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Principal's Message

Welcome UJH Parents, Families, and Community

As I prepare to start my 15th year at Upland Junior High and 3rd year as principal, I reflect once 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 a learning environment at UJH that encourages risk, challenge, and support.

Last year we framed these beliefs in our mission to GET RAD, and this year we continue that quest. As adults, we are setting the tone for students to step outside their comfort zone, to try difficult tasks, to explore something new. We also have the chance to inspire a sense of wonder, curiosity, and joy.

This is how we get better at anything. This is how we grow into community of learners. 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

  • PBIS Silver Medal Certification in our second year of implementation.

This year, our goal is to provide a college field trip for every student on our campus. We believe in the potential of every single student, and we want to give them concrete experiences to show we are serious when we say we are preparing students for college and career.

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 look forward to sharing snapshots and video as we dive into learning together this year. Subscribe to our school’s YouTube channel, Twitter feed and Facebook page, 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