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Growing Together: Elementary PTOs Create One U City


The School District of University City has six separate parent-teacher organizations representing each of its freestanding schools. This past year, a group of parents at each of the district's four elementary schools recognized an opportunity to work together and build a strong partnership among their PTOs with the goals of building equity and community across the district.

One U City is a group of 10 representatives from the PTOs at Barbara C. Jordan, Flynn Park, Jackson Park and Pershing elementary schools. They recognized that together they could strengthen their individual school-based PTOs by sharing resources, ideas and manpower. They aim to build awareness, connections and community among all families and schools in the district while also building U City Pride. 

With those goals in mind, One U City is coordinating five district-wide events open to all elementary school families - and the entire University City community. The first four of the One U City events will be hosted by a different elementary school. The PTOs are excited to welcome the community into their spaces and share each of their unique schools with the broader U City community.

"The School District of University City is a rich and diverse community with four incredible elementary schools, and all of our children deserve a community that works together to support them. We want our children to feel connected and proud to be a part of the broader U City community," said Flynn Park parent Tricia Sanders, a member of One U City. "One of the parents on the One U City team said at our last meeting, 'This gives me the chills - this just makes me feel U. City.' We all loved that - the idea that U City is really a feeling: a feeling of community and deep pride. Pride in our history, our diversity and our collective future. One U City is committed to helping our school communities and all of our children 'feel U City,' and we hope that the larger community will join us and celebrate One U City with us."

The One U City events scheduled for this school year are:

  • Jazz and More Under the Stars, a night of music and community in a festive, late-summer setting held on the lawns and lots of Pershing Elementary on Sept. 20, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
  • Trunk or Treat, a Halloween trick-or-treating party hosted by Jackson Park Elementary on Oct. 25, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Chili Cook-Off, hosted by Flynn Park Elementary on Jan. 26, 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Multi-Cultural Event, hosted by Barbara C. Jordan Elementary on March 3, 6-8 p.m.
  • End of the Year Elementary School Picnic at Heman Park on May 16, 4 to 7 p.m.

One U City is unique. PTO groups rarely function beyond their own schools. It is common for some schools to have more resources, parent networks and spare time than others in the same district. One U City organizers recognized this disparity in the district and knew it could do better. One U City is part of an effort to ensure equity and build community across the district. It aims to amplify overall community pride and engagement in the historic school district. Indeed, the tagline for One U City is Four Schools, One Pride. 

Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley said One U City is an outstanding effort that speaks to the heart of equity-building in the school district.

“It shouldn’t be because of their circumstances that our children suffer. It’s not alright for some schools to thrive and be fine while others don’t,” Hardin-Bartley said. “One U City is a great example for all of our kids to see that the parents have their backs and are working in service of every child.”

One U City is also coordinating the ticket sales for U. City Day at the Ballgame on Sunday, March 26, 2020. Learn more or purchase your tickets at

For more information, contact Tricia Sanders: