“Gladly Would We Learn and Gladly Teach”

Urbana High School is a vibrant, diverse, and innovative community of learners. The educators of UHS are committed to doing whatever it takes to help all students achieve their personal greatness. Urbana High School offers a wide variety of student supports, unique academic opportunities, with emphasis on rigorous coursework, increased communication with parents, social justice and a broad array of elective and athletic options. UHS is the premier comprehensive public high school in the community. UHS students find themselves wrapped within a caring learning environment that promotes academic achievement. The highlights and examples that follow demonstrate just a few of the ways Urbana High School serves students and families.


  • 2015-16 3 National Merit Semi-Finalist
  • 2014 UHS named a National Board Professional Development School
  • 2014 and 2015 National Merit Finalist
  • 2015 2 National Merit Semi-Finalist
  • 2015 UHS Theater department selected to preform in the Illinois State Theater Festival
  • Habitat for Humanity that assist local Habitat groups and annual trip to Mississippi
  • In the Fall of 2013, the College Board honored Urbana High School with a place on its AP® Achievement List for three out of the last four years for opening AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher. Approximately 86% of UHS students taking the AP exams receive a 3,4,or 5.
  • In the Spring of 2013, Urbana High School was recognized by ACT for College and Career Transition Award for the state of Illinois
  • In Spring of 2014 teacher, Rachel Moyer and students in her Social Justice class received national recognition from American Education Research Association (AERA) Leadership for Social Justice Bridge Award for their action research on social justice issues at UHS.
  • In fall of 2013, Penny Yue Penny Xu qualified for the United States Chess Association (under 16) national team. She represents the US in the tournament in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
  • In spring 2014, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has invited Urbana High School Student Zikang Tong to participate in the prestigious American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). The invitation is the result of high performance on the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), a 75-minute, 25-question test in which points are deducted for incorrect answers. Zikang placed in the top 5% of 55,339 contestants nation wide.
  • On December 10, 2009, U.S. News and World Report awarded Urbana High School with a bronze medal ranking as one of the best high schools in the country.
  • In 2012, U.S. News and World Report awarded Urbana High School with a bronze medal ranking for the second time in three years.
  • In January of 2013, Urbana School District was named the first Illinois State Board of Educations’ Spotlight School District in recognition of its innovative programs and supports for students.
  • Urbana High School students receive an excellent education that prepares them for admittance to colleges and universities across the country.  Over the past five years, UHS had students accepted to numerous universities and colleges including Johns Hopkins, Illinois Wesleyan, Brown, Washington, Juilliard, UCLA, Grinnell College, Caltech, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Tufts, Scripps, University of Miami, Drake, Boston College, BYU, University of Massachusetts, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago.
  • UHS averages over 40 students being accepted to the University of Illinois each year. From the UHS Class of 2011, 3 students were named Chancellor’s Scholars – an honor bestowed to only 125 out of the more than 7000 students admitted.
  • During the summer of 2011, Urbana High School was one of only two schools in the state to be featured at the 6th Annual State High School Challenge Conference: Improving Student Learning presented by the Coalition for Illinois High Schools.
  • In the fall of 2009, Urbana High School was one of 12 schools in Illinois asked by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Principal Association to create a school improvement webinar to be utilized by teachers and administrators for professional development.
  • In the spring of 2009, Urbana High School was one of eight high schools in Illinois to be featured for school improvement by the Illinois State Board of Education.
  • UHS is frequently visited by teachers and administrators from other high schools in the state. Most groups are interested in seeing school improvement initiatives that support student learning. Over fourteen schools have visited since the fall of 2008 – some returning for a second time.
  • Urbana High School regularly averages ACT scores above the State average.
  • Urbana High School has a number of Nationally Board Certified faculty members and currently 9 more are in a cohort for National Board Certification.
  • The graduation rate at Urbana High School is among the highest in the Big 12 Conference and are higher than the state average.
  • The high school dropout rate at Urbana High School is the lowest in the Big 12 Conference and is lower than the state average.
  • UHS and USD116 maintain an ongoing partnership with the Urbana Parks department that provides opportunities in swimming, musical performance (Urbana POPS) and theatre (community theatre program).
  • Ongoing extracurricular and athletic programs that have success at local, regional and state level.


Academic Rigor:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) courses - Biology, French, Chemistry, English Literature and Composition, Macroeconomics, Spanish, US History, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistic, Comparative Government, German, Physic C, and Studio Art - Drawing, 2-D Design, and 3-D Design.
  • AP Prep Courses – Courses across several content areas designed to help students prepare for the demands and rigor of Advanced Placement courses.
  • College Preparatory – All UHS courses are college preparatory or above.
  • Dual Credit – Options for dual credit through the University of Illinois and Parkland College. Parkland’s English 101 taught at UHS.
  • In 2014-15 school year, started Project Lead The Way (PLTW) a national pre-engineering program.
  • In 2015-2016, UHS will take part in partnership with Parkland College for Early College and Career programing (more information with our Guidance Office)


Student Supports and Family Communication:

  • School-Based Health Center – On site health center with medical, dental, and mental health services for all Urbana School District #116 students.
  • A 21st Century Learning Communities Grant provides after school academic and elective enrichment programing for students.
  • All students are part of a small homeroom that meets 4 out of 5 days a week.       Building relationships and offering assistance where needed.
  • All 9th and 10th grade students have 25 minutes each day when they can get help on their coursework from a teacher certified in their area of need.
  • Open Access to Information – Via our Skyward student management system, all parents and students have web-based access to daily attendance, teacher grade books, and student schedules.
  • Student announcements are sent daily to parents through email.
  • Student Advocates, University of Illinois Tutors and Volunteers, Minority Enrichment Program, After School Activities and Programs, APEX Program, National Honor Society Peer Tutors, Team Tutoring Sessions, Executive Internship Program, EFE Summer Construction Program, CU 1 to 1 Mentoring program.
  • Thanksgiving Program sponsored by UHS Student Senate provides a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving in the UHS Commons.
  • Partner with Eastern Illinois Food Bank with assistance for our students in need.
  • In Good Standing Program started to recognize students that are on-track and helping students struggling to meet the rigors of high school graduation through faculty and administrative support.


Unique Programs/Courses:

  • 2015 UHS began implementation of Restorative Practice. This is a system designed to decrease out of school suspension and to give ownership of the solution to those involved in the situation.
  • 2015 saw the rebirth of the Speech and Debate Team.
  • Agriculture Program that includes introduction to veterinary medicine, mechanics, welding, and environmental science along with a flourishing chapter of Future Farmers of America.
  • Applied Technology Program that includes automobile mechanics, drafting and computer aided drafting (CAD), and industrial technology.
  • Family and Consumer Science program including a pre-school lab center.
  • Fine Arts Program that includes drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and pottery.
  • Foreign Language Program that includes Spanish, German, and French.
  • Music Program including symphonic band, marching band, jazz band, wind symphony, choir, and orchestra.
  • Special Education Services encompassing the broad spectrum of service delivery models such as self-contained, work-study, team teaching and full inclusion.
  • UHS has started the Project Lead the Way (PLtW). This national pre engineering curriculum is possible through a three year grant form the Dart Foundation