Charter school’s mission is to educate the whole childJun 04, 2021 01:27PM ● By Becky Ginos
Students work in the computer lab at Legacy Preparatory in North Salt Lake. The charter school also has a campus in Woods Cross. Photo by Becky Ginos
NORTH SALT LAKE—In spite of the pandemic, students at Legacy Preparatory Academy have received a rich, full education this year. In addition to the traditional focus on reading and math, the charter school places an emphasis on fine arts, social studies, science and history and has received high marks in student testing.
“We just completed our kindergarten Acadience testing and will finish the year with 88% of our kindergarten students exceeding benchmark, 10% at benchmark, 2% slightly below benchmark, and 1% well below benchmark,” said Principal Karen Holman. “We started the year with 50% exceeding benchmark, 20% at benchmark, 10% slightly below benchmark, and 20% well below benchmark.”
Legacy Preparatory was recently honored as a spotlight school at the May Utah Charter School Board meeting to celebrate their academic achievement during a pandemic year. “Our academic growth within our low income, Hispanic, and English Language Learners in Acadience scores is what the State Charter School Board noticed,” she said.
Besides the strong academic instruction, students participate in a wide range of other activities such as art, music and theater. The school just finished a production of “The Lion King.”
“We had two casts of about 30 to 40 students,” said Holman. “Fifty to sixty kids participated overall. Tandi Lefler, our music and theater teacher, does all the plays.”
She teaches the kids rhythm and how to play instruments like the recorder and ukulele, Holman said. “We want students to have a well-rounded education and choose what they want to focus on. In the fifth grade they get an introduction to musical theater and in the sixth grade they do violin and orchestra.”
Legacy Preparatory opened in 2006 and has two campuses, one in North Salt Lake for grades K-4 and in Woods Cross serving grades 5-9.
“A charter school is still a public school,” Holman said. “There is no tuition. Enrollment is done through a random lottery system because it’s capped by the State Office of Education. We can have 112 per grade K-6 and we can increase the number in 7-9 to 150 per grade.”
Parents have a vested interest in the school, she said. “Students love to see their parents in the classroom and being involved. They have to make a choice to bring their child to this school. There is no bus pick up or drop off so they’re doing that daily. It is important to us to do what we can to support them.”
The school maintained a hybrid schedule the whole year of four days a week with children coming in the morning or afternoon for three hours. “The parents were phenomenal about that,” said Holman. “They believe in keeping the kids safe and so they supported the hybrid schedule.”
Children had daily instruction in reading, math and writing with parents assisting with their student’s learning at home, she said. “Assignments were given but they (parents) didn’t have to become teachers. Some opted to go fully distance. Teachers were recording lessons or Zooming into the class.”
Teachers have worked really hard, said Holman. “They’re doing in-person instruction two times a day and assisting distance students. They’re organizing lessons and Zoom links. They need to know what needs to be included for at home as well.”
The kids love to be in school, she said. “They’re always doing service for each other and finding ways to help each other. I really love them – they’re just so cute.”