Foothills Elementary students had the opportunity to perform for the Nebo School Board of Education recently, as Principal Keri Huntsman shared some of the things happening at the school.

Principal Huntsman said, “I am so blessed and privileged to work with great people at Foothills! There would never be enough time to share all the great things teachers, staff and parents are doing every day to help students, so I decided to focus on two that show how acting on a passion can provide opportunities for students to stretch themselves in ways they never imagined.”

With a violinist at the school, Huntsman explained how the teacher — Mrs. Roberts — used violins to help educate her students after grants from the Nebo Education Foundation. With the money, Roberts purchased violins for students, which they practice each day.

The arts are a critical part of education. Roberts said, “My third-grade class loves to play the violin. Knowing that they get to do something that they love each day, motivates every student to come to school.”

Principal Huntsman introduced Angela Lowe, a parent who is new to Foothills this year.

“Angie came to me last year when they knew they were moving into the area and asked about starting a ballroom dance program. After doing some research and attending a competition, I decided to give it a try,” Huntsman said. “Angie teaches two classes, one for fourth graders to learn the beginning dance principles and steps. She teaches another class (for) fifth and sixth graders to prepare them to compete.”

The school board seemed to be enchanted with students performing ballroom dance at the elementary level. Lowe has extensive knowledge of ballroom technique. Her objective for her students is to teach them far beyond steps and music. The goal of the program at Foothills is to provide social dance instruction for children in a positive, friendly, and fun atmosphere.

She believes this type of instruction builds self-esteem and confidence. Through partnered ballroom dance movement, children learn mutual respect and social skills useful throughout their lives. The students competed against other elementary schools at Timpanogos High on January 21. 

Huntsman also introduced her School Community Council (SCC) co-chair, Angie Snow. One of the SCC goals was to obtain more Chromebooks. As technology continues to be of growing importance, the SCC wants to ensure that teachers are able to take advantage of the abundance of information and programs available online. According to educators, the Chromebooks have been vital in the classroom; there is one Chromebook for every student in sixth grade at Foothills.

“The SCC enjoys meeting together every month. During our time together we go over our School Improvement Plan, analyze and discuss safety issues, and examine the needs of our teachers, students and families,” said Angie Snow. “The Trustlands funds are critical to the success we are seeing in our school. With those funds we have been able to involve more children with reading interventions such as Nebo Plus, Early Literacy, and Imagine Learning. We have also been able to help more children take advantage of math tools such as ALEKS and Successmaker. Our school has been able to purchase additional licenses for Successmaker across multiple grade levels and that has been a great supplement the Math program that we are already using.”

Safety is another priority at Foothills. The SCC implemented a new drop off and pick up pattern to help keep the children safe. The SCC members volunteered their time to help direct traffic and placed traffic cones to help parents learn the new pattern. The school is strict with parent check-ins and keeping all side doors locked. The faculty has focused on Critical Incident Training to be prepared in case of emergency incidents.

The SCC supports the faculty in their theme this year — BE HAPPY! The staff and SCC read the book, “The Happiness Advantage.” 

Other supplemental programs at Foothills support the arts and science. Many are held before and after school that include ballroom dance, Falcon Fiddlers, chess club, robotics, math club, choir and sixth-grade orchestra.