Recently the Weber School District had the opportunity to celebrate the efforts of a group of talented young authors. This year marks the inauguration of Weber Young Authors and Illustrators, a program designed to develop the writing talents of junior high-aged students in addition to helping elementary-aged children understand math and science concepts.
It may not be immediately apparent how a writing program would foster understanding of STEM concepts for 2nd and 3rd grade kids until you understand how and why the Young Authors program was created. Mrs. Kimberlee Irvine of South Ogden Junior High spearheaded the program with several objectives in mind. Mrs. Irvine envisioned a program where budding young authors could hone their literary skills by penning children's books based upon science and math principles. She also enlisted the talents of illustrators to help bring the authors' stories to life. After the stories were written and the artwork created, the resulting books would be published and distributed to younger students to help with STEM conceptualization.
The goals of the program were two-fold; not only would this foster a love for literacy and writing in the older students, it would introduce math and science topics with an endearing and fun approach that would pique the interest of young readers. Ultimately, Mrs. Irvine states that the resulting books created by her students were "poignant, brilliant, and heartwarming." Being the first year of the program, these authors/illustrators had the added discernment of being the "founding" artisans of the program.
An unintended and wonderful pattern began to become apparent during the process. Mrs. Irvine said, "Some of our authors and illustrators chose to create books with an allegorical focus that will help students struggling with depression and other challenges." Several of these students found validation and affirmation of their talents as authors which eased their struggles with self-doubt and depression.
South Ogden Junior High 9th grader Sidney Maudlin wrote "There and Evaporated Again", a delightful book on the evaporation process centered on the central character "Dewey." This book caught the attention of Sarah Young, Utah State Office of Education's STEM Director. Mrs. Young read "There and Evaporated Again" to her 7-year-old son Jake each night. It quickly became Jake's favorite story, in fact, little Jake would only allow his mom to read him other books if she promised to end their story-reading session with the book about "Dewey." Mrs. Young wrote a letter to Sidney commending her on her charming story along with a very special picture colored by Jake.
At the Young Author's Celebration, each author/illustrator was presented with a copy of their published book in addition to a medal of commendation. We are proud of these students and their contributions. Guest speakers included Matthew Patterson, Weber School District Curriculum Specialist, and Dr. Jeff Stephens, Weber School District Superintendent.
Authors and illustrators recognized were: Hannah Jefferies/Illustrator, Maddie Stone, Sally Palmer, Melanie Nielson, Hannah Mosher/Illustrator, Ashley Udink, Victoria Udink, Riley Dickamore, Quinn Michaels, Nicola Ward, Timothy Parkinson, Jennifer Morales, Ali Azcher/Illustrator, Laura Kester, Sidney Maudlin, Dylan Hunter/Illustrator, McKenzie Leininger, Lucas Quintrequeo, Callie Bryner, Kali Hyer, Ashley Allred, Bethany Michaels, Grace Fawbush, Taylor Seager, Katelyn Smout, Liliana Corrales, Trevor O'Neal, Abigail Hohmann, Emma Ipsen, Sterling Oliver, and Shianne Archer.
On Wednesday March 2, 2016, Weber School District partnered with the Weber County Sheriff's Office, Pleasant View Police Department, Roy City Police Department, and the Utah Highway Patrol to conduct the largest safety drill in the district to date. The three-staged lockdown, evacuation, and reunification exercise was conducted at Kanesville Elementary in West Haven.
Gone are the days when the only drills teachers and administration needed to worry about involved earthquakes and fire. As a district we must now be prepared to protect the safety of our students in a variety of situations. Weber School District is committed to being prepared to protect, evacuate, and reunite the children with their parents and loved ones in the event of a natural disaster or tragedy.
Principal Scott Zellmer initiated discussion of drill that would involve transporting students from the school. Unlike most other schools in the District, Kanesville has the distinction of being geographically located in an area without surrounding schools, parks, or other public spaces that are suitable for an evacuation of this magnitude. In preparation for the drill, the Weber County Sheriff's Office suggested use of the Weber County Fairgrounds as an evacuation site due to its relatively close approximation to Kanesville and the fact that its layout was easily secured by law enforcement.
Lockdown, evacuation, and reunification drills have all been conducted separately prior to Wednesday's drill, but this was the first time the District has conducted all three drills concurrently. Planning for the drill was a months-long process that required a small army of volunteers and cooperation with multiple agencies. The day began at 9:00 with teachers receiving the signal to begin the lockdown with “locks, lights, out of sight”. Classrooms were individually cleared by law enforcement and children were escorted onto waiting buses, walking hand-in-hand. Streets along the evacuation route were closed to traffic, and a police escort accompanied the buses to the Fairgrounds where the children were taken into the Exhibit Hall. Parents were notified via email and text of their student's location and given the “all clear” to begin arriving at the Fairgrounds for reunification. Upon arrival, parents filled out information cards and were asked to present their identification. Once checked in, they were sent to a waiting area until their children were brought to the reunification table. At that point, identification was again verified and students were reunited and sent home with their parents. The cooperation of parents in the process was appreciated very much.
