January 22, 2021
Message from Executive Director

Hello UMA! 

Today I am broadcasting from the middle school math room and a ‘Thank You’ to Ms Kelly Winter for letting me hang out here when you're not here to use it.  I just want to get in a few announcement before the weekend.

Let's close out Semester 1:

  • If you have any questions on grades and assignments please communicate with the classroom teacher, your advisory teacher, Alissa Abelson [] or with Anna Walters [

  • Keep in mind that teachers are continuing to work on updating and taking in late assignments on Monday, January 25, 2021.

  • Monday, January 25th is no school for students. Teachers will be working as it is a scheduled day for bookkeeping, reporting, touching base with students, and getting final opportunities on assignments into the gradebook.   

  • Also, teachers will spend time making sure we have things in order to start Semester 2. 

Let’s start Semester 2: 

  • Semester 2 will start on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.  
  • The start of the Semester will be accompanied by a materials pick up. That information should be communicated to you by your semester 2 teachers already.

  • Materials pick up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week. UMA will expand our hours to accommodate parents and older students who are picking up before and after a general school or office hours time. Pick Ups can occur anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

  • If you need something other than that, please contact me directly or call and leave a message at the school.  

To Pick Up Materials: 
You are welcome to pull up on Wabasha Avenue and to either come in or you can call the school office phone, you can call my cell phone 651-285-5586 or you can call Amy Elverum’s cell phone. We will take your call, get your student's name, and curbside delivery out to Wabasha.

Just want to give a big shout-out as we have had some Senior Capstone action this week. We have some students that are getting close to finalizing and completing projects. As we get them in, and we have permission, we will put those out in our newsletter for you to see the great work that our students are doing.

I also want to give a big shout-out to the staff and to the families for all of their work in coordinating all these different moving pieces throughout Semester 1.

We are set for Semester 2 to start in distance learning. We are working on some guidance to move things along so we can get back into the school building. First in the hybrid model and then, as the Governor allows and as the guidance allows, to be back in school with everyone that feel safe in coming back.  I do want you to know that we are working forward on that and will have some updates for you soon, but for now willl start on Tuesday in our Distance Learning model with our new daily schedule.

Thanks so much, have a great weekend, enjoy the sunshine and enjoy the snow. It'll be a brisk and bright this weekend.

Amy Erickson - Executive Director

Video message from Executive Director Amy Erickson.

New Staff at UMA
We are excited to welcome Elizabeth Sullivan in her role as a School Social Worker.  Ms. Sullivan began on Thursday and is already meeting middle school students online.  She received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and is licensed in both School and Independent Clinical Social Work.  With several years of experience at a Minneapolis charter school, she has much to offer our school, students and families.  Contact Elizabeth at or 612-466-0446
National School Choice Week Every child deserves a great education and we at UMA are passionate about school choice and the opportunity to provide those options to parents and students.  UMA is a collaborative community, engaging lifelong learners in active, authentic experiences and the education we provide are the same reasons why parents choose UMA to be their student's school. 

Below are just a few comments received from families as to why UMA is their school choice.  We are off to a good start on recruitment for the 2021-2022 school year, please share this newsletter or social media posts with family and friends that are looking for a great school for their middle and high school students.
What's Happening in the Classroom
For the past semester, UMA seniors have been busy completing their capstone projects.  A capstone is defined as a 'high point, a crowning achievement" and a capstone project highlights a students educational and intellectual experience and often culminates in some kind of service or benefit to the community.

Doing historical research with founding UMA staff, 12th grader Michael Damsgard created an original painting that depicts the evolution of UMA as the school outgrew locations at Ft. Snelling and St. Paul's West 7th area on Osceola Avenue, culminating with the school's move in 2019 to downtown St. Paul.  Michael has been a UMA student since 7th grade and purposefully chose wording in the river that reflects what makes UMA so special to him and other students.  The painting will be hung in the first floor gallery space for all to enjoy.
Family Resources

A Parent's Guide to Vaping
Hennepin County Public Health has released a new video for parents/guardians about preventing youth vaping. Youth have not stopped vaping during COVID-19 and distance learning, so it is more important than ever to help parents/guardians understand the dangers and how to talk to their child(ren) about vaping.
A Parent’s Guide to Vaping (9-minute video):
Companion guide: 
Discussion guide:

Pandemic-EBT Benefits for Families
Students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals may be eligible for Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) to purchase food for days they are not in the school building. To be considered, households must submit an application for free or reduced-price meals for the 2020-21 school year or be approved for Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Families who received P-EBT benefits last summer are not automatically eligible; eligibility is based on the current school year. Benefits may be retroactive to September 2020, depending on when eligibility for free or reduced-price meals is determined. To ensure families qualify for the most benefits, please submit a completed application as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Data
The Walz-Flanagan Administration has launched a public vaccine data dashboard to detail the progress of COVID-19 vaccine allocation, distribution and administration across Minnesota.

The dashboard provides a visual and user-friendly way to view key vaccination data for our state and is updated daily.

Volunteers for Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps of Ramsey County is a countywide resource of health professionals and other volunteers who strengthen our community by preparing for and responding to public health and related emergencies. For those interested in helping their community during the COVID-19 pandemic, information can be found here

If you have a specific need and would like help finding resources please feel free to contact the following staff, we would like to talk with you;
Joclyn Tiedt, Social Worker  612-208-3854 
Elizabeth Sullivan, Social Worker  612-466-0446
Anna Walters, School Counselor  612-888-2153
UMA is on a card making mission!
7th and 8th grade Art students in Ms J's second quarter art classes created 47 greeting cards to be sent to share kindness and cheer to children in hospitals.  We worked through the organization called Cardz for Kidz.  As we start 2021 we would like to invite any and all UMA community members to continue the card-making-mission throughout the second semester until the end of May!  All cards need to be handmade and should NOT be thought of as "get well" cards, but more as "cards of cheer".  The idea is that the cards should bring a few moments of laughter or help the recipient "forget" that they are in the hospital for a short while.  Jokes, poetry or short stories are best!  As an added bonus, take a photo of yourself holding your card, and email it to Ms. J!  Visit the Cardz for Kidz website for more details.  Drop off (or mail-in) your cards to UMA by the following dates: Friday, March 26 and Friday, May 21.  Thank you in advance for participating in spreading some UMA love and kindness out into the world!
Class Materials/Supplies for Semester 2
Time to gather up novels, books and other supplies that were borrowed to students for semester 1 work and assignments.  Teachers will be sending emails to families if their student is in a class that has items/supplies to be picked up at UMA next week, at the same time, items can be returned.  Pick-up days are Tues 1/26 - Thurs 1/28 between 7:30 am - 5:00 pm. 
Upcoming Dates
January 24-29 - National School Choice Week
January 25 - Student Release Day No School
January 26-28 - Semester 2 Supply Pick-up
January 26 - PSAT administered at UMA
February 15 - Holiday No School
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