“This place is weird. But I like it!” – a letter from our Executive Council

“This place is weird. But I like it!”
-Spoken like a true Seventh Grader
specifically one of UPW’s new students 

Merry Christmas!

Adding 7th grade to UrbanPromise School this year has been an adventure. We are excited to expand the student body, so we can offer an excellent education along with a powerful community to more children here in Wilmington. Our vision for transformation, changed hearts, and changed lives usually takes years of intentional effort. But let’s just say that Seventh Grade has been a “true test” of change. UP culture, dress codes, and attitude changes were met with some resistance. With a group of 10, 13-year-olds coming to us with a variety of backgrounds and personalities, we leaned into the challenge of developing a community that is respectful, wholesome, and genuinely loving to one another.

Some students came from other schools, while some have been in the UP School since PreK. But with many office visits, one-on-one conversations, and the help of our amazing tutors, teachers, and staff, we are seeing some beautiful progress. Some new Seventh Graders recently shared comments that demonstrated a common thread of happy discovery and heart change resulting from the community. 

Maria felt that being taken away from a familiar school was an unwelcome change. What would the new school be like? Would she find friends? Her normally tough exterior changed: “This place is weird….but I like it!” Her body language relaxed more at the chance to share, “Students aren’t fighting. They aren’t cursing. They’re doing their work. And so I can do my work, too. I like that.” 

Tina shared what was different from her previous schools, “When they teach, I learn. And I learn other things, like who I really am. I’m nice and I care about people. And I love hard. I used to get smart with people. Fight. Talk bad about people. Stuff like that. But Ms. Benson talks with me when I’ve made mistakes. She helps me see myself differently. I feel better after talking with her. I am learning about God, too! My other school didn’t have that.”

Miles was outspoken about not wanting to change schools when he came for an interview. In spite of his reluctance, he’s glad he came. “I like how the teachers teach. They don’t rush through stuff. They spend one-on-one time with us, breaking it down. And I like that there aren’t as many kids in class. You learn more.” 

And they are learning. At UrbanPromise School in the 2021-22 school year, students demonstrated significant academic growth over their peers, exceeding national growth standards by 86% in Reading, 95% in Math, and 100% in Language. Delaware is currently ranked 46th in the nation in Reading and Math proficiency. 

One more common thread in our conversations with the students. 

“It’s peaceful here.” What does peace mean to you? 

Without hesitation, Tina responds: “Peace means love to me.” 

These students feel the love from the teachers and staff at UrbanPromise. This community is knit together by the love we share for Christ, so there is a sincere bond among the staff and students. Maria, Miles, and Tina feel it, and it brings them peace. We want each child to feel that love as they walk through the door in the morning. We are hopeful to see the fruit from the seeds we plant in each meaningful interaction. We love our students, and pray for them, their families and our community every morning before they arrive, and look forward to greeting each beautiful face. 

You make all of this possible for them when you partner with UrbanPromise. You make it possible for students like Tina to learn who they really are. And you make it possible for them to have a truly excellent education. So partner with us now as we come into the Christmas season! 

$100 supplies ink and toner for hundreds of homework copies. $250 supplies Science Fair supplies for the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. $2,500 helps with a student’s tuition. $1,000 helps repair the vans that transport students from school to UPW’s after-school camps. $500 gives five sessions with UPW’s on-staff counselor. 

Thank you for your partnership as we share the Prince of Peace with our students. 


Dionne Xavier 
Head of Schools 
Executive Council 
UrbanPromise Wilmington