Nate Taggart, Weber School District's Spokesperson and Safety Specialist stated that it is everyone's hope that we never have to use this protocol, but emphasized the importance of being prepared for such an event. Overall, the process was very smooth and well executed with few issues. Many lessons were learned, and ideas for expediting evacuation and reunification were shared. Input received from law enforcement, parents, and school officials has been invaluable in helping us to streamline the process; however, the most important feedback we received was from the students themselves. The children felt protected and secure knowing that procedures were in place to ensure their safety. They even reported having a lot of fun watching movies and playing games while they waited for their parents to arrive. But perhaps most fun of all, they received their very own police escort!
Friday, March 18, 2016 was a big day for the National Academic League team at TH Bell Junior High School. Months of preparation and countless hours of practice paid off when the Minutemen advanced to the national championship after defeating Roland Park Middle School of Baltimore, Maryland. TH Bell faced off against Hanes Magnet School of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the current defending national champions.
The National Academic League was founded to encourage academic competition in a tournament setting. Essentially, it is a "battle of the brains" between opposing schools. As per the description on the NAL website, "A team of 15 to 40 students under the direction of a coach play a four-quarter game focusing on questions that span 22 subjects grouped under the basic curriculum areas of math, English/language arts, science and social studies. Each question has been correlated to National Curriculum Standards. Players use strategies to keep possession of a question sequence, learn teamwork as they huddle to answer a complex question, learn to problem-solve by preparing and presenting a solution to real-world problems, and engage in a fast-paced, quick-answer contest."
This was the Minutemen's first time playing in the national championship. The tournament was played via live video feed at Weber Innovation Center. The four-quarter game consists of a roundabout video segment where players buzz in to answer trivia styled questions, a teamwork video where teams huddle to answer timed questions together, a problem solving video where players take on a "real life" problem and collectively present their proposed solution, and finally, a one-on-one video that is a speed contest sometimes culminating in a free-for-all. National champions are ironically awarded with the TH Bell Award. The National Academic League was founded by TH Bell's namesake, Dr. Terrel H. Bell along with Dr. Donna L Elmquist. A Utah native, Dr. Bell served as the U.S. education leader under three presidents. The NAL was launched in Salt Lake City's Granite School District in 1991.
TH Bell proved to be a worthy opponent to the defending champions at Hanes Magnet School; however, Hanes ultimately went on to defeat the Minutemen in Friday's match. Weber School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Stephens, who attended Friday's match, commended the team and reminded them that their accomplishment as national first runner up is not diminished by Friday's loss. He praised their hard work and dedication, and conveyed the pride the District felt at their achievement. We have a feeling that this will not be the last we hear of TH Bell's NAL team!
Roy High School officially opened its doors in 1965, and the mighty Class of 1966 was the first Royal graduating class. On Monday, April 25th, 2016, a Royal 50 Years Celebration will take place at Roy High School! An open house will run from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the commons area, media center, and cafeteria. Roy High memorabilia will be raffled, tours of the school given, and a slide show detailing the past 50 years of Royal happenings, teachers, staff, and students will run throughout the night. It’s a great opportunity to re-connect with classmates and Royals who have made an indelible mark on the school and Roy Community! Refreshments will be provided! We’ll see you there! Once a Royal, Always a Royal!
The Weber School Board of Education announced at the May 4, 2016 board meeting the following administrative appointments:
Technology Director – Lynn Raymond
Technology Supervisor – Nick Harris
Executive Director of Special Education – Lori Rasmussen
Student Services Director – Gina Butters
Director of Facilities and Operations – Scott Zellmer
Roy High Principal – Kirt Swalberg
Roy Junior High Principal – Matt Williams
Canyon View Principal – Jennifer Warren
Orion Principal – Chris Earnest
Bonneville Assistant Principal – Brock Mitchell
Roy High Assistant Principal – Darlene Sangiorgio
Valley View Principal – Ann Holdaway
Kanesville Principal – Justin Willie
West Weber Elementary Principal – Mike Fazzio
NOTE: Jamie Ellis will move from Roy to Bonneville
We appreciate the service and careers of Dave Brooks, Dale Pfister, Marilyn Runolfson and Mike Geilmann who are retiring. They will all be missed! We congratulate those who will be accepting new positions for the upcoming school year.
Weber School District proudly announces that this year's Teacher of the Year has been awarded to Nina Doxey, Performing Arts Teacher at Roy High School. The Classified Employee of the Year has been awarded to Justin Mock, Lead Plumber in our Maintenance Department. All district nominees for Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year were honored at a banquet sponsored by Tony Divino Toyota on April 27, 2016.
