Newsletter October 15 2014

University Park Elementary School


October 15, 2014

Message from Ms. Davis

The month of October has been busy here at UPES.  Last week students in Pre-K-6 enjoyed the play, “The Hero of Everything” performed by Interact Theater.  The themes were cooperation, collaboration, fairness and respect.     Students said they learned that you can’t do it all by yourself and you should ask for help when needed.    Additionally, Hispanic Heritage Night was a huge success!  I’d like to thank Nadia Rolon, Amanda Ferguson, Julieanne Conrad, Adam Thompson, Vicki Kautz, Sankara Kasanje, Nakita  Adams and Massa Freeman for coordinating this wonderful event.  Finally, thank you to Nereyda Dunn and her committee for their hard work and dedication to get the  Coin Challenge and Book Fair up and running.  Students enjoyed purchasing their new books.  The next Eagle Newsletter will be coming home November 5, 2014. 


A Huge Thank You

Thank you to our lunchroom volunteers:  Aaron Visnic, Abbie McCoy, Nancy Neher and Pam Diamond.  They're in the lunchroom almost every single day!


A special thank you to Christine Dawson for collecting the change from the Coin Challenge!  She facilitated the counting of all that change and figuring out how much each class made.  Thank you, Christine!


Here's the list of volunteers who helped staff the many hours of the Scholastic Book Fair.  


Andrea Huberty


Alana Joyce


Amanda Olson


Abbie McCoy


Becky Widman


Beth Vogel


Efren Flores


Christine Dawson


Jodi Cohen


Nereyda Dunn


Jenny Wright


Jerry Bell


Jennifer Cibor


Keelah Allen


karoline Mortensen


Krista Atteberry


Lis Maring


Lisa Beckmann


Molly MacLaren


Kris Moss


Nancy Neher


Rebekah Benson-Flannery


Rhonda Simley


Sarah Treado


Julia Stransky


Susana Heureaux


Zeyneb Aydilek




Meet the new Specialists at UPES

 Samuel Ambrose

Sam Ambrose is ecstatic to be joining the University Park educational team this year. He has had the pleasure of teaching instrumental music in all different shapes, sizes, and locations, including Florida, Maryland, Illinois, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. When he is not teaching, Sam can be heard playing his tuba around school, and around the state! Mr. Ambrose graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University with a Masters in Music, and from Florida State University with a BME. He is looking forward to making beautiful music and wonderful memories with everyone!


Juleanne Conrad

Juleanne Conrad is very excited to be teaching at University Park Elementary!  Prior to graduating from Lebanon Valley College, she spent a semester studying abroad in Italy, which was an experience she will take with her throughout her years as a teacher!  Throughout her years at LVC, she participated in various music ensembles such as the marching band, jazz ensemble, and choir.  She grew up in a small town called Fallston, MD and is enjoying her new home in Hyattsville.  In her free time, she enjoys playing instruments such as the piano, guitar, saxophone, and drums.  She has loved working with both her general music classes and the chorus, and is very enthusiastic about watching her students grow as musicians!


Amanda Ferguson

Amanda Ferguson, one of the new Vocal and General Music educators, graduated from Capital University with a B.M. in Music Education this past May. The summer of 2014 was filled with job applications, interviews, working as the music director at Creative Kids Camp in Greenbelt, as well as moving from her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While she is thrilled to now live in the greater DC area, she will never get used to the lack of Pittsburgh sports fans. Highlights of her musical experiences thus far include singing with the Capital University Chapel Choir on a tour around Ireland, singing with the New Albony Symphony in their performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and playing Nunu Tossaway in the Creative Kids Camp production of Message to Tomorrow. From now on, Amanda looks forward to her new musical highlights consisting of accomplishments and performances from her students. Amanda recognizes the wonderful opportunity that University Park has given her, and thanks the UP community for being so warm and welcoming during this exciting time! 


Sankara Kasanje

Sankara Kasanje is a new addition to University Park Elementary School. He is a graduate from University of Maryland, College Park, with a bachelor’s degree in both Italian Studies and Romance Languages. He is passionate about foreign languages and teaching, and is excited to share his love for the Italian language and culture with the students and staff of University Park.


