As the principal of Union Middle School, I would like to thank the community members who have shared their thoughts within this forum. Union Middle School recently received a 2008 Caring School Climate Award, was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2009 and also in 2013, was named a National Forum s School To Watch, and selected as a CalSTAT Leadership Site in 2010, 2011 & 2012. Union Middle School is also visited by hundreds of California Educators each year wanting to learn about the great things happening in our classrooms and on our campus. Additionally, our most recent API was recorded at 938, thanks to the great work of our staff, dedication of our community, and the great student scholars attending our school. If you have any questions about Union Middle School, please do not hesitate to contact me. We will be glad to answer your questions and assist you with any and all of your concerns. Go Tigers!
April 18, 2014
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
My child is in 7th grade and I can't say enough great things about this school and community. Where to start? Well, our principal is IN-volved. He's out in front every morning greeting the kiddos at drop off, at dances, always ready to assure parents with a friendly and reassuring smile. He is there at every board meeting and returns texts and emails almost instantly. Seriously the BEST responsiveness ever. Aside from THAT, our technology environment is unparalleled and I feel my child is being given opportunities that he would not otherwise have at a school in a neighboring district. My child's teachers and the staff seem to be truly invested in the children's educational and personal growth. I can't say enough about how much I love this school and that my child is attending.
UNION S.D. = THE NEXT CUPERTINO
As we've had a very mixed experience with this school - in short, the community's great, the school less so - it's only fair to rate each aspect separately, as follows:
Teachers - 3 stars: mostly so-so, with rare exceptions. The worst teacher was forced into retirement, but other stinkers remain. Only one of our child's teachers has been knowledgeable, hardworking and inspiring.
Principal - 2 stars: The current UMS principal is the weakest link in the UMS chain. He runs a tight ship on disciplinary matters (good) but is insecure, dismissive toward parents, and confused and even out of touch with reality when it comes to curricular issues and teacher management. Has been a complete failure in managing the roll-out of the new math curriculum ("Common Core").
Clubs & Activities - 5 stars: many dedicated, even heroic people doing good work in these areas. Outstanding sports and music programs. Your kid is lucky if she or he is into sports or band.
School atmosphere - 4 stars: much better than expected: no bullying, kids generally well-behaved and hardworking. No complaints.
Families & community - 5 stars: Of course, the biggest reason for Union's high API and other scores is none of the above. As with nearly all California public schools, the demographics are what drive student achievement, and here is where Union shines: the area is rapidly changing to include many more high-achieving families of the sort who, 10 years ago, might have bought houses in Cupertino or Saratoga but who are priced out of those markets by today's bubble.
In short, Union is another Cupertino: so-so teachers and bumbling principal saved by an ambitious, high-achieving local demographic.
All in all, it's worth putting your kid here as bad teachers get pushed out and as the principal, one hopes, finds his bearings and settles into his role.
When grading, teachers devote far too much attention to trivial issues or mistakes regarding things like formatting. This confuses the kids and makes them cynical about their teachers and administrators.
Union Middle School is an outstanding school. It possesses outstanding teachers, has an administration beyond compare, a Principal actively engaged in making the school that maximizes its students potential, has an active home and school club, and possesses great students, engaged in their own learning, interested in their school, and ready to learn. Struggling students receive outstanding support from the teachers, assistants, staff and administration. My own child, the second to attend UMS and who has struggled with a learning disability since Pre-K, has moved from well below grade level in reading and math to at grade level in just his first year at UMS. He has gone from being afraid that he cannot keep up to knowing that he can. Finally, I have had several opportunities to discuss problems with the current principal. In each instance, I was amazed at the thoughtfulness, helpfulness and genuine concern displayed. I believe that anyone who has something to discuss concerning their child's education, school experience, interpersonal issue or any other problem, will be listened to and taken with the utmost seriousness and sincerity.
Our family has been involved with Union Middle school for six years, and we re looking forward to three more years of education there. We re so thankful for all the hard work the entire staff and Principal put into the school. The Principal makes great connections with the students and they respect and appreciate him. Our family is thankful for the positive impact UMS has had on our children s lives, we re very encouraged they like their Principal and Vice Principal. The staff is a gem and we appreciate all their hard work with the students. We see the Principal, Vice Principal, teaching and administrative staff as stellar community leaders; representing solid character while providing a very strong educational foundation for high school.
Teachers here are very uninspiring. They aren't there to teach, they're there to supervise. Students are handed an assignment and they figure out how to complete it on their own. As for learned curriculum, students read a printed-out powerpoint or a textbook all by themselves. If they have a question that the teacher can't answer, the teacher shrugs it off and leaves the student to their own resources. Also, I'm going to specifically target the ELA Department. In 6th grade, the way students are taught to write is very rigid, structured, and it doesn't offer any room for creativity and flow. 7th grade - well, they don't teach anything remotely RELATED to English! They observe rotting french fries, party like Victorians, and create videos. But never, ever are they taught to write. And yet they are TESTED on writing skills at the end of each quarter! Overall, I'm shocked at what Union Middle School considers education. It doesn't prepare students for their future, and really, everything students do at school they could do at home, by themselves. I would be very careful if you plan on attending this school.