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Principal's Message

Principal's Message

Welcome UJH Parents, Families, and Community!


As I prepare to start my 14th year at Upland Junior High and 2nd year as principal, I reflect again on my deep sense of gratitude at being part of the Upland Junior High community. We have some of the strongest, most dedicated, and most innovative teachers around, and we are relentlessly pursuing growth, learning, and inspiring our students.


At Upland Junior High we believe in pursuing a GROWTH MINDSET in our approach to teaching and learning. This means we believe EVERY single individual at this school has the capacity to learn, grow, and improve. How do we do this? It’s by working hard, taking risks, recognizing success, and learning from our challenges. Learning is messy, and we need to remember that failing is part of learning. Our best learning and growth occurs when we operate on the edges of our comfort zone, and I am committed to maintaining an educational environment at UJH that encourages risk, challenge, and support.


This year, our mission is to “GET RAD.” Students and teachers are going to hear this phrase on a daily basis, and they will see it around the school. As adults, we are setting the tone for students to step outside their comfort zone, to try difficult tasks, and to explore something new. This is how we get better at anything, and it’s how we will continue to evolve. Our staff has a reputation of doing whatever is necessary to benefit our students, and we maintain this reputation by continuing to learn while supporting our students to do the same. This is what it means to “Get Rad.”


This mindset has helped us to achieve multiple marks of distinction over the years:

  • AVID certification, with a focus of promoting college and career readiness for all students

  • GEAR UP Lighthouse School for our school-wide college-going culture

  • California Gold Ribbon School and Title I Achievement School

  • Knowledge Development Site for the district’s MTSS (multi-tiered system of supports) initiative for integrating academic, behavioral, and social-emotional supports for ALL students.


Upland Junior High implements PBIS (positive behavior intervention and supports) which focuses on a PROACTIVE approach to teaching students how to behave, instead of waiting for misbehavior and then reacting. Consequences are necessary, but we build positive behaviors by teaching, reinforcing, and building relationships with our students.


We lead by demonstrating:

  • Responsibility

  • Respect

  • Kindness

  • Fairness

  • Grit


Our goal is to set high standards, to support and encourage students in meeting those standards, and to model compassion and empathy along the way. I can’t wait to share snapshots and video of some of the fabulous learning from our students and staff. Subscribe to our school’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, visit our site regularly, and please do not hesitate to call or visit our school.


Thank you for your support of our school, and I look forward to meeting and interacting with you this year!




Richie Vega