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District Newsletter – March 20, 2024

Dr. Elizabeth Grant

Dear Salt Lake City School District families,

I often say that the Salt Lake City School District will be the flagship district in Utah, but you may wonder what that means. A flagship sails at the head of the fleet. It takes the lead, breaks new ground, and charts a new course for others to follow. One area in which we are charting a new course is in providing college pathways through apprenticeship opportunities for our students. Apprenticeships combine training in high-wage, in-demand careers with the opportunity to attend college for free.

If you have younger students, college pathways and career apprenticeships may seem far in the future for your family. But you need to know that we are building new opportunities your students can look forward to as they progress through their education in the Salt Lake City School District.

In 2018, we partnered with Stadler Rail, a Swiss train manufacturing company, to create Utah’s first youth apprenticeship program. Students start working as apprentices during their senior year, spending half their time taking high school classes and the other half getting paid work experience at the Stadler Rail facility in Salt Lake City. The apprenticeship continues for two more years as students earn an associate degree – paid for by Stadler – in advanced manufacturing at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). Students who complete the apprenticeship (three years total) leave with early expertise in electrical or mechanical skills, paid work experience, two years of free postsecondary education, and the promise of an interview for a full-time job at Stadler. More than 60 students have participated so far, and many are still working for Stadler Rail.

This fall, we launched our second youth apprenticeship with Utah PaperBox, a local manufacturing company.  And last month, we announced two additional youth apprenticeships with Doppelmayr and Mondi. In the coming years, we aim to offer apprenticeship programs in additional fields—Health Sciences, Hospitality and Tourism, and IT. If your student is interested in these opportunities, please have them speak to their school counselor.

Our work to build student apprenticeships is just one example of what it means to be the flagship district in Utah, and we will continue to expand college and career pathways for all of our students in the coming years.

With excitement about the future,

Elizabeth Grant, Ph.D.
Salt Lake City School District

Focus on Reading

Did you know the Board of Education has set reading, especially the ability to read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade, as one of its top priorities? We asked Board President Nate Salazar to tell us why reading is so important.


To support students in meeting reading goals, the district has:

  • Provided or is providing LETRS training to 572 teachers and administrators (as of February 2024). LETRS training focuses on the science of reading instruction,
  • Expanded LETRS training this year to include pre-kindergarten teachers,
  • Purchased new reading and language arts curriculum that ties directly to what teachers learn in LETRS training,

Our schools are also doing incredible work to support student literacy:

  • Many schools hold literacy nights or other events to specifically assist parents as they help their children learn to read.
  • Teachers and teacher librarians promote reading through incentives like reading challenges, book clubs, and author visits.
  • Teachers provide great reading instruction and incorporate reading into all subjects to promote better reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.
  • School libraries are stocked with a wide range of reading materials, including fiction, non-fiction, and reference books, providing students with access to a wide variety of books that may grab their interest.

School Closure and Boundary Adjustment Transition Activities

students holding rabbit in a hat

In response to the closure of Hawthorne, Riley, M. Lynn Bennion, and Mary W. Jackson Elementary Schools, our elementary schools have been busy getting ready to form new learning communities in our elementary schools next year.

  • Our schools are doing a great job welcoming newly assigned students and holding activities to bring students, families, and staff together. With this article, you can see photos of a joint assembly held at Parkview Elementary for both Parkview and Riley Elementary students. You can also see photos from a recent Family Night at Liberty Elementary. Bennion Elementary students who will attend Liberty next year were invited to join in the fun.
  • Parents who applied for Open Enrollment should have heard if their applications were accepted last week. The deadline for families to respond to accept open enrollment placements is Sunday, March 31, 2024.
  • students posing with new books
    Starting April 1, a late open enrollment period will open and will continue through next school year.
  • We anticipate sharing new bus routes with families in May. It’s possible that some bus stops will change as routes are altered to reflect new elementary school boundaries. Stay tuned for more info in May.

West High School Clinic

community leaders cutting ribbon for new clinic

We’re thrilled to share that the West High School Clinic is now officially open! Thanks to a partnership with the Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake Education Foundation, University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, and West High School, students can now get important healthcare right at school. With parent permission, the clinic is designed to take care of the whole child, with services like preventative check-ups, vaccinations, mental health services, and more. The clinic began offering services to students on February 26, 2024, but the official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this week. In that short amount of time, the clinic has already provided services to 100 students.

Having healthcare at school makes it easier for students to stay healthy and focused on learning.

  • Accessibility: Students can access services conveniently during school hours.
  • Early Intervention: Prompt access to healthcare and mental health professionals allows for early detection and treatment of health issues, both physical and mental. (Data from the School-Based Health Alliance show that students who can access care at school-based health centers like the West High School Clinic were 21 times more likely to seek mental health services and less likely to report suicidal ideation.)
  • Reduced Absenteeism: By addressing health concerns on-site, schools can reduce absenteeism due to illness or mental health issues.
  • Support for Vulnerable Populations: Schools can provide support for vulnerable populations, including students from low-income families or those with limited access to healthcare outside of school.

Update on High School Plans

In response to requests from some community members, we are studying the viability of a high school located in the Glendale area. To support the study, we’ve hired a professional demographer, Applied Economics, to update grades 7-12 enrollment and demographic projections over the next decade. We also hired a professional data and polling firm, Y2 Analytics, to survey our community in advance of a Board decision regarding the rebuilding of West High School and Highland High School and the need to bond to support these projects. Gathering these critical pieces of information is necessary and will inform public conversation and the Board’s decision on the future of high schools in the Salt Lake City School District. The report from Applied Economics and the data from Y2 Analytics will be shared with the Board in a public meeting this spring. Stay tuned for more information.

District Teacher of the Year Nominations

Do you have a favorite teacher or know one who made a difference in your child’s life? Now is the time to nominate them for the District Teacher of the Year Award. The nomination period closes on March 25, 2024. You can submit your nominations using our online nomination form. Anyone can nominate teachers for this award, and nominations are accepted in any language.

We have amazing teachers in our district, and this annual award is a great way to honor and recognize them. Many of our district winners have gone on to win Utah Teacher of the Year and some have even been finalists for National Teacher of the Year.

Upcoming Important Dates

March 22, 2024
Applications are due for Salt Lake Education Foundation scholarships.

March 25, 2024
Deadline to submit District Teacher of the Year nominations.

March 31, 2024
Deadline for families to accept Open Enrollment placements.

April 1, 2024
Late Open Enrollment begins and lasts through next school year.

April 1-5, 2024
Spring Recess

April 16, 2024
Board of Education meeting – 5:30 p.m.
District Offices (465 S. 400 E., Suite 300, SLC, UT)