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The City Journals

Historic Scott School rich in history and community programs

Feb 27, 2017 03:46PM ● By Aspen Perry

Kara Barnette leads a philosophy class discussion. (Aspen Perry/City Journal).

By Aspen Perry | [email protected]
In 1847, a two-room log cabin was built on the corner of 3300 S. 500 E., with the intent to be used as a church, school, and community recreation center. Fast-forward almost 170 years and the Historic Scott School continues to serve the surrounding community.
In 1890, what was once a small log cabin became a larger building made of brick and named Scott School, after pioneer John Scott.
In 1950, Granite School District entered an agreement with the Pioneer Craft House and Salt Lake County Recreation to serve the community and the Scott School was remodeled.
In 2007, South Salt Lake City applied to purchase the site from Granite School District with the intent to update the campus and continue to serve the South Salt Lake community.
After the first round of updates were completed the community center re-opened as the Historic Scott School (HSS), with many partnerships forged to offer community members of all ages a special experience.
Complete with after-school programs, community arts programs, a writing center and community education classes, HSS is the oldest operational school in Utah.
There is an after-school program for first to sixth graders, as well as an after-school program for teens, both with homework help available.
HSS afterschool program for elementary age kids provides arts-based learning, field trips to museums or activities at schools. In February, HSS went to Lincoln Elementary science day. Other activities include visits from groups like BBoys who visited the campus in February to teach kids how to breakdance and DJ.
HSS awards tickets for good behavior; they can then spend in the store on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sixth-grade students generally help run the store, which gives them a sense of accomplishment while fostering entrepreneurial skills.
The program for teens includes basketball games with other after-school programs on Thursdays, and cooking classes on Fridays. On Feb. 10 students took turns learning to make pancakes, complete with a table of fix-ins to dress up their pancake creations.
All students are from various educational backgrounds making HSS unique in comparison to other after-school programs that funnel from one campus.
“There is a very interesting mix of kids here, we have homeschooled kids, kids from charter schools,” said Elizabeth Bunker, former HSS Center coordinator.
In mid-February, Utah International Charter School where Bunker taught art part-time, asked her to teach full-time, a move slightly bittersweet, as Bunker has loved being an integral part of HSS.
“I love HSS because it’s like a family. We are smaller… so we really get to build a rapport with our youth and their families,” Bunker said.
Taylor Kirch became the new HSS Center coordinator, having graduated from the University of Utah in Performing Art. She is looking forward to being part of an arts-based program.
“I consider myself very blessed to be able to continue to be passionate about my work in afterschool, while now being able to have more of an artistic focal point,” said Kirch.
In addition to building youth opportunities, HSS teamed up with Westminster College to offer college credit courses in the humanities through the Venture Program.
Five humanities subjects are taught within Venture by a professor or instructor of the specified subject: art history, writing, literature, US history, and philosophy.
During the Thursday evening philosophy class, Kara Barnette, assistant professor in philosophy with Westminster College, led the class in a discussion on different branches of philosophy: epistemic, skeptic, and empiricism.
“It really is an incredible program for people who have always wanted to go to college, but haven’t had the opportunity,” said Liz Rogers, Venture director of Westminster College.
From a tiny log cabin to a campus on the verge of another renovation upgrade, HSS continues to serve the community of South Salt Lake.