1825 Market Center Blvd. Suite 500
Dallas, Texas 75207
Ensuring You are Heard
I spend a great deal of my time at our schools, meeting with academic leaders, visiting classrooms and talking to our scholars about their school work. It is precious time spent and means a lot to me as I make decisions about the direction of Uplift Education. But there is another voice I need to hear, and that's yours.
Since October, I have been hosting town hall meetings at every campus. As of last Tuesday night, I have held meetings at Uplift Peak, Uplift North Hills, Uplift Hampton and Uplift Luna. At each school, we have looked at how the network funds school growth, what the plans are for campus expansion at each location (and how we make decisions about those improvements), and how our scholars are doing academically.
By far, my favorite aspect of these town halls is our breakout sessions. Two weeks before each meeting, we survey the school's parents to see what topics interested them. Then, during the breakout sessions, parents have the opportunity to talk about their concerns. These sessions are held in Spanish and English so as many parents as possible can participate. We collect the information and look at how we can address it, whether it be on the campuses or at the Central Office. All of the details of each town hall are posted on our school websites so that parents who were unable to attend can participate as well.
I want to make sure we are all well-informed about our schools. I also want to make sure that the issues raised at the meetings are addressed to the best of our ability. We are committed to taking action wherever we can based on your feedback.
So far, I have found the town halls highly productive. We've heard a lot of great ideas at every campus. Some parents have asked us to improve access. Others want more ways to get involved. Some want us to continue to keep a high priority on teacher retention (which we are). Others have asked us to be aware of how often scholars are tested. This is great feedback. We appreciate the families who have taken time out of their days to attend. I'd like to encourage you to check your school's calendar to see when we'll be on your campus. Please come. Share your thoughts. Help us serve your scholars in increasingly productive ways. It makes a significant difference in the quality of our schools.
Chief Executive Officer
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There are many future scientists at Uplift Education schools, and they are eager to show off their potential at the Uplift Science Fair! Uplift scholars from across the network will compete with one another on January 25th at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Scholars who place in this district round will move on to the regional science fair, where they will compete with students from other districts. If scholars place in the regional, state and national science fair, they will have the chance to attend the international science fair!
This years science fair will involve upwards of 620 scholar-led presentations, ranging from engineering to medicine to technology. Many great programs will be available so parents and scholars are encouraged to browse other projects and attend interactive break-out sessions with organizations that are partnering with Uplift. You will be able t
- play a game of operation with the Wilson Surgical Society
- learn how to perform physical exams with the American Medical Women's Association
- hear about the relationship between light, sight and our brain with Everglaze Technology
- and learn about creating movies or video games with Professor Eric Farrar from UTD's Arts and Technology program
Parents and scholars will also be able to stop by the mini health clinic to receive free TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) and flu vaccinations by nurses from North Dallas Shared Ministries.
Participating scholars experience the Scientific Method firsthand by generating questions of interest, designing the experiment, collecting and analyzing data and synthesizing a conclusion. Scholars will investigate real world issues, work with team members, improve their literacy skills and gear their minds towards future science careers!
ROOT 122: BUILDING COMMUNITY & COMPUTERS
Tech savvy scholars restore computers, donate to families in need
The tech savvy scholars of the club, Root122, at Uplift Summit International Preparatory know the meaning of community. They are using their tech skills to put together computers, complete with the latest operating system and learning software, then give the computers to Uplift Summit families who are in need of one. They recently gave away their first computer to a Root122 participating scholar. Root122 was founded three years ago by technology teacher, Thomas Davenport and has become popular with the scholars and parents.
"The thing I hear most often from parents about Root122 is not how much their kids love it, but how much they love that their kids are learning to serve others," said Mr. Davenport.
Aside from restoring old computers, the 5th- 8th grade scholars of Root122 also keep a blog, design webpages and raise money for different causes. During the Uplift Science Fair at UT Southwestern on January 25th, the scholars of Root122 will display their understanding of web technology, computer parts and communication by showing the world how to make video games and resurrect damaged computers . Make sure to stop by and witness these amazing scholars in action!
Keep up with Root122 and their accomplishments though the Root 122 blog!
MUCH MORE THAN MEMORIZATION
Uplift Infinity teachers use CGI to teach math and leads to authentic understanding
At Uplift Education, we want our scholars to not only be lifelong learners but to have a genuine understanding of what they learn. In order to achieve this goal, we teach our scholars that learning is not just something that is confined to the four walls of a classroom; rather, it is a daily part of life that can happen at any time. We use teaching methods in line with the International Baccalaureate program to develop a whole understanding of different subjects. One such method that our teachers use to develop authentic understanding is Cognitively Guided Instruction, or CGI. CGI has seen great success in our math classrooms by encouraging scholars to lead the direction of their own learning. It builds rigor, scholar-led discussion and ultimately authentic mastery of math skills. Under CGI, teachers use different methods such as flashcards to improve computation, problem solving, algebra and number sense.
