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Staff Opening Day Celebrates the Heart of a Lion

poster It takes love and courage to build meaningful relationships that empower learning in our students – or as we like to say in U. City, to be a great teacher you must have the heart of a lion.

On Monday, Aug. 5, The School District of University City welcomed back more than 500 teachers and staff for a day of building and celebrating relationships. The theme for the day was Heart of a Lion.

The day began at 8:30 a.m. with complimentary smoothies in the lobby of University City High School as well as a gallery of fierce photos of our school principals and superintendent, each with painted in lion faces. Each of our “lions” exemplified the qualities of great teachers: Empathetic, Compassionate, Strong, Powerful, Courageous, Daring, Confident and Bold.

collage An assembly in the high school auditorium began at 9 a.m. with a bang and flourish thanks to the University City High School Drum Line and dancers from Pershing Elementary School. After their performances, the young dancers were joined on stage by 12-year-old Jhala Angelique, a nationally known singer and anti-bullying activist. Jayla sang Circle of Life to roaring applause.

The assembly celebrated our new teachers, our longtime staff and our newest teacher of the year and support person of the year: Julie Hubbartt and Darlene Holliday, respectively. Special guests included University City Mayor Terry Crow, … and

Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley spoke about the critical importance of teaching with heart and strength so that all students feel loved, connected and challenged in their learning.

There were 22 lucky raffle prize winners in the crowd thanks to donations from local businesses. Our generous donors included Salt and Smoke, Meshuggah Café, Dick Blick’s of U. City, Winslow’s Home, Pedal Pedal and Stretch, Sasha’s Wine Bar, CBD Kratom and Paper Dolls Boutique. Dr. Hardin Bartley also donated her time. Two lucky teachers were given “a day of wellness” in which the superintendent pledged to sub for their classes for a day so they could take the day off to rest and take time for themselves.

The assembly ended with another song by Angelique, a pop ballad entitled Be Yourself.

Staff then reported to their respective buildings for three hours of training on relationship building facilitated by Wyman and its partners.

The training was unique to University City Schools. No other District in the region devotes a full day to build critical relationship skills in its teachers and staff. It’s all part of the District’s three pillars: to humanize, personalize and problematize learning for all of its students.

The 2019-20 school year officially begins on August 13 when 1,560 students return to the District’s pre-k through 12 classrooms. Teachers are currently preparing for their return.

Stay tuned for more exciting news as we prepare for the first day of school.