Ms. Picha at UPrep Middle School

University Prep is committed to developing each student’s potential to become an intellectually courageous, socially responsible citizen of the world. Our Middle School included Grades 6-8 and we are located in Seattle, Washington.

Mission: University Prep is committed to developing each student’s potential to become an intellectually courageous, socially responsible citizen of the world.

[12/09/15]   We’ve heard from two-thirds of our families so far and we’re hoping that as you plan for your year-end giving, you will consider making a gift to University Prep’s Annual Fund! The Annual Fund supports many of the enhancements that make University Prep so special for our kids, including financial aid, no-cut sports, fine arts, as well as clubs and cultural events. Giving is easy. You can make your pledge or gift online at Each gift means so much and we hope you’ll give an amount that is meaningful to you. Thank you for your support!

Thanks so much for helping us with this!

The 6th grade is preparing a special musical treat for our Grandparents and Special Friends tomorrow! Can't wait to see you all!

[10/28/15]   Tomorrow is Halloween Celebration at school. We encourage students to dress up and we will have an all-school assembly in the gym with contests and prizes. A word about costumes: students are encouraged to be creative and express themselves. However, we don’t allow students to carry weapons of any kind at school. Also, students should not dress up as another culture or as a stereotype of a group. If you or your child have questions about a costume, please let me know

We may not be in Athens, but that doesn't stop our 6th graders from trying out the Socratic method in English. The class is discussing their most recent book, American Born Chinese, in Socratic seminar. Ask your child about it!

The Kenyan Boys Choir came to sing for the Middle School on Friday and they were terrific! What a treat for all of us.

UPrep and Bush School will be hosting Cindy Goldrich as the first Parent Education speaker this year. She will talk about parenting children with ADHD and executive function challenges on Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 in Founders Hall.

Today at assembly, the students heard speaker Carl Wilkens talk about his experiences as humanitarian aid worker in Rwanda during the terrible months of genocide in 1994. Rather than focus on the horror of the experience, he talked about the close relationships that transcended race, culture and ethnicity and kept him in Rwanda to support the people he had come to love. His book is called "I'm Not Leaving" and copies are available in the school library.

Middle School students can choose between three world languages. Today, I visited Spanish A (6th Grade), French C and Chinese C (8th Graders). Below, Ms. Woodson is reviewing French conjugations at the board, and Mr. Hung is reviewing research about the Moon Festival which comes up later this month.

A simply gorgeous day for PE today! Sixth graders played flag tag, seventh graders played ultimate, and eighth graders played football.

[09/12/15]   The 6th grade camp is rolling! Everyone likes the campground and most slept pretty well. A local rooster woke us all early! We're all full on pancakes and sausage and the morning activities just started. I'm heading back to school for retreat day so look for posts about 7th and 8th grade retreats!

6th Grade at the Beach!

Getting ready to hike at 6th-grade Camp!

The 6th grade created a Class Coat of Arms at camp today with each Moutain Group contributing to the overall shield. Having a great day!

Ms Shortell organizes an after dinner beach hike.

Dinner and clean up. Spaghetti and quesadilla on the menu. Yum!

[09/09/15]   Change of plans: due to the unexpected closure of Hood Canal bridge we are camping at Kitsap Memorial State Park near Lofal, Wa, for tonight, Wednesday, and tomorrow Thursday. All are well and getting settled here.

A gorgeous afternoon at Port Gamble.

Bonding games at Port Gamble.

Tents go up'

Waffles in the Commons before the 6th grade camping trip!!

On the first day of the 6th-grade Fine Arts rotation, all of the kids are together on the Founders stage and learned a bit about dance movement, a bit about singing in harmony and a bit about improvisation. A good start!

This morning, Mr. Levinson greeted students as they walked in for our first day of classes. We traditionally start the school year at assembly with the ringing of the School Bell by Upper and Middle School student government presidents. This year, Merone and Lillian did the honors. The bell will be outside all day so any students can ring in the school year themselves!

[08/31/15]   School starts tomorrow - HOORAY! We start at 8:00 a.m. with our opening assembly in the Pumadome (which is our gym). There is a parent coffee at that time in the library. Most asked questions today at new student orientation? Do I need my iPad for the first day (Yes)? Do I need PE clothes for the first day (Nope)? See you all tomorrow!

[03/16/15]   You are invited to PUMA TALKS on
Tuesday, March 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the UPrep Library. This is an event planned by Upper School students to showcase student opinions about various topics. This week, three students will be speaking on three different topics that are important to them.
Tseion Amare (Diversity and Leadership)
Sam Liu (Environmental Advocacy)
Zainab Safdar (Pakistan-U.S. relations)

Refreshments will be provided. Please park off-campus.

We had a fun and energetic assembly with local professional break dancing group Massive Monkeys on Wednesday. And the teachers got into the act! This short clip shows the "Dance Off" with faculty members Mr. Faucher, Mrs. Robertson and Mr. Hung and some terrific dancing. Great fun with the Great MM!

