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The City Journals

School Creates More Than 17 Enrichment Programs

Apr 08, 2016 09:29AM ● By Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

South Valley - Butterfield Canyon Elementary had plenty of programs to help students who had fallen behind but few programs to help students to get ahead, until the school community council started funding more than 17 enrichment programs.

The council formerly used their School LAND Trust — money acquired from state land revenue — for re-teaching only, but in January they set aside $4,000 for “educational stretching,” principal Nick Hansen said.

“We wanted students of all academic standings to be enriched and try different types of things to see what their real interests are,” Hansen said. 

Choir, drama, chess club, cursive, poetry, crafting, aerobic activities and STEM club are a few of the programs Butterfield Canyon offers. Many of the programs take place before or after school and are taught by “good-hearted teachers” who spend a couple extra hours with students for a little compensation from the trust fund, Hansen said. 

More than 300 students have signed up for at least one of these programs; according to Hansen, that’s one-third of the student population. He said he believes this will improve the academics at the school, but said it is too soon to tell. 

The school community council went to the teachers with a list of the classes they thought would work well for enrichment programs, and said teachers could sign up to teach the classes. Some teachers suggested enrichment classes that weren’t on the list. One teacher volunteered to teach folk dancing, and it’s been one of the most popular enrichment programs, Hansen said. 

Kembree Buker, third-grade teacher, volunteered to head up an aerobics program that is now called “Bobcat Boot Camp” because she said students don’t get a lot of recess and she thinks they don’t know or care as much about health and fitness as they should. There are more than 50 third- to sixth-grade students in her program. 

Arwin Taylor, 10, said she signed up for Bobcat Boot Camp because she wants to exercise more. She said she’s not very active at home because she would rather read. 

“I thought this class was going to be exciting to do, and it is really exciting,” she said. “I like it a lot when we do dancing, because that it’s an easy way to get exercise more than just running around.” 

Alison Heaps, 10, and Sierra Green, 9, said dancing to Just Dance, a video game where players imitate the movement of the avatars, is their favorite part of the boot camp. Alison said her brother used to be in the class, but that he quit after he heard there was going to be dancing. 

John Trendler, 9, said he doesn’t mind the dancing. He said he loves the workout videos, obstacle courses and basketball games they do during the boot camp, and that he was so excited that his mom signed him up for the class. 

Students are admitted into the enrichment programs on a first-come, first-served basis. Parents sign their children up using the Google forms attached to the school’s website. Several classes have reached capacities and have students on waiting lists.

Ethan Weaver, 10, is part of the STEM before-school enrichment program. He said that at their most recent meeting, the group built machines that could throw candy eggs, and said one of his favorite activities was building a freestanding machine within 60 seconds. 

The before- and after-school enrichment programs run for seven weeks. The idea is that after seven weeks, the school can offer new types of classes. Hansen said they plan to continue the program far into the future.