The world is rapidly changing, and our children will be working in jobs that currently do not exist. Our greatest responsibility is to equip our students with the ability to problem-solve, explore meaning, crave knowledge, pursue innovation and embrace challenges. We need to empower our students and staff members to become “architects of their own future.”
Union Middle School is at the forefront of this paradigm shift by enhancing and increasing opportunities for self-directed learning and inquiry in the arts, sciences, academics, career and life skills. Our courses focus on creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills (4C’s), which are vital to success in a globally competitive world.
Union Middle School is a diverse and very successful 7-8 middle school originally built in 1892. It is recognized as a vibrant learning center where young learners are taught and guided by a professional staff whose primary mission is to provide an educational environment that is innovative, challenging and nurturing. We have approximately 400 students with a class size of 25 or fewer students per class. Union Middle School believes that, through technologies, comprehensive curricula, and project-based learning, your child will be provided with many different avenues in the pursuit of educational excellence.
Technology plays a vital role within the education of all our students. At the start of the school year, students in grades 7-8 will be assigned a Chromebook that they will use in school and the device will travel home with them. Teachers, students and administrators are working together to share and receive ideas through technology-driven platforms such as Google Apps. We are also utilizing websites such as Newsela, Edcite, Illustrative Mathematics and Readworks to assign online articles and activities. Students incorporate online tools to enhance mind mapping and brainstorming sessions to collaborate and inspire creative thinking. Our zSpace lab augments virtual reality that allows out students to seamlessly work with the visualization of data in three dimensions. The zSpace components create an immersive realistic interaction in which data that appear as a “real object” can be viewed, manipulated, analyzed, and shared. We have created a Maker space, breakers space and Little Bits bar. Our Maker space is a dedicated section of the UMS library with tools, equipment and technology where students can create and collaborate on various projects. Our 3D printers enable the production of tangible visual representations and give our students the opportunity to bring their creative ideas to life by developing a physical product. The school’s computer lab and library are equipped with a classroom set of Macintosh computers. In addition, we have Chromebooks, document cameras, iPads and laptop computers that are utilized in all disciplines throughout the school. The majority of our classrooms have SMARTBoards, which allow students to play a more interactive role in their education. They may visit any place throughout the world, travel to planets, become part of any ecosystem, or enter the human body. We provide education through experience and interaction.
Technology is also used to assist parents. The parents in grades six through twelve may access the “Parent Portal.” This allows parents to view a child’s status at any time. It will show current grades and homework completion. At all grade levels, our teachers utilize Google websites. The websites are updated on a daily or weekly basis that allows parents to check to see what homework or project has been assigned by the teacher. By doing this, a parent can prevent their child from falling behind the rest of the class. Progress reports and report cards can also be viewed electronically.
Union Middle School participates in the National Junior Honor Society. The National Junior Honor Society is more than just an honor roll; this premier organization serves to honor students in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, character and citizenship. The National Junior Honor Society at Union School has a peer-tutoring program that is offered during each lunch period.
Union School offers additional challenges through participation in local and national contests such as the VEX World Championship in which our STEAM Team is ranked in the top 1% in the world, the National Spelling Bee, and the Science and Mathematics Olympiads. Our 7th and 8th grade students have performed well on state-mandated tests. Much of our success is the result of early detection of academic needs determined by diagnostic tools, scientific-based interventions, differentiated instruction and data analyses.
We utilize LinkIt!, which is a K-12 online data analytics and assessment management system that adapts to our needs. This system allows us to upload our own assessments, create/design our own tests and combine state and school data sources into a consistent framework for longitudinal progress monitoring, growth analysis, and predictive analytics.
Union Middle School also implements the RTI (Response to Intervention) program through LinkIt!. RTI is a method of identifying at-risk learners at an early stage, matching them to appropriate researched-based interventions, and flexibly providing them with additional support as needed. All of our students are offered the opportunity to attend after-school assistance on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 2:40 p.m. – 3:02 p.m.
We also have Friends of Rachel Club (FOR). The club focuses on five challenges: 1. Eliminate prejudice—by looking at the best in others 2. Dare to dream—set goals, and keep a journal 3. Choose your influences—input determines output 4. Use kind words—small acts of kindness = huge impact 5. Start a chain reaction—with family and friends.
PBSIS (Positive Behavior Support In School) has been implemented to develop the capacity for Union Middle School to create an environment that encourages and supports pro-student behavior at the school-wide, classroom, and individual student levels using current research and validated practices in positive behavior support.
Our special education and limited English students are provided with appropriate and challenging courses of study, which will allow all students to be successful. Union Middle School offers various elective courses such as Robotics, Myth Busters, Architecture, Digital Media Studies, and Brain Games and Puzzles. Union Middle School has implemented various STEM programs and computer coding classes that expose students to new ideas and information that engages their minds, bodies, and spirits. There is a 40-foot long climbing wall in the gym for adventurous students. After school clubs and activities include our school newspaper, robotics club and intramurals. Additionally, Spanish and French are taught in grades seven and eight.
We at Union Middle School strongly believe in the importance of the arts and humanities in everyone’s life. Our music and art departments offer numerous opportunities for students to develop and refine their talents. Several times during the year, the UMS chorus and band perform concerts in our auditorium for family and friends. Our “artists” display their work in school-wide exhibits and at regional and national contests. Field trips to the theater, concerts and museums, and presentations by various artists and authors, all help to expand the cultural horizons of our students.
An energetic and dedicated faculty is an important reason for the tradition of excellence at Union Middle School. Our faculty consists primarily of teachers holding master’s degrees, and all teachers participate in ongoing programs of professional improvement. Our teachers are constantly researching new strategies to enrich and transform your child’s learning experience in order to meet the demands of our global society. They are improving their levels of expertise through advanced studies. These include workshops on G Suite of Education, SMARTBoard use, other technologies, diversified instruction, curriculum, and a variety of social issues.
In closing, I assure you that the students of Union Middle School will have an environment that is safe and secure and will receive the best education possible. Union Middle School will continue to find ways to lead and promote innovative and creative thinking, leverage technologies and human capital in imaginative ways, and incorporate new structures and platforms to create learning environments that best serve our children and support educators. We will never be satisfied with being good or very good. Our goal is to be great.
Mr. Kurt Schweitzer – Principal