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What's new in UCPS for 2023-2024

Get ready for an exciting year at Union County Public Schools (UCPS) in 2023-2024! The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 28. We're building two new schools, introducing the Next Stop: TeachUCPS program at a second high school, expanding Dual Language Immersion programs, implementing the Leader in Me model in an additional school and launching a Sustainable Energy Academy. Plus, we are adding four more sports to middle school athletics and expanding the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program.

1. New school construction underway: East Elementary and Forest Hills High
Construction crews are already on-site at East Elementary and Forest Hills High. These two new state-of-the-art facilities are being built to enhance the learning environment for our students. The modern designs and innovative features will create an exceptional educational space for future generations to thrive. These projects were approved in the 2022 bond.

2. Introducing Next Stop: TeachUCPS at Porter Ridge High
UCPS nurtures a culture of continuous learning and professional growth for high school students through various initiatives. The Teaching as a Profession Academy is an exciting component of the Next Stop: TeachUCPS teacher pipeline program. Having achieved success at Weddington High, this academy is now set to launch at Porter Ridge High, further enhancing the program's reach and impact.

This pathway allows students to earn a high school diploma, gain practical experience as a teacher assistant and apprentice, receive financial support through the Gateway to Wingate Scholarship, and obtain an Associate's Degree without any tuition fees. It is designed to smooth their journey toward becoming a classroom teacher at UCPS.

3. New Dual Language Immersion programs at two elementary schools and expansion at one middle school and three high schools
UCPS is dedicated to promoting multiculturalism and language proficiency among students. This school year, we will offer dual language immersion programs in 30 schools, with the choice of languages being either Spanish or Mandarin depending on the school.  

We are excited to introduce new Dual Language Immersion programs at Sandy Ridge Elementary and Rea View Elementary. These programs will initially begin at the kindergarten level, providing students with the opportunity to become fluent in both English and Spanish, with plans to expand the offering to other grades. This initiative nurtures enhanced cognitive skills, greater self-esteem, and cultural awareness, preparing students for success in an interconnected world. These bilingual skills provide valuable career advantages in the national and international job markets.

The DLI program will also expand its offerings to sixth-grade students at Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle and students at Parkwood, Porter Ridge and Weddington high schools.

4. Leader in Me comes to Health Sciences at Monroe Middle School
Developing leadership skills and instilling a strong sense of responsibility in students is a priority at UCPS. This year, the well-known "Leader in Me" model will be implemented at Health Sciences at Monroe Middle to further this goal. It will empower students with essential leadership qualities and habits that will serve them well in both academics and personal growth.

5. Sustainable energy takes root in the Parkwood Cluster
UCPS is offering students an opportunity to explore and engage in a fast-growing industry in our state, region and nation. Sustainable energy is all about using energy sources that will not run out or harm the environment. It comes from resources that naturally renew themselves, like the power of the sun, wind and water.

The Sustainable Energy Academy will teach students in the Parkwood Cluster (Prospect Elementary, Western Union Elementary, Waxhaw Elementary, Parkwood Middle and Parkwood High) about energy efficiency, sustainable resources for energy and food production and new energy technologies.

6. More middle school sports added
UCPS is in its second year of offering middle school sports. Beginning this year, the district will offer cross country, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. Basketball, basketball cheer and soccer were implemented last school year. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their athletic talents and compete in a supportive and encouraging environment.

7. SRO Program expanded
The Union County Sheriff's Office has recently implemented new safety-related items to bolster SRO Program. In response to the growing need for enhanced security measures in schools, Union County approved the addition of a new captain's position, a sergeant's position and four more SRO positions.

This marks the second year of a comprehensive three-year plan aimed at achieving a 1:1 SRO-to-school ratio by the 2024-2025 academic year. Presently, the SRO program boasts a well-structured team consisting of a captain, lieutenant, five sergeants and a dedicated group of 39 SROs who diligently serve UCPS schools. Furthermore, schools within the city limits of Monroe, Waxhaw and Stallings benefit from additional coverage provided by officers who serve these municipalities, enhancing safety and protection throughout the region.