June 25, 2020
Dear UMA Families,

Staff are currently planning three different learning options for next school year.  This includes all students returning to school as normal, a hybrid option with alternative days onsite at UMA along with some days online at home and the last option being full distance learning at home again.  Minnesota Department of Education will announce a decision the week of July 27.  

Be on the lookout for an email with a school survey seeking input on the learning options. We appreciate your input and taking a few minutes to complete.

School supply lists have been updated and can be found on the school's website.  For preventative health measures, one new item on the supply list is a mask for students to wear while in school.  

New UMA Staff
We are excited to welcome these highly qualified and experienced teachers and paraprofessionals to our school in August.

Jordan Tyler will teach high school Language Arts.  Tyler has previous experience with Minneapolis and Woodbury school districts as well as four years at a St. Paul charter school.  "The focus on real world connections and application of language arts is increasingly important, and thus an essential part of my practice."

Stephanie Suehr is our new Biology teacher.  Her teaching duties also include science electives and Pathways program.  Suehr has several experiences with Americorps, participating in forestry projects, clean-up of a polluted river and youth programming in Taos, New Mexico. "I integrate opportunities for students to collaborate and use technology resources to create an interactive and innovative classroom environment."

Zach Fjelstad comes from Natural Science Academy, a charter school similar to UMA. With twelve years of experience as a Special Education teacher, he will be supporting middle school students. "As a special education teacher, I am very passionate about working with students in their regular education classes through co-teaching and running small groups with the classroom teacher."

Stephanie Zeitz brings six years of experience teaching Science and will teach Middle School.  Zeitz also brings non-profit work experience with youth and family organizations.  "Students are my focus; empowering them in their education, community and discipline is imperative to their growth."

Christina Efteland has taught Math for two years in St. Cloud and spends her summer leading canoe trips on Lake of the Woods. "It is amazing to watch students conquer challenges, try new things, and discover their own potential."  Efteland will be teaching Middle and High School Math.

Cassie Bowen joins UMA as a special education paraprofessional.  She has 2-1/2 years experience in this role and also has a degree in Biology. "My experience has taught me the value of encouragement and patience."

Christopher Cowan joins UMA as a special eduction paraprofessional and most recently was in a similar role with Natural Science Academy.  Cowan has experience with tutoring, 
youth programs and has a degree in Biology. "I develop strong connections with students by actively listening and being genuinely interested in what they are learning and how each student learns best."

Erin Griffin recently completed her Masters degree from the University of Minnesota and will be teaching Middle School Language Arts.  Griffin has prior experience as a YMCA camp counselor and adult education teacher. "I hope to contribute to your community of learners by fostering a love for storytelling, creative expression, and a desire to critically analyze the world around us."

We think Upper Mississippi Academy is pretty special and unique. If your family thinks so too, please let friends and neighbors know about our hands-on, experiential learning.  We still have open seats in all grades for the 2020-2021 school year.  Our website features a virtual tour for those interested in learning more about us.  Families interested in attending should complete an online 2020-2021 application.  
UMA Summer Hours
UMA will be closed June 29-July 3.  The school will reopen July 6, from 8:30-3:00 Monday - Thursday for yearbook pick-up and return of language arts books, textbooks, laptops and wi-fi hotspots. Pull up next to our building on Wabasha Avenue for easy access to the open courtyard gate. Knock on the inside vesitbule doors if no one is in the office. Contact UMA if you are not able to return school items during this time period.
Resources for Families
UMA social workers have updated the list of community resources for families.  The list remains available on our website just retitled to Community Resource List for Families.

Schools and community sites offering free summer meals for kids can be found with the Free Meals for Kids mobile phone App.  This site is the central resource for statewide information about schools, school districts and communities offering meals during the summer.  Download at Apple store or Google play.

Upcoming Dates
August 31 - First Day of 2020-2021 School Year
Copyright © 2020 Upper Mississippi Academy, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
19 Exchange Street East
St. Paul, MN. 55101

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Upper Mississippi Academy · 19 East Exchange Street · St. Paul, MN 55101 · USA

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