Uinta Meadows Elementary

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Parents » Newsletter


Dear Uinta Meadows Parents and Students,


UME has a few new faces and changes this year. I, Jerrod Dastrup, will be in my second year as the building principal.  My wife, Nicole, and twin six month old girls, Skye and Reese, are thrilled to call Evanston our home!  Due to significant budget cuts to education across the state, we lost our fantastic vice principal, Kimber Fessler.  She is now the building principal at Clark Elementary.  


We have some new faces at UME this year!  We welcome these new staff members and know that they will make great contributions to success of UME and it’s students.

  • Lori Sponenburgh; Math Coach
  • Tim George; Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Nikki Robinette; P.E. Teacher
  • Tara Spero; K-1st Resource Teacher
  • Nate Hartsock; English Language Learner Teacher
  • April Walker; Science Computer Lab Aide
  • Laura Cook; Fifth Grade Aide
  • Jamie Liechty; Third Grade Aide
  • Brenda Stone; Third Grade Aide
  • Natalie Morrow; Second Grade Aide
  • Joel Rennard; English Language Learner Aide


The following are faculty who have changed positions within UME:

  • Caryn Piper; Fourth Grade (transferred from second grade)


The most important part of my job is creating an excellent instructional team at UME and I believe that UME has an unmatched team.  There is nothing this team cannot accomplish.  We are making a concerted effort in regards to communication between school and home.  Last year we created a UME Facebook page. Please “Like” our page to get the communication and updates that we will share on a regular basis.  We will also be communicating with families through our Powerschool system through a program called Alert Solutions 2.  Yes, this is the robotic female voice that everyone loves.  We hope you can appreciate the constant communication even though her voice is a bit less desireable.  This program uses the email address and phone numbers you provide UME that are entered into Powerschool.  Alert Solutions 2 allows us to send a message via phone, text and/or email to the contact information you have provided UME.  This information is confidential and will not be shared with others.  We strongly encourage you to update your contact information with your child’s teacher during Open House.


We are excited about the increased emphasis that is being placed on Personalized Learning in our classrooms at UME and throughout the district. Personalized Learning focuses on meeting the needs of each individual student.  We focus on the academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs of each child.  We love our students and want them to love UME.  We want them to leave UME having had the best all-around educational experience that we can offer.


PTA meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30pm in Kathy Seale’s fifth-grade classroom.  Angie Fitch will be serving as our new UME PTA President. Tammy Walker will be serving as Vice President. UME has an excellent board including Megan Hamilton as Secretary, Rachel Stahl as Treasurer, Daron Shelton as Co-Treasurer and Kristi Barker as Membership.  UME has the largest PTA in the state of Wyoming with 114 members last year alone.  They were also recognized as a National PTA School of Excellence.  Let’s do all we can to support their success.  I hope that every father and mother who has children at UME will join the PTA.


The UME Community Council is a student/parent/and staff governing council that meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00pm.  Tamra Peterson chairs the UME Community Council.  Our first meeting for the 2016-17 school year is scheduled for September 6th at 6:00pm in Kathy Seale’s fifth grade classroom at UME.  If you are interested in participating in Community Council there is nothing required of you in advance.  It is a great opportunity to come and meet with parents and staff as we discuss important information related to the students of UME.


Our Open House is scheduled for August 25th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.  We invite and encourage every parent to be there.  This is an opportunity for you to start your year on the right foot by meeting your child’s teacher and getting important information for your child’s success.  You will also have the opportunity to sign-up to volunteer and help with PTA.  


I have attached class lists.  Each child has been considered in putting together these lists.  The opportunity to request a classroom teacher has passed.  Please do not call and request a classroom change.  If your child’s name does not appear on this list, please call immediately.


