Newsletter Wednesday August 30 2016

University Park Elementary School

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August 30, 2016

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.    Let’s call this the thank you issue as we have many people to thank for their kindness and generosity of spirit.  We would like to thank the PTA for purchasing another Raptor Management System to expedite the check in process for visitors.  Thank you to all of the parents who helped to dip ice cream in 90 plus degrees during the Ice Cream Social to welcome our newcomers to UPES.  Thank you to Rene O’dell, parent of a 4th grader for spending two days with our Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS) team this summer.  Lastly, the  staff and I  would like to thank of all the families who provided treats for our Staff Appreciation Breakfast.  The baked goods and treats were delicious!    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 7, 2016.   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.  The entry plan for grade 3 and Ms. Green’s classes will change once their new wing opens.  Students 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’s sticker.  

Our goal is to have few disruptions as possible  to the instructional day  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.

Back to School Night

Please join us for Back to School Night Thursday, September 1, 2016, 6:30-8:15 p.m. for grades Pre-K-6.  We are trying something different this year so we thank you for your patience and understanding.  This year parents will begin their evening in their child’s homeroom instead of gathering in the cafeteria for a large session.  The rationale is to provide parents with ample time in classrooms.  There will be 3 sessions to ensure parents can meet with all their children’s teachers.  The introductory session will be broadcast from 6:30-6:45 classroms and the classroom sessions will be 6:45-7:10 p.m., 7:15-7:40 p.m. and 7:45-8:10 p.m.  The evening ends at 8:15 p.m.

Camp Schmidt

Students in grade 5 will participate in their overnight field trip to Camp Schmidt September 19-20th.  Grade 5 teachers will send home permission slips with students and they are also in need of parent volunteers.  All parents must go through a background check or fingerprinting  to be cleared for volunteering in Prince George’s County Public Schools.  For this field trip in particular, parents must go through the Fingerprinting as this is an overnight field trip.  Please use the link below to obtain additional information.

Celebrations and Class Parties

University Park ES has a celebratory culture and we welcome parents in our building.  Parents are encouraged to celebrate their children’s birthdays with their classmates as long as approval has been granted by the classroom teacher.  We respectfully ask that parents refrain from taking pictures of students during our many events  as we have a number of students  who cannot be photographed.    Teachers have been asked to reiterate this message to parents during class parties and celebrations as we want to respect the wishes of our families.

Communications Flow Chart

In an effort to ensure that our families connect with the correct resources, we have put together the attached Communications Flow Chart.  The chart identifies the initial and secondary contact for UPES and PGCPS personnel.  A huge thank you to the Communication  Focus Group members, Krista Atteberry, Nancy Ross, JoEtta Thomas, Karnmaar Pounds, Jenny Penley, Michelle Wedge, Edna Ortiz, Mayra Herrera, Ahmad Harvey Jr., and Madeline Cruz for helping me create this document.  


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. 

Free and Reduced Meals Applications

Ms. Cowherd, Registrar is available each day from 7:30 a.m.-4:00 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.    

Homework  Policy

UPES teachers worked together this summer to create the attached Homework Policy.  The time allotments for each grade level are for the ‘average’ student with the understanding that some students may complete their homework faster and some students may need more time.  The purpose of the document is to provide students and families with a consistent policy for each grade level and schoolwide.  Please see your child’s teacher if you have additional questions.

Meet the new staff members

Emma Dennis

My name is Emma Dennis. I am excited to teach second grade at University Park Elementary. I was born in Washington, D.C. raised in Staten Island, N.Y. with my younger sister and brother. Most of my family lives here in Maryland. I graduated with a Masters in Elementary Education. I have taught in Prince George’s County for nine years. One of the best gifts I can give my students is to empower them to be independent, responsible and inspire them to perform to the best of their ability. I believe children should be valued and treated with respect. I believe children learn and grow at their own pace. Therefore, I use differentiated strategies to assist my students in their learning. I am a lifelong learner. Currently, I am working on my National Board for Professional Teaching Certificate. My hobbies are: reading, road trips, relaxing at the beach, playing sports, watching movies, and spending time with my family and friends. I feel fortunate to be part of the University Park team and look forward to working with you as we build your child’s educational foundation.  

Alan Fernando

Alan Diaz Fernando is the new Resource Teacher for the 2016-2017 school year.  Alan is a native of the Philippines where he graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy and holds a Masters of Arts in Special Education.  During the last fifteen years, he has taught in the Philippines at Mary McLeod Public Charter School in Washington, DC, and at Clinton Grove and Cora Rice Elementary Schools in Prince George’s County where he designed lesson-oriented visual aids, instructional tools, and often incorporated technology in his lesson plans.  He is continuing his professional development by studying for his Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Integrated Curriculum.  Alan is currently a resident of Odenton, Maryland.  In his spare time he enjoys training at his local Crossfit gym, running, and singing karaoke.  Alan is excited to join his colleagues at University Park Elementary School and build upon the collaborative spirit of our great institution.