"It focuses on scholar-led classroom discussions, exploring alternate ways to solve problems and upgrading the educational experience into more real-world, situational word problems," Said Kristen Schroder, Primary teacher at Uplift Infinity Preparatory.
This method of teaching math in real world situations helps scholars apply what they learn in class to everyday life. Instead of simply learning a set of mathematical rules or using a kit to teach concepts, scholars learn how to problem solve, therefore creating a whole understanding of how to use math in everyday life.
For example, instead of simply teaching "4+3=7", teachers use a word problem such as "You have four books to read. You get three more books from the library. How many books do you have now?" to make the problem applicable to real life. These methods are more complex and allow scholars to share their thinking out loud. The teacher then listens to how the scholar makes sense and then decides on what the scholar needs next based on what the scholars say. In this way, scholars truly learn math when they make sense of it.
CGI truly reinforces the IB framework in that it encourages scholars to develop independence and take responsibility for their own learning. Uplift Infinity Preparatory will apply to be accredited through the IB Primary Years Program for this upcoming 2014-15 school year. An aim of the PYP is to create a transdisciplinary curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for learners in the 3-12 age range.
Learn more about the IB Primary Years Program in this short video.
To see a list of which Uplift schools are IB accredited and which ones are working towards it, check out pages 32-33 of the Family Guide to Uplift Education.
TOWN HALLS ARE IN FULL SWING
Share your ideas to make your school campus better for all scholars
Check the calendar below to see when a CEO town hall will be coming to your campus. Be sure to look for the survey in your email. It will ask you what you are interested in discussing at the meeting at your school.
Upcoming Town Hall Dates
Thursday, February 4, 2014 5:45-7:00 PM
Uplift Meridian & Mighty
Monday, February 10, 2014 5:45-7:00 PM (@ Mighty Auditorium)
Monday, February 24, 2014 5:45-7:00 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 5:45-7:00 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 5:45-7:00 PM
APPLICATIONS AND RE-ENROLLMENT
Application season is here! Demystifying the application and re-enrollment process.
Application season for the 2014-15 school year has begun!
All new students are currently able to visit our website and apply online at: www.uplifteducation.org/apply.
Remember, there are no academic admission requirements that need to be met in order to attend an Uplift school. All prospective scholars must submit an application by the application deadline in order to be eligible for the lottery for the upcoming school year. Check out the simple four step application process here.
New students' applications will be submitted into the lottery that takes place in the spring. Application deadlines will vary depending on the school and these dates will be listed on the apply section of the website. Make sure to have all necessary information with you to speed up the application process.
If your scholar already attends an Uplift school, you will simply need to re-enroll your scholar online. To do this, you must indicate your intent to return to the school by completing the re-enrollment process online. Every scholar returning to an Uplift school must complete his or her online enrollment www.uplifteducation.org/enroll. The great news is that re-enrolling is now easier than ever! Besides a computer or laptop, you can now complete your re-enrollment via tablets and mobile devices! Simply access the Uplift website on your phone or tablet and start the re-enrollment process!
Families may visit school lobbies for computer access and application assistance.
Want some more information on Uplift's application process? Click here!
ROAD TO COLLEGE
Start the new year off right by staying on track academically & financially
Now that first semester is over, make sure to check in with your scholar to review their grades. If they did not pass all of their classes, talk to them about their plans to catch up in the spring so they don't have to attend summer school. You can also reach out to the Academic Counselor on campus (all high school campuses and some middle school campuses have someone assigned to scholars). Make sure to attend any upcoming parent-teacher or report card nights. This is an important time for you to discuss academic progress with your scholar and encourage them to figure out how they can improve. Most teachers are willing to work with scholars one-on-one or through group tutoring after school if they need additional support. The higher their grades, the more opportunities they will have for summer enrichment programs, internships, college acceptances and scholarships in the future.
Last months parent survey asked: What would you like to learn more about regarding the college process? The number one response was financial information so we met up with the Road To College Department and gathered this helpful information-
Parents of High School Seniors- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
opened on January 1. The FAFSA provides money for scholars to pay for college based on their parent's income. All 12th grade scholars who meet the citizenship criteria should go to the FAFSA website- https://fafsa.ed.gov and complete an online application this month.
Completing the FAFSA is free so make sure you and your scholar go to the correct website to fill out the form. Click here to see if your scholar is eligible. If your scholar does not meet the eligibility requirements then have them see his/her Alumni Counselor to receive help with filling out a paper form to apply for financial aid. Scholars will need your most recent tax return information in order to complete the FAFSA, so please file your taxes this month if you can. Scholars have been applying to college since the start of the school year.
Completing the FAFSA application is the next step in the college process to ensure that costs for college are covered by free money as much as possible. Scholars should also be applying to scholarships to help meet this goal. The Alumni Counselor on your campus is closely working with your scholar to help them complete the FAFSA and apply for scholarships. During this semester, please plan to meet with your scholar's Alumni Counselor to discuss the financial aid process and which colleges are the best choices for your scholar.