FROM CRAYONS TO COLLEGE: Universal School provides classes from preschool through 12th grade. This school year, there are over 410 students in the preschool and elementary level and 270 in 8th – 12th grades, totaling 680 students. The spacious 92,000 square foot modern facility allows a maximum of 1000 students. At the current rate of growth, we anticipate reaching this number in a few short years. We expanded our building in 2015 to meet the needs of our community. Universal’s expansion project has added over 20,000 square feet to the existing building; Educating the leaders of tomorrow and Insh-allah serving 1000 students within the next few years. Our graduates have been accepted into Harvard University, Yale University, M.I.T., Cornell University, Brown, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Washington St. Louis Medical Program, Wesleyan, University in Connecticut, I.I.T. Dual acceptance Medical, DePaul University, Loyola University Honors Program, University of Illinois at Chicago Honors Program, University of Illinois at Urbana, and other accredited institutions.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Universal School is governed by a well-diversified, group of Muslim professionals who are not only active in the school, but in the community at large. There are nine members, seven men and two women. These individuals who volunteer their time oversee the basic functions of the school.
ACCREDITATION: Since 1992, Universal has been recognized by the State of Illinois Board of Education and in 2004, 2010 and 2016, Universal School received accreditation from the very prestigious Advance-Ed Accreditation. Universal School is also recognized nationally as a leading Islamic school by the Islamic Society of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, American Muslim Council, Dar-ul-Islam Inc., and Council on American Islamic relations, among others.
BUDGET: The annual budget of Universal sums to over $ 4,200,000.00. Seventy-five percent of this amount is collected through tuition, the remainder is provided through grants and fund raising efforts.
ENROLLMENT: Universal’s 680 students and their parents are from various cultural and economic backgrounds. Over 65% of parents of students come from twenty different Arab countries, 15% represent the Indian subcontinent, 12% are African Americans and 8% from other nationalities.
CURRICULUM AND ACHIEVEMENT: The elementary level adheres to an accelerated academic program that leads the students in the high school level to our college preparatory program offering Advanced Placement and Honors classes. Our elementary school students perform better than 90.6%, of students testing on MAP Standardized tests when compared to students in other private and parochial schools in grades 3rd through 8th grade.
Our high school students’ scores averaged 24.2 out of 36 last year on nationally conducted achievement tests such as the SAT and ACT, with the score of 35 out of 36 as the highest ACT score, and a perfect 800 out of 800 on the SAT subject test score obtained this past year by Universal Students. This is well above the national average of 20.6 and State average of 20.9. The top twenty-five percent of the graduating class have an average ACT score of 32.
THE FACILITY: The spacious 92,000 square foot modern facility includes fourty-six classrooms; a state of the art, fully equipped science lab; two computer labs; one journalism lab; a STEAM lab, a newly remodeled library-media center; a cafeteria with a full service kitchen; a MPR room/auditorium, an indoor regulation size basketball court; soccer field; and a playground.
THE FACULTY/STAFF: The school is home to seventy-eight dedicated faculty and staff members. The Principal and Administrative Team hold degrees as high as Master’s in Education and Administration. All teachers of core subjects are certified in their respective fields where certification is offered. Over forty percent have earned at least one Master’s Degree in an education-related field, the remaining have Bachelor’s Degrees. Four faculty members are currently completing their Ph.D. Several elementary and high school teachers have been chosen annually, as Who’s Who among U.S. teachers. Over 50% of the elementary faculty graduated with honors from their respective alma mater. The elementary and high school teachers have an average of nine years teaching experience behind them.
ISLAMIC AND ARABIC/QURAN EDUCATION: The primary objective of our Islamic studies and Arabic program is to firmly root students in a Muslim-American identity that expresses itself in their speech, character and actions as well as to develop conversational Arabic, to build a sufficient vocabulary, and to learn the rudiments of Arabic grammar. Universal School utilizes the Noranyeh learning system for memorization of the Quran. Universal adopted the Learn Arabic and Love Arabic program published by The International Curriculum Establishment. To accomplish our objective some of our Islamic and Arabic/Quran Department staff have graduated from well-known and recognized Universities such as Al-Azhar University in Egypt.
2017: 1st place school in WYSE sectional competition, 1st school in many categories at the Annual Mathletics Competition, Individual and Team awards at MIST (Muslim Interscholastic Tournament), at the Illinois Junior academy of Science Fair we achieved Individual Best Project in more than one area of Science. Thirty -eight percent of our students are Illinois State Scholars and over 20 students again achieved recognition as AP Scholars with the highest ACT test score this year being a 34 out of 36.
