Wednesday September 2 2015

 University Park Elementary School

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September 2, 2015

Message from Ms. Davis

Congratulations for a successful first week of school!!  A huge thank you to our staff, students, and parents for making this an outstanding opening of schools, we couldn’t have done it without you.    We currently have an enrollment of 552 students in grades Pre-K-6 but this could change as we are steadily enrolling and withdrawing students.  Please be on the lookout for our bimonthly publication of the ‘Eagle News.’ Inside each publication you may find grade level and school information, dates of important events, and flyers from the community. ‘Eagle News’ will come home the first and third Wednesday of the month.  Our next newsletter will be sent home September 16, 2015.   This is going to be a great year for students as we Soar to New Heights with Unity, Pride, Excellence Success.   


Please feel free to walk your child to class daily!  Before the first bell rings, Pre-K – 2nd graders wait quietly in lines out front, and 3rd – 6thgraders do the same out back. They may enter when the bell rings at 7:40 a.m. When the second bell rings at 8:00 a.m., we start our instructional day, and that is a good time for you to quietly leave the building. We want all of our students, especially our young ones, to learn to be independent and follow our morning class routines. If you would like to visit your child’s classroom for an extended period of time, please come to the main office, present your driver’s license, and obtain a Visitor Sticker.  

Our goal is to have as few disruptions to instruction as possible for teachers and students. Should you bring a forgotten item for your child during the school day, (lunch, instrument, homework, etc.), we will ask you to leave it in the office with Ms. Pray or Ms. Cowherd. We will call your child to retrieve it at an appropriate time. If you plan to stay at school to observe, volunteer, meet with a teacher, etc., please always sign in and obtain a visitor’s sticker. This is for the safety of our children and staff.


We start to load the buses out front at 1:50 p.m.  At 1:55 p.m., walkers are dismissed – Pre-K through 2nd will exit through the side door on the right of the building; grades 4-6 will exit through the back door.  Students from the temps will be dismissed to the blacktop with basketball hoops out back.  Please wait outside to pick up your child, and pay close attention to the cars and buses moving when you leave! Only the buses are allowed to use the circle in the morning and afternoon. We always have staff members on duty to ensure everyone’s safety. The University Park Police Department often has an officer here to assist us, and we are very grateful!

Please try to not pick up your child between the times of 1:30 and 1:55 p.m. Teachers are finishing up the day, students are packing up, and the office becomes very busy. The county policy states that students who are picked up early are coded as being tardy in SchoolMax, since there is no code for early dismissal. !

Dot Day

Please join us as we celebrate International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.  UPES staff members are planning many fun, creative, and exciting activities September 15-29.  We are asking that all staff and students wear dots September 15, 2015 to kick off International Dot Day.  

Free and Reduced Meals Applications

Ms. Cruz, Parent Community  Outreach Assistant is available each day from 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. to assist parents with completion of the Free and Reduced Meals Application.  Parents can come to the school at any time or call or email her at to schedule a date and time for assistance.  Families who received assistance last year must complete an application this school year to be eligible for meal assistance.    


This summer the Instructional Leadership Team  met to plan our teacher pre-service activities to kick off the 2015-2016 school year.  During this time, we also crafted a draft of our school’s vision and mission.  We then met as a staff to tweak the vision and mission to ensure we captured the essence of who we are as a school.  The final vision and mission was approved by UPES staff members and is posted throughout our school.  Our school’s vision and mission are below.


“University Park ES will provide our diverse community with an outstanding education to ensure lifelong learning and college and career readiness.”


“To provide a SUPERIOR educational community that empowers all students and staff to thrive.”

Meet the new staff members

James Booker

James Booker is returning to us after spending 3 years in Costa Rica enjoying the tropics. He was formally a UPES 4th Grade math teacher for 11 years, and now he is a 3rd grade math teacher. The summer of 2015 was filled with packing boxes, unpacking boxes, and working on getting his house ready to be occupied again by his family, which includes his lovely wife and three daughters. He looks forward to working with the students at UPES, some of which are siblings of students he taught when he was with us before his move.

Bernadine Hines


Bernadine Hines is a new addition to a very dynamic kindergarten team. She is a native Philadelphian who resided in Chesapeake/Virginia Beach, Virginia since 1990. She is a career teacher who spent twenty-two years with Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Bernadine is excited about joining the University Park family and sharing her educational experiences. Her love for her family motivated her to move to Maryland to be closer to them. She is devoted to helping children excel and looks forward to assisting her kindergarten eagles as they soar to new heights

Vanessa “Vinny”  Prell


Vinny Prell, the new 5th Grade Language Arts teacher, graduated from Sonoma State University, in California, with a teaching credential this past December.  She completed her M.A. in Minority and Urban Education at the University of Maryland in 2012.  She has long worked in formal and informal education settings, from directing conferences for college students to running summer reading programs, to teaching kindergarten.  She has a special love for youth literature and applying classroom learning to real world problems.  She loves to travel as a way to learn about history, science, and everything awesome.  

Beth Thompson


Beth Thompson, one of the new Kindergarten teachers, graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor's of Science in Health Education. After graduation, Beth was unsure if she wanted to go into social work or teaching.  She accepted a teacher's assistant position at a nonpublic school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and students who were emotional disturbed.  And so began her career in education.  She quickly caught the teaching bug and went back to school to pursue a Master's in Special Education at McDaniel College. She believes every child can succeed and works diligently with her students to reach their true potential.   Beth was born and raised in Gaithersburg, MD and still lives there now with her husband and dog.  She is excited to be part of the University Park Elementary School family and looks forward to getting to know the community.  Beth is looking forward to a fun, exciting, and successful school year.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 3-BTSN, Grades 3-6

Monday, September 7-Labor Day-No School for students

Monday, September 14- No School – Rosh Hashanah

Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 8-9 – Grade 5 goes to Camp Schmidt

September 15-October 15- Hispanic Heritage Month
Last modified: 9/4/2015 6:15:12 AM