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Principal’s Blog–The Gym

December 2nd, 2014

Embedded image permalinkThe main gym is in the final stages of repair from our flooding and mold remediation.  This week contractors began the process of sanding and refinishing.  We are on schedule to resume using the gym for athletic practices during winter break and for physical education classes when we return from break.

Because of the floor refinishing, students and teachers are not able to access the locker rooms for the remainder of the semester.  The PE staff has asked me to clarify for students and families that students will continue to be expected to participate in PE classes although students will not need to change clothes.  Students must wear appropriate shoes to PE, and if clothing is not appropriate for PE (i.e. many skirts and dresses), students should be prepared pull over shorts or sweats.  Students who do not participate in PE activities will not be able to earn full credit.  Students who are currently in swimming or in health are not impacted by these changes.

The refinishing process consists of sanding the floor, applying a water-based sealer, painting the graphics and lines, and applying a water-based finish.  Additional ventilation of the gym is in place during the school day.  If you have questions or concerns specific to the products being used on the floor, please contact Patrick Russell (prussell@usd116.org), assistant principal.

I want to thank our Physical Education staff and athletic team coaches for their incredible flexibility as we have worked through this challenge.  Our students, athletes and families have also been remarkably understanding.  I am excited to re-introduce our staff and students to our cleaner, brighter gymnasium come January!

Day of Giving–December 2

November 29th, 2014

Change Lives in our Community

Eastern Illinois Foodbank

Day of Giving – December 2

From December 1 through December 5, UMS will collect food and monetary donations for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.  This local agency supports families in need in Champaign County, and any donation your family can make is appreciated.

UMS is participating in a competition that ends on December 2, and the school may win $1000 if we raise the most money or bring in the most food items (specifically peanut butter, jelly, or sun butter).  Any donations may be brought into the main office, and checks should be written directly to Eastern Illinois Foodbank.  Only donations brought in on or before December 2 will count toward the competition, but we will be collecting all week.

As an additional incentive, any student who brings in four canned goods will get free admission to the dance on Friday, and the first 200 donors will receive a complementary piggy bank.  Students donating canned goods for a dance ticket should bring the canned goods to lunch.

DOG14 School Flyer – UpClose

Progress Reports and PPAC

November 26th, 2014

Yesterday, Tuesday, November 25, progress reports for second quarter were mailed home to all families.  Included with the progress report was a letter inviting all parents/guardians to participate in this year’s Parent Principal Advisory Committee.  See the attached letter for more information. PPAC2014

PTSA Holiday Vouchers

November 20th, 2014

The PTSA is selling Holiday Gift Vouchers to give to teachers, staff, teams, school groups, or the PTSA.  Your recipient is notified of your gift, which is deposited in their UMS account.  Recipients can choose to use their gift funds for any type of educational purchases.  To purchase vouchers, complete the form sent home last week (copies available in Main Office, attached below, or via email from urbanamiddleschoolptsa@gmail.com), include payment, and return to the UMS office by Friday, December 12, 2014.  Holiday Voucher 2014

Principal’s Blog–Bullying Behavior

November 18th, 2014

During the middle school years, it is not uncommon for students to experience bullying behaviors.  At the same time, it is not uncommon for young adolescents to exhibit bullying behaviors.  During this time of exceptional physical and emotional change, students tend to test both physical and emotional boundaries, and these actions may take the form of physical and verbal bullying behavior.  It is important for adults, however, to recognize that because a student may exhibit these inappropriate behaviors it does not mean the student is a bully.  At the same time, just because a student experiences unwanted physical or verbal interactions does not mean a student is being bullied.

Bullying means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

  1. Placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property.
  2. Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health.
  3. Substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance.
  4. Substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

Whether or not the behavior rises to the level of bullying the school does take these behaviors seriously.  It is important that if your student is reporting any unwanted physical or verbal behaviors that you report behaviors as soon as possible to the school by contacting your child’s dean or counselor.  Your child can also complete an anonymous reporting form available outside the main office and any of the deans’ offices.

For more information about bullying behaviors, please see our Bullying Behavior FAQ.

