City Academy’s Mission

To graduate responsible, informed citizens who have achieved their best academic success.

We do this through distinctive teaching that is engaging, investigative and thought-provoking; close attention to each student’s finest learning and personal progress; and involving students in exploration of civic and current issues in our city.

Since City Academy opened its doors in 2000, our tuition-free Salt Lake City charter school for grades 7 through 12 has earned a reputation for truly helping its diverse student body transition from youth to adulthood.  At City Academy, students are taught how to think, communicate and problem solve in ways that simply aren’t included in most other schools’ curriculums.

As the only Utah high school to be accredited as a Cambridge University International Centre institution, City Academy offers advanced placement classes that are challenging and thought provoking.  The associated Cambridge International Exams are accepted by many of the world’s most prestigious colleges and universities, including all eight American Ivy League schools as well as Utah’s major higher education institutions.

The University of Utah educators who founded City Academy wanted the school and its students to play a role in improving the community’s quality of life.  They also knew that as students were serving in the community they were simultaneously broadening their learning through their involvement.  The real-life experiences from these service programs complement students’ classroom learning.  As a part of this commitment to academic service learning, every one of our students completes field work and an internship as a part of graduation.

At City Academy, our students are encouraged and supported to plan for the future and for life after high school.  Through our personalized advisory program each student develops an e-portfolio of progress toward their graduation and life goals, artifacts of their learning and progress, and demonstrations of their levels of competency with core academics as well as service learning and personal areas of interest and ability. This level of preparation earns every City Academy student a $1,000 annual college scholarship (up to $4,000 total) upon graduation.


Our mission is to engage every student in rigorous investigative learning and active citizenship that equips each one for success in college and in life.

City Academy provides a unique learning community for serious students in grade 7-12.  At City Academy learning is central, learning is real, and learning progress is expected.  We offer students dynamic hands-on and minds-on learning every day in each of their classes, along with a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum from foundations courses through rigorous advanced study.  

We are focused on students developing and demonstrating knowledge and competencies in challenging academics while becoming life-long learners.  We emphasize inquiry and the investigative process in every course.  Teachers pose questions that engage students in issues-based learning and require research, critical and creative thinking, and problem-solving.  

Developing students as citizens in their communities is also at the heart of what we believe encompasses a good middle and high school education.  City Academy students are expected to build good habits of mind, heart, voice, and work that are demonstrated each day at school, as well as through completion of their service learning internship project as a part of graduation requirements.  


City Academy is the only high school in Utah offering Cambridge International Examinations internationally recognized Advanced-level courses (“A levels”) as our high school advanced placement program. Top universities value Cambridge learners because they don’t just have mastery of content, but are also able to think analytically, look at a text critically, and write effectively.

This globally esteemed college-level curriculum provides rich material for authentic investigation and study, and excellent opportunity to combine study in breadth and depth. Our Cambridge Advanced-level courses foster a characteristic passion and engagement in our students as we carefully and successfully prepare them for the rigors of their college education.  

Further, City Academy’s distinctive curriculum includes Cambridge Pre-Advanced level courses (“IGCSE”) to provide our students from 9th grade onwards with an outstanding preparation for Advanced-level study in high school and in college.

City Academy offers Cambridge advanced-level courses in English Literature, History, Mathematics, and Biology.  Some City Academy students additionally choose to take college courses through concurrent or other enrollment with local or online colleges or universities.


They challenge me to think–not just memorize things and regurgitate a bunch of information. I feel like I’m growing intellectually.


This school has really helped me understand who I am as an individual, and it helped me grow. It’s also helped me get into multiple colleges, which, chances are, I might have never heard from.


I know that I’m going to a safe place. When I walk into school every morning, I know that the students are going to respect me. The teachers are going to respect me. I am not going to be unnoticed and disappear into the crowd. I have presence at City Academy, and that is something I didn’t have at my other school.


I was not motivated at other schools. And, I thought it was actually cool to not be good at school. After coming to City Academy, I realized that it is cool to be good at school—and, it’s fun to succeed in life.


City Academy helps me to be my best by pushing me, especially in essays and analysis and critical thinking beyond what I thought I could do.


I was originally at another school. I really didn’t like the environment of that school, and then I came here, and the environment difference from that school to this school is dramatic. Everyone here is a friend. Thank you City Academy for making me who I am today.


(At other schools) there’s a totem pole of popularity. At the top, you have the jocks and the cheerleaders and the rich kids and other people. I was at the very bottom of the totem pole, which was uncarved and pointless and just there. It wasn’t fun. Then I came here, and the totem pole got knocked over. Thank you City Academy for changing my life in so many ways. This is an amazing school.


I needed a change. I needed to downsize. The school that I was at was just so big, and there were just so many people that I just couldn’t focus. And, the kids were mean to me. I thought this [City Academy] would be perfect because it’s small. It feels like a community. It’s just awesome.

Many of my teachers will hunt me down to find me and ask me where my work is. And, I can’t just give them some lame excuse because they know that my work is missing. They don’t accept anything less than the work you’re supposed to give them. Thank you City Academy for saving my life.


Last year, when I got out of the Cambridge testing, after writing three essays in two hours about European world history, it was a totally different kind of relief. I was so proud that I did something like that. That’s like one of those crazy Hogwarts things that you don’t think kids actually do. You know—write three essays in two hours—but I did it, and I got an A. And, it was awesome, and it felt really, really good.


Our daughter was a gifted student, but she did not like school. We have tried public schools, another charter school, and even home-schooling. Nothing came close to City Academy in terms of simultaneously supporting and challenging her. I think City Academy’s success is due about equally to their integrated approach to learning, and the quality and dedication of the faculty.

Shelly Albaum, parent

I like how everyone has the chance to get involved.

–Lucas Hayes, student

Teachers actually care about you here. They will e-mail you, call you and get with you face to face. The teachers are just awesome.

–Marcus Erwin, student

Have I told you all again lately how happy I am about the concepts, ideals and practices of City Academy? My daughter has grown leaps and bounds in confidence just two months into the year. She is happy about the new things she is learning.

–Wanda Robinson, parent

I am very happy with the decision to send my daughter to City Academy! She just completed her first year and it was a huge success. They really care about and pay attention to the kids. For example, Sonia, the Executive Director, noticed that my daughter was bored in her math class and immediately worked with her to find a more challenging class. I also really love that the school is accepting of all kids, even those that might struggle to find their spot in a standard high school. I highly recommend City Academy as a school that will bring out the best in your kids.

–Brian Rollo, parent

City Academy is the best. It is a great community to be a part of, the teachers are dedicated, my son has many friends from different backgrounds, and they are all really good, happy kids. I have also come to know many parents and they too share the love for City Academy. If you would like to see your child receive an outstanding education and the tools required for a successful future, you will not be disappointed with City Academy!!!!

–Christina Phelps, parent

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