Monday, August 29th will be the first day of school for all students.  It will be a full day.  August 30th - September 2nd will be half-days of school with students excused at 12:30pm.  Lunch will be served all week.  However, when there are half days during the rest of the school year students are dismissed at 12:20pm and lunch is not served.  Those students identified on the attached testing schedule will stay for a reading assessment and social skills training one day during the first week of school. They will be excused at 3:40pm.  Busses will run at 12:30pm and at 3:40pm to get students home.  Please review the attached reading assessment schedule to see what day your child will stay to be assessed.  Kindergarten teachers will be contacting parents to schedule conferences for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.  If your child’s name does not appear on this list please call immediately.


We encourage parents to sign-up for our Smith’s Earn and Learn Program.  You must register your Rewards Card annually.  This program costs nothing and earns our school thousands of dollars each year.  Last year the parents at UME earned for our school over $4,000.  Please ask friends and family members to sign-up as well.  You can be registered for Uinta Meadows Elementary at any Smith’s in the nation.


Remember to always check in at the office when visiting or volunteering at school. We have visitor badges in the office.  Your badge will tell the staff and students that you have checked in at UME.  At the end of the school day we ask parents to meet students in the lobby rather than walk through the hallways and to their classrooms.  We ask that parents do not disturb the school’s learning environment during class time.  We encourage all parents to volunteer a minimum of one day at UME.  During the day students must be checked out through the office.


We will be having a Student Council for fifth graders again this year.  Kathy Seale will be the Student Council Advisor.  Any fifth graders who are interested in being involved in Student Council must stay after school on September 7th from 4:00pm-5:00pm.  Mr. Dastrup, Mrs. Seale and Mr. Seale will review the requirements to be on Student Council, and we will spend 45 minutes cleaning up the school.  Parents will pick up their students at 5:00pm.


This year will be the fifth year that our fifth grade attends Teton Science School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, May 18th-22nd, 2017.  Now is the time for your fifth grader to begin earning their money for Teton Science School.  Younger students should also be working to earn the money to be able to pay for Teton Science School when they are in fifth grade.  Your fifth grade teachers will have more information regarding Teton Science School.


Thanks for your cooperation with our pick-up and drop off this last year.  Our system is not perfect, but does work when we are all on the same page and patient.  I would remind parents that when picking up or dropping off we should not be on our cell phones.  You may park and get out of your automobile on Cheyenne Drive, but please do not leave your automobile in the pick-up and drop-off lane as this lane needs to flow.  The west end parking lot is a staff parking lot. Due to parent traffic and busses exiting by that lot, parents should not drop off or pick up students in this lot. Parents may continue to drop off and pick up students in the east parking lot.


Lunch and breakfast prices stay the same this year.  Lunches will cost $2.30 and breakfast will cost $1.50.  Reduced prices will be $.40 for lunch and $.30 for breakfast.


As we all know learning does not just take place during the school year.  It is critical that each and every UME student continues growing during the summer.  This goal was promoted once again this summer with the Summer Math Challenge and Soaring into Summer Reading.  Hopefully your child(ren) has been getting on Dreambox for math and keeping track of his/her reading minutes on the UME reading calendar.  Remember, it is never too late to start reading and keeping track of those minutes!!  For each goal your child reaches they will earn incentives and spots on the UME bookshelf.  


The rewards are as follows:  700 minutes=pizza party with Mrs. Symes and Mr. Dastrup and a spot on the base shelf, 1,100 minutes=pizza party and UME reading T-shirt along with spots on the base and center shelf, 1,600 minutes = all of the above plus a gigantic celebration and a spot on the very top of the book shelf.  


Students entering Kindergarten will be eligible for the bookshelf and rewards by turning in their Pre-Kindergarten Reading/Writing Journals.  

As UME pushes to have 90% of our students reading on benchmark, we call upon parents to help us reach this goal by reading with and ensuring that their children are reading 20 minutes each night in a “Just Right” book. This is the single greatest support you can offer to the success of UME and your children.

