New Principal, New School Schedule for Heritage Students
A brisk chill in the air in Utah means a new school year is under way and changes at Heritage are part of the new school year.
Heritage School has a new director of education, Jason Wright, from Birmingham, England. Jason said he relates to the students at Heritage.
“I was a lot like the students here,” he said. “I struggled but at age 13 committed to get myself out of poverty and get educated.”
Jason studied at five universities, earning a bachelor’s in education, three master’s degrees in education, special education and international politics and he holds a PhD in Educational Research, earned at BYU.
Some of his previous positions were at BYU for the Special Education Department, Nebo School District, the Royal School for the Deaf and in the London and Birmingham school districts.
He said he is happy to join the staff and students at Heritage.
“I love it here,” he said. “Everyone has been very welcoming. I enjoy working with the students – it’s an empathetic journey. They are a great group of kids and have been very respectful to me.”
A key change in the academic week for students at Heritage is showing marked success in students’ behavior. School now starts and ends 30 minutes later, allowing staff to work with students but giving students more time to get going in the morning.
“What teen doesn’t love an extra 30 minutes of sleep?” Jason said.
The Friday schedule changed to include two periods set aside for students to use as they need for academics.
“Students can catch up on homework and spend time on academic probation,” Jason said. “They don’t fall behind and they feel like they’ve succeeded when they get to the weekend so the weekend staff has a better weekend with them.”
The last four periods on Friday are devoted to vocational and skills training. If a student is not on academic probation they can participate in myriad activities: a reading club, performing arts, horse riding, biking, canoeing, model making, arts and crafts and others.
“The idea is for the students to develop social skills and learn new skill sets,” Jason said. “They will also do service projects in the community. Some go off campus to learn skills.”
Jason said the percentage of students on academic probation was 70 percent but that has dropped to about 10 percent with this new model.
“It’s a great motivational tool,” he said. “The boys struggle more but the girls do well. Many get off academic probation – they are more motivated in the classroom. Some get to Wednesday and they are behind. Now they know they have that time on Friday to catch up and they have the clubs to look forward to. They develop a better work ethic and learn to achieve.”