What's New at Urbana Middle School
March 4th, 2014
Some updates for UMS Families…
- Tonight (March 4 from 7:00-8:30) is our second annual talent/variety show. There are thirty acts performing this year, and these include students, staff, and an ensemble performance by Broadway on Vine. Tickets are $3 for students and children and $5 for adults. This is a great opportunity to see some of the diverse talents we have at UMS Proceeds from this event support Broadway on Vine.
- Please join me next week for (March 11 from 6:30-8:00) for a family information night to continue our school-family dialogue about Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT). The purpose of this event is to talk about what BYOT might look like and to hear your questions and concerns.
- Support our Concert Band by eating at El Toro Loco anytime on March 11. Twenty percent of your bill will go to Concert Band. Click here for a copy of the flier.
- This is the final year for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), and for many of our eighth graders this is the sixth time they have spent a week in March taking the test. ISAT started in 2000, but the test was not aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards until 2006. In order to comply with the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (also known as No Child Left Behind or NCLB) the ISAT was used. NCLB was supposed to be reauthorized by Congress in 2008, and, to date, this reauthorization has not happened. Illinois and sixteen other states will begin using a different test next year known as the PARCC. PARCC will be given two times per year, and we are waiting on word as to whether or not there will be a third “diagnostic” test given toward the beginning of each school year. PARCC is aligned with the Common Core State Standards which were adopted by Illinois in 2010 and have been adopted by 45 states.
February 28th, 2014
From March 3 to March 6, 2014, all Urbana Middle School students will take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, all students will take the mathematics and reading tests. On Thursday, seventh graders only will be tested in science. Generally, all testing takes place in the morning, and students who miss any testing sessions will be required to complete missed sessions at a later time.
Families play an important role in getting students ready for the test. Here are suggestions on how parents can help their children prepare for the ISAT:
-Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before the test
-Make sure your child eats breakfast the day of the test
-Make sure your child wears comfortable clothes on the day of the test
-Let your child know that he or she should take the test seriously and do his or her best
-Talk to your child about what to do while taking the test, including:
- paying attention to directions
- asking questions about the directions if they are not clear
- reading each question carefully
- eliminating wrong answers right away, then concentrating on remaining choices
- double checking answers
February 19th, 2014
About forty adults attended our most recent PTSA meeting where our building Technology Coordinator, Kevin Erlinger, shared information about the idea of Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) at UMS. Currently there is a Family Technology Survey on this topic. The idea of BYOT has generated a lot of interest from UMS families, and I thought I would devote a blog entry to what it might look like at UMS. Read the rest of this entry »
February 18th, 2014
Please join us for our next PPAC meeting on Wednesday, February 19, from 6:30-8:00 at UMS. Our topic is Extracurricular and Athletic Activities. Please click here for more details.
February 18th, 2014
UMS PTSA is collecting Box Tops for Education!
Send your box tops to school today.
The UMS PTSA is collecting Box Tops for Education labels! Our goal is to raise $2,000.00 for UMS this year. We need $1,257.71 more to reach that goal. Each label is worth 10 cents for the school and you may already have some labels on products you’ve purchased. Please look around your home for products that have the Box Tops label on it, clip the labels and have your student turn them in to their team. Click here for examples of products that have Box Tops for Education labels.
Each academic team has a jar to collect the labels. A jar is also located in the office. The second contest deadline for the team prize is February 25, 2014!
On-line shoppers: Another way to earn Box Tops for the school is by shopping through the Box Tops Marketplace and earning “eBoxTops”. Over 300 participating retailers give eBoxTops to the school with every qualified purchase you make online. Click here for more information on how this works. Many popular retailers participate in eBoxTops, including: Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Aeropostale, Staples and Lands’ End.
February 13th, 2014
This time of year is always exciting for our fifth graders as we begin the transition process from elementary school to middle school. It is our goal that you and your child will feel welcome and enthusiastic about the middle school experience. We have several opportunities coming up for you and your child to become acquainted with UMS. Please click on a link below to down load the letters detailing upcoming events.