Brian Mah

Brian Mah is a new Art Teacher.  He comes from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), where he spent 2 years as a SPED Aide.  Before that Mr. Mah was an Art Teacher, ESL, and Health Teacher for 2 years in an international school in Tokyo, Japan, Canadian International School (CIS), CIS is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school.  He enjoys creating fun and exciting visual artwork.  He looks forward to working with the students this school year.

Sarah Regnell

Sarah is very excited to join the team at UPES this year. This is her 17th year as a school psychologist in PGCPS. She has been assigned to several elementary and middle schools as well as nonpublic schools.  She’s originally from Washington DC.   She graduated from Maret School and then attended Goucher College where she received her degree and teaching credentials along with a background in psychology. After teaching a few years, she went to graduate school at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where she received her Masters Degree (Specialist Equivalent) in School Psychology. Her husband is a Speech Pathologist who specializes in Home Health Care and works with adults. She has a 10 year old and a 2 year old. 


Stacey Marville


Stacey Marville is a new addition to University Park Elementary School. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University and Master’s degree in Special Education from The George Washington University. She is currently in her twelfth year of teaching, eight of those spent teaching with Prince Georges County Public Schools. She is very passionate about working with children and families. In her spare time when she is not reading or writing, she loves spending quality time with her ten year old daughter, Jordan.


Adam Thompson


Adam Thompson is a new special education resource teacher.  He comes from a nonpublic school, where he spent the last eight years, and is very excited to work in Prince George's County and at University Park this school year!  He enjoys working with students on their academic goals and communicating with parents about any concerns.  He is looking forward to a productive and successful year!


Lisa Tuit


Lisa Tuit is joining the University Park Elementary School staff as Speech Language Pathologist.  She received her master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011 and has been working in Prince George’s County Public Schools since then.  She is at UPES on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  


Amanda Waugh


Amanda is thrilled to have her first Media Specialist position at University Park ES. She graduated from UMD in 2012 with her MLS and is currently working toward a doctorate. Her passions include reading, science and cooking. For the last three years, Amanda has been working with a research project in DCPS where she taught creative writing, science, and research to engage kids in STEM (  In her doctoral work, she researches the intersection of school libraries, student achievement, and school culture. Amanda's favorite part of being a Media Specialist has been working with the students to find them the "just-right" book to foster a love of reading and literacy. If you are in the building, stop by and say hi!



If you would like to deposit money into your child’s lunch account, please send cash or use  The cafeteria is no longer accepting personal checks per the Office of Food and Nutrition.  We thank you for adhering to the new procedure to ensure that your child has access to funds to purchase a hot lunch.  


Halloween Schedule

  • All Specials will end at 10:00am
  • The Parade will begin at 12 noon


  • 12:30 - K, 2, 3, and 6  
  • 1:00 – Pre-K, 1, 4, and 5

Sing-a- long in the Gym

  • 12:30 – Pre-K, 1, 4, and 5
  • 1:00 - K, 2, 3, and 6  


Halloween Lunch Schedule

Tyler, Duffy, and Kindergarten  

  • Lunch 9:45 to 10:15 and Recess 10:15 to 10:40   

Hamer, Szelc & 3rd Grade

  • Lunch 10:15 to 10:45 and Recess 10:45 to 11:10

Young, Baer, Camper, Roy & Fourth Grade (NO RECESS)

  • Lunch 10:45 to 11:15

Fifth and Sixth Grade (NO RECESS)

  • Lunch 11:15 to 11:45 (Students will eat in the classroom - Specialist will cover classroom)

Pre-K PM will eat as soon as they arrive



2014-2015 Science/Stem Fair

The 2014-2015 Science/Stem Fair timeline will begin on November 10, 2014.  The Science/Stem Fair judging will be held on January 28, 2015.  The Science/Stem Fair project is an inquiry based long- term project. Prince George’s County Public Schools require all 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to complete a Science/Stem Fair project.  The project is optional for Third Graders. The timeline allows the student to manage this long-term project by having every component of the project due, reviewed by the teacher with feedback, and returned to the student. Science/Stem Fair booklets are given to each student. Projects are displayed on a backboard.  White and colored backboards are sold at school by pre-ordering and prepaying for them.  Every effort was made this year to coordinate the Science/Stem Fair time line due dates with the Write A Book timeline due dates so any student who wants to do both projects has the opportunity to do so without too much conflict.  Both projects are however occurring at the same time because of the Prince George’s County Public School deadlines.  Hint:  If a student wants to do a plant project, you must start very early and plant MANY plants.  The projected timeline is below.





