“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year at University Middle School, the home of the EAGLES, where our motto is Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM). This year we will continue our journey of transforming minds, attitudes and futures. Our school community will maintain our vision of encouraging our students to strive for academic excellence and prepare for a successful future. This vision is intertwined with building our scholars from within as we nurture their spirit and self-actualization.
The staff at University Middle School is committed to the success of all scholars. At our school, highly qualified and dedicated staff members work collaboratively to ensure that all scholars are provided with a quality educational experience, which fosters the personal, intellectual, social and emotional growth and development of each child, which in turn, will motivate student achievement; our primary focus.
We are entering our third and final year as a School Improvement Grant (SIG) recipient. Our extended school day program will continue as one of the major initiatives under this grant. Our staff and scholars will attend school until 4:00 pm. (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday). This additional time will include expanded enrichment and tutorial programs so that our scholars can continue to progress academically and socially. The teachers have planned many exciting programs to expand upon the experiences of our scholars. We have planned intervention courses in math, English language arts, poetry, forensics and journalism, to name a few. This grant will also provide our staff with additional professional development opportunities to enhance their craft and provide our scholars with exemplary teaching experiences. As our scholars progress within the 21st Century, our teachers will be equipped with the tools to make our scholars competitive participants in high school, college and the workforce.
University Middle School has an approximate enrollment of 650 scholars. We enjoy a rich history of academic excellence and cultural diversity that is enhanced by a collegial partnership between the school staff and parents who provide a broad range of experiences for our scholars.
Our school has a 9-period schedule that includes Math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education for all students. University Middle School also offers French and Spanish, an intellectually gifted program, magnet music and visual arts programs and technology classes. All of our scholars are trained to use Chromebooks as a learning tool, and all classrooms have a Smart Board, which teachers apply in daily instruction by designing interactive lessons. Our staff and scholars will continue to develop abilities to analyze complex texts, determine evidence, reason critically, and communicate thoughtfully—the must-have skills for college and career. Additional academic initiatives aimed to improving, vocabulary-building, science instruction, and cooperative learning have been incorporated to increase student engagement. Student engagement will promote academic growth by teaching our scholars to become critical thinkers and problem solvers who will be able to function successfully in the future. Our classrooms are no longer singularly focused; there is a plethora of cross-curricular activities taking place, which makes learning more engaging.
University Middle School continues to positively evolve! There are productive Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) that meet daily for collaborative Common Planning sessions. The teachers follow a weekly agenda to review student work, analyze data, create lesson plans, develop common assessments, and collaborate with content area specialists. As a result of the collaborative Common Planning sessions, it is evident that there has been an increase in cooperative groups and collaboration in the classroom. Data driven instruction has been enlightening and informative. Data PLC sessions and after school data meetings have been productive times for teachers, the Data Specialist, Math and ELA Specialists, and building Administrators to analyze and discuss student data and inform instruction.
We continue to praise and celebrate academic excellence and positive behavior by acknowledging those scholars who work hard. Honor Roll, Student of the Month, PARCC Champions and Perfect Attendance are a few of the honors that are bestowed upon our scholars. Our scholars have also placed in district sponsored contests such as the Martin Luther King, Jr Essay, Multicultural Essay, PRIDE Essay and the Spelling Bee. We also uplift our scholars with celebrations such as Honor Roll Breakfast/Dinner, Pep Rallies and other exciting events. Outside excursions are planned for our scholars to broaden their life experiences to make connections with their learning experiences.
We continue to nurture the hearts of our students with the assistance of a well-rounded support staff that offers academic, as well as, socio-emotional counseling. The staff consists of guidance counselors, social worker, deans and CarePlus. They spend a majority of their time familiarizing themselves with our scholars and collaborating with them on interpersonal skills that will help them grow academically and socially. This, in turn, gives our scholars the tools to develop into young adults who will continue to be life-long learners that demonstrate the character traits of independence, respect and dignity. This team also works diligently with all stakeholders to serve as a community-based center providing resources to parents, as well as, opportunities for them to share in the educational process of their children. This relationship fosters open communication with parents, and help families establish home environments to support children as students, all while providing a welcoming atmosphere. We are also offering Parent Academies during the school year to provide resources to our parents.
University Middle School offers a supportive environment for scholars’ academic and emotional growth. Positive behavior and character education are proven to help students acquire the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes necessary for student achievement and success in life. Our PBSIS program will continue to be the underlying force of guiding student behavior. It will instill the idea that the acquisition of positive character values promotes healthy student development. It also encourages scholars to become responsible, contributing members of society, which will support a healthy school community.
Overall, educating our scholars is a joint effort. Each one of us has a special role in educating our scholars to their highest potential and is expected to do his/her part. The administration encourages parents to volunteer time to be a part of our children’s classroom and extracurricular experiences. We will continue to support, the district’s goal, “Quality Education: A Community Commitment”
It’s Possible…It’s Possible…It’s Possible