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What's New at Urbana Middle School

Principal’s Blog 7-24-2014

July 24th, 2014

I’m excited that this year, UMS will introduce three new opportunities for our students—an advisory program for all students, enrichment programming in all subject areas, and a policy to allow students to bring and use personal technology for educational purposes.  Each of these exciting new endeavors allow UMS to continue to be at the forefront of providing extensive, meaningful opportunities for all students.  Please do no hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Important Information for All UMS Families

July 16th, 2014

Registration for the 2014-2015 school year begins on Tuesday, July 29, and school starts for all students on Wednesday, August 20.  A letter was sent out to all families today that includes important information about the start of the school year.  Additionally, a welcome letter went out to all families of incoming sixth graders.  Please take a moment to read through the letter, and do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions.  The letters are attached here:

2014-2015 Parent Letter

Letter to Sixth Graders

Sports Registration

July 15th, 2014

Fall sports include Baseball, Softball, Cross Country (running), and Girls’ Basketball.  Later this school year information will be available regarding other sports—Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Volleyball, and Track. In order to participate and/or try out for an athletic team students must be pre-registered.  If you are interested in registering for and playing a sport at UMS, you will need to have the following completed prior to trying out and/or participating:

• A sports physical examination (a physical is current for one calendar year from the date of the exam)

• A signed parent permission form Parent Permission Form (requires proof of insurance)

• $50.00 user fee (some students may qualify for a fee waiver)

• All fines and obligations to the district must be resolved.

Tryout information for each sport is as follows:

Softball tryouts are July 28 and 29 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the UHS field (at Washington and Broadway).  6-8th grade girls may try out, and there will be one team.  Email vpolitzer@usd116.org.

Baseball tryouts are August 4 and 5 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the JV practice field (in front of the UMS main entrance).  6-8th grade boys may try out, and there will be one team.  Practices begin on August 7.  Email: bmcfarland@usd116.org

Cross Country daily practice begins August 4 from 8:00-9:30 a.m.  Meet at the aquatic center.  Boys and girls in grades 6-8 may participate, and there is a “no cut” policy.  Email tsearing@usd116.org

Girls’ Basketball tryouts are September 1-3 with more details forthcoming.  Girls in grades 6-8 may participate, and there are two teams. Email lbehl@mchsi.com

Promotion Ceremony Details

May 30th, 2014

The eighth grade Promotion Ceremony will be held in UMS’s gymnasium on Wednesday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m. immediately followed by a brief reception in our cafetorium.  The school year concludes for eighth grade students at 11:00 a.m. on this day.

There is a Promotion Ceremony rehearsal on June, 3, and students must be present at school and participate in the rehearsal in order to take part in the Promotion Ceremony.  Immediately following the rehearsal there is a free eighth grade dance that ends at 5:30.

On the morning of promotion, June 4, Students are expected to arrive at UMS for the regular start of the school day, 8:45 a.m.  Students are asked to dress appropriately for this occasion as it is a dignified ceremony.  All students who have successfully completed eighth grade will be recognized and receive a certificate of promotion during the Promotion Ceremony.

The Promotion Ceremony begins promptly at 9:30 a.m.  Guests should arrive early to secure seating and parking.  School-aged students, including siblings, who are not participating in the Promotion Ceremony should not be in attendance as they should be attending school.

Students must meet all of the following guidelines in order to attend the Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony.  The Promotion Ceremony is not a graduation ceremony; therefore, participation is a privilege.


Students who do not meet all of the following guidelines will not be allowed to participate in the eighth grade dance or Promotion Ceremony.

  • The student must be academically eligible for promotion as described in the Student Handbook.
  • The student must be in attendance at school on June 3 and participate in the Promotion Ceremony rehearsal on June 3.
  • The student must be present at school at 8:45 a.m. on the day of the Promotion Ceremony, June 4.
  • All textbooks and library books must be returned by Wednesday, May 28.
  • Payment for any lost or damaged textbooks or library books must be made by Monday, June 2.
  • Any outstanding fees or charges accrued while at UMS are due by Monday, June 2 at noon.
  • At the time of the Promotion Ceremony the student must be dressed in attire that meets the standards established for Dress Code in the Student Handbook

Track Athletes to State

May 27th, 2014

Over the weekend, UMS sent 18 student athletes to the IESA State Meet.  It was a great weekend for our students and our track and field program.  UMS competes at the state level in the largest division (AA) meaning we are only competing against the largest middle schools in the state.  Well done UMS!
-7th grade girls placed third overall.
-Lanaeja Carter won the state championship in 7th grade discus.
-The 4×100 relay of Bella Hall, Kiara Thomas, Jyana Anderson, and Charisma Turner won the 7th grade state championship.
-The 4×100 relay of DiamonAsia Taylor, Taliah Pemberton, Lauryn Cross, and AyannaKelley-Weatherspoon (alternate Khamerin White) won the 8th grade state championship.
-The 4×100 relay of Josh Marshall, Chico Lipscomb, Luke Stephens, and Dmitri Turner-Winston finished 4th in the state (after being seeded 20th going in).
-Charisma Turner took 6th in the long jump and 5th in the 100 meter final.


