Mark Your Calendar: May 20, 2017
Mark Your Calendar: May 20, 2017
Watch for more information to come in the spring...
Got Good News?
The Office of Communications and Community Outreach is always looking for GOOD NEWS about our students, staff and community partners. Click here to share your tip online at http://bit.ly/UC-GoodNewsTips. Photos or video may be emailed to communications@ucityschools.org.

For ideas and more information about news tips, go to bit.ly/UC-NewsTipsInfo.

Thank you for helping us transform the life of every student every day!
an Important Message From Our Superintendent
Happy New Year District Families!

Changes to Missouri's criminal code went into effect January 1, 2017. These changes to the code will impact students involved in physical conflicts including fighting at school, on school grounds, on the bus, or at the bus stop. The new code changes the way students can be charged specifically relating to felony charges.

The choices our children make, both positive and in this case negative, can follow them their entire life. Students taking problems into their own hands at school can significantly limit options for future college and career success.

Parents, we all want what’s best for our children. Please take time to talk to your children about this law and about making good choices at school, regardless of age. Remind them to resolve all conflict peacefully and encourage them to talk to a trusted adult such as a principal or counselor.

The District is required to follow the law. We are currently reviewing our policies and procedures with the Board of Education and working with law enforcement to ensure we have a process that is fair, equitable and supports students while maintaining compliance with the law.

We are very sensitive to the lifetime impact of a student's involvement with the legal system and we don't take that lightly however school safety is our greatest priority. Over the past year we have worked very diligently to create a non-punitive school climate that focuses on understanding, healing and restoration.

Now more than ever it's important that we work together to educate and support all of our children so we can continue to positively transform the life of every student, every day.

A Conversation with Dr. Ian P. Buchanan, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

2 days ago




Dr. Ian Buchanan is the assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in The School District of University City.

What exactly does the Office of Curriculum and Instruction do? What is the role in educating students?

 The primary purpose of the Office of Curriculum and Instruction is simple. We want to ensure that our scholars are college and career-ready (without remediation).

We do this by:
a) collaborating with teachers to build strong curricula;
b) providing and supporting high quality professional development;
c) supporting school-based leadership; and
d) fostering outcomes- yielding educational partnerships.

If we are successful, not only will we live out our mission and vision, but we will also build capacity in teachers and students so that each can find joy and excellence in their work. It means solving problems, listening, supporting creativity and more.

Explain the relationship between curriculum and instruction and the learning that takes place in the classroom.

If we were to use a sports analogy, curriculum and lesson plans would be comparable to the game plan and instruction is the execution of the game plan. Curriculum is the plan or framework for teaching and assessing. Instruction is the action of teaching. The interconnectedness of curriculum, instruction, assessment, grade, communicating, and planning for the next iteration is more complex than ever for our teachers. It is now, more than ever, about personalizing learning by knowing kids in deeper ways, crafting experiences that engage and generate curiosity, and connecting kids to more experts and mentors.

People assume that when teachers graduate from college they are ready to teach and be effective. Is that a misconception?

A few years ago, I heard David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, make a statement that still resonates with me. He said, “Teaching is not rocket science. It’s much harder.” I describe teaching as technical, adaptive, complex and contextual. Especially in these times, our scholars are as diverse and unique as snowflakes or fingerprints, so one size fits all approaches are not the most effective. Being an excellent teacher requires practice, cultural competency, supportive coaching and feedback, continuous professional learning and purposeful reflection. In order for teachers to be effective in the classroom, they must set high expectations, get investment from both students and their families, plan purposefully and effectively, execute well, strive for continuous improvement and work relentlessly.

What are some of your early observations about the work happening in the District around C & I and what is on your “wish list?”

There are many, many knowledgeable, committed educators and support staff in our district. Our data points, however, suggest that there is a great deal of work yet to be done. In order for us to realize our mission and vision, more students need to have the opportunity to “live the learning.” In other words, I want students to have more authentic learning experiences from pre-K to 12. Learning must be facilitated in a way that allows scholars to have greater access to and interaction with the “real world.” There should be joy in learning. Too often - in the name of compliance, control and routine - we unintentionally squeeze this beauty and joy from the work. One component of my theory of change is that rigorous, standards-aligned, authentic learning experiences and performance tasks will increase joy and student engagement - which leads to increased academic outcomes and more well-rounded scholars.

State learning standards and testing seem to change often. What impact does this have on education and planning your lesson/teaching strategy?

Understanding the Missouri Learning Standards is an important component of a teacher being an instructional leader. We support teachers in understanding the content, as well as understanding effective ways for students to engage with the content. Anyone who has been in education for a length of time realizes that the pendulum changes. One thing that will always remain consistent it high quality instruction. Our department is making sure teachers have the necessary instructional tools to provide consistent high quality instruction.

How does data figure into your strategies for teaching and learning?

Without data, we are wandering in the forest lost. It is essential for our team to leverage the right data for meaningful ongoing conversations about how we apply our trade. We have all seen organizations soaked in data, but the best organizations use the right numbers at the right time to serve their students.

Data plays an integral role that helps us to determine areas of strength and areas that need improvement. Important factors to always consider when looking at data, is how it is analyzed and what actions do we take after the data has been analyzed. We use the data to confirm strategies that are working and strategies that need to be adjusted to meet the needs of all students.

What is your professional approach to curriculum and instruction? What principles guide you as you lead your team?

Our approach to curriculum and instruction is grounded in the research of Dr. Richard Elmore with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Elmore introduced the concept of the instructional core. In its simplest terms, the instructional core speaks to the symbiotic relationship between the student, the academic content and the teacher. Elmore suggests that we improve schools by providing exceptional teaching and rigorous content to engaged students. In order to improve schools, all three of the areas must be addressed simultaneously, and that’s what we’re attempting to do as a district.


Attention propspective high school parents... Fnd out more about “The U”
Attention propspective high school parents... Fnd out more about “The U”
Attend UCHS Parent2Parent Social - Thus., Jan. 26 at 7p… All are welcome! See flier for more details.

Pianist Stan Ford Named 2017 Returning Artist

2 days ago



Pianist Stan Ford

UCHS Class of 1975 and 2000 UCHS Hall of Fame inductee, will visit classrooms across the District as University City’s 2017 Returning Artist.

Stan Ford, University City High School (UCHS) Hall of Famer, has been selected as University City’s 2017 Returning Artist by the University City Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters. The program features artistically renowned UCHS graduates whose primary careers are in the Arts.

In February, he will return to UCHS to work with students in a week-long seminar, exposing them to various arts disciplines and working on interactive projects.

Ford, equally at home in solo and chamber music as well as accomplished in the fields of musicology and pedagogy, is a U City native and 1975 graduate of UCHS. He attended Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, majoring in piano performance, chamber music, pedagogy and music education and graduated with highest distinction in 1982 under the tutelage of Ruth Slenczynska.

A two-year Fulbright scholarship afforded Ford further study under Hans Leygraf, Alfons Kontarsky and Christoph Lieske at the “Universität Mozarteum Salzburg” in Salzburg, Austria. Upon completion of his studies in 1986, Ford accepted a professorship on the distinguished piano faculty at the Mozarteum, becoming the first African-American in Austrian history to hold such a prestigious position. Ford is the recipient of numerous awards including a Resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives, a 2002 International Who’s Who in Professional Business and 2000 UCHS Hall of Fame.

Click here for information about the Commission.

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