What's New in UCPS New academic programming and safety expansions for the 2019-20 school year

The countdown is on! On Aug. 26, UCPS schools will open their doors to more than 41,000 students.

UCPS announces several 2019-20 districtwide and school initiatives that focus on new academic programming, social and emotional learning, school safety, and college and career readiness.

These new and/or expanded programs are designed to continue providing students with equitable access to critical mental health and safety resources while also continuing to prepare them for college, careers and life after high school.

AgTech Academy at East Union Middle

Agriculture is the top industry in North Carolina, contributing $87 billion to the state’s economy. Even more locally, Union County ranks third in the state for agricultural business production and is the state’s top producer in almost every crop and livestock category.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of agriculture and STEM-related jobs in our county and throughout the state – and the job prospects in this industry are only expected to rise in the near future.

That’s why, with an eye towards the future, East Union Middle is introducing agriculture technology as its new school focus for the upcoming school year.

Shiloh Valley Schools

Neighboring Shiloh and Sun Valley elementary schools have transitioned to a new school model.

Shiloh Valley Primary, located on the former Sun Valley Elementary campus, will serve students in kindergarten through second grades. Shiloh Valley Elementary, located on the former Shiloh Elementary campus, will serve students in third through fifth grades.

Shiloh Valley Elementary and Shiloh Valley Primary will offer Leader in Me and Dual Language Immersion programs. Both schools will also operate on the traditional school calendar.

Dual Language Immersion and International Studies

Several schools throughout the district are expanding their academic programming.

English-Spanish Dual Language Immersion programs will now be offered at Wingate and Porter Ridge elementary schools as well as Piedmont Middle, bringing the total number of Dual Language Immersion programs to 17 schools throughout the district.

Rea View and Stallings elementary schools will integrate international studies into classroom instruction while also rotating Spanish and French language instruction.

STEM Leader Corps

Beginning this school year, six UCPS elementary schools will have the unique opportunity to completely transform the way STEM education is offered in their schools.

Through the STEM Leader Corps program with Discovery Education, the selected schools -- Fairview, Poplin, Sardis, Stallings, Walter Bickett and Western Union – will be immersed in three years of intensive professional development sessions and experiences designed to not only build but sustain a culture of STEM education in their schools.

School Safety and Security

Through a partnership with the Union County Sheriff’s Office, which included the addition of nine elementary school resource officers in 2018-19, UCPS will add an additional two school resource officers to elementary schools this school year.

Video doorbell systems, which were added at all UCPS elementary schools during the 2018-19 school year, will be added at all middle and high schools during the upcoming school year. Staff will use this video doorbell system to identify visitors before buzzing them into the building.

Social and Emotional Learning

Through a partnership with Union County, UCPS students now have increased access to the social and emotional learning services as well as the mental health resources they need to be successful. This districtwide focus on social and emotional learning will allow the school system to be more proactive when students are in crisis or need emotional support.

During the 2019-20 school year, Union County Department of Human Services’ Division of Social Services will hire an additional 10 mental health therapists and five school social workers as part of the collaboration with UCPS.

By the 2020-21 school year, UCPS will have 30 social workers, one lead social worker, 16 mental health therapists, five school-based counselors as well as three lead counselors at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Personnel in these positions will be able to provide students with critical support on a variety of issues, including anxiety and stress management, bullying, mental health, trauma and more.

AVID Program at Union County Early College

The Advanced via Individual Determination (AVID) program will expand to Union County Early College this school year.

The school-wide system – which is currently offered at Wingate Elementary, Marshville Elementary and East Union Middle -- prepares students for college and careers by enhancing learning environments and helping to provide the high expectations, access and support students need to succeed in rigorous courses.

Sprint 1Million Project

During the 2019-20 school year, UCPS will continue to team up with Sprint to break down digital barriers for students.

Through the Sprint 1Million Project Foundation, more than 5,500 mobile hotspot devices will be provided to students throughout the district who do not have reliable internet connectivity at home.

This will ultimately provide thousands of students with 24/7 access to digital resources required for success in today’s learning environment.

Want to learn more?

Stay tuned throughout the school year as we explore these new programs and initiatives and share how it's impacting our students, staff and families.

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