A new school year is here and we’re excited for all the possibilities ahead for the students in our community schools

This new beginning has us reflecting on some of the wins our schools had last year, and how these accomplishments are setting up schools for success. 

Here are some of the big wins our community school directors shared from last school year:


Cottonwood  High School:

Cottonwood High School Community School Win

“Our robotics team participated in an international robotics competition in Houston, Texas for winning the rookie team award in our state competition. The team is compiled of a really diverse group of students, and it was amazing to see the school come around and support them so fully.

I was not directly involved by this in any means, but I think the takeaway is how cool it was that the entire school community rallied behind these students. It took a lot of work by a lot of individuals and groups to make the trip come together, and they did so in a really short time frame. 

The entire school was in the hallways to see the team off to the airport. Although they didn’t win at the international competition, they have secured sponsorship through Boeing from their efforts and that will only help the program grow in the future. Their team name (self-appointed) was The Underdogs.” -Sarah Schafer, Community School Director at Cottonwood High School.

Read the KSL Article, Rookie Cottonwood High robotics team made of mostly refugees qualifies for the world championship to learn more about the team.


West Kearns Elementary:

West Kearns Elementary- Community School Wins

“We received the 21st Century Grant for afterschool programming in December 2018 and our afterschool program began the last week of January 2019. From January through May 17, the program served 53 students, with 47 attending regularly. 

Two of our second-grade students, who are twins, started the year off needing intensive support to become proficient in English Language Arts. After they started attending the afterschool program, they ended the school year on grade level in language arts and reading.

My resource teacher, who also taught one day a week in the afterschool program, thanked me for the program’s role in their progress. The grant is a 5-year grant, so having just completed “Year 1”, we will have after school programming and support for our students for the next four years.” -DeLayna Wilhelmsen, Community School Director at West Kearns Elementary.

Learn more about the difference afterschool programs can make in the blog Out-of-school partnerships are helping decrease crime, improve academic outcomes in South Salt Lake and Kearns.


South Kearns Elementary:

South Kearns Elementary- Community School Wins

“I have a couple of big wins from last year. First, we increased the use of our food pantry by students from about 10 per week at the beginning of the year to about 90 at the end of the year.

Also, our STEM program continued from last summer through our afterschool program and our girls’ Lego League got first place in the core values categories.”-Rosemary Mitchell, Community School Director at South Kearns Elementary

Discover how grants and funding from United Way of Salt Lake are helping teachers inspire kids in STEM fields in the blog Elementary STEM Endorsement helps teachers prep students for the future.

Kearns Jr High:

Geek Squad Academy- Community School Wins

“One of our big wins actually came in the summer! Best Buy’s Geek Squad came to Kearns to engage middle and high schoolers in STEM and tech activities. 

In total, we had about 125 kids registered for the two-day camp, with kids from Kearns Jr as well as Kennedy Jr and Matheson Jr. We worked with Salt Lake County Youth Services (SLCYS) to transport the kids to the program and chaperone as well.   

It really was a success, SLCYS said that they have never seen their kids so engaged in the classroom!  Geek Squad was fantastic, they had some great activities for the students to take part in.” -Jessica Olmos, Community School Director at Kearns Jr. High

Explore more about Geek Squad’s summer camp in the blog Kids “Geek Out” Over Geek Squad Academy Summer Camp


Learn more about community schools and how they connect kids to a variety of resources at uw.org/community-schools



By Kelly Schmidt, Content Manager at United Way of Salt Lake