All UNO faculty and staff hold themselves to high-expectations in every aspect of their job. The student school day is a full day (7 ½ hours) and planning and meetings among various staff members occur before, during, and after school.
Each UNO faculty or staff member believes that 100% of students are capable of being more competitive at the end of the year than they were at the beginning of the year (as measured by each student’s National Percentile Ranking on NWEA or their STEP level). In addition, UNO teachers believe that all students scoring at least one full grade-level behind are capable of making 1.5 years of growth within one year.
Collaborative, Professional Environment
All members of the UNO community contribute to a highly-collaborative and professional environment. All UNO teachers and staff wear an UNO blazer, which sets the professional tone within the school community. In addition, UNO teachers collaborate with one another (grade-level partners, non-classroom teachers, the Special Education department, etc.) in order to plan for the most meaningful learning experiences for all students. Also, Master Teachers and Academic Directors collaborate with one another across the network.
Developing partnerships that support student achievement
All UNO faculty and staff understand the importance of building relationships with parents in order to increase student achievement. As a result, UNO teachers and Academic Directors engage parents in a wide-variety of ways to ensure the education of each student is a partnership. Teachers do two home visits during the year, call parents regularly updating them of the progress of their child, and meet with them before or after school when necessary. 100% of parents are expected to sign a “parent contract” which delineates the expectations of the parents and the school. Academic Directors meet with parents regularly in individual and small-group settings. All UNO staff and faculty also participate in a wide-variety of evening school activities that occur throughout the year, including monthly Family Literacy Nights.
Structured environments that maximize learning
A key component to all UNO schools is a highly productive and structured school environment. Each UNO teacher maintains and builds a classroom culture conducive to learning by establishing and following through on clear behavior expectations. Students are expected to be in full uniform and adhere to the classroom and school rules 100% of the time. The consistent and predictable environment within each classroom creates a school culture that is focused on high-quality learning.
Involvement in a broader community
Although there are eleven different UNO schools, all schools in the network come together throughout the year to celebrate various occasions. Every spring, all students in the network meet at one location and participate in the Summer Reading Kick-Off to engage in Literacy activities with students from across the network. UNO hosts a 5K event every October called “Carrera de los Muertos” and members of the UNO community and the community at large run in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. UNO also has an Athletic Program that engages students and families in cross-network competition. Sports within the program include soccer, basketball, flag football, and volleyball for boys and girls.