Discussion of testable questions and variables


Planning booklets with questions going home


Testable question and variables due to teacher


Question and variables approved and returned. Research begins


Research with three sources due to teacher

Prediction/Hypothesis due to teacher


Research returned to students. Research Report Assigned

Prediction/Hypothesis approved and returned to students


Materials list and procedures assigned



Materials list and procedures due to teacher



Materials list and procedures returned to students. 


Research Report Due




Project Testing done at home.  Collect data on a data chart. 15 trials minimum


Data charts, graphs completed at home or finished in class


Data charts, graphs due to teacher or finished in class


Results and conclusion due to teacher


Results and conclusion returned to student

1-15 to 


Backboards completed at home. 


Science Fair Completed Projects due to teacher/Presentations practiced in class.


Intermediate STEM Fair & Judging




Write-A-Book is coming up soon, so I want to make sure you are aware of the program, some details and important dates.

Write-A-Book is a countywide writing competition for all grades that takes place over the course of the school year. Students can participate in many ways. They can write a short story, non-fiction report, poem, or picture book. Each category has specific rules, and you will receive a handout soon with details. Students may also work as a team. Additionally, Write-A-Book is voluntary. While we hope that all students will participate, it is not required. Mrs. Waugh will be introducing the project over the next few weeks in the Media Center. There are several important dates you should put on your calendar.



Week of 10/20

Information packet and interest slip go home to families.


Interest slip is due.


First draft of stories (and illustrations) are due.


Drafts are returned to participants.


Second drafts are due.


Second drafts are returned to participants.


Final Drafts are due and must comply with ALL Write-A-Book rules at this time.

Week of 1/12-16

Write-A-Book submissions will be bound. This will take place both during the day, and in one evening with the support of parent volunteers.


Judging is conducted.


Submissions are returned to UPES

5/13, 7-9PM

Annual Write-A-Book Award Ceremony


What’s Happening in the Media Center

For the last two weeks Grades 4-6 have been researching countries for Hispanic Heritage Month using a database known as CultureGrams. Students also learned at this time about citing their sources and avoiding plagiarism. Grades 2-3 read a poem by Pam Munoz Ryan and we wrote a class poem in the same style. Finally the Pre-K through First grade read a book by Pam Munoz Ryan (Uno Dos Tres, One Two Three) and two other counting oriented rhyming poems. We compared how they were alike and different and practiced counting forwards and backwards as the stories required.

            All the students were very excited to see the new books that have arrived in the Media Center. The graphic novels, such as Babymouse, and the nonfiction animal books were especially popular, as was the upper grade fiction, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the new Puppy Place series. Once again, thank you to all the parents who contributed to make this order possible.

            Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing Write-A-Book and engaging in storytelling activities in the Media Center to get them warmed up and to support current homeroom units on Poetry, Fables, and other genres of fiction.  As always, please call or email  with any questions or concerns!


Student Safety

Please be mindful that our students arrive to school via schoolbus, car, walking, biking, scooters, etc.. and  we need all parents to ensure  their safety.  We are asking parents to obey the speed limit and honor all traffic signs and signals.  We have had repeated reports of parents disobeying the stop signs and speeding through the intersections.  We want all students to arrive to school safely and we need your support.


Box Tops

Ms. Bennett and Ms. Pawlowski have teamed up with the G.O.L.D team students and 6th grade volunteers to organize our Box Tops for Education program.  This year we are hoping to raise $500.00 for our school.  Please send in as many Box Tops as you can.



Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 15-PTA Restaurant Night at Jason’s Deli, Fall individual pictures

Friday, October 17-MSEA Convention, No school for students and teachers

Wednesday, October 22-Family Gym Night- 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Friday, October 24, 2014-Fall Fest grades Pre-K-1

Thursday, October 30-Halloween Parade and Parties from 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Friday, October 31-11:55 a.m. early dismissal for students, Deadline for immunizations compliance

Monday, November 3-Teacher Planning Day, No school for students

Tuesday, November 4-Election Day, School is closed

Wednesday, November 5, Fingerprinting Nignt-6:00- 8:00 p.m., PTA Meeting-7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 11-Parent Teacher Conferences, School closed for students



Last modified: 8/28/2015 12:41:29 PM