Very engaged staff and parent community. The school was recently awarded the Maryland State "Excellence in Talented and Gifted Education" (EGATE) certification. PTA is well funded through the generosity of the community and a well-planned series of annual events -- after school enrichment classes, Azalea Classic 5K, Silent Auction, and other events -- and supports the school with a variety of academic enhancements and enriching activities. This is the second year of Italian instruction, and the school has always had a tremendous music program (including choral and instrumental classes, plus an annual musical). TAG and differentiated instruction is offered in every classroom. So thankful the school goes through 6th grade as well. A real treasure in our community and the state.
The lower elementary grades have been manageable with reading each night encouraged (whether parent-led pre-reading or independently when ready) and then one skill they have been learning. I have found it a great way to know what my less-than-communicative student has been working on in class. There are a few larger projects each year that may or may not be required based on age / TAG status (Write-a-Book, Reading Extravaganza, Science Fair).
Students are encouraged to work together, to know each other well, and support one another. In addition to their daily instruction, my student often brings home / discusses topics brought up during their "good citizenship" lessons with their teacher and visiting instructor.
I currently have two children at UPES. We absolutely love this school. This is a true gem of an elementary school. It is the heart of the neighborhood and the community greatly supports the school. The teachers are incredibly dedicated to the students and the PTA is very supportive and active. In addition to the standard curriculum followed by all public schools, UPES offers an great amount of enrichment - both in daily teaching and in the after-school courses offered, such as Lego-robotics, Science&Learning, ceramics, improv, language courses (Spanish and Mandarin), painting, rainbow loom, debate club, chess club, yoga to name a few. The classrooms are being renovated, including new floors, walls, updated electric systems, new bathrooms, furniture etc. - they are going to be fantastic. The staff are top-notch and the classrooms offer an incredible amount of learning opportunities. It has been a very positive learning experience for my kids. Highly recommended!
School is great. Teachers are fantastic with 2 or 3 exceptions. Some are very snob and nasty. Overall this school is just the most amazing place to educate a kid. So much parent involvement I love it!!! It is like a little family. New principal... I am not in love with. She is not what I expected. I tried several times to talk to her and she never paid attention. Other than that it is wonderful!!
Culturally-enriching, academically-engaging and strong community support. This is our 3rd year at UPES and we have 2 children attending the school. Knowledgeable & caring teachers & staff along with a diverse selection of extracurricular activities & classes to supplement what has been squeezed out due to current trending educational models and philosophies, has kept us happy with our children's educational experience. Examples of this are the school's annual Azalea Classic (AC), after-school enrichment classes (AEC), book log events, Dr. Seuss celebration, FallFest, Hispanic Heritage Night, Family Game Night and more. For the AC, the teachers incorporate into their math and physical education curriculum with charts, graphs, goal tracking and a weekly recess running club complete with pedometers. AEC supplements the public school system offering a diverse class selection on topics ranging from foreign language-ceramics-drama-chess & more. The add'l activities help foster a strong community which is proven to be a strong predictor of producing successful students. A school is what you make it and, like anything, at a minimum, you'll get out of it what you put into it.