Hear From Families, Students, and Staff

We can tell you about our school all day, but sometimes its best to hear straight from our community! Below are stories, insights, and messages from families, students, staff, and community members. We also invite you to visit UMA and see our unique style of teaching and learning come to life.

If you would like to share your experience with us and the UMA community, send us a message and we’ll post it here!

UMA has been quite a positive experience for my daughter. Normally, she is a bit reserved and cautious. She came to UMA as a 6th grader last year and absolutely blossomed, so much so that by spring term, she joined drama and played a part in the school musical.  She loves school and is constantly telling me about her academic day. I believe the reason she has so much to relay is due to the hands-on curriculum. Learning through doing has made all the difference for her. Whether it’s culinary class, language arts or photography, she is keenly interested in replicating at home the lessons she is learning in school. UMA’s teachers cultivate the love of learning. That has made all the difference for us.

Sonja, UMA Parent

I appreciate that our staff view all students as belonging to all staff, rather than the ‘yours and ours’ viewpoint towards students with special education needs that I have experienced in other schools. We have a very welcoming and inclusive environment that attracts students of all abilities and allows them to learn alongside each other, no matter what those abilities may be!

Lesley Ernst, Special Education Coordinator

We moved our sixth-grade son to UMA mid-year. He was surviving OK where he was, but with no physical activity during the day, and 35 kids in a class with one teacher, that’s all he was doing – surviving. He showed little interest in what was happening around him and was just trying to keep his head down and avoid notice. We decided to give UMA a try. Within a couple of weeks, the number of words our son was saying in a day increased dramatically. He has been talking about projects he is working on in school – something he has never done before. He asks us more questions and is more conversational in general – there is a lightness to his daily existence that was not there before he started at UMA. We cannot thank the teachers and staff enough for creating an environment that is drawing our son out of his shell.

UMA sees the student, not as a producer of work or results, but rather a collaborative partner in the learning experience. Grades are important, but the true measure of success is their ability to translate what they learned into a catalyst for developing skills and abilities that will serve them as they grow and develop. By developing their natural talents and curiosity, giving them the ability to contribute as designers in their academic career, and instilling in them accountability and responsibility for their success now and in the future, UMA helps prepare my student for success beyond high school.

Rebekah, UMA Parent

“I like school.” A simple statement, but oh, so powerful! For most of her elementary education, our daughter had not really enjoyed much about her school experience except lunch and recess. So it was wonderful, and a bit startling, that after 6 weeks at UMA, she simply offered, “I like school.” The leap of faith in her brand new school has paid off!

Here’s why the school works: UMA teachers are smart, enthusiastic, dedicated, and extremely hard working. Most importantly, they genuinely care about the education and well-being of each and every student. The UMA integrated curriculum fits our daughter’s learning style. Class sizes are smaller than they have been since Kindergarten! All the kids seem really great, and the parent community is invested in supporting the school and everyone involved. Thanks everyone for a great first year!

Eric & Shannon, UMA Parents

On behalf of Tangletown Gardens, I have had the pleasure of working collaboratively with the staff and students at Upper Mississippi Academy (UMA) since 2015. I am always struck by the amount of energy I feel when I am at this school. You can literally see the active engagement occurring between teachers and students! 

Andrew, Tangletown Gardens Community Partner