A long-time member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mrs. Nina Doxey is a gifted musician and singer in her own right. But perhaps her most significant contribution to the arts and education community is the time, dedication, and heart that she has devoted to her students at Roy High School for the past 16 years. Gina Butters, Principal at Roy High stated, "The most impactful intangible artful teachers bring to the table, is they elicit an almost sacred level of trust from their students. And, Nina delivers – she gets the most she possibly can out of each and every student as she broadens their minds, develops their skills, and touches their hearts."
Derek Myler, a former student of Mrs. Doxey's, and a recipient of the Dr. Mack Wilberg Scholarship, credits Nina with helping him develop his talents as a singer and composer. He wrote, "I chose my career in Nina's classroom. Without her careful teaching and meticulous coaching, without her care for me as an individual, and without her genuine interest in my future, I would never have taken the path to become a professional musician. She was an invaluable source in helping me to believe in myself enough to overcome the significant obstacles in pursuing such a career."
As for Nina's philosophy in teaching, she stated that she believes in high expectations. "I encourage students to make every effort toward reaching their goals. Each step toward fulfillment can bring feelings of joy and success during their educational experience. Every student has the right to learn and be nurtured through the educational process." Mrs. Doxey will represent the Weber School District for the State of Utah Teacher of the Year award.
On a cold and wet Sunday afternoon in April, Lead Plumber and golf enthusiast Justin Mock expected to find himself at home immersed in the Master's Tournament broadcast. He instead found himself knee deep in muck and water beneath the foundation of Uintah Elementary after he received an emergency call regarding a water pipe that had broken. Dedicated by nature, Justin took the disappointment in stride and was soon leading his crew in the dreary, wet weather to make sure that the issue was resolved and Uintah's students would be able to attend school the following day with running water.
It is this attitude that has gained Justin the respect of those in the Maintenance Department. Brian Smith, Maintenance Supervisor for Weber School District, said that it is not just Justin's attitude that makes him an exceptional employee, he routinely receives complements on Justin's skills as a plumber. Justin takes opportunities each year to attend seminars or receive additional training to improve his knowledge of his job. Brian stated, "I receive so much feedback of what an incredible plumber he is, from administrators and the assigned custodians, for how willing he is to go the extra effort in support of their needs." Brian has grown to depend on Justin to make sure that things are always taken care of. As for Justin himself, he said that he was just honored to even be considered as a Classified Employee of the Year nominee. When asked what rewards he found in his work, Justin stated, "I love being able to create the environment our children learn in and hope others feel the same."
Congratulations to these deserving individuals. We are privileged to count them among our exceptionally talented and dedicated colleagues.
Weber School District is offering a new preschool opportunity for 4-year-olds during the 2016-2017 school year. Children must be 4-years-old by September 2, 2016. The purpose of the program is to provide a high quality preschool program for students to prepare them for kindergarten.
Weber School District will be offering two new preschool sessions (AM/PM) at two locations (Bonneville HS Preschool Building/Country View Elementary). These programs will run 4 days a week (M,T,Th,F) for 2 ½ hours a day (9:00 – 11:30 & 12:00 – 2:30) and follow the Weber School District calendar. Priority for enrollment in the program will based on several factors including but not limited to residency in the local school boundaries, qualifications for TANF funding (income level) and the weighted risk factors from the application form. Tuition for the program is based on a sliding scale and families eligible for TANF funding qualify for a full-tuition waiver. Applications for the preschool are being accepted now and notification of acceptance into the program will take place in August.
If you are interested in this opportunity to have your child participate in the preschool program, please pickup an application form at any of the locations listed below and return it to the Weber School District Curriculum Department.
For questions concerning the program, please contact Weber School District at (801) 476-7870 or (801) 476-7819
Application Form (link to download application)
2016-17-free-reduced-application (Link to download
Application Forms available at the following locations:
Additional Preschools located in Weber School District:
The Weber School District is proud to announce that Maggie Huddleston, one of our seventh-grade science teachers at Sand Ridge Jr. High School, has been chosen as this year’s recipient of Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). This distinguished award is given to one Utah science teacher each year in grades 7-12.
Maggie will be flying back to Washington D.C. in September to accept the award, and with it comes a $10,000 prize as the top choice for teacher of the year in Utah.
Maggie has been a science educator for 14 years in secondary education. Her innovative teaching style and exuberant personality make learning fun for all of her students.
This award recognizes “that the greatness found in our country is generated in the classroom.” For us in the Weber School District, we’ve long known how great she is! If you see Maggie, please take a minute to congratulate her on this amazing achievement!
For more information, check out the Standard Examiner news article:
Because of you, the 2016 employee giving campaign was a huge success! The giving campaign raised $30,000 for students. Thank you, your generous donation is appreciated!
We would also like to congratulate Rebekah Blume from Lakeview Elementary. She is the winner of our Employee Giving Drawing.