Wednesday September 6 2017

University Park Elementary School

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September 6, 2017

Message from Ms. Davis

Thank you to everyone who attended the  Open House and Pre-K -K Orientations!! The teachers and students are excited to begin the year. We would like to thank the PTA for sending the Kona Ice Cream Truck our way for the ice cream social.  Staff, parents, and students enjoyed mixing and mingling with one another.  Thank you to  the PTA for purchasing the beautiful outdoor furniture.  We now have a curb appeal and we’re all excited!!  A personal thank you to Valerie Mosley, parent of a fourth grader for her direct support with the Anacostia Watershed Society.   Valerie spent countless hours of walking the work site, emailing the organization to make corrections on our behalf, arranging delivery of  storage equipment and furniture, and a host of other tasks to ensure the job was completed by the time school began.  I am eternally grateful for her, as the project was daunting and I would not have been able to do it without her and the support of the PTA.  We’d also like to thank  the PTA Staff Appreciation Committee for our new refrigerator, table, and chairs in the staff lounge.  The new items  brighten the entire space and the teachers love  the changes in our lounge.   Lastly, thank you to the  PTA for gifting the staff with the Omelette Man for our staff breakfast.  The food was absolutely delicious and we hope to do it again!    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 Wednesdays of the month.  Our next newsletter will be sent home September 20, 2017.   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 – 6th graders do the same out back.   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 as  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. Cowherd or Ms. Sanders. 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 14, 2017, 6:00-7:30 p.m. for grades Pre-K-6.  Due to the positive feedback from last year, we are having  only one night for Back to School Night and we are having two sessions instead of three sessions this year.  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 2 sessions to ensure parents can meet with all their children’s teachers.  The introductory session will be broadcast from 6:00-6:15 p.m. in classrooms and the classroom sessions will be 6:15-6:45 p.m. and 6:50-7:20 p.m.  The evening ends at 7:30 p.m.

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.  It is also important that families follow PGCPS Administrative Procedure 01160 when providing refreshments for birthday parties or celebrations.  “In order to protect the health of all students and avoid the risk of food borne illness, allergic reaction or food intolerance, only foods that are pre-packaged with a label; from a licensed commercial vendor and sources; whole fresh fruits and vegetables; and, or prepared by Nutrition Services will be allowed to be served to students.”

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.  We respectfully request that parents begin with the first point of contact before moving to the second contact in all matters to ensure  questions and/or concerns are provided in a timely manner.


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. 

Fingerprinting of Volunteers

Volunteers (Administrative Procedures 4215)


1. All volunteers – such as mentors , interns, tutors and chaperones - must undergo a fingerprint background check and child protective service clearance at least 14 days in advance of the day field trip, overnight trip or activity on or off school property.

2. A fingerprint background check must be initiated through the PGCPS Fingerprinting Office before performing duties and the child protective services clearance must be initiated through Human Resources.

3. Any parent/guardian who needs assistance covering the cost of a fingerprint background check, and whose child(ren) qualify for free and reduced priced meals, may request waiver of the background check fee by providing a copy of their eligibility letter from the PGCPS Department of Food and Nutrition Services.


a. Volunteers do not have to complete a fingerprint background check if they are escorted and under the supervision of a PGCPS Employee at all times while on campus for a one-time event, such as parents/guardians volunteering for career day, book fairs, school dances, etc.

b. Current employees may provide a copy of their PGCPS badge in lieu of completing an additional background


c. Law enforcement personnel, judges and other government officials whose respective agencies require a

fingerprint background check may provide a copy of their official work identification in lieu of completing an

additional background check.


Any individual convicted of or currently charged with the following crimes are ineligible for employment with PGCPS or to serve as a volunteer:

1) A crime involving third or fourth degree sexual offense under § 3-307 or § 3-308 of the Criminal Law Article or an offense under the laws of another state that would constitute a violation of § 3-307 or § 3-308 of the Criminal Law Article if committed in Maryland;

2) A crime involving child sexual abuse under § 3-602 of the Criminal Law Article, or an offense under the laws of another state that would constitute child sexual abuse under § 3-602 of the Criminal Law Article if committed in Maryland;

3) A crime involving a crime of violence as defined in § 14-101 of the Criminal Law Article, or an offense under the laws of another state that would be a violation of § 14-101 of the Criminal Law Article if committed in Maryland; or

4) Identification as an alleged abuser or neglector following completion of a Child Protective Services investigation with a finding of "indicated" or "unsubstantiated" child abuse or neglect.