Looking forward to a great year,


Jerrod Dastrup, Principal


New Staff Introductions

Lori Sponenburgh (Math Coach)

I am a Certified Elementary Education Teacher.  I have spent 8 years teaching 1st grade and title 1 with a focus on upper elementary within Mathematics and Reading.  I have spent the last 3 years as an Instructional Coach focusing on Mathematics within grades Kindergarten through 8th grade.  During this time, I have helped develop curricula, presented professional development district wide, participated in educational leadership, provided teacher support, conducted live web-casts nation-wide, and various other activities.  I am extremely excited to focus on K-8 throughout the district and concentrating on UME.  It is such a warm, wonderful place to be and I can’t wait to have a “home”.  During my free time, I enjoy traveling and have traveled many different places throughout the world.  I love being with my children and my husband doing various family activities.

Tim George (Fifth Grade Teacher)

I have worked the last 4 years as an educational paraprofessional at Horizon High School.  I am married to my wonderful wife, Erika George and we have 3 kids, Lexie (11), Jaxson (9), Ellie (5), 2 dogs (boxers), Gunnar (6) and Daisy(8)!  

My favorite things to do are hanging out with my family, teaching (especially math and social studies), reading comic books, ghost hunting and watching the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos and Utah Utes!I graduated from EHS, waited 20 years and graduated from WGU (Western Governors) with a K-8th degree. I am overjoyed to return to my elementary school as a teacher!

Nikki Robinette (P.E.Teacher)

Hi! My name is Nikki Robinette I will be teaching physical education.  First off, I am excited to be at UME!  I will do the very best I can to ensure all students have a positive experience in physical education.  I am passionate about what I teach, and I love working with kids.  We have an amazing staff and I feel lucky to have the chance to get to know and work with all of them.

I love my family! I am married to the love of my life Travis Robinette . He teaches at the high school and is the EHS golf coach.  I have four beautiful children. Jake is my oldest; he is 12 and in 7th grade at DMS.  I have twins, which is super fun, Luke and Cole; they are 11 and in 5th grade at UME. Then we have our little sweetheart Kynlee; she is 6 and will be in first grade at UME.  We have a blast together and love living in Evanston.

Tara Spero (K-1 Resource Teacher)

My name is Tara Spero. I have worked in UInta County School District for 8 years. I am eager and excited to start this new position as K-1st resource at Uinta Meadows Elementary. I gained my college education beginning at Western Wyoming Community College and ending at Regis University. I am excited to learn from each of my students this year, I am also excited to share my knowledge with them.

I am married to a welder at Union Tank $ Car Co. His name is Thomas Spero. Together, we have 5 children and 2 grandchildren. Nothing is more important to me than my family and education. I enjoy reading, writing, surfing, wakeboarding, hunting, camping, 4 wheeling, boating and sports. If I can be outside being productive I am happy!

I am so excited to join the UME team and I look forward to what an amazing and incredible experiences are yet to come.

Nate Hartsock (K-5 English as a Second Language Teacher)

My name is Nate Hartsock and I am a new teacher here at Uinta Meadows Elementary. I will be teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). This is my 8th year teaching in education, but my first year at the elementary level and I am excited to be teaching at this level. I recently came from Riverside High School in Basin, WY. I taught Spanish at the high school level and was also the ESL Coordinator for the school district.

I moved here with my wife Melissa Hartsock and my very energetic twin boys Titan and Kannin who are almost three years old. We enjoy being active, traveling, watching and playing sports. I cannot stress how excited we are to be here and to be involved in such a great community.

Joel Rennard (K-5 English as a Second Language Aide)

Hello, my name is Joel Rennard. Rennard is French for fox, for that reason many of my co-workers and students call me, Mr. Fox. I had the privilege of working at UME as a temporary bilingual aide for the last month of the last school year. I am so proud to be returning as an employee of the Uinta County #1 School District and ELL teacher’s aide at Uinta Meadows Elementary! My wife and I moved here about 4 months ago and were blessed with our first grandchild, Malkaijah. We moved from the state of Washington. There I had received much experience, approximately 15 years with two different school districts, and thoroughly enjoyed my job teaching students to reach and achieve their goals. I am looking forward to the school year and hope I will truly be an asset to UME!

