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The City Journals

Community, technology a big part of Mountain Point Elementary

Oct 14, 2019 02:55PM ● By Jet Burnham

During an assembly on Sept. 13, the results of student and staff voting revealed the puma as the school mascot. (Carolyn Bona/Mountain Point Elementary)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Teachers, staff and students are excited to be a part of Bluffdale’s newest school, Mountain Point Elementary.

“The best thing about teaching at a brand-new school is the positivity that comes from all the excitement,” said fifth grade teacher Sarah Sterling.

The Bluffdale community has been waiting for years for the construction of a new school to accommodate its population growth.

Two local Boy Scouts troops took an active role in preparing the school for its opening on Aug. 20.

For his Eagle Scout project, Andrew Baker assembled the school’s brand new P.E. class equipment. He and his troop unloaded and organized boxes of furniture and classroom supplies delivered over the summer. Then seventh grader Teron Alldredge organized his Scout troop to break down and sort the remaining mountain of boxes and packing materials.

“It felt good knowing we could help by doing small tasks that took a lot of time but was helpful to the school,” Teron said.

Teron’s troop also wrapped each student desk with caution tape. On the first day of school, students cut the ribbons to claim their new desk. Principal Carolyn Bona planned the ribbon-cutting ceremony to build excitement and ownership for the new desks. The desks have a high gloss plastic surface and can be written on with dry erase markers.

“Hopefully, they realize how lucky and special they are to use these desks,” said Bona, who also helped open Bluffdale Elementary in 1995.

Activities throughout the year will build on the theme “Let’s Build Together.” Students watched the construction of the school with interest. Now they will help build the school’s climate, culture, relationships and programs.

Mountain Point students are participating in the Golden Gate Kids program, which encourages students to be kind. To kick off the program, students built models of bridges as a visual reminder to find ways to connect with others. Bridges were built from a variety of materials found in the school’s STEM lab.

“I decided to use packing materials for our class's bridge building project, because of the surplus amount of packing material we have in our STEM Lab,” said Sarah Sterling, a fifth grade teacher.

The collaborative space in the STEM lab sets Mountain Point apart from other elementary school computer labs.

“We're focusing on engineering,” said Bona. “The kids are engaged with physically making and doing instead of having a computer rotation.”

With a 1:1 technology ratio, students use iPads or Chromebooks in their classrooms every day. This frees up their weekly time in the STEM lab for exploring other technologies. Students learn engineering, coding and robotics skills with tech tools and toys.

“Kids were born using this tech,” Bona said. “They are naturally captivated by technology, so we take that natural ability and help them learn with it. If you don’t incorporate technology, they get bored. We have to try to keep up with what they’re doing.”

With the resources in the STEM lab, students can use virtual reality to explore objects in 3D, play games to reinforce concepts and go on virtual field trips.

“We see the strength of teaching with technology,” Bona said. “We’re going beyond; we’re transforming education.”