University Schools

Middle School Information

Our school exists to help sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students grow academically, socially, and emotionally in preparation for high school, college, and life beyond.

A Message From Our Principal

Dear Bulldog Families,

Happy holidays to all our Bulldog families! While many of you are feverishly shopping and decorating for the upcoming season, here at the middle school we are wrapping up the first semester. I would like to thank all our students, parents, and staff for what has been pleasurable, to say the least, for our first semester. I am astounded by the time, effort, support, and ability for teachers and parents to work together to make this a positive place for our community. 

By now you should have met with your child’s advisor for student-led conferences to discuss progress to this point. With December upon us, we only have a few weeks left in the semester and we want to see every student finish strong. We know that everyday life is busy, but I encourage you to check your child’s grades two to three times a week. One of the bigger trends we are noticing is the amount of work not turned in. By checking grades regularly, it helps hold your child accountable. You can install Infinite Campus on your phone and set up so that every time you enter an assignment in the system the graded assignment will pop up on your phone automatically. This makes it quick and effortless for you, but also beneficial as you know exactly how your student is performing.  If you do not have a login or password, please contact our office at (970) 576.3900 and our staff can get you set up.

We hope your holidays are kind to you and we wish all our families a well-deserved break with one another.

Sincerely,

Nick Kintz

Nick Kintz
Middle School Principal
nkintz@universityschools.com

Middle School News
Computer Programming for Kids

Are your kids spending too much time playing mindless computer games? Encourage them to use their minds and write their own computer games instead. Of course, they probably won’t be cranking out a competitor to “Angry Birds” right away, but that doesn’t mean kids won’t love to write programs. Just because they can’t play basketball like Michael Jordon doesn’t stop them from loving to play basketball. Computer programming is powerful and fun, and kids don’t need to become professional programmers to learn from the activity. Computer programming teaches kids problem solving, logical (computational) thinking, and determination, and it fosters creativity. The best part is you don’t have to know anything about computer programming to get your kids started. You simply head to the Internet for the software of your choice.

Scratch
Scratch (a programming language developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported by the National Science Foundation) is a free, fun, visual, programming language for kids from third grade on up. They can create games, interactive stories, animations, music, and art. They simply drag and drop the code blocks onto the programming area, and then they can instantly see the result. The different commands snap together. This avoids all the frustrating syntax errors of typing computer code while keeping all the mind expanding experiences of computer programming. You can view this short video to see what Scratch can do.

Kodu
Kodu (sponsored by Microsoft Research FuseLabs) is another free visual programming language for kids. It has a very specific video game focus. Kids begin with their own story and develop the characters, worlds, and actions to tell their story as a video game. In Kodu the programming code is icon based. Kodu, which is Windows based, also has an Xbox 360 version available for a fee of 400 Points (about $5).

Ladybug Mazes
Ladybug Mazes (part of a Utah State University collection of interactive math manipulatives) introduces the concept of computer programming to kids as young as kindergarten. Kids make a plan for the ladybug to follow by choosing step blocks and turn blocks, which appear at the bottom of the screen. When they click the play button, the ladybug follows the command blocks they have chosen. Most kindergarteners need help getting started, but they generally catch on quickly.  Kids can play Ladybug Mazes online for free.

Programming software designed for kids is a great way to move your student from game player to game designer, from consumer to producer. Try one today; you will be glad you did.