Our Mission

As part of Illinois State University’s College of Education, U-High is one of two lab schools designed as a place of learning for future educators. Our mission includes four parts:

  1. To provide a school in which excellence in education theory and practice can be observed, studied, and practiced by teacher candidates and other pre-service school professionals.
  2. To provide an environment in which research and development activities may be conducted.
  3. To provide a comprehensive, high-quality academic program for Metcalf and University High School students.
  4. To promote effective, high-quality education throughout the teaching profession and to aid other educators in the process of improving the quality of education in their schools.

U-High and Metcalf serve as clinical experience and practice sites for pre-service teachers and experimental teaching activities. The schools provide a “living laboratory” for research and applied practices to improve teaching and  educational practice. Illinois State university is consistently recognized nationally among the ten largest producers of teachers among American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education institutions. Nearly one of every seven teachers in the classrooms of Illinois public schools holds a degree from Illinois State. Many alumni hold positions of educational leadership, including college presidencies, agency administrative posts, and offices in professional associations.

U-High is a modern, well-equipped educational facility serving 600 students in grades nine through 12. With students enrolled from many school districts, University High is a diverse community of learners. Because the school is committed to providing a laboratory environment in which the very best classroom practice can flourish, the curriculum is innovative, strong, and continually reviewed.

The ninth grade curriculum, for example, is interdisciplinary in nature and reflects the belief that learning is enhanced when connections can be made between and among content areas. At the other grade levels, courses are offered at regular and accelerated levels, and numerous advanced placement courses are available.

Advanced technology and a wide range of activities… students have internet access to students through the University and a school-provided laptop. U-High also offers more than 60 programs in academics, athletics and the arts.

Commonly asked questions

Are you public or private?

We are a public school.

How much does it cost to attend?

As a public school, we do not charge tuition, but instead charge fees like all other public schools. In addition, costs for fees, textbooks and extracurriculars are waived or reduced for those families that qualify.

Why do you have an admissions process?

The lab schools are limited to approximately 1000 students, which normally translates into about 600 spaces at U-High. Thus, as much as we would like to, we cannot accept every student who wants to attend.

What activities do you have?

You can find more information about all of our IHSA athletics and activities here. We also have many other clubs that vary by year.

What academic courses of study can I pursue?

The lab schools offer a wide curriculum and a number of AP Courses. Click here to view more information about what’s available in each department. In addition, we will begin offering dual credit courses with Heartland Community College in our building during the 2019-2020 school year.

How do students benefit from being part of a “lab school”?

As a laboratory school, we have hundreds of ISU students studying to be teachers in our classrooms each year, bring the student to teacher ratio down in each of those classrooms. Students have access to ISU facilities and equipment. In addition, the lab schools are constantly studying and implementing best practices in education, which benefits everyone.

Do I need a laptop?

You do not. All incoming students are issued a new laptop along with account access to our Google domain, Office 365 and the Blackboard course system. U-High has been a state leader at integrating technology into learning activities, and our students learn quickly to operate in an on-line learning environment.

What does “open campus” mean?

It means students are free to read, complete homework or grab lunch nearby (or in our cafeteria) when they don’t have a scheduled class.