5th Grade Letter 2014
5th Grade Letter 2014 SPANISH
February 7th, 2014
Please consider joining us on Monday, February 10 to celebrate National African American Parent Involvement Day. NAAPID is for all families, not just parents of African American students. For more details about NAAPID at UMS, click here. We look forward to seeing many of you on Monday. For more details about NAAPID and to read about events in USD 116 last year, click here.
January 28th, 2014
Read below to find out more about UMS and some upcoming events.
- Parents, please mark your calendars for National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) on Monday, February 10. Currently there is a staff committee at UMS finalizing our plans for the day, and you will get more details soon. For more details about NAAPID and to read about events in USD 116 last year, click here.
- Urbana High School counselors will be at UMS this Thursday and Friday to meet individually with our eighth graders to make course selections. Families should take some time to review the registration information, and you will have an opportunity to review course selections. Click here for information about UHS registration and other items that was presented at last week’s Freshman Orientation.
- On Thursday, March 6, USD 116 is hosting a parent event at UMS titled “Illinois Learning Standards incorporating the Common Core….What do they look like in my child’s classroom?” For more details about this event click here, and we hope to see you there!
- On January 15, UMS hosted its first Parent-Principal Advisory Committee (PPAC) of the year. Twelve parents attended, and we discussed issues of “academic rigor”. It was a very interesting conversation for me, and I enjoyed hearing the broad range of parent perspectives on this issue. Our remaining PPAC evenings are February 19 and March 19. All are welcome to attend. Click here for more information.
- One of the questions that came up at PPAC was about student testing and the types of testing that occurs at UMS. I will summarize our widely used assessments here. The intent of all of our testing is to provide the school with data to inform how we teach our students and what the individual needs of students are.
- The Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) is given annually to nearly all students and tests math, reading, and science (7th grade only). Will be replaced starting next school year by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) which is intended to measure the new Common Core Standards.
- The Discovery Education Assessment (DEA) is administered to nearly all students three times per year in the areas of math and reading. This takes place during math and language arts classes.
- We use the Aimsweb assessment system throughout the year to measure student progress in math and reading. There is a variety of short assessments used throughout the year, and not all students will be assessed using this system.
- The Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT) is given once a year to seventh graders only, generally in the spring. This is a test specifically used to help us identify students who may benefit from being in eighth grade algebra class.
January 27th, 2014
With the cold weather and cancellations come many questions from UMS families. I will answer some of them here.
- Is the school building closed? Typically, with weather related closing the school is still open for other business unless the roads are not passable. Even when the roads are bad, we still have staff in the building just in case a student shows up.
- Do we still have evening activities? When school is cancelled, usually we will not host any other events, unless announced otherwise. For instance, today we were to host the regional boys’ basketball tournament, and those games have been rescheduled.
- When will the school year end? The district’s calendar “budgets” for up to five emergency school closing days. At this point, we have one left. The four weather-related closing days we have had this school year do have to be made-up. If we go beyond five school closing days, the school district may or may not be eligible for a waiver of the additional days. Dr. Owen, superintendent, discussed this issue recently in his blog.
- When is eighth grade promotion? I will repeat what I posted in my January 7 blog here: “The annual Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony typically is held on the last full school day of the year, and families of eighth graders typically are notified of the official date and time via letter in the third quarter report card mailing. I do not set the date for the promotion ceremony until the school district is confident that we will have no more weather related cancellations.”
January 16th, 2014
On behalf of the entire Urbana High School staff, I would like to invite you and your student to our Freshman Orientation night on Thursday, January 23rd. This event will provide information regarding the wonderful opportunities awaiting your student as they enter UHS next fall. The evening will begin with a Welcome in the auditorium followed by a “high school overview” presented by our counseling department and a “curriculum fair” where you will be able to meet with members of each department. You may enter the school from either door 1 on Iowa Street or the Race Street entrance. The evening will begin at 7:00PM and is scheduled to conclude at 8:30PM. Additionally you will be receiving a copy of the Course Description and Planning Guide for 2014-15 in the mail. Please take the opportunity to review this with your student. We look forward to welcoming the class of 2018.
For Spanish click below
Read the rest of this entry »
← Older School News