In 2010 the historic Harding School formed an unprecedented partnership with UC Santa Barbara, becoming the Harding University Partnership School (HUPS). HUPS is a place of joy, excellence, and international focus. In fall 2012 the University School achieved status as an International Baccalaureate Programme, making it the only Santa Barbara elementary school currently using this highly acclaimed approach that emphasizes 21st century skills and international mindedness.

The stellar teaching staff is assisted by graduate level teacher candidates from UCSB providing greater support for students at every grade level with the latest research-based practices. Faculty researchers and UCSB undergraduate tutors partner with teachers to deliver the latest evidence-based instruction. The 1920s physical structure has been upgraded with extensive computer facilities, an enhanced library collection, a new playground, and an organic garden.

The University School offers a full day pre-school program, made-from-scratch meals for breakfast and lunch, a zero waste diversion program (92.3%), comprehensive assessment and guidance opportunities for children and parents, an arts program, Spanish, instrumental music, specialized physical education classes, and after school programs.