University Schools

Elementary School Information

We know that education is a team process and that schools and parents must work closely to provide our students with the best possible educational environment. Together we can give every student the chance to make the most of their educational experience.

A Message From Our Principal

Back to school can mean lots of things to different families but to University Schools (US) it is another chance to partner with kids and families to move your child ever closer into his/her future successfully. Reminding ourselves why we choose to be part of University Schools seems to get harder each passing year. I say harder because there are just so many great things going on here to choose from. From excellent teachers to the K-12 family feel and knowing your kids are going to the same school that your mother or grandfather attended. For others it is our safe and clean hallways, beautifully updated campus and playgrounds, while still others attend because of the specials rotations and PE every day. Whatever your reason(s) may be, we are glad you are here to partner with us on your child’s educational journey.

Although the aforementioned examples are reason enough to attend US, many of you have told us over the years it is our commitment to academics as the main reason why you choose to attend. From project-based and blended learning opportunities to PLPs and educational field trips, US continues to provide students with collaborative, unique problem-solving situations where students get to use innovative strategies. In looking at our English Language Arts (ELA) scores from PARCC, we again scored higher than the state average in 67% of our tests in Met and Exceeds (when the top three categories were compared, we beat the state in 100% of the ELA tests).

You may also choose our school for the experts we bring in to work with staff and students alike. We again partnered with Author Gary Hogg in mid-September to work with our kids around descriptive writing. In dissecting our results to find strengths and needs, it was the writing sections of the reading and writing tests that we were highest in, and it even seemed to transfer to math as we were highest in areas like Modeling Application and Mathematical Expression. Also, the author of our new math curriculum, James Burnet, stopped by from Australia on his way to the Colorado Math Conference to talk with us personally about what’s important in math today.

Another reason to choose US has been the addition of alternative seating. Piloted by 4th grade last year. This way of seating students has taken off as teachers have seen the benefits of not only less behavior issues but also higher achievement. Alternative seating has now touched every grade level in some form or fashion. While all classes still offer working by yourself with a stationary chair, most kids are exposed to “seats” that allow for movement and “table groups” that allow for collaboration with multiple ideas and points of view. If you haven’t seen what I am talking about, come on by and check it out. It will make you wish you were a student again! 

Finally, parents had the opportunity at the end of the year to comment on areas of our school and give feedback on what we do well and where we could improve. With overall K-5 satisfaction ratings in areas like my teacher communicates effectively (88%), parent involvement is valued (90%), homework is appropriate (88%), knowing where to get questions answered (98%), conferences are an effective use in assessing progress (91%), and the conference was an effective use of time (93%), the elementary comes out around a 91.3% total satisfaction rating. Two areas we see we could improve on (through your comments) include finding time to meet with specials teachers one-on-one and consistency with homework. Staff has met about both, and we will be sending out information soon on a dedicated night to meet specifically with specials teachers along with ideas about homework and keeping parents up-to-date and informed while still allowing for quality family time.

If there is anything we can do for your student(s), feel welcome to call, e-mail, or just stop by the school. Thanks again for choosing US!.

Mike Mazurana

Mike Mazurana, Principal

Elementary News
Homework Help

With school underway, chances are your child has been assigned homework. You can’t avoid it and wish it away, even though some days you may want to! Homework is a part of your child’s overall education. It has a purpose and is more than a tedious task to be done. Homework helps to reinforce what your child learns in the classroom and promotes responsibility and discipline. 

For some students, homework is completed with little struggle and may even be a joyful experience. For others however, it can be an overwhelming, hair pulling, and tearful event, leaving both child and parent exhausted and frustrated. What can you do if you find yourself in this circumstance? No, don’t throw your hands up in the air and give up! There are five simple tips you can implement at home to help make homework a positive experience.

  1. Have a designated, well lit place for homework.
  2. Make sure all the needed supplies are available such as, pencils, calculator, and a dictionary.
  3. Eliminate distractions. Turn off the T.V., and make the house as quiet as possible.
  4. Be consistent. Determine the best time for your child to do homework and stick to it.
  5. Be available. If your child has questions, help guide him/her to find the answer.

If you find yourself needing further assistance, there are many resources available that can help. The U.S. Department of Education has published a brochure, that can be accessed on- line, guiding parents on how they can help their child with homework. If you need to help your child at home, there is an excellent resource for that as well. WebMD’s Fit page lists tips for helping children and teens with homework and study habits.The site Refdesk.com is a reference desk that can help answer questions for most subjects. This site also lists more resources for homework help.

With a few simple changes and a little research, homework can become a success for both you and your child.

Parent/Teacher Communication

Your child spends more waking hours during the school week with his teacher than he does with you at home. That’s why it’s so important to develop and maintain a positive and open relationship with your child’s teacher. But you’re busy. The teacher’s busy. So how do you break the ice and keep things positive?

Be in communication from the get-go. Let your child’s teacher know of any concerns you have at the beginning of the year and whether or not you’re able to help out in the classroom. Find out the best way to reach the teacher, and then stay in touch by communicating throughout the school year.

Write a note to your child’s teacher. Let her know of any changes in your family situation, such as a new addition at home, someone moving out, a job loss, or other changes.

Make sure the school has your most up-to-date contact information including your cell, home, and work phone numbers. You never know when an emergency might come up or when your child’s teacher might need to contact you for some other reason.

Stay on top of grades and homework. If the teacher contacts you about missing assignments or other concerns, be sure to respond right away. A two-way communication will only benefit your child.

Let your child know that you view your relationship with his school as a partnership and that you and his teacher are there to help him — not to get him in trouble. Then be in contact with the classroom as often as possible. Even if you work away from home, you can still be in touch via phone and e-mail. Just be sure your child’s teacher knows the best way to get in touch with you and that you know the best way to get in touch with the teacher.