Spotlight on Schools: University Park Elementary School!

In this third installment of our Spotlight on Schools series, local parents Sarah Treado & Christine Becraft shares their thoughts on University Park Elementary School!  To learn more about this school, head to their Open House on March 21st (next Tuesday), 8:30-10am!

4315 Underwood Street, University Park, MD 20782
Grades K-6th 

By: Sarah Treado
Parent of 2nd & 6th Graders

How many children and what grades are they in?

I currently have a second and sixth graders at University Park Elementary School (UPES).

Overall, how has your experience been at the school?

Overall, my kids have had very positive experiences at UPES. My sixth grader is especially sad to be leaving this summer. They have both been offered opportunities to thrive at UPES in its diverse environment that is also a great neighborhood school. The people who have really made differences in their lives are many of the teachers at UPES. We are lucky to have teachers at our school who are truly dedicated professionals who care about the kids and the community. Sure, some years were better than others for my kids, but on the whole, I can’t say enough about the teachers who have touched my kids lives at UPES. I’ll always be grateful for their kindness, inspiration and dedication.

What are some unique activities or clubs that your school offers?

The PTA has a long-standing tradition of offering afterschool enrichment classes of all kinds! Over the years, my kids have taken everything from ceramics to typing to improv to quidditch. There’s chess and tennis and now even sock-money making. It’s pretty fantastic. My older daughter has loved being in the school’s annual musical which is a decades-old tradition at our school with a commitment to the arts side of elementary school education. It’s a full-scale event loved by all who participate and attend.

What does the school do to encourage a sense of community among its families/students?

We have a very strong and active PTA that offer opportunities throughout the year to engage with the school community. My favorite annual event is coming up on April 8 — the Azalea Classic. The Azalea Class is a great event that engages school and community members (all ages welcome!) to participate in or just watch, a 1K fun run, 1 mile run, or beautiful and challenging 5K. It encourages fitness, makes it fun with a great after-party, and is also a great fundraiser for our school. All the PTA-sponsored events are geared toward providing a welcoming environment for all — students, family members, alumni, community members. We also have a great parent liaison who has been working to offer educational and community opportunities at the school so that our school is more than just a place where your kids are educated, but also a place you can come to learn and receive support.

What do you like most about your school?

The teachers, its diversity, and the fact that my kids feel happy, safe, cared-for, and at home in their school.

Any upcoming Open Houses or events open to the public?

Yes, we are hosting our Spring Open House for interested or incoming families next Tuesday, March 21 from 8:30 to 10am in the Media Center. It’s a nice opportunity to learn more about our school, hear from some of our great teachers, and get a quick tour. Families entering UPES in the Fall of 2017 are especially invited, but anyone with an interest in learning about UPES as a possible educational opportunity for their child of any age is welcome to attend. Folks can RSVP to me at Also, everyone is welcome to participate in the Azalea Classic on April 8 that I mentioned earlier! You can register on the website at

Additionally, Christine Becraft, mom to 3 daughters at UPES (grades 1, 3 and 5)(as well as 2 sons who are future UPES students!) shares her thoughts on the school: 

The tight-knit University Park community rallies around the school, located in the heart of the neighborhood.  Many families have moved into the UPES school district specifically to send their kids here.  I love the fact that my kids have been friends with many of their classmates since they started preschool together at age 2!  These kids not only go to school toegther, but participate in sports teams, dancing classes, and extracurriculars outside of school.  Here’s just an sample of some of the fun and interesting programs UPES offers to its students:

  • Annual Spring Musical – Lion King this year!
  • PTA and school sponsored After-school clubs/classes, including Lego robotics, ceramics, storybook science, creative writing, rockstar academy, tennis by the JTCC, Quidditch, coding, Zumba, Dance Revolution, golf, painting, chess, storybook improv class, printmaking, typing, jewelry making/arts&crafts, juggling, Italian club, tech club, Cricket Team
  • Science Bowl Champions 2015, as a school we have won the championship the most in the county ( 90-91, 03-04, 04-05, 05-06,11-12, 14-15)
  • Choir performed at Carnegie Hall June 2016
  • Anacostia Watershed partner – redesigning the school grounds&fields with plantings/permeable pavements/special soils where applicable for a more environmentally friendly area
  • Special projects throughout the year including Write-a-Book competition where students write, illustrate, and bind a book. Participants have an Author’s Tea upon completion. Annual Science Fair, Literary Extravaganza project and Destination Imagination.
  • Reading Together Program (for ESOL and students who need extra help) provides homework help – older students are taught how to teach a reading lesson to the younger students in the program by the teachers, and then the older students actually teach the lesson to the students

Don’t forget, UPES’s Open House is next Tuesday, 3/21 @ 8:30am.  

Like what you’ve read?  Check out these additional schools featured in our Spotlight on Schools Series! 
Greenbelt Elementary School
Dora Kennedy French Immersion School
University Park Elementary School
Riverdale Elementary School
Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School
Robert Goddard Montessori School
Mt. Rainier Elementary School
Holy Redeemer School
Want to write and share a little bit about your local Prince George’s County school?  Please do!  Contact me at

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