Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, and Community Stakeholders:
Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! As the principal of Union Avenue Middle School, I am committed to the mission of preparing our scholars with the academic skills, character traits, and intellect that are essential to succeed in school and society. I will continue to set high expectations and ensure the success of all scholars no matter their religion, nationality, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation or gender. The staff members at Union Avenue Middle School embrace multiculturalism and deliberately engage all scholars in the academic program as well as character education.
The instructional program at Union Avenue Middle School is aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (formerly Common Core State Standards). Instruction is rigorous as scholars are required to apply critical thinking skills in solving problems and answering complex, text-dependent questions for both informational and literary texts. I am fortunate to have hard working staff members and smart scholars who work equally as hard. Our school has a 9-period schedule that includes Math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education for all students. Union Avenue Middle School also offers French and Spanish, an intellectually gifted program, magnet music and visual art programs and technology classes. All of our scholars are trained to use Chromebooks as a learning tool, and all classrooms have a Smart Board or Clear Touch Panel, which teachers apply in daily instruction by designing interactive lessons.
At Union Avenue Middle School, our staff will continue to develop the ability of our diverse population of scholars to build content knowledge, use textual evidence, logical sequencing, and precise information. The daily academic expectations will be to challenge scholars to use precision and evidence for rich and rigorous class discussions in addition to self-assessing. Teachers must provide immediate and accurate feedback to scholars. Our staff will utilize a portfolio system where the evidence of feedback and growth is monitored on a continuum. Feedback is the number one skill a successful teacher should possess. Praise focuses on a job well done whereas feedback focuses on what the person did right and how they could improve, which places emphasis on growth. (John Hattie, 2012). The New Jersey PARCC data indicates that Union Avenue has made significant growth in both math and language arts and at every grade level. Our goal is to maintain this upward trend.
I am looking to a positive school year and having our scholars embrace the challenge of increased responsibility in middle school. To this end, I happily announce that our school store has been restocked and is ready to reward our scholars beginning in September of 2018 for exhibiting positive behavior. We are ready to celebrate the achievements of our scholars with regular assemblies to honor them for making the honor roll, student of the month, subject expert of the month, most improved, and perfect attendance. The school has a Positive Behavior Support in School Program (PBSIS) team that collects and analyzes data on student behavior with the goal of reducing the number of discipline referrals in our school. Scholars are rewarded with prizes, certificates, trips and parties for academic accomplishments, perfect attendance, and positive behavior milestones. Our staff members have the duty of making connections with our scholars and lauding their efforts in striving to meet our expectations. Therefore, we are accountable in monitoring behavior, developing positive relationships, and enforcing the Anti-Bullying program. In respecting the diversity of our student population and promoting character education, we insist on adhering with high fidelity to the Irvington Public Schools’ Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) Policy and the Code of Conduct, which can be found on the District’s website.
Union Avenue Middle School has a plethora of extra-curricular activities, which include Cheerleading, Boys and Girls Basketball Teams, Soccer, Chorus and Band, Clubs, Baseball, Softball, Newsletter, Honor Society, Student Council, Year Book, Mentoring for Boys and Girls, and after school Enrichment and Tutorial. Our scholars truly delight in participating in the extra-curricular activities and our school trips to colleges, universities, New York, Washington D.C. and other venues. Our goal is to educate the whole person and create a safe environment conducive for learning.
I invite our parents and other community stakeholders to explore our website and also come in for a school visit in order to stay informed of the events happening at Union Avenue Middle. Additionally, I encourage all parents and community members to join our PTA. I hope to have a strong partnership with our parents and the community. Everyone’s input is valued and respected, and I welcome your support and collaboration in helping us create a highly effective school. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell explains how successful people’s families, friends, culture, and life’s experiences played a major role in their success. I cannot stress enough the importance of the involvement of family members in the educational life of our scholars. I am in total agreement with Ellen Glasgow when she expressed: “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” To this end, I am very committed to working unremittingly in ensuring that teachers, scholars, and ancillary staff members achieve high standards.
Union Avenue Middle School
“If children are given the chance to believe they’re worth something-if they truly believe that- they will insist upon it.” (Maya Angelou)