Welcome Back, Families!

Welcome Back, Families!

Dear UMA Community,

I hope you have had an engaging and enjoyable summer so far. We are looking forward to the beginning of the fifth year of Upper Mississippi Academy, as we welcome back our returning students and get ready to meet many new families joining us across all grades. Our current enrollment is over 280 students with three sections of grades 6-8, two sections of grade 9, and one section of grade 10.We are pleased that we have doubled our retention rate of 8th graders matriculating into 9th grade as we continue to grow our high school.

I am thankful to Amy Elverum and Laurie Toll for sending out the class schedules to students last week. Families that have enrolled their students recently should be able to access schedules soon in Infinite Campus. If you need assistance accessing Infinite Campus, please email Laurie Toll.

New Staff Announcements

We are excited to announce that our staff for 2017-18 consists of a strong group of returning, dedicated teachers along with the following new teachers who bring passion about collaboration and hands-on, authentic learning:

  • Sam Eberhart will be teaching 7th and 8th-grade social studies

  • Annemie Lucas will be teaching 8th-grade algebra and electives

  • Peter Senti will be teaching 7th-grade life science and electives

  • Paul Brandt will be our 7th-grade Special Education teacher

  • Janet Dretzke will be our 8th-grade Special Education teacher

  • Miles Tyler will be a Special Education paraprofessional

  • Marshall Yoes will be a Special Education paraprofessional

 Reflections Moving Forward

As part of our reflection from our successes and opportunities from last year, we continue to examine how we can improve our delivery of education to all students. Some of the results include:

  1. Improved focus on our four Experiential Learning Pathways:

    1. We will utilize a common language for our pathways.

    2. Grade-level teams will deliver an overview on the UMA pathways to all students at the start of the school year.

    3. Teachers are collaborating on the intentional inclusion of the pathways into their curriculum.

  2. The UMA Board approved new values statements last year, and teachers are developing a common language around these statements, especially with regard to discussing the role of failure in discovery.
  3. As part of our desire to deliver authentic, hands-on learning experiences:

    1. Middle school teachers are offering some exciting new electives, including Science of Flight, Computer Programming, and Environmental Citizenship.

    2. The high school team is planning visits to “maker spacers” around the Twin Cities throughout the school year.

  4. While last year’s parent and student surveys indicated that we have a very safe school environment, UMA staff are striving to become more clear, consistent, and supportive with regard to our discipline and behavior management:

    1. A new Behavior Support Specialist position, filled by Dave Ehrhardt, will provide students demonstrating a need for additional supports. In addition to working directly with students, Dave will also communicate with staff and parents/guardians in the following ways:

      1. Consult and collaborate effectively with parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and other education/community resources regarding students with identified behavioral concerns and needs.

      2. Participate in parent meetings as appropriate.

      3. Track attendance and tardies, and implement attendance contracts when warranted. Communicate ongoing attendance issues with advisors and families.

    2. The Student Handbook has been updated and will be shared on our website as soon as possible.

  5. Amy Elverum has accepted a new position, Associate Director and Director of Special Education.

 Current Information and Upcoming Postings

  1. Bus Cards will be mailed by August 16. If you have questions regarding pick-up location hubs, please contact Kate Needleman.

  2. Grade-level supply lists have been posted on the web site.

  3. The August/September lunch menu and order form will be posted on the web site by August 21.

 Important Dates

  1. Back to School Open House for all families is on Thursday, August 24 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  2. First day of school is on Monday, August 28. Our school day is from 9:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thank you for being part of the UMA community,

Harry Adler, Executive Director 

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