Herriman High Among Best in Statewide Zero Fatalities Teen Video Contest

Some students at Herriman High School put their talents to work recently in an effort to cut down on deadly driving behaviors, especially among young teens. With the help of school resource officer, Cynthia Archuleta, they produced a safety video and entered it in the Zero Fatalities Teen Video Contest. It was open to all Utah teens age 15 to 19 years old and the students had to produce a 25 second video focused on Zero Fatalities and five deadly driving habits. The winning video will be shown on live TV during the Super Bowl. The Herriman entry was among the top five and while it won’t air during the big game, we think it is an amazing safety video with a message worth sharing. Congratulations to everyone involved in this important project.

Here is the video to share with your friends.


South Jordan Elementary Students Present ‘We the People’ Program

Learning about governmental process, citizenship and the Constitution was all a part of the recent ‘We the People’ program at South Jordan Elementary School.

Fifth-graders from Diane Witt-Roper’s class took part in simulated congressional hearings, working cooperatively with teammates and presenting speeches to a panel of judges. During the program, teams of students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles, our system of government, as well as historical and current events. Each team was then questioned by the panel of judges and graded on civic and government knowledge, as well as presentation skills and other standards.

Topics included the Purpose of Government, the Bill of Rights and the Constitutional Convention, the Three Branches of Government, Freedoms and Rights of Citizens and Responsibility of Citizens.

The panel of judges this year included Ken Westwood, Principal, South Jordan Elementary; Michelle Oldroyd, Director for the Utah Commission on Civic and Character Education; Rebecca Smith, Gifted and Talented Specialist, Jordan School District; and Detective David Adams, School Resource Officer.

Mrs. Witt-Roper introduced the ‘We the People’ program four years ago to her students and the culminating assembly has grown every year since its inception.

South Jordan Middle School Teacher’s Research May Rewrite History Books

When you meet South Jordan Middle School social studies teacher Chris Voorhees, his passion for history is clear. And for him, studying some old pictures of land his family owns in central Utah launched this inquisitive teacher into an extensive personal research project that could alter the history about one notorious Utahn.

Legendary stories of Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang and the Wild Bunch are widely known. Butch’s real name was Robert Leroy Parker. He was born in Beaver, UT in 1866, the oldest of 13 children. Butch’s family came to Utah as pioneers and eventually settled near Circleville, UT. He turned to a life of crime in his late teens, eventually becoming a bank and train robber, horse thief and cattle rustler. An award-winning 1969 motion picture loosely details the story of Butch and Sundance.

The history about these criminals has been largely settled for years. However, Mr. Voorhees’ personal research, assisted by fellow SJMS social studies teacher Brett Freeman, may put a kink in the timeline and could potentially alter history books.

While researching some pictures found at BYU, of his family’s property near Indianola, UT, Chris ran across a photo that by all appearances is from the fall of 1901. The picture is of a railroad crew that was working on a rail line which cut through the property Chris’ family currently owns. Looking closer at the picture, and with the help of a forensic artist who specializes in facial recognition, he discovered that two of the individuals in the photo bear an uncanny resemblance to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, based on other known pictures of the outlaws.

At issue is that most historians believe Butch and Sundance left the United States for Argentina in February 1901, along with Sundance’s companion Etta Place. However, if the picture Mr. Voorhees discovered truly depicts the wanted criminals, the long-held belief of historians that they left the country in early 1901 comes into question. This could shake up some of the historical literature about the infamous Utahn and his sidekick.

Jordan School District truly appreciates teachers like Mr. Voorhees and Mr. Freeman who go above and beyond to be great role models to their students and follow their passions.

Fun Fact Friday: Doing Our Part to Reduce Air Pollution

CNG BusEvery day Jordan School District is trying to make a difference contributing to cleaner air for children and all citizens of Utah now and in the future.

Here are some of the things being done to reduce air pollution:

  • The District has 75 Compressed Natural Gas buses, which emit 40 to 86% less particulate matter into the air compared to diesel buses. And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, just one CNG bus can displace 1,400 gallons of diesel fuel per year. That amounts to 105,000 gallons less diesel fuel used per year in JSD.
  • A No Idling Policy reduces the time each bus is running by 24 minutes per bus per day. This also reduces pollution and saves on fuel costs.
  • The State Division of Air Quality just awarded JSD a $500,000 grant to help pay for 10 new CNG buses.
  • A Total of $2 Million in State, Federal and Local Grants have supported expansion of the CNG bus program in the District over the past five years.

CNG buses not only help reduce air pollution, they save taxpayers money. The fuel savings are huge. After a .50 cent federal rebate on every gallon of natural gas used in our CNG buses, there are times we pay nothing to fuel a CNG bus. That’s because compressed natural gas is just .50 cents to $1.00 a gallon.

Please join us in doing everything possible to reduce air pollution.

West Jordan Middle Students Using Yoga to Reduce Stress

West Jordan Middle School is taking a unique approach to helping students lower stress levels and be more productive in the classroom. Thanks to school psychologist, Olin Levitt, stressed out students now have a yoga class to calm them down, learn coping skills and in many cases, lift their spirits. Dr. Levitt offers the class during the school’s ‘Pride Time,’ a block of the day where students can get academic help or choose a special activity in which to participate. Because of yoga, there are now fewer students in detention. Yoga also has a health benefit for those who participate because the teens are doing something physical and Dr. Levitt uses some of the time to talk about good eating habits. Students who show gradual improvement in academics and attitudes throughout the year are treated to an end of the year yoga party where they are given their own yoga mats to continue practicing at home.

Keep up the good work thinking outside the box to benefit students at West Jordan Middle! Enjoy a photo gallery on our Facebook page.