District is encouraging students to reach higher | ParkRecord.com
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District is encouraging students to reach higher

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff

The Park City School District will be encouraging students to take a more rigorous curriculum, ninth graders in particular.

A press release stated that Utah was awarded a $300,00 grant to increase the number of students that take a challenging curriculum.

The district is one of four in the state of Utah to be participating in the Utah Scholars Program, part of the national State Scholars Initiative. Park City High School, Ecker Hill International Middle School and Treasure Mountain International Middle School are taking part. The program challenges students in grades 9-12 to meet the following requirements:

4 years of English

4 years of math

3.5 years of social studies

3 years of science

2 years of a foreign language

The current Park City High School graduation requirements are already very similar to these standards, which are higher than the state requirements. To graduate from PCHS a student must have:

4 years of English

3 years of math

3 years of science

While there is not a foreign language requirement, PCHS counselor Jerry Fiat said all students are encouraged to take at least two years of a language other than English.

Twenty-two states currently participate in the state scholar’s initiative, which is designed to encourage students to engage in a curriculum that will prepare them for college, said Amanda Covington with the Utah System of Higher Education.

"Half of our community college students take a remediation class before they can take something for credit," she said.

The initiative will help combat this problem, while overall it will help prepare students to succeed after high school.

"Two thirds of the new jobs coming online in our country require some form of post secondary education," Covington said. "Our students need to be prepared for the workforce."

Later in the year representatives from the Utah System of Higher Education will go to the participating schools to discuss it with eighth graders. Students will be encouraged to sign a commitment form as a Utah Scholar and pursue the more rigorous requirements set by the initiative. Those who complete it will get a Utah Scholars mark on their transcripts. With this mark, some students will qualify for financial aid.

Covington said the Federal government has approved grants for low-income students who qualify for a Pell grant and have the Utah Scholars mark.

Other states who participate in the program show improvements in student performance, Covington said adding she expects there will be similar gains in Utah.

"I think we’ll definitely see improvement," she said.

The website http://www.utahscholars.org is scheduled to go live this Friday.


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