Last week at Freedom Elementary we dedicated our 11th all-abilities playground! Each playground is specially designed so that all children can play together. A big thanks to the Weber School Foundation, the Swanson Family Foundation, Besst Realty Group, Freedom Elementary PTA and the incredible members of the community. Without their generous donations and support, these types of projects would not be possible.
We enjoyed hosting Roy High School for their Career Exploration activity at WSU. The students spent 4 hours with us as they rotated in groups through a campus tour, a hands-on Anatomage table demonstration, tours of the plasticized cadaver lab, and the simulations lab. There were 45 students (one which happened to be a NUAHEC Scholar, to our surprise).
We're excited about our NUAHEC Scholars upcoming high school graduations. They complete our program on May 17th and will receive a certificate of completion, a letter of congratulations from Dean Simonian, Dr. Magill, and Dr. Briesacher as well as the coveted first edition NUAHEC Scholar graduation medal. Just in time to wear their medal during their (8 different) high school graduations the following week. It's been a privilege to have them in our program and to develop what we hope will be lifelong relationships with each of them.
Heather Smith Orion FACS teacher shows off the projects that she has been working on with her FACS students. She and her students made these for patients at Primary Children's Hospital. They also made some awesome Chromebook cases for Orion Jr. High. These projects benefited others.
A message from Superintendent Jeff Stephens:
Teacher and Student Success
The 2019 Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 149, which created the Teacher and Student Success Program. Sponsored by Senator Ann Millner, the bill provides funds for local schools to support student performance and academic achievement. Money from a school's Teacher and Student Success Program can also be used for teacher professional development, school personnel stipends for taking on additional responsibility outside of a typical work assignment, or hiring of additional school employees, including counselors, social workers, mental health workers, tutors, media specialists, information technology specialists or behavior aides. Schools might opt to add technology or create before- and after-school programs (including summer school programs) that can increase student performance. Certainly, the money could be used for class size reduction efforts or the augmentation of existing programs. Funds cannot be used for district administration costs or capital expenditures.
While we don't yet have the exact figures for each school, it is anticipated that each school will receive approximately $100.00 per student. This is ongoing money, so the expectation is that schools will receive at least that amount every year. These funds, coupled with the annual trust lands money that flows to schools each year, make it possible to provide even greater levels of support to teachers and students—a truly remarkable thing! Principals will be asked to seek input from the school community council, teachers, parents and others in developing their school's Teacher and Student Success Plan. These plans will then be submitted to the local board of education for approval. As long as the school plan is aligned to the district TSSA framework, they will be approved by our local board.
This infusion of funding brings with it many exciting opportunities that will enable us to better support teachers and better serve students. We are most appreciative of Senator Millner's work and the entire Utah Legislature for their support of public education. I'm extremely optimistic thinking about what each school can accomplish with this new money. Although some questions remain during this first year of implementation, I have directed our principals to assertively move forward developing their Teacher and Student Success Plan. I encourage you to engage with your local principal in providing input for that plan.
A message from Assistant Superintendent Lori Rasmussen:
There is a story of the daffodil principle. It is a story of one woman planting over five acres of daffodils. She began this adventure in 1958; she planted over 50,000 bulbs one at a time--with her own two hands. The result was a delightful field on a distant mountain top. The impact one person made was astounding. It looked as if a talented artist had taken her brush to the earth. What a difference she made to the landscape. People would come from miles around to visit this amazing sight!
We have heard many quotes about making a difference. One favorite is by Robert F. Kennedy,
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. . ."
― Robert F. Kennedy
As I visit schools, this is exactly what I see in our classrooms. A combination of the daffodil principle and numberless acts of courage. I see teachers, administrators, volunteers,and staff members working with our students one by one building their learning capacity and developing the best in our children. Making a difference over the course of their educational careers. Impacting "acres" of students, forever changing their lives, sending forth a tiny ripple of hope.
I recently spoke with a teacher and she shared her journey of this school year. She spoke about the progress made, the growth of her students and herself. It was a beautiful thing to see. We are fortunate to have such wonderful teachers, administrators, staff and parents in our district working to make a difference. Let's celebrate the beauty around us! There is no better day than today to start something beautiful in our lives. Let's take the first step toward a goal, celebrate the beauty that exists around us, and start a ripple of hope!