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 Community,

In reflection on the year so far, I could not be prouder of all we have accomplished the past 13 weeks in such a trying time. In a time with so much unrest, it has been amazing to watch our community come together for the success and education of our children. As we move forward with remote learning, challenges will present themselves. As parents, you have the tall task of wearing 100 different hats outside of school, and now part-time teacher has been added to the list. Remote learning adds stress for the entire family and comes with many demands. Our school is aware of how hard it can be for parents to support their child in this type of learning. This year's setup is completely different than last spring. We will continue with synchronous learning and having our teachers instruct students as they have been during in-person school. See below for our remote learning expectations. It is important for you to know we are always available to help. Communicate with our teachers, counselor, and administration during this time. We need to keep working together as a team to make this possible for students.

Since we won’t get to see our families in person, we here at UMS would like to wish you all a happy holiday! Take care of yourselves and your families. With any luck, we will see you all in back at school soon.

University Middle School Remote Learning Guide:

To Get Started for First Block

Students will log in remotely using Google Meet (video conferencing) to each class at the usual time that class begins. You can find these links in the banner at the top of each class's Google Classroom page. For example, at 8:15 a.m. when school starts, students will go to the Google Classroom page for their first class and click on the Google Meet link in the banner at the top and join their class via video. They will continue this process for each class until the school day is complete.

Remote Learning Format

University Middle School is using Google Classroom as a template for remote learning. Teachers will be posting assignments, information, and resources on Google Classroom for all students. Students are responsible for completing assignments and assessments by the designated date and time.

Student Schedules

Student schedules do not change. It is just like when the student was at school. The classes and lunch will be at the same time.

In-Class Attendance

We expect all students to join the class on time. Teachers will be taking attendance at the start of class through Infinite Campus. Students will be marked tardy if they are not present at the time attendance is taken. Students are required to have cameras on during instruction. If a student is sick and cannot attend online, parents will need to call the middle school office to excuse them. State attendance laws still apply, and therefore students are expected to attend all classes.

Questions for Teacher

Teachers are live and will be teaching class as if students were in person. Students can ask questions, and we expect them to participate in class discussions. Students can email teachers through Google Classroom with questions. We ask that students and parents are respectful of teachers' time by contacting them during school hours.

Communication

While learning remotely, students and parents will receive communication from teachers in a number of forms. Teachers will use Google Classroom as the predominant method of communicating with students. When necessary, teachers or school personnel will email, text, or voice message parents and students with class or school information.

Parent Support

Remote learning is a challenge to many of our students, parents, and teachers. In order for students to be successful, they will need support from school and home. We ask that parents work with their students in managing their time effectively and encouraging their efforts. As a school, we will do our best in providing remote learning support and resources for parents.

Technology

We provided school-issued Chromebooks to students who are participating in remote learning during the 2020–2021 school year. If a student has technical issues with their Chromebook, please contact the student’s advisor, who will complete a tech support request. UMS handbook policies for technology use apply to remote learning students. Also, see our News page for more tech support information.

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.