Frequently Asked Questions
GENERAL CHARTER QUESTIONS
What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools, but they are not simply another version of the traditional independent school district (ISD). To further promote local initiative, the 1995 revision of the Texas Education Code established a new type of public school known as a charter school. Charter schools are subject to fewer state laws than other public schools with the idea of ensuring fiscal and academic accountability without undue regulation of instructional methods or pedagogical innovation. Like school districts, charter schools are monitored and accredited under the statewide testing and accountability system.
Why do charter schools exist?
Charter schools were developed in Texas in order to improve student learning, increase the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system, establish a new form of accountability for public schools, and encourage different and innovative learning methods.
What does the term “school choice” mean?
School choice programs provide alternatives to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local public schools to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies between ISDs, magnet schools, and charter schools.
Where can I read more about charter schools in Texas?
The Texas Education Agency also has a charter school page on its website. Their FAQ page is linked here: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/texas-schools-charter-schools/charter-schools-faqs
THE UME MODEL
What does UME stand for?
UME is an acronym for University Method of Education. This method of education was developed and found effective in K-12 schools in the private school arena for roughly two decades before UME Preparatory Academy was born. University model schools function with a shortened academic year and reduced hours per week that scholars spend under direct professional instruction. Also, class schedules for secondary scholars follow a university type schedule with Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes and Tuesday/Thursday classes.
What does it mean to be a parent partnership school?
The University Method of Education is designed to give time and access back to parents in exchange for their commitment to be academically and relationally involved with their children outside of class. This good faith partnership between parents and teachers makes it both possible and practical for home and school integration to strengthen families while also providing a quality college preparatory/work-ready education.
How does the shortened school day affect the pacing of UME’s education plan?
UME Prep’s shortened school day is designed to give time back to our families, which means our scholars spend less time in the school classroom. Because of the shortened classroom time, UME teachers present and teach new concepts daily. The pacing of the curriculum moves quickly, thus it is imperative that parents are reinforcing the skills taught at school by being actively involved in their scholar’s at-home learning tasks. These assignments are designed to provide the practice and additional exposure that is essential for mastery of skills taught.
Do UME scholars take the STAAR test?
Yes, UME Prep is a public school, thus we are required under the Texas Education Agency statewide testing system to administer the STAAR exam to our scholars.
Does UME offer after-school care for their scholars?
One of UME Prep’s foundational principles as a parent partnership school is to give time back to our families. For this reason, we do not provide an after-school program. All scholars are released from school into the care of a guardian.
Does UME offer tutoring for their scholars?
UME offers tutoring both during the school day, before school, and after school, based on the needs of the individual scholar.
What are the class sizes at UME?
UME Prep is committed to maintaining small class sizes. These class sizes are actually mandated by grade level in our charter.
Kindergarten – 16 students per class
1st-2nd Grades – 18 students per class
3rd-6th Grades – 20 students per class
7th-8th Grades – 22 students per class
9th-12th Grades – 24 students per class
How do I apply for enrollment?To apply, you will go to umeprep.org, click on admissions, and choose either Dallas (K-12), Duncanville Campus (K-6) or Mansfield Campus (K-6). Once you choose your campus, you will click on the student enrollment application, fill out and submit. If you have students in grades K-6, you can apply at all 3 campuses.
Does UME have a special education program?
Yes, we are a public charter school and therefore, do offer special education. While our first priority is keeping students in the classroom due to our fast pace and increased rigor, we look carefully at the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance and provide the support needed for each child on an individualized basis.
My child is struggling (academically, behaviorally). What should I do?
When you or the teacher notice that your child is struggling, RTI (Response to
Intervention) should be started. Please talk to your child’s teacher about starting them in RTI. The purpose of RTI is to put interventions in place to help your child be successful. If multiple interventions are tried and documented and are not successful, your child may need a referral to receive an evaluation for a 504 plan or an FIIE (Full Individual Initial Evaluation) for Special Education.
My child has a 504 plan and is receiving dyslexia services. Why am I being told that he/she has to have an FIIE for Special Education?
With the passing of HB 3928, students who are receiving dyslexia services through a 504 plan will need to be evaluated with a Full Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE). Dyslexia is now a specific learning disability and thus, a qualifying condition for Special Education. Should a parent deny the evaluation, students will no longer receive dyslexia services. A student can continue on a 504 plan with accommodations, but cannot receive services.
What is the difference between my child being on a 504 plan and being in Special Education?
