UPS Celebrates 100 Years of ‘Uncommon Vision’

As the 2019-20 school year unfolds, Union Public Schools is celebrating 100 years of “Uncommon Vision,” Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler told the Board of Education during a recent board meeting.
Hartzler talked to the b oard about plans for the annual back-to-school employee kickoff and the work staff has been doing over the summer as it prepared for the first day of school on August 21.
“We are ready,” said Dr. Hartzler. “I would personally like to thank the support side of the house as they have rushed to get everything completed in time for the new school year. Everyone has been extremely busy.” 
This year, Union is focusing on the many great things it has in store for the future, from the construction of a new stadium to the implementation of technology and new programs that will aid in the education of students. He said it is the same ‘uncommon vision’ that has been a continual thread in Union’s history as it grew from a small district created by the consolidation in 1919 of four smaller districts to the powerhouse it has become today.  
“I look forward to celebrating our first 100 years and casting a vision for our next 100,” said Hartzler.

Coaching to Help Union Enhance Literacy Goals
In additional business, the Board of Education approved a $103,902 agreement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) Services for job-embedded, in-person and online coaching with data teams to help Union Public Schools focus on improving literacy efforts at five elementary sites.
As members of a professional learning community, first through fifth grade teachers, specialists, EL leads, instructional coaches and principals at Boevers, Clark, McAuliffe, Ochoa, and Rosa Parks will participate in job-embedded in-person and online coaching with Data Teams to enhance student achievement in literacy, reported Chasity Gray, director of Professional Learning.
Educators participated in training sessions in June to learn “how to elevate teacher teams to the next level of literacy student achievement through feedback, intentional focuses on power standards and high-impact instructional strategies,” Gray said.
During the 2019-2020 school year, data teams at the five schools and by grade levels will select essential literacy power standards, develop assessment methods, and implement strategies to monitor and evaluate student learning through a team approach that supports teacher collaboration on a regular basis.
Teacher support will include 27 days of continued job embedded, in-person coaching and four 30-minute online coaching sessions for five teachers. This coaching support will be divided among the five elementary sites and will be ongoing support held during the time frames of September 2019, October 2019, November 2019, January 2020, March 2020, and a follow-up celebration to be determined at a later date, but no later than June 2020.
“This work fully supports the objective of our professional learning goals written into our local literacy plan,” Gray said.
In other action, the Board:
• Approved a bid of $75,000 to Ozark Empire Distributors, Inc., for bread products and $85,000 to U.S. Foodservice for snacks.
• Approved the purchase of new copiers for $97,934 from Oklahoma Copier Solutions for the 6th/7th Grade Center, 8th Grade Center, Union High School Freshman Academy, High School and Darnaby Elementary.
• Approved the purchase of a two-year contract with Kronos Workforce Software Support and Cloud Hosting Services for $145,800. “This upgrade will dramatically improve functionality for employees and for our Payroll Department,” said CFO Trish Williams. “Employees will be able to clock in using their own mobile devices. We expect to go live January 1.” Williams said the new system has geo-fencing, which restricts a person’s ability to clock in if they are off-premises. Security and checks are built into the system, and the new system will greatly improve efficiencies.