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Why We Chose UPrep

The Miyoshi family chose UPrep because it offers a full package of learning and student life opportunities.

Michele Miyoshi, parent to a 7th grade student and a 10th grade student, explains why her family chose UPrep

Initially, we were looking for a school that could accommodate both our children because they are very different learners. I knew that my oldest would benefit from support and structure, while my younger child needed a place that would challenge her intellectually. We chose UPrep, a a 6–12 private school, because it offers a full package of learning and student life opportunities. We didn’t know exactly what would interest our daughters, but we knew at UPrep that they would have plenty of avenues available to explore. Of course, the academic excellence was a draw, but we were also thrilled with the language program, athletics, and music, theatre, and fine arts classes.

It was important to our family that our girls attend a school with a fair amount of diversity of all kinds. Since our family is Japanese, racial diversity is essential to us. I am thankful for the diversity in the school and the opportunities for students to have conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our family is grateful that these conversations are happening in the UPrep community—not just for students but for families as well. We have attended most of the Equity and Inclusion Virtual Speaker Series.

We were excited about the solid athletic program because our daughters have always participated in sports. UPrep’s no-cut policy meant that our oldest daughter, Claire, could try basketball for the first time in Middle School, and that she was actually able to play in the games. Now that she is in 10th grade, she participates in cross country in the fall and track and field in the spring. Lily, our 7th grader, participates in gymnastics outside of school, but says if she leaves that sport, she’ll try Ultimate Frisbee at UPrep.

My older child, Claire, participated in SchoolHacks in 7th grade. [This is an elective course for students in 7th–12th grade, where students work in a small group with an Integrated Learning Specialist to get support in executive functioning, study skills, and self-advocacy.] By the end of that school year, she was able to manage her time better and prioritize her work. During Upper School, Claire has been able to organize herself and take ownership of her learning. I feel like UPrep teaches students to be accountable and to advocate for themselves, and we have seen these skills come to fruition.

My younger daughter, Lily, was bored in elementary school and always professed to dislike math. I’d say, “Oh, don’t worry, when you get to UPrep math will be super fun because it will be challenging and exciting.” This is true. Lily is in Algebra 1 as a 7th grade student with a group of other students in her grade. She is being stretched to grow to her full potential. There are times when she is challenged by  new material, and this is a good place for her to be. When she is struggling, she doesn’t want my help and she’ll take her questions to her teacher. Happily, she no longer says she hates math.

That’s one of the things we love about UPrep: the school’s ability to tailor fit to each student’s needs. For example, when Claire was in 7th grade, there were group science projects that culminated in a spring Science Café. Claire wanted to do an egg immunotherapy project because she was starting to outgrow her egg allergy. Her teacher allowed her to do her science experiment alone—even though it was supposed to be a group project. She ate a muffin a day that contained increasing amounts of egg while testing her tolerance for eggs. That experiment was the catalyst to her outgrowing her egg allergy entirely. By allowing her to change it to a solo project meant she could do something meaningful to her and that made the project exciting.

We also chose UPrep because we knew the girls would have the opportunity to learn Japanese through GOA. [Global Online Academy, a consortium of over 150 leading independent schools that offers UPrep students a collaborative, cross-cultural, transdisciplinary learning experience with peer institutions around the world.] Right now, though, both girls are learning Spanish at UPrep, and it’s been great to see this language come alive for them. They will often come into the kitchen and ask me questions in Spanish, and I’ll say the only thing I know in Spanish, which translates to: I don’t speak Spanish. They even speak Spanish at the dinner table. Claire's teacher from 9th grade suggested some novels for her to read in Spanish last summer. She reads them entirely in Spanish, and she can absorb these stories without doing mental translation to English, which has made it fun for her. 

My girls have  always gravitated towards art as well. Claire, the Upper School student, has taken art-focused intensive classes. [Intensives are three-week terms in January and June where students engage in one course all day long.] This has created a nice rhythm for her, giving her three weeks to focus on creativity without the stress of the semester workload.

If you ask my daughters why they love UPrep, they will tell you that they love their teachers. Claire has always felt like her teachers are invested in her learning and care about her success. I was amazed by her first report card from UPrep because I could tell they understood both her challenges and strengths. During her 9th grade biology class, she enjoyed learning about lions in Africa and she is now contemplating studying biology in college. Although Lily spent most of 6th grade learning virtually, she was impressed by the kindness of her teachers and their wealth of knowledge. I was impressed with how her 6th grade English teacher gave her constructive criticism and helped her become a more organized and concise writer. There is a culture of kindness in the school community, and that’s one more reason my husband and I are thankful that we chose to send both of our girls to UPrep, a top private school in Seattle.

Read more articles in our Inside Independent Schools series!



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