Diane Green


Diane A. Green is the newest addition to the fabulous 1st grade team. Diane lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband and two daughters. She is absolutely thrilled to be part of the dynamic University Park family. As a UMBC graduate, she comes to UPES with her Masters of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education and a Certificate in ESOL. She looks forward to exciting opportunities this coming year along with many years of continued growth and success. She is dedicated to capturing the minds of her awesome 1st graders as she engages with them on this journey as they soar to new heights!

Tonja Jones

Ms. Tonja Adams-Jones is an experienced urban schools general education teacher.  She began her career as a primary grades elementary teacher then as an intermediate mentor/lead teacher.  During her tenure as a mentor/lead teacher, she was recruited to support and mentor new teachers and intern teachers from Howard, American and Brigham Young University.  Ms. Adams-Jones provided a climate for open discussions, questions and concerns to create an environment for professional growth and reflection which both mentors and interns can thrive.   She also provided support for other classroom teachers by collaborating and modeling to help improve academic achievement for students.   She was also instrumental in the implementation of the “Museums in Schools Project,” an active way of teaching students by engaging Common Core content knowledge through hands-on experiences and motivating learners through reflecting on what they have learned, cooperating with others to create a safe learning space, and promote confidence and self- esteem by developing classroom student facilitators.  Her belief is, “Learning is a matter of engaging the mind.”   Ms. Adams-Jones joined the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness NCTE, working with Harvard Graduate School of Education for Education Policy Research.  During her tenure, she developed and implemented programs such as “Stop the Bullying” campaign, which focused on self-esteem awareness and developing life skills.   Throughout Ms. Adams-Jones tenure, she was accepted into the Master's Program by Cambridge College in Boston Massachusetts refocusing her educational career in leadership/administration demonstrating her skill set and knowledge as a Regional Consultant for Scholastic and currently an educational author for FLASSH Functional Language Special Education Speech and Hearing Continuing Education Resources Inc., in the field of general education. Tonja Adams-Jones is also assisting and supporting school leaders as she serves on the Board of Directors of Imagine Public Charter School.  She is happy to join the University Park Elementary family!

Alexia Roy


Alexia Roy is the new math, science, and health teacher for the amazing third grade team! She was born in Washington, DC and has lived in Maryland all of her life. Alexia attended Towson University, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She spent 6 years teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools and is excited to share her experiences with PGCPS and University Park Elementary School. Her love for teaching, and drive to continue her professional growth in education, has motivated her to obtain her masters degree in supervision and administration which she will complete fall 2017.  Alexia believes the most rewarding aspect of teaching is watching students grow and understand what they've been taught. She is ecstatic about being apart of the UPES family!

Tammy Sandoval

It is pleasure to introduce Tammy Sandoval as the Math Instructional Lead Teacher. She has taught most of the grades between second and sixth and has been teaching for over fourteen years in Prince George’s County. Her education includes a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education from California University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s Degree of Arts in Education/ Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix.  She has two beautiful daughters ages 21 and 5, and a handsome 15 year old son. Her objective is to inform and improve teaching and learning while providing an interesting, challenging, learning environment where students and teachers flourish socially and academically.

Regina Stimson


Regina Stimson is an addition to the fabulous fifth grade team. She grew up in Bowie and attended Prince George's County Public Schools from 1st - 12th grades.  She has a passion for the county and feels as if she is "paying it forward".  Mrs. Stimson graduated with a Master's in the Art of Teaching from the University of Notre Dame of Maryland.  Mrs. Stimson is a ten year veteran of Prince George's County Public Schools and has taught a variety of grades including kindergarten, 2nd, 4th, and 5th (though her true love is fifth grade!). Mrs. Stimson also has a passion for mathematics and truly believes no one is "bad" at math.  She looks forward to a phenomenal year with some phenomenal fifth graders!

School Supplies

We are in need of backpacks  and school supplies for our students. The staff at UPES would appreciate any backpacks and school supplies you can provide for the students at UPES. Please turn the book bags and supplies into the School Office.  

TAG Committee

The TAG Committee would like to invite two parents to serve on our committee. Topics will include school-wide events,professional development for TAG teachers, instructional activities, and any additional topics of interest  regarding services and programming for our gifted population.

The TAG Committee will meet on the following dates from 2:15 to 3:00 p.m. in the Media Center at University Park Elementary School:

Thursday, September 22, 2016   2:15 to 3:00

Thursday, December 15, 2016   2:15 to 3:00

Thursday, March 23, 2017   2:15 to 3:00

Thursday, May 25, 2017   2:15 to 3:00

If you are interested in collaborating with our staff to provide our advanced learners with instructional opportunities that are commensurate with their exceptional abilities, please contact me via email at  on or before September 6, 2016.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 1 -BTSN, Grades Pre-K-6

Monday, September 5-Labor Day-No School for students

September 15-October 15- Hispanic Heritage Month

Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 19-20 – Grade 5 goes to Camp Schmidt

Wednesday, October 12, Yom Kippur, Schools and Offices Closed
Last modified: 8/30/2016 8:48:07 PM