Fall isn’t far away, and all Utah schools, public and private, are required to submit their proposals for reopening to the Utah Board of Education.
One of them is the Weilenmann School of Discovery, a charter school located in the Snyderville Basin near Kilby Road.
The new Executive Director of the Weilenmann School is Steve Williams, who accepted the job back in January before he knew the challenges that Weilenmann, and a lot of other schools, would be facing this year
“It’s like everything in schools,” he said. “We take on challenges and we face them with hope and optimism and a good group of people around us. And we move forward.”
Williams was one of the faculty who founded the school in 2010.
Before that, he began his career at the Waterford private school in Sandy for 14 years then taught in Atlanta before coming back to Utah.
He has mostly been an English teacher introducing students to the works of everyone from Shakespeare to Tolkien to Christie.
Weilenmann has about 600 students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade. Williams said they’re looking forward to welcoming back the students who left when the school locked down on March 13.
“We’re looking forward to their return in August, and knowing that it’s going to be a challenge, and that we’re going to have to do things differently than we’ve ever done them before,” he said.” But we’re ready. We’re hopeful and we’re excited and we’re trying to just approach this with all the energy we have to make it work well.”
Williams said that in reopening, the school administrators, who are also faculty, will try to be as flexible as they can without breaking. They want to offer parents a number of options.
“We’re offering an in-person, sort of traditional classroom where students can come in and be in our classes like they typically are, of course with increased cleaning protocols and wearing masks and face shields and things like that,” he said. “But we also know that some of our students are not able to come, either because they are immunocompromised, or they maybe have a family member who is. Or they just get sick for some other reason. Maybe it’s not even COVID. So we are offering the option any day. They can do it one day a week. They can do it three days, five days, whatever works for them. They can join classes synchronously through their Chromebooks.”
He said they are making the Chromebook laptops available to all their students.
“So if a student is not able to come into the school, they will join live classes,” he said. “We have set up all of our classrooms with a Chromebook that will sort of be trained on what’s going on in class, on the teacher, on the board, wherever it needs to be. And students can join that class. We got a lot of practice in the spring with using some of the technology that will help us do that, the Google classroom and some of the features that it offers, to include those students who are at home in a really direct and productive way.”