Public tours Farmington High School
Unique. Innovative. Personalized. Adaptable. Collaborative. Energy efficient. Secure.
Those are just a few descriptions of Davis School District’s newest school, Farmington High, located at 548 West Glovers Lane. The community took a peek inside the two-story, 405,000 square foot building Thursday evening following a ribbon cutting inside the commons.
The high school has been a work in progress since December of 2014. Focus groups — made up of district administrators, staff, faculty members, students and VCBO Architecture representatives — gave “blue sky” or out-of-the-box ideas of what a school of the future looks like. The result is a school built with adaptability in mind.
Sitting on nearly 46 acres on the west side of Interstate 15, the exterior was inspired by the colors, shapes and textures of nearby Farmington Bay.
Each learning suite contains classrooms of different sizes. Teachers no longer utilize just one classroom space. Instead, they are mobile according to their classroom needs —focused, enlarged or extra large. Additionally, collaboration can take place outside of the classroom in open areas designed for project-based learning. Faculty members work on future lessons or grading in an office located outside of the suite. This innovative setup means an 85 to 90 percent utilization of the school learning spaces.
Inside the classroom, there is no front or back. Each class can be set up according to the need that day with mobile furniture that can be rearranged in limitless configurations. Three of the four walls are designed to be white boards, giving teachers a myriad of instructional designs.
Board approves changes to calendar
The Board of Education of the Davis School District approved an alteration to the published calendar during its meeting Tuesday. The professional day scheduled for Monday, Jan. 14 was moved to Friday, Jan. 11. Additionally, Thursday, Jan. 10 will be an early dismissal for elementary and junior high students.
Dr. Helene Van Natter, who chairs the calendar committee, explained that Mondays are the preferred day for a professional day because then it doesn’t interfere with the teacher’s collaboration time on Fridays. Elementary and junior high students follow an early dismissal schedule on Fridays, which allows for that collaboration time.
However, because the originally scheduled professional day falls at mid-year, it could lead to double staffing as the teacher leaving needs the professional day (originally calendared for Monday) to complete grades, but an incoming teacher would start on the first-day of the term, which was originally designated as the Friday before.
Working to keep our schools safe
School security and student safety continue to be a primary focus for the Davis School District. This focus has provided the district the opportunity to strengthen current practices, to initiate new methods, and to provide additional resources. School and student safety is an area that continues to evolve, and DSD will continue to evolve along with this ever-changing arena.
This past year, DSD has provided training to all administrators on active shooter events and our standard protocols. We have worked with our resource officers and local police chiefs to enhance communication and coordination. This has included ensuring that there is consistent police access to our buildings as well as communication protocols in place. Also, DSD has created four safety committees (Physical Structures & Procedures, Standard Response Protocol, Collaboration with Law Enforcement, and Responsive Services) to explore our systems and make necessary adjustments.
Additionally, DSD has instructed building leaders to either lock doors or to have a plan for the surveillance of open areas and doors. Also, all employees are required to wear their employee badge at all times. We have requested that all visitors check-in at the office and receive visitor identification. While these actions do create inconvenience for both school staff as well as patrons, we believe that safety is paramount and worth the added time.
DSD is undertaking a number of projects that will enhance school safety. The construction of secure vestibules, new and enhanced video managements systems, the hiring of an additional police officer to track social media and assist with District Case Management are a few of the projects which will provide greater safety and security.
DSD also recognizes the need for early detection of the needs of our students before those needs become a potential threat to safety. With this in mind, the Davis School Board allocated funds to place five health clerks and five family service workers across the district to assist with physical and mental health needs. Furthermore, this coming school year will mark the first time that DSD has at least a half-time counselor in each elementary school.
Yet, the greatest asset to securing the safety of our schools is the willingness of students, staff and community to share information about potential threats. Early identification of a potential threat provides our security forces the opportunity to intervene before a threat escalates. The SafeUT app (https://safeut.med.utah.edu) continues to function as an excellent communication tool to notify staff of potential needs, including personal and collective safety.
DSD will continue to explore new, innovative, and effective means to provide safety for students, staff, and community. Please do not hesitate to contact staff and/or administration with any concerns you may have. Next to “Learning First,” we will continue to keep “Safety First.”
— Assistant Superintendent John Zurbuchen