Fingerprinting Office

Hours of Operation

8:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Monday - Friday

Sasscer Administration Building

14201 School Lane, Room 128

Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772

Telephone: 301.952.7831

  • Cost of Fingerprint Background Check $56.57

  • Cost of Commercial Background Check $7.00 (not applicable for field trips)

  • Cost of Online Commercial Background Check $7.26 (not applicable for field trips)

Free and Reduced Meals Applications

Ms. Sanders, Parent Engagement Assistant is available each day from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 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 to  create the attached Homework Policy in August 2016 and reviewed and updated the policy August 2017.  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

Nathalie Casco


Nathalie Casco, new to the 2nd grade team and Maryland, graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. Although she once believed her future would lead her to work as a criminologist her love for children was much too strong. She has worked as a substitute teacher, reading and math interventionist as well as an interim second grade teacher for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  Nathalie loves to help children and teens in the community through volunteering and different pageant events where she speaks to teens on how to be positive role models within their communities. She is thrilled to be a part of the University Park Elementary family and looks forward to getting involved in the community.

Charles Dolph


Charles Dolph will be joining a talented and passionate team of music teachers. Charles is originally from Minneapolis, but he has lived in the DC area for the past 3 years. He has been teaching private piano and voice lessons since he graduated college and he is excited to bring the skills he’s gained into a classroom setting. As a part of the University Park community Charles will be teaching music to all grade levels. Charles aims to enrich the lives of his students by giving them an early understanding and appreciation of music that can blossom into a life-long love.

Deborah Greene


Ms. Greene is excited about joining UPES as a resource teacher.  She has 13 years experience teaching students in Prince George's County and Washington, DC.  She is a native Washingtonian who enjoys living in the Nation's Capitol.  Ms. Greene and her family frequently visit the Smithsonian  Museums and National Monuments.  And, she enjoys bringing teaching to life  through  community field trips and 'school-based' field trips such as guest speakers and College and Career Day.  Ms. Greene is devoted to helping University Park Eagles enjoy and take charge of their learning as they soar to new heights.

Michelle Labovitz


Michelle Labovitz is a new addition to the second grade team. She is a native of Maryland. She has been a teacher for almost 17 years all of which are in Prince George's County Public Schools. Michelle is excited about being a part of the University Park family.  She is looking forward to broadening her horizons by learning new things.  She is also eager to share her educational experiences.  She is loves seeing the look on her students faces when they grasp a concept that we are learning in the classroom

Kenneth Lewis


Kenneth Lewis, is a new addition to our exciting 6th grade team.  Originally from Pennsylvania he attended Temple University and Kennesaw University. He has a love for life, family, and friends. Although he is a new teacher, education and making a difference in the lives of others are two of his many passions.  Let's welcome Mr. Lewis to the University Park family.

Emily Lynhan

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Emily Lynham is excited to start a new school year at University Park Elementary! She has been teaching Art in the county for one year and has taught pre-school Art for 3 years prior to that. Emily decided to become a teacher when she realized how much she enjoyed being around children. She received her degree in Art Education from Towson University in 2012.  Emily loves helping children unlock their creative potential through Art.

Jed  Sacapano


Even though he is one of the new faces here at UPES this year, Jed Sacapano is certainly not new in PGCPS as he has worked as resource room/CSEP teacher in Samuel P. Massie Academy and Clinton Grove ES for a total of nine years since 2006.  In addition, he has taught in the Philippines and Massachusetts.  He earned his master's degree in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University and his bachelor's degree in Special Education from the University of the Philippines.  "Mr. S." as students and teachers would call him, is very passionate about his work. He has worked with students, teachers, administration, and parents in his many years of teaching.  He considers it very rewarding to see his students achieving their goals.

Milagros (Millie) Vega


Hi! My name is Millie Vega. This will be my first year teaching at University Park Elementary School but 31 years teaching Kindergarten. I am so excited about teaching 1st grade! I grew up in "La Isla del Encanto:Puerto Rico"and I love to go home with my beautiful daughters, Rebeca and Marisol. Looking forward to being a part of this SOARING team at University Park Elementary School!

Whitney Washington

Whitney Washington is a new addition to the third grade team this year. Ms. Washington is a Maryland native who attended Prince George’s County Public schools for most of her life. She graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2015 and went straight into teaching pre-kindergarten as a long term substitute. She is committed to making learning a fun experience for all students and helping them reach their goals. Entering her first year as a third grade teacher and her second year with the county, Ms. Washington is excited for all of the new adventures she’ll have this year at UPES!image1.JPG


Pets are not allowed on, in, or around school property while school is in session.  That means pets are not to be tied up out front or out back  during student arrival and dismissal.  Parents are also to refrain from taking  their pets on walks on our field while recess is in session.  We love that our community is filled with animal lovers but the presence of pets and students has the potential for significant safety risks and injuries.  We thank you for your cooperation.

Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

This year, UPES will implement our PBIS program.  PBIS is a process for creating safer and more effective schools. ***PBIS is not a prescribed program, but it provides systems for schools to design, implement, and evaluate effective schoolwide, classroom, non-classroom, and student specific discipline plans to support behavior and educate all children.

As a school,  we spent the 2016-2017 school year designing and  teaching the students the  schoolwide expectations to ensure student understanding and schoolwide consistency.  Teachers will begin the year with teaching the expectations to students and implementing the program.  Students will learn the acronym SOAR which means at University Park, our students are Safe, Organized, Accountable, and Respectful.  The matrix identifying the expected behaviors is attached for your review.  Our first PBIS celebration will be September 28, 2017, 1:00 p.m.  Please  see your child’s teacher if you have additional questions.

Safety Vests for Pre-K and K Students

The purpose of having our students wear vests to and from school on the bus is to assist the drivers and bus attendants in identifying Kindergarten and Pre-K students before they exit the bus so that they ensure the students are at the correct bus stop and verify that there is an authorized adult or family member there to receive them.

Effective September 6, 2017 all Pre-K and Kindergarten bus riders will receive a brightly colored orange or green neon vest that they will be expected to wear during their daily commute to and from school. Students will start wearing the vest on their first afternoon ride home and continue daily through October 6, 2017. We ask for parents to help us make this program successful by reinforcing to the students the importance of wearing their vests to assist our staff members in keeping them safe at all times.  Students will be expected to return the vests to the school after October 6, 2017 and should not put their names on the vests. The replacement cost of the vest is $5 per student.

We thank you for partnering with us in enhancing our student safety measures.

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.  

Stay In Touch

If you would like to receive email messages, as well as the bi-monthly parent newsletter, through email, please use the link to complete the Stay In Touch form. You can also access the Stay

In Touch Form by using this QR code below.   In addition, if you would like your information posted in the parent directory, please check yes on the form.  Our goal is to keep all UPES families informed and involved!

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When Is the Bus Coming?

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is encouraging parents to try out the new Bb District by Blackboard mobile app for bus stop locations and transportation updates.  “In today’s technology-driven and increasingly mobile world, we want to provide parents more information at their fingertips. This school year if you’re wondering when the bus will arrive, there’s an app for that,” said Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer.  In addition to transportation updates, the app provides convenient access to school lunch balances, homework assignments, grades and more.  Download the new mobile application in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store using your Family Portal account information, then select your school and choose a preferred notification method.

Parents who do not have a Family Portal account can register at If you need assistance, please contact your child’s school.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 14 -BTSN, Grades Pre-K-6, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 28-PBIS Celebration

Friday, September 29-2 Hour Early Dismissal, 11:55 a.m.

September 15-October 15- Hispanic Heritage Month

Thursday, October 12, Hispanic Heritage Night, 6:00 p.m.

Last modified: 9/7/2017 4:28:52 PM