Malory Klingler (K-5 Science Aide)

I was born in Utah, but my family moved to Evanston when I was 8 months old. So I like to say I was born and raised in Evanston. I was a student at Uinta Meadows Elementary first grade through fifth grade. From there I attended Davis Middle School. Then graduated from Evanston High School. I got married right out of High School. My husband and I have 3 children. Our oldest attend Uinta Meadows K-5, and our middle child also attended Uinta Meadows K-5. Our youngest is currently attending Uinta Meadows. So as a family we love Uinta Meadows. I was a stay at home mom for 12 years, which I loved! But with my baby going to Kindergarten I was looking for something to fill my free time. I was lucky to get hired as a permanent sub for a Para position last school year. For those few months I fell in love with the job as a whole. I loved the teachers I worked with who I now consider friends. Of course I loved the students. Uinta Meadows made me feel so welcome as if i was one of their own. This school year I am lucky again to have the great opportunity to be apart of the UME family but as a full time Science Aide! I am so excited for what is to come this year and hopefully for many more.

MaKayla Kallas (Second Grade Aide)

I’m MaKayla Kallas, soon to be Knezovich, and I’m an Evanston, Wyoming native. I attended North Elementary, Evanston Middle School, and then graduated from Evanston High School in 2015. While in high school I participated in volleyball, basketball, soccer, peer advocates, and pottery. I attended a year of college on the campus of Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I then met the love of my life and will be getting married in October of this year. This influenced me to continue my education online towards a Special Education degree, and what better way to do that than to join the UME Staff as a paraprofessional for the second grade team.        

Jamie Liechty (Third Grade Aide)

My name is Jamie Liechty. I was born and raised in Ontario, California but have lived with my family in Evanston for the past 11 years.  I am a wife and a mother of 5 children that have been my greatest joys and blessing in my life.  Four years ago I graduated from Regis University with a BA in Liberal Arts with a Licensure in Elementary Education.  I have always had a passion for teaching children.  My other passion is dance, and I have been blessed to be able to combine my love of both by teaching dance for the last 9 years.  In 2011, I became the owner of Evanston Dance Academy.  I love teaching children my passion in dance.  I have been able to use my education in the dance classroom to teach skills, manage behavior, reinforce with positive outcomes, and provide hands on experience for each individual.  I have seen confidence build in each child as they have become successful in their learning.  I look forward to taking this same passion into the classroom as a Paraprofessional Aide working with Mrs. Hoffman in the 3rd Grade. I am excited to be a part of the UME family!

Brenda Stone (Third Grade Aide)

We (my husband, myself & our daughter) just recently moved to Evanston (Bear River) in June of 2016. We previously lived in Syracuse, Utah. I have lived in 6 states- Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Utah & now Wyoming! The west is definitely home to me now. I have been out here for 24 years and the mountains, the culture & the people out west just feel like home.

This is the start of my 18th year working in elementary education. I love the kids and the opportunity that working in an elementary school gives me to help them reach their best potential.

I am married to Bryan Stone. We have 3 amazing children, Anthony 28 (married to Heather), Corbin 22 (married to Sierra), and Sydney 16. I also have 1 adorable grandson, Easton (1). Being a grandma is the best!

Some things that I like to do are, hunting, camping,hiking, jeeping, traveling, going on cruises, gardening & reading. Spending time with my family is definitely my all time favorite pastime no matter what we are doing. My favorite color is blue. I love cowboy boots (a girl can never have too many) and my favorite place to eat is Cafe Rio! I am so excited to be part of the UME family. Here is to a great year!

Laura Cook (Fifth Grade Aide)

My name is Laura Cook and I'm very excited to be helping out in the fifth grade this year!  I graduated from Southern Oregon University with a BS in Criminology and have continued study in History and Law at SOU and Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.  I moved to Evanston in March of 2014 when I married my wonderful husband. Together we have eleven children, seven of which, live in our home at this time. I try to find time to volunteer with the SAIF task force here in Evanston and have been involved in victims advocacy for much of my adult life.  I love to read and learn and I think that is one of the most important things that we can pass on to our children; a lifelong love of learning.