Students tend to sit a little straighter when visitors come to observe their class. When the visitor is the state’s public education chief, they walk a little taller afterward, too.
Union Middle School students, educators and leaders, as well as Canyons District’s superintendency and academic leadership, last month hosted a tour of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Martell Menlove. The visit gave Union an opportunity to showcase Utah’s premier sixth-grade STEAM curriculum a marriage of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math approved by the State Board of Education last spring for implementation in Canyons School District. The sixth-graders also showed off the robots they designed as part of their STEAM class’ robotics and space science challenge.
“To be the one middle school chosen was a big deal, and to show off our great kids and great teachers was a big deal,” Union Principal Mary Anderson, the 2013 Utah Middle School Principal of the Year, said of Menlove’s visit. “Our students did a great job presenting themselves as ambassadors of our school.”
Dr. Menlove visited the school Oct. 24, 2013, as part of efforts to view the innovations within and keep in contact with the professionals who work in Utah classrooms, the State Office of Education reports.
Dr. Menlove also was introduced to the District’s innovative middle school model, which, in addition to STEAM, includes implementation of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), reconfigured grades, a model reading program, and a flexible schedule that increases instructional time in core subjects while allowing numerous elective opportunities. He also observed teacher’s instructional strategies in social studies, math, and English language arts classes. Later, Canyons Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode hosted Dr. Menlove and neighboring superintendents for a lunch discussion.