Students with qualifying disabilities can be on a 504 plan or receive Special Education services. A 504 plan will provide accommodations for your scholar to be met in the general education classroom. If you feel your scholar needs accommodations AND specialized support services, they will need to be evaluated with a Full Individual Initial Evaluation for Special Education.
What is ESL?
ESL is English as a second language. If your scholar is eligible to receive ESL services, then your scholar has a language other than English listed on their home language survey, was language tested, and was found to be limited English proficient, limited English speaking, or non-English speaking.
Why is my scholar receiving ESL services?
The original home language survey listed a language(s) other than English. The scholar was language tested and found to be limited English proficient or non-English proficient. A language proficiency assessment committee meeting was held and the recommendation made by the committee was to place the scholar in the ESL program. A letter was sent home requesting consent to enroll the scholar in the ESL program and consent was granted.
Does UME have a Gifted and Talented (GT) program?
No, UME does not offer a GT program. Due to the shortened school day, UME’s instruction is already accelerated and generally meets the needs of scholars who perform at a high level of achievement. In the same way parents provide additional remediation support at home, parents are encouraged to provide enhancement at home for their scholar to express intellectual, creative, and artistic interests.
How can my child obtain a school-issued Chromebook?
If your child wishes to bring a Chromebook, please fill out this form and send an email to [email protected]. Please ensure to provide your scholar's name and grade in the communication. Our IT Director will coordinate the issuance of a Chromebook to your scholar.
What if my child wants to use their own device for school?
To request access for your scholar to use their own device, complete this form and send an email to [email protected]. Please include your scholar's name and grade. Our IT Director will grant Internet access for your scholar's personal device.
Can my scholar use the Chromebook for non-educational purposes like gaming or streaming when at home?
No, the Chromebooks provided are intended for educational purposes only. For further details on the Chromebook usage policy, please refer to the student handbook under the Student Life section, Technology subsection.
How can I insure my scholar's school-issued Chromebook?
You can find information about insuring your scholar's Chromebook in the application form you submitted. The insurance link is provided there. Alternatively, you can access the insurance application here. Please have your scholar's Chromebook serial number ready.
How do I access Skyward? (For Students)
Click the red Skyward button on the top right of the UME Home Page. Your username is the first letter of your first name followed by your last name and your 2 digit graduation year. (Ex. gstafford94) Your password is your Date of Birth. (Ex. 11231964)
How do I access Skyward? (For Parents)
Click the red Skyward button on the top right of the UME Home Page. Your username is your first name.last name. (Ex. ginger.stafford) Your initial password was sent to you when your student was enrolled. Once you log in the first time it will ask you to change your password before proceeding.
I'm having trouble logging into Skyward. Who can assist me with this issue?
For assistance with Skyward login issues, please reach out to Ginger Stafford at [email protected].
My son is unable to log into his/her email. Who can help me with this?
If your scholar is experiencing difficulty logging into the school email, please send an email to [email protected] and cc [email protected] for assistance. They will help you resolve the issue promptly.
How do I access Clever at home?
https://clever.com/in/umeprep - Log in using your school email credentials
How do I contact the IT department?
For any additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact the IT department at [email protected]. We are here to assist you!
Where do I go to complete an employment application?Click on this link to access the employment application.
Does UME offer a dual credit associate degree program?
No, UME does not offer an associate degree program. UME does offer many dual credit courses that qualifying students may take advantage of beginning their junior year.
Which high school graduation endorsements does UME offer?
Currently, UME offers Multidisciplinary Studies, STEM (math), and Arts & Humanities.
Does UME provide transportation?
UME does not provide transportation services to or from school. UME does provide transportation to some athletic facilities for students participating in various sports throughout the school year.
How do absences affect a student’s achievement?
Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance. When students are absent from school, they miss out on consistent instruction that is needed to master the material taught. Continual absences can have a snowball effect that impacts future learning. At UME Prep, to receive credit or a final grade in a class, a student must attend at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.
Does UME offer any after-school clubs/activities?
Yes, each campus offers a selection of after-school clubs/activities each semester. Each campus communicates these opportunities to the school community via the newsletter and email.
Does UME have sports teams?
Yes, there are many sports available to students in grades 7 through 12 throughout the school year. The athletic department communicates with families before each sports season begins.
Will fundraising include sales for clubs at each campus?
Fundraising campaigns run by the office of the Director of Development are district wide and focus on the UME organization as a whole. All other fundraising campaigns will be launched at the campus level.