The Midvale Mustangs have a few new corrals, so to speak.

Students and teachers at the Title I school are now enjoying a four-room addition.

The $1 million expansion was added to address high enrollments at the 4-year-old school. Midvale Elementary Principal Chip Watts says there’s been a marked change in the attitude of the students in the month since Midvale’s fourth-grade and Dual Language Immersion moved from portable classrooms to the spacious classrooms inside the building.

The new rooms were completed right before Fall Recess.  Students and teachers moved into their new classrooms the day they returned from the break. 

"I think the best feedback I have received from the students is that they feel like part of the school now. When they were in the portables, they felt like they were separate from the rest of the school,” Watts said. “Teachers say they have noted a sense of community, and the feeling in the class has improved by being a part of the school.”

Watts said the addition to the Midvale school, which was the very first construction project completed with funds from the $250 million bond approved by voters in spring 2010, makes it easier for the students to access the lunchroom, restrooms, and the Brain Boosters physical education, arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes that are part of the new elementary school schedule.
A shiny new plaque on Rich Landward’s office wall serves as recognition for his hard work. But the CSD Student Support Specialist insists that the honor isn’t just for him. Landward says he shares the honor — the Clinical Faculty of the Year Award from the University of Utah’s College of Social Work — with those around him in CSD who are dedicated to building up Care Coordination, an evidence-based initiative that links students and parents in Title I communities to mental health and other community services.
Landward, who this year supervised master-level social work interns at Copperview, East Midvale, Midvale and Sandy elementary schools as part of the Care Coordination program, was surprised with the award at a recognitions ceremony at the University of Utah. While he knew he had been nominated for the award, he says he “had no idea” he’d won.
Landward says at-school mental health services have the potential to boost student achievement.  If students have immediate access to services that can help them cope with, for example, mood disorders, trauma, depression, anger, or family disruptions, then it may positively affect how they perform in the classroom. It also has been shown to reduce behavioral issues.  
Karen Sterling, Director of the Office of Student Advocacy and Access, lauded Landward for his efforts.  “We are very excited for Rich and proud to have him on the Student Advocacy Team,” she said.