    Broadway on Vine is headed “Under the Sea”

    April 22nd, 2014

    Broadway on Vine announces two performances of The Little Mermaid, Jr. on Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, April 26 at 5:00 pm.  The show will take place in the Cafetorium of Urbana Middle School, 1201 S. Vine St., Urbana.

    The Little Mermaid, Jr., is a Disney musical that tells the story of Ariel, a mermaid and daughter of King Triton of the sea, and Prince Eric, a land-dweller who Ariel falls in love with.  The prince is mesmerized by a beautiful voice, and sets out to find the owner.  Ariel is fascinated by all things human and in her curiosity, is in a position to save the prince’s life.  Throw in a villainous sea witch with a pair of eel lackeys, a curse, and some great music by Alan Menken, and you have a wonderful show for the whole family.

    This is Katie Skarzynski first lead directorship for the Broadway on Vine production.  The musical is part of the S.P.L.A.S.H. (Students Playing and Learning After School Hours) program at UMS and is supported in part by UMS, the Urbana Park District, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant.  Sixty students ranging from 6th to 8th grade are taking part in the Little Mermaid production.  The first Broadway on Vine show, Guys and Dolls in 2006, was performed with only fifteen student involved.  The Little Mermaid, Jr. is the group’s ninth production.  UMS teacher and a member of the Broadway on Vine production staff Erin Lodes said the first productions were a little different then they are now. “The first three shows were done [with] very bare sets, no microphones, etc.,” Lodes said in an email.  “Over the last five shows, we’ve added our own microphones and curtains, and then of course learned to use and work with the generous district influx of lights, sound, and curtains these past years.” Along with the support from the Urbana Park District, these productions have other organizations, business, and community groups that help out such as Krannert, Prairie Gardens, Champaign Park District, various churches, UHS drama, and others.

    Tickets for The Little Mermaid, Jr. can be purchased at the door, and seating starts a half hour before each performance.  Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $3 for students and children.

    Mathematics Placements

    April 17th, 2014

    At this time, UMS staff are in the process of making placements for accelerated mathematics for next school year.  There is an accelerated mathematics option for both seventh and eighth graders.  Sixth grade students needing acceleration are served through enrichment and differentiation in the regular math class.

    Placement in accelerated math is based on standardized test scores (see http://www.usd116.org/ums/index.php/2014/01/principals-blog-january-28-2014/), performance in the student’s current mathematics class, and teacher recommendations.  For placement purposes, seventh grade students will be taking the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test on April 29.  Typically, parents are notified of mathematics course placement via U.S. mail during the summer months.

    5th to 6th Grade Transition Activities

    April 16th, 2014

    UMS and UMS PTSA are hosting two events for families of fifth graders planning to attend UMS next year as sixth graders.  All families are welcome to attend both events.

    Family Curriculum Night.  April 21, 6:30-8:00 in the UMS Tiger Cafe.  On this evening, the principal will present information about the middle school program including curriculum, extracurricular activities, sports, and enrichment opportunities.  Families will have an opportunity to explore the building and fifth grade students are welcome to attend.

    UMS Parent Forum.  April 22, 6:00-7:30 in the UMS Band Room.  A panel of “seasoned” UMS parents will share their experiences, answer questions, and offer suggestions about how to help your student make the most of his or her middle school years.  Free pizza dinner and childcare are provided.  This event is sponsored by the UMS PTSA.  RSVP to Mary Kate Arend mkarend25@gmail.com or 344-8705.  Favor de confirmar asistencia Monique Rivera mrivera73@gmail.com.

    Principal’s Award

    April 14th, 2014

    One Principal’s Award is given annually to one eighth grade student.  Students have the opportunity to nominate themselves for this award.  Students must complete an application that is available in the main office and attached below.  All applications will be reviewed by a committee, and the committee’s assessments of the applications will remain confidential.  The winner of the award will be announced at the Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony.  The winning student will receive an individual plaque and will have his/her name added to a permanent plaque in outside the main office.  All applications are due in the main office by Monday, May 5, 2014.

    Prin Award Nomination

    Prin Award Nomination

    Family Stem Night

    April 2nd, 2014

    Join us for a celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math!  Urbana School District’s Family STEM Night will be held on Thursday, April 10th from 6:00-7:30 pm in the UMS cafeteria.  It will feature projects developed by Urbana students from all grades as well as demonstrations and activities led by local STEM professionals and outreach groups.  Informational flyers will go home this week (also attached below).  We hope to see you there!

    2014 STEM Flier

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