Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, and Community Stakeholders:
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! I hope that everyone is safe and well during this challenging period effectuated by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Please take time to review the Irvington Public Schools District’s Reopening Plan, which is found on the District’s website. With that said, I am happy and eager in beginning a new academic school year with the students, families and the entire community. Our commitment at Union Avenue Middle School is to prepare the students with the academic skills, character traits, and intellect that are essential to succeed in school and society. The students at Union Avenue Middle School are the paragon of resiliency, and we, the staff and faculty, will continue to set high expectations for each student irrespective of nationality, religious beliefs, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation or gender. In the 2020-2021 school year, the staff members at Union Avenue Middle School will continue to embrace multiculturalism and deliberately engage all scholars in the academic program as well as character education. Additionally, we will demonstrate fidelity to the Irvington Public School District’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) focus.
The instructional program at Union Avenue Middle School is aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning 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 creative and interactive lessons. Through an online platform, the school also utilizes iReady Mathematics and iReady English/Language Arts programs to monitor student progress in meeting the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. The Union Avenue Middle School teachers and students receive continuous training in virtual learning, and they experience remote learning via Google Classroom and other resources.
Union Avenue Middle School is a great place to be a student. The daily academic expectations are challenging, and students are expected 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 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). Union Avenue Middle School has shown growth in English Language Arts for three consecutive years prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic abbreviated school year.
I am very excited about the new school year and look forward to a highly successful campaign. Our staff 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 from the school store, certificates, trips and parties for academic accomplishments, perfect attendance, and positive behavior milestones. 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. Our school also uses Class Dojo as a tool to monitor student behavior and communicate with parents and guardians.
Union Avenue Middle School has a plethora of extra-curricular activities, which include Cheerleading, Boys and Girls Basketball Teams, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Chorus and Band, Clubs, 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, 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 where they will be able to view each faculty member’s email address and Google Classroom information as well as events happening at Union Avenue Middle School. I encourage parents and guardians to have an open line of communication with me and other staff members about the progress of their children. Additionally, I hope to have a strong partnership with parents and the community as well as their active participation in the school’s PTA. Everyone’s input is valued and respected, and I welcome your support and collaboration in helping us create a highly effective school. According to the quintessential scientist Albert Einstein, “Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.” To this end, I cannot stress enough the importance of the involvement of family members in the educational life of our scholars. At Union Avenue Middle School, we value diversity and equity with the insistence that every student is valued and will attain the best education possible.
Müller Pierre Union Avenue Middle School Principal
“If children are given the chance to believe they’re worth something-if they truly believe that- they will insist upon it.” (Maya Angelou)