Today, the Middle School Debate team participated in a Winter tournament at Bush School. In the first round, they debated on the topic of whether the U.S. should stop producing the penny. Up against a tough team from California, UPrep triumphed by using more credible sources that the other team, a skill that Coach Leah Griffin had been emphasizing in practice. Go Pumas! (and Hawks)

This week, the Middle School students are being led in several activities around race and ethnicity by our Upper School students. These student leaders attended the high school Student Diversity Leadership Conference in the fall and came back with ideas for activities to underscore to our students that a person's color does not define their identity. Yesterday, we used our iPads and a website called to mix and match colors to define our skins tones. We encourage parents to follow up with a conversation tonight and ask your child what they learned and invite them to share their experience from today. Our Diversity and Community Office is also here for parents who might seek advice about how to have race conversations at home.

We have a small but intrepid groups of boys in the Middle School Stagecraft class this semester. Today, they were reviewing the script for the spring musical and beginning to plan the sets the will eventually build. A great learning opportunity from start to finish!

[01/05/15]   Happy New Year! We just had our first assembly of 2015 and the clubs are in full swing. Today, there were announcements for knitting club, graphic design club (in our new Maker's Space), and politics club with Mr. Cullen. Also announced by Mr. Chestnut were two new clubs for second semester: Skating Club and Math Club. And, on top of all that, Ski Bus starts January 23!

The 6th-Grade Dance and Choral classes joined ranks today to put on a rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock." Ms Klein (in blue below) taught two-thirds of the class dance steps and Mr. Blok (in the background) played keyboards to the delight of the rest of their 6th-grade classmates. A great wrap up to the week! \
See you in 2015 everyone!

This morning, the faculty prepared and served breakfast to the students as a little celebration before break. Here is Mr. Slattengren, Mr. Feliu, Mr. Richardson and me as we break the first of dozens of eggs for French Toast and scrambled eggs.

[12/18/14]   UPrep offices will be open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on December 22, 23, 29, 30, 31. The campus will be closed all other days over winter break.

Today in 7th-Grade Geography, the students had a debate about water rights on the Columbia River, correlated with their reading of the "The River Lost" in English. Each group had to promote a different interest, such as farming, Native American lands, or industry. Their goal was to reach consensus. I was impressed with the high level of knowledge the kids had about the issues, and the way they integrated information found on the iPad "on the fly" to augment their positions. A good day in Geography.

A crowded advisory today in my office!

On Saturday, ten members of the Middle School Debate Team went to Overlake School for the second tournament of the year. All of the debaters argued eloquently for/or against the resolutions; The I-90 Bridge Should be Tolled; Standardized Tests are an Accurate Representation of Student Learning; and, A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing. Nine Independent schools were in attendance, and UPrep took fourth place! Good Job Coach Griffin and Team!

Dropped into 8th-Grade PE today where the students are playing badminton. There was lots of play interspersed with specific instruction by PE teacher Kyle Lawhead. Since the students just finished a Pickleball unit, Mr. Lawhead reminded them of the different techniques needed for this racquet sport. A good way to spend a cold morning.

Two new clubs were announced yesterday in Assembly. First, a trio of students are starting an Animation Club and they are looking for other budding programmers to join them. Second, our 8th-grade Science teacher Mr. Slattengren is pulling together a team to compete in the Washington State Middle School Science Olympiad. He just told me at lunch that he already has more than 30 interested students. there is a bit of a time commitment so be sure your student has all the details. Go Clubs!

[11/22/14]   Our Pumas lost in a heartbreaker. Darn!

[11/22/14]   Conferences went really well today. I was really proud of all the kids as they told their parents the story of their learning during the 1st quarter. We have two conference days per year and the second one will be on May 1. Not too early to mark your calendar. Thanks to all the parents who came out today.

[11/22/14]   The Puma Varsity Girls Soccer team is on the field right now and we are down 0-1. Time to send some good Puma wishes their way! Games continue tomorrow for the girls to decide 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Go Team!

We in the Middle School want to support all the great things that happen at UPrep, and right now, our Varsity Girls Soccer is awesome! Tomorrow (Saturday) the Pumas take on SAAS at Shoreline Stadium at 1:00 for the State Quarterfinal. This is very exciting for our girls and Coach Duxbury. All are welcome to come out and cheer them on. Go PUMAS!

Middle School Stagecraft is hard at working putting together the set for our upcoming plays. The Stagecraft room was literally "a-buzz" as students cut out moons, painted sets and built scene pieces onto the stage. The Upper School musical, "Suessical" premiers Dec. 11 at 4:00 and MS students may stay after school that day and attend a supervised performance with snacks beforehand. More info coming home via the Parent Reps as the date nears!

It's Pickleball season in PE! This is traditionally one of our students' favorite units. In fact, as I left the gym after the class in this photo (6th grade) I overheard two 7th-grade boys rushing to PE saying, "I love Pickleball!" Yes we do!

Mr. Toribio and Ms. Shortell, our Middle School math teachers, have been working with BOTH 6th- and 7th-grade students in the same math period. This "blended" approach to math allows students to get additional help or explore math subjects more deeply, independent of their grade level. More information is coming home via email to the parents in these two grades, but our first few classes have been interesting and inspiring as students help each other.

We had a super Halloween assembly today! It was our first all-school Halloween assembly and it was put on by the Middle and Upper School Student Councils. There were lots of contests (like this doughnut eating challenge) costume contests, Thriller Dancers and good fun. Have a safe and happy night tomorrow.

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