the AP classes offered at University Prep Value High School:

  • AP English Language and Composition: Writing in America
  • AP Psychology: Myers’ Psychology for AP
  • AP World History: Traditions and Encounters AP edition
  • AP US History: America’s History AP edition
  • AP Computer Science Principles: Blown to Bits and Edhesive Course Materials
  • AP Computer Science A: Java Textbook and Edhesive Course Materials

Students in certain AP classes also have online Launchpad access which works as supplementary enrichment for the students.