The United Community Center/Centro de la Comunidad Unida is a nonprofit Hispanic community service agency dedicated to serving Hispanics and residents of Milwaukee’s near south side. The United Community Center (UCC) has 27 years of experience in serving the Hispanic community. UCC provides a broad range of education, health, cultural arts and human services programs.
The Alternative Middle School began in 1988, as "The Spot" Program. Initially, educational services were provided to 7th and 8th grade "at risk" youth. Sixth graders were included in 1993. The program has a total enrollment of 40 students and offers a full day of academic instruction and supportive services. The specialty of the program is to service Hispanic youth, but other youth of Milwaukee's south side are also served.
The specific mission of the Alternative Middle School Program is to provide "at-risk" middle school students with a safe, intellectually challenging environment that will prepare them to make positive contributions to society. Staff provides powerful, caring, and culturally competent interventions through structured activities. The small school community setting for learning is planned to ensure success for all students and connect the school to the community.
By offering a comprehensive curriculum, our goal is to nurture each student’s pre-existing Spanish/English language abilities. By using an accelerated approach in the classroom, students use high level thinking and begin to experience the challenging curriculum that will prepare them for high school.
The curriculum includes math, language arts, health, science, social studies, reading, art, gym, computer assisted instruction and career exploration along with school-to-work experiences. Classes are held 7:40 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. The school program follows the MPS calendar.
Each student has an Individualized Education and Treatment Plan completed. Staff are certified or licensed teachers, with bilingual classroom support staff in each classroom. The 6-8 curriculum is specially designed to meet each student at his/her level so that the work is appropriate. Students must attend school consistently and complete the required classroom work to earn credits. Classroom size is kept as small as possible (maximum of 15) so that each student receives maximum personal attention.
UCC places strong emphasis on proper school behavior. By making each student personally responsible for his/her own appearance and classroom behavior, we aim to avoid the inappropriate disruptions that often characterize middle school settings. Even though students work at their own academic level, we continually insist on certain basic behaviors that transfer to all the subject areas. These include listening skills, following instructions, appropriate and responsible social skills, coming to class prepared, and completing assignments.
The program incorporates various hands-on learning experiences in the classroom, on field trips, or in cultural or community service activities. A strong emphasis on the Hispanic heritage and family traditions is blended into the program. All students have the opportunity to work at the United Community Center (in festivals or other agency events) as well as in the community. In order to work, students must first prove themselves as responsible in the classroom setting. We place a high priority on punctuality, attendance, disciplined behavior and following classroom instructions before we allow a student to work. This has proven an effective motivating tool. The students enjoy the work experience.
We serve a high risk student population. Various supportive services and activities occur to help maintain the student’s interest and participation in the school program. Supportive and outreach services to the student and parents are provided by school staff, along with referral and coordination with various community resources as needed. Bilingual school staff are on-site to assist parents or students who have difficulty with English.
Close communication with parents is maintained, including conferences as needed. Aggressive attendance monitoring is done by school support staff, including transportation "pick ups" at homes of late or truant students. A behavior management system is used to develop positive school behaviors, including incentives and a "student of the week" award.
United Community Center is a publicly funded organization
No. of Schools: 1
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