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Whitsons Welcome Back to School Parent Newsletter 2019-2020

New! – Principal’s Welcome Message – UMS 2019-2020

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” – Marian Wright Edelman

Welcome to 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.

University Middle School has an approximate enrollment of 750 scholars. Our school offers everyone many valuable opportunities to participate in academic and extra-curricular activities that will assist our students in becoming a more knowledgeable, skillful and confident learners in our society.  We encourage and look forward to helping students maximize their potential during their time here at University Middle School.  Our hope is that each student will have a positive, productive, and academically successful year that will lead them closer to fulfilling their future goals.

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 will continue to praise and celebrate academic excellence and positive behavior by acknowledging those scholars who work hard. The National Junior Honor Society, Honor Roll, Student of the Month, NJSLA 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 monthly assemblies, 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 have adopted the initiative called Restorative Practices.  Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to improve and repair relationships between people and communities.  It recognizes the importance of fostering positive, healthy school climates and helping students learn from their mistakes. We also 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, a social worker, and a dean. 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.

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.  PBSIS also supports our district wide initiative of 10 Character Traits: Respect, Responsibility, Empathy, Compassion, Attitude, Motivation, Accountability, Persistence, Trustworthiness, and Integrity

Overall, educating our scholars is a TEAM effort. As we continue our academic journey, we want to thank all of our students, parents, staff and community members for their hard work and dedication this past year.  We welcome our students and families to our school community.  We are excited about this school year and believe that it holds great promise for our entire school community.  At year’s end, we hope that we will all enjoy the rewards that will come as a result of our collective efforts to make UMS a school of academic excellence.

Best wishes for a terrific year, and welcome to the Home of the EAGLES!

Andrea Tucker
Principal

2019-09-09T12:09:13-04:00Categories: School UMS|

Annual Parent Workshop – Saturday, June 13, 2020

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