Encouraging

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A Rowland Hall fourth-grade students takes notes on an iPad while her teacher, Marianne Love, instructs in the background.
Fourth-grade teacher Haas Pectol helps two students on their iPad during a class at Rowland Hall's elementary school.
Elementary school teacher with students on a field trip, pointing toward the mountains.
Two Rowland Hall students pose for the camera in front of the Salt Lake City, Utah, independent, private elementary school.
A group of elementary school students write in workbooks while laying on the floor of a Rowland Hall Lower School classroom.

Lower School: Grades 1–5

Welcome to Rowland Hall's independent private elementary school. This is a place of joyful learning and continuous growth. It's an inclusive community that inspires students to seek their sense of self, wonder about their world, and pursue their interests while supported by a caring faculty and staff.

It is truly an honor for me to be a member of Rowland Hall's Lower School team. Many factors drew me to Rowland Hall, from its mission to inspire students to discover a meaningful life of learning to its beautiful campus that gazes up at the Wasatch Mountain Range. But the thing about Rowland Hall that most excited and inspired me—and still does today—is the community of people: an energetic, talented, and tight-knit faculty and staff; a leadership group that aspires to the highest ideals of teaching and learning; warm and welcoming parents, guardians, and families; and, most endearing of all, a group of eager, joyful, smiling students. Together, we are building the next generation of compassionate, curious, and courageous humans.

I am proud to be part of the Rowland Hall community—our community.

Sincerely,

Emma Wellman signature

Emma Wellman 
Beginning School and Lower School Principal

Two Rowland Hall second-grade students work together to solve a workbook problem in class.
Two siblings pose for a photo outside of the Lower School at Rowland Hall's Salt Lake City, Utah, McCarthey Campus.
Elementary school teacher helping students in science at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Elementary school students on the playground at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A Rowland Hall Lower School students peers through an origami loop that they created during an art class.
Elementary school student plays ukulele at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Two Rowland Hall Lower School students laugh together while eating lunch outside.
A Rowland Hall Lower School students poses for a photo while playing on the playground at recess.
A Rowland Hall elementary school student completes math exercises in a notebook.
A Rowland Hall elementary school student raises their hand to ask a question during class.
Independent Private Beginning School Principal - Emma Wellman - Salt Lake City, Utah

Emma Wellman
Beginning School and Lower School Principalget to know Emma

Contact the Lower School

720 Guardsman Way
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108
801-355-7485

Lower School Stories in Fine Print Magazine

High school students wave to the camera on the first day of school

Rowland Hall is excited to welcome students back to our two campuses for the 2022–2023 school year.

The first days of school are always exciting, and this year was no exception. As students and families arrived on Wednesday, August 24, they were greeted by an enthusiastic team of faculty and staff, and had the chance to say hello to friends, old and new. Some of our youngest learners also got to meet Roary, our school mascot, who was ready to give high-fives and pose for pictures as students made their way to class. Students also had the chance to come together this week at events like the Lower School's first community gathering of the year and the all-school Convocation.

Below, please enjoy some of the images captured over the first few days of school.

Back to School

Community

2022 Rowland Hall valedictorian Charles Topoleski.

At this year's twelfth-, eighth-, and fifth-grade graduation ceremonies, student speakers shared reflective and inspiring stories about their experiences at Rowland Hall.

The group included senior speakers Samantha Lehman, student body president, and Charles Topoleski (pictured above), Bishop's Award recipient; Senior Celebration speaker Ella Houden; Senior Chapel speakers Sophie Ayers-Harris, Daniel McNally, and Irenka Saffarian; eighth-grade graduation speakers Noa Fukushima and Leo Pickron; and several fifth-grade graders.

We have posted their speeches for you to enjoy.

Student Voices

Jodi Spiro's third graders are making an environmental difference at Salt Lake City private school Rowland Hall.

Change may be slow, but it’s worth the wait.

This life truth was recently made clear to Jodi Spiro’s third graders, a group of students passionate about doing their part to save the earth—particularly when it comes to limiting the amount of garbage that’s dumped into the environment, a topic they’ve discussed often this year.

“We knew there was a problem, then we watched this video of how much trash ends up in rivers and oceans, and we thought it was really sad,” said class member Helena A. “We saw this island made out of trash—it’s bigger than Texas.”

“It feels like people don’t really care about what they’re throwing out,” added classmate Declan M.

And it really bothered the third graders to imagine Rowland Hall contributing to the problem—especially in one specific way: even though the school had returned to a traditional serving line at lunch (during the pandemic, individually packaged meals were delivered to classrooms), the dining hall hadn’t shifted back to using metal cutlery. The students knew the use of plastic utensils had to be creating a lot of waste, so in October they visited the dining hall to get an idea of just how much. The third graders began by counting the number of plastic utensils that fit into the dining hall’s cutlery dispenser, then determined how many times that dispenser was filled. They were shocked to learn that the McCarthey Campus was tossing around 900 plastic forks, knives, and spoons each week.

We realized how much we were throwing away and we wanted to know why, and we wanted to change it.—Third grader Declan M.

“We realized how much we were throwing away, and we wanted to know why, and we wanted to change it,” said Declan.

And though the students were anxious to make those changes right away, Jodi knew they would need the support of campus partners, including SAGE Dining Services, Rowland Hall’s lunch provider, which she knew was probably using plastic cutlery for a reason. Jodi saw the moment as an opportunity for her class to not only understand the reasoning behind that decision, but to learn how to respectfully present their request to reverse it.

“The way you go about something is the way you’ll get lasting change,” she told the class. “You’re going to get better buy-in from everybody if you’re respectful.”

So the class began by writing persuasive letters to explain their concerns and to propose their solution, which they sent to Julia Simonsen, food service director for SAGE, in November. They received a prompt response explaining that there was indeed a reason behind the use of plastic cutlery: students had been throwing away the dining hall’s metal cutlery, as well as reusable cups and even lunch trays. This was its own problem—the dining hall simply couldn’t afford to keep replacing these items. The third graders realized that, in order to address their cutlery concerns, they would first have to tackle another waste issue. So they made Julia an offer: they would teach lower schoolers how to properly use lunchroom materials if SAGE agreed to bring them back. Julia agreed.

With their end goal in mind, the third graders jumped into making plans for educating fellow students both on the proper use of cafeteria materials and on limiting what they sent to the landfