News from the Nest

Cardinal Pride in the Upper Dublin School District

November 18, 2019

Superintendent's Message

Dear UDSD Families and Friends,


With the Thanksgiving holiday just more than a week away, I would like to express how thankful I am for all the people who work and who volunteer to make the Upper Dublin School District such an empowering place for our students. Each and every day, teachers, support staff, volunteers, and administrators come to school prepared to provide the best possible learning experiences for our students.


Not only do we work together to help students learn, but we also provide a safe, nurturing place for them to grow. When I visit classrooms throughout our schools, I see teachers, support staff, and volunteers working with our kids on academic content along with social skills that students need to be successful now and in the future.


Our District is full of wonderful, committed people and innovative programs that provide students with many opportunities for a future beyond our hallways. Additionally, I am so thankful for a community that is supportive and generously contributes their time, talents, and financial support to provide the best education for all UDSD students. I am truly grateful for our 4,100+ students who come to school each day and who work hard to learn and apply new knowledge.

In closing, I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope the short break from school provides time for you to rest and recharge.


My best now and always,

Steve Yanni
Superintendent

American Education Week: Reach! Educate! Inspire!

American Education Week—November 18-22, 2019—will present all Americans with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. This year's theme is Reach! Educate! Inspire! as a way to remind us that educators and schools can fundamentally change a child's life by ensuring that everyone receives an education that helps them realize success at school and beyond our K-12 walls.


The Upper Dublin School District is fortunate to have engaged students, a high-quality staff, and a supportive community, all of whom are focused on making sure the education we provide is the absolute best it can be for our children.


The History of American Education Week

The National Education Association (NEA) was one of the creators and original sponsors of American Education Week. Distressed that 25% of the country's World War I draftees were illiterate and 9% were physically unfit, representatives of the NEA and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek ways to generate public support for education. The conventions of both organizations subsequently adopted resolutions of support for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education.


In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa, called for designation of one week each year to spotlight education. In its resolution, the NEA called for "An educational week ... observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs." The first observance of American Education Week occurred December 4-10, 1921, with the NEA and American Legion as the cosponsors.


A year later, the then U.S. Office of Education joined the effort as a cosponsor, and the PTA followed in 1938. Other co-sponsors are the U.S. Department of Education and national organizations including the National PTA, the American Legion, the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Boards Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Counselor Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National School Public Relations Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. American Education Week is always celebrated the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving. (Source: NEA.org)


Education Fast Facts

  • In America's public schools there are almost 50.8 million students.
  • In America's public schools there are 3.2 million full-time-equivalent teachers.

  • There are 90,410 public school principals in the U.S.

  • There are over 1.7 million support staff, paraprofessionals that support students in school.

The Holidays are Here: Reminders about How UDSD Approaches the Study of Religion and Holidays

In advance of the upcoming December/winter holidays, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind our community about how we approach the topics of religions and holidays/traditions in our schools.


Study of Religion (Includes students’ comprehensive experience - from direct instruction to performances.)

  • The District, its employees, and volunteers shall not endorse or promote any religion or religious beliefs to students, staff, parents, guardians, and/or community members.
  • The District believes that the study of religion is an integral part of its core curriculum.
  • The study of religion should be done in the context of cultural studies.
  • The study of religion shall not be limited to any singular religion.
  • Religious symbols may be used as a teaching aid.
  • Displays that contain religious symbols must adhere to the following conditions: The display may not be permanent, must contain representations from multiple religions, and must contain a statement about its purpose for teaching and learning.


Celebration of Holidays (Includes students’ comprehensive experience - from direct instruction to performances.)

  • The District, its employees, and volunteers shall not endorse or promote any holiday from a religious stance to students, staff, parents, guardians, and/or community members.
  • The use of religious symbols may be used as a teaching aid.
  • Displays that contain religious symbols must adhere to the following conditions: The display may not be permanent, must contain representations from multiple religions, and must contain a statement about its purpose for teaching and learning.
  • Students may choose to create art projects that reflect a holiday or religious symbol but they cannot be required to do so.
  • Students may be excused from instruction about the celebration of holidays.

Raising Expectations for All Students

Several years ago, a process called "restructuring" started at Upper Dublin High School. In an effort to increase the rigor of our courses and to increase expectations for all students, low-level classes (i.e., track 3 classes) were eliminated in ninth and tenth grades. The theory of action behind restructuring was that if the District increased rigor and expectations for everyone, all students would realize better academic and social outcomes. To date, the restructuring work at UDHS has been successful.


Restructuring Upper Dublin High School will continue and reach its completion no later than the 2022-2023 school year. This deadline has been included in a settlement between the Upper Dublin School District and the Concerned African American Parents (CAAP) group. While the settlement puts a time frame on this work, restructuring is happening because it will bring Upper Dublin High School in line with all of our peer Districts both locally, across the state, and across the Nation.


Restructuring work has also started at Sandy Run Middle School, where mathematics is the only subject with multiple levels. This year, we eliminated the lowest level sixth grade math course (i.e. 602) and offered two options for our students. Students in sixth grade now take Pre-Algebra or Math 6. Over the next two years, we will continue restructuring mathematics at SRMS.


Following the winter recess we will host parent/guardian information sessions that will explain in greater detail what restructuring will entail. Further, we will discuss mathematics pathways from grade 6 through graduation, as we know mathematics courses always draw the most questions from parents/guardians.


Please stay tuned to eNotification for more information.

Winter Weather is Just Around the Corner

Before you know it, the winter season will be here. In order to make sure that everyone knows how we will communicate schedule alterations due to weather, we are sharing this information in advance of any significant snow.


In addition to the methods of communication (below), we will also utilize local media to announce schedule alterations due to inclement weather. Our website, Infinite Campus, our Facebook page, and Twitter remain the most reliable sources of information.

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Health Information

School attendance is important, however, when students are sick, it is best to keep them home to prevent them from becoming sicker or infecting others! Below are two graphics that provide some guidance as to the differences between colds and the flu as well as when it is safe to return to school after being ill.
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Looking Ahead: School Year 2020-2021 Calendar

The Board of School Directors will consider the approval of the 2020-2021 school calendar at the November 25, 2019, Legislative meeting. Because we know that many parents/guardians and community members are interested in the tentative start date for next school year, we are sharing it in this communication. The first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year is slated for Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Please note that this date is tentative until the Board of School Directors formally adopt next school year's calendar.

Reminders

  • Secondary Report Cards - Report cards for secondary students are available today in Infinite Campus.

  • SRMS Conferences - SRMS parent/guardian conferences will be held on Monday, November 25th and Tuesday, November 26th.

  • Thanksgiving Recess - All schools will have an early dismissal on Wednesday, November 27th. Schools and offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 28th and 29th. School resumes on Monday, December 2nd.

  • Elementary Conferences - Elementary parent/guardian conferences will be held on Thursday, December 12th and Friday, December 13th.

  • Winter Recess - Schools will be closed from Monday, December 23rd through Wednesday, January 1st. School resumes on Thursday, January 2nd.

  • Steps of Communication - To enhance communication in the Upper Dublin School District, especially when trying to answer questions or resolve problems, it is important to follow our “Steps of Communication.” Directing questions or concerns to the appropriate person(s) encourages greater collaboration and streamlines the process of answering questions, alleviating concerns, and ensuring that we are all on the same page. Click here for our Steps of Communication document.

Upcoming Events

Please bookmark our District calendar to stay up to date on the many exciting events taking place in Upper Dublin!