2016: 1st place school in WYSE sectional competition, 1st school in many categories at the Annual Mathletics Competition, Individual and Team awards at MIST (Muslim Interscholastic Tournament), at the Illinois Junior academy of Science Fair we achieved Individual Best Project in more than one area of Science, Best in Category in more than one area and best project in Chemistry for Women. Our students achieved Best Rookie Team in Lego Robotics, and are the champion team in more than one IHSA conference sport. Thirty-Five percent of our students were Illinois State Scholars, 21 AP scholars and the highest ACT score is a 35 out of 36, with the top 25% of students achieving an average score of 29
2015: 1st place school in WYSE regional and sectional, at the Illinois Junior academy of Science Fair we achieved Individual Best Project in more than one area of Science, Best in Category. Our students achieved Best Rookie Team in Lego Robotics, Best Team in Mathletics and are the champion team in more than one IHSA conference sport. Fourty percent of our students were Illinois State Scholars, 30 AP scholars and the highest ACT score is a 35 out of 36, with the top 25% of students achieving an average score of 32.
2014: 1st place school in the sectional and State WYSE competitions against over 30 schools statewide, 1st place individual student Physics, Math, and Biology. 1st place school in the regional Science Fair and individual Best Project in category for more than one area of Science, Chemistry, and Physics. 35% of our students have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars and more than 35% have an ACT score of 28 or higher, with many scores over 30 out of 36. Several students also have perfect 36 out of 36 subject scores in English, Math, and Reading.
2013: 1st place school recognition in the Regional Science Fair out of 50 participating schools. From the 330 projects judged, Universal School students received the greatest percentage of “Outstanding Projects” recognition and special project and special project awards, with 22 projects going to State Fair. 1st place school recognition in the Sectional WYSE Competition. 18 students were recognized as AP scholars, 5 students were recognized as AP Scholars with distinction, and 1 student was recognized as Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars with Honors, 2 Students were Finalist in the All American Boy and Girl Competition and the Highest ACT Score was 34 out of 36 in addition to ACT subject scores of 36 out of 36 in all subject areas.
2012: 1st place school recognition in the Regional Science Fair out of 55 participating schools. From the 300 projects judged, Universal School students received the greatest percentage of “Outstanding Projects” recognition and special project and special project awards, with 15 projects going to State Fair. 1st place school recognition in the Regional and Sectional WYSE Competition. 11 students were recognized as AP scholars, 6 students were recognized as AP Scholars with distinction, and 1 student was recognized as Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars with Honors, 2 Students were Finalist in the All American Boy and Girl Competition and the Highest ACT Score was 33 out of 36 in addition to ACT subject scores of 36 out of 36 in all subject areas.
- 2017: Illinois State Scholar, awarded to top 1% of Illinois H.S. seniors; 38% of Universal graduates received this designated honor.
- 2016: Average ACT of Top 25% of Students is a 29, with overall school average 25 and 21 AP Scholars. Quest Bridge Scholar to University of Chicago
- 2015: Average ACT of Top 25% of Students is a 32, and 30 AP scholars with honors and distinction a high academic honor. Quest Bridge Scholar to University of Chicago
- 2014: 1st place school in WYSE sectional and State Competition.
- 2014: Camras Scholarship Recipient, Quest Bridge Scholar attending Brown University
- 2013:WYE Regional and Sectional winners out of 20 private schools and students attending
- 2012: Quest Bridge Scholars accepted and attending University of Chicago and Northwestern University
- 2011: Meridian Scholar, Full Scholarship to SIU, All American Eagle Essay Winner, Metro Prep Basketball Champions.
- 2010: Camras Scholarship Recipient, Quest Bridge Scholar attending Yale University
- 2009: Comcast Community Scholarship Recipient, ISNA Scholarship recipient.
- 2008: Bronze Medalist of the Presidential Community Scholarship, Marquette Scholarship Recognition.
- All American Girl Contest, winner: Sponsored by U.S. Congressman Lipinski; National Merit Scholar: Awarded to 1 in 250,000 high school seniors.
TAKING THE LEAD: Universal is known as the pioneer in taking bold steps toward establishing and refining North America’s Islamic school movement. Some of our unique endeavors include: creating and utilizing an Islamic Studies curriculum as well as textbooks for the elementary grades; participants of the Tarbiyah Project, a national Islamic character education program; independent student newspaper, The Constellation; joining an official IHSA private high school basketball conference; initiating and hosting a volleyball tournament for girls involving other Muslim schools in the area, a wrestling program where students participated and won at the regional level, track and field team for boys and girls (Islamic dress code worn through special permission) has participated in the State Sectional Meet for many years, and several students competed on the state level.
LOCATION: Nestled in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Universal School draws students from the entire Chicagoland area with a significant number living up to an hour’s drive away.
IMPACT ON COMMUNITY: Since its inception, Universal School has played a dynamic and significant role in the community. Many school programs involve the students in community services, such as feeding the indigent, visiting nursing homes, participating in activities at homeless shelters and sponsorship of orphaned children. Universal students publish their own student newspaper three times a year, and have an online newspaper as well. The first high school chapter of IMAN (Inner-city Muslim Action Network) was established at Universal in which students actively work in the community to help those in need.