Principal’s Blog–11-12-2014

November 11th, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Association for Middle Level Education’s national conference with a small team of UMS staff.  This was an exciting opportunity for us to learn from other middle schools from across the country.  At the same time, it was reassuring to know that we are on the right track and providing an excellent school that supports, educates, and advocates for young adolescents.  I can say proudly that UMS stands alongside the best middle school programs in the country.

For many families, the middle school years are a challenging time because your child is changing rapidly and dramatically.  At no point in your child’s life, other than infancy, will he or she experience so much physical, emotional, and intellectual growth so rapidly.  Educating children at this age level requires a staff that specializes in working with, understanding, and organizing young adolescents in ways that are developmentally appropriate, challenging, empowering, and equitable.

As a school, we are committed to providing an outstanding middle school education to all of our students.  To do this, we remain focused on the needs of young adolescents while working constantly to improve curriculum and instruction, culture and climate, and safety and security.

If you are interested in learning more about the core beliefs of middle level education, I encourage you to visit this link:  http://www.amle.org/AboutAMLE/ThisWeBelieve/tabid/121/Default.aspx#122516-the-16-characteristics

As always, if you would like to discuss any issues or concerns with me, please do not hesitate to contact me.

PTSA Newsletter

November 11th, 2014

Please check the documents below for important updates and information from our PTSA.

Nov-Dec 2014 – ENG

Nov-Dec 2014 – SPA

PTSA Meeting November 5

October 30th, 2014

You’re invited to the PTSA’s next meeting!

  • When:  Wednesday, November 5, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
  • Where:  UMS Band Room
  • Guest Speaker:  Mr. Matthew Stark, UHS Principal.

Mr. Stark will be speaking about making the transition from UMS to UHS, how 8th graders will register for 2014-15 UHS courses, etc.  He will also answer questions from the audience. Brief Business Meeting following Mr. Stark’s presentation.

Free Pizza Dinner and Childcare:  Provided by the UMS PTSA and the UMS Student Council.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

October 21st, 2014

Parent-Teacher Conferences are next week on Tuesday and Thursday evening.  On October 28, conferences are 4:30-7:30 and October 30, 4:30-6:30.  Generally, conferences are hosted with your child’s academic team.  If you would like to meet with your child’s team teachers, you are asked to contact the team facilitator and he or she will schedule a time with you.  Please call the school’s main line, 384-3685, or email the facilitators at the emails listed below.  Please note, many of the teams have already sent home information about scheduling parent-teacher conferences, and you may already have an appointment.

6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Endeavor cpond@usd116.org Armonia jbrown@usd116.org Divergent jpece@usd116.org
Stellar dfrye@usd116.org Aspire lbrownfield@usd116.org Hercules lhlinka@usd116.org
Superstars talvarado@usd116.org Visioneers kskarzynski@usd116.org Incredible ckoplinski@usd116.org
Trailblazers cray@usd116.org

If you would like to meet with a specific Physical Education, Health, Special Education, Music, Art,

Foreign Language, Family and Consumer Sciences, Technology or other teacher, please call the office and a secretary will direct you to the teacher for scheduling.

As always, if you are unable to attend parent conferences, you can contact your child’s teachers directly by phone or e-mail and you can request a meeting for another time.

Si su estudiante esta en clases bilingues, de favor llame a Srta. Moreno (mmoreno@usd116.org).  Tambien, si necesita servicios de traduccion, llame a Sra. Maldonado (lmaldonado@usd116.org).

Box Tops Fundraiser until October 27

October 19th, 2014

Over the next week, the UMS PTSA will be holding its annual Box Tops for Education Fall fundraiser.  Our goal is to raise even more than $2,000 for UMS this year.  If every student and staff member turns in at least 10 Box Tops labels, we can meet this goal.  Each label is worth 10¢ for the school and you may already have some labels on products you’ve purchased. (See http://www.boxtops4education.com/participating-products for examples of products that have Box Tops for Education labels).  Please look around your home for products that have the Box Tops label on them, clip the labels and have your student turn them in to their academic team.  Every team facilitator has a Box Top collection jar, and there is also a jar located in the UMS office.  The team with the most Box Tops collected by October 27th will win a prize!  Thank you for supporting our fundraiser.

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