Thank you to the UPark parent for contributing to the School Scoop!
School Name: UNIVERSITY PARK ELEMENTARY (UPARK)
1. Tell us about yourself (stay at home mom/dad, working parent, single parent, kids ages, etc.) and what your role is at the school (PTA member, volunteer when I can, part of the board, etc.).
I am a stay at home mom with two children, ages 6 and 8. They both attend University Park (UPark) and are in Kindergarten and 3rd grade. I am currently the PTA President, but also really enjoy my role as a volunteer in each of their classrooms as well.
2. What type of school is it (neighborhood, school of choice, charter, private, faith-based, etc.) How did you choose this school?
University Park is our neighborhood school. When my oldest child was ready to start preschool at age 4, my husband and I looked at the closest faith-based school and University Park. We chose UPark and have never regretted it. It is a very old building, but I liked the feel of that. I grew up going to Denver Public Schools in a building very similar, so I felt at home. We also wanted him to attend our neighborhood school so he would get to know the kids in the neighborhood and their families.
3. How long have your child/ren been at this school? If your child did not start out at this school, please explain.
My oldest son started in ECE4, when they still had the program housed in the building. So this is his 5th year at the school. My youngest son started in ECE3, when they still had the program housed in the building. He then attended UPark’s ECE4 program, housed at Stephen Knight Center for Early Education, and has now returned for Kindergarten. The ECE program was relocated to Stephen Knight two years ago. This was mainly due to space restrictions, but also that it was a better fit for the ECE program.
4. What makes your school special or unique? Please give us specific examples (3-4 examples).
There are several things that make University Park special, all of which I believe are important for a successful school. The sense of community we feel is essential. One of our goals for attending our neighborhood school was so that our family would meet other families in the area. We feel such a part of a larger community each time we walk on the playground. I know that I am not alone in feeling that at any given time, there are 10 parents on the playground who my children would feel comfortable going to for help or assistance. There are a huge number of parent volunteers working in the classrooms as well. I also appreciate the dedication of the administration, staff members, teachers, and paraprofessionals. Having students strive for, and reach, their highest goals are very important to each and every one of them.
There is a strong push to have our children be 21st century citizens, so the use of technology, critical thinking, and rigorous learning is very important. One of the results of this push is being recognized as a “Distinguished” school and named one of the top elementary schools in DPS. University Park was named DPS’s Healthiest School and has a Wellness Program that is being adapted in many other schools in the district. Because of this, our students recognize that it is important to keep their bodies moving, eat healthily, and keep their minds fresh.
Finally, UPark is very diverse in our demographics. Because of our proximity to The University of Denver, we have many families from foreign countries living in our neighborhood. These parents are either students or professors at DU. Therefore, we have students that speak 14 different languages and over 20 countries are represented.
5. Why would other parents want to have their child/ren at this school? What type of child (and family) would thrive here?
Mainly for all the reasons mentioned in question #4. Our school provides an excellent education, promotes the healthy child, and celebrates diversity. Families who are looking for those things would thrive at UPark.
6. What is one thing you’d change about your school if you could (one thing you’d change to make it better)?
After 5th grade, our students go to a variety of different middle schools. This seems to be slowly changing as more and more families are picking our neighborhood school, Merrill Middle School. I would love for this sense of community to continue in middle school and for our 5th graders to filter into the same school.
Visit University Park here!
We welcome your comments and impressions on your experience with University Park Elementary.