Throughout its 22-year lifespan, JRES has been a high-performing school. Although it may not be easy to identify exactly what practices have consistently enabled our students to achieve at high levels, there are two aspects of our school culture that serve as a basis for most of our efforts. First, the JRES faculty has long functioned as a team that lifts and supports each other while also providing unique and high-quality educational opportunities which benefit our students on a daily basis. Second, our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has developed and nurtured a culture of support for our teachers and students in numerous ways and over the long term.
The teaming structure is not new to our faculty. Three years ago we formalized our teaming process by adopting and implementing the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model. We continue to incorporate and refine our PLC practices into daily school operations. As such, we identify ways to share the many responsibilities our teachers juggle, while also creating individualized learning opportunities that meet all students at their place of academic need. Our PLC structure also serves as the headquarters for the many curriculum choices made throughout the year. This has revitalized our whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as our Response to Intervention (RtI) process; we attribute this to our ability to diagnose student strengths and weaknesses through the ongoing use of common formative assessments.
In addition to focused, targeted classroom instruction and support, the JRES faculty strives to provide experiences with the whole child in mind. At JRES we find the greatest success in character education by focusing on positive behavior supports, in addition to appreciating and recognizing the right choices that are made on a daily basis. We highlight the core traits of Honesty, Caring, Respect, and Responsibility, and endeavor to recognize students for what they do well. Furthermore, we provide our students with opportunities to grow in Music, Physical Education, Computational Thinking/Coding, Healthy Lifestyles, and Library Media on a schedule that rotates each day.
When students begin 1st grade, JRES provides families with two distinct options. One is our French Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program, in which students spend 50% of their time in a French-speaking classroom. The other option is the more traditional classroom model with the added component of STEM instruction twice weekly. Regardless of the choice made, our faculty’s goal is to enhance our students’ education and future.
The community that surrounds JRES has built and nurtured a rare and effective system of support for our faculty and students. A hallmark is our Masterpieces In Art (MIA) program, which is a hands-on, self-sustaining, parent-run, monthly experience in art for all students. Our PTO has also been the conduit to provide students with opportunities to participate in our massive Science Fair, made all the more authentic with the use of community scientists volunteering their time to judge student projects. The PTO runs the largest Scholastic book fair in the state of Utah, twice each year, and funnels the proceeds into each classroom. They also provide grant opportunities to teachers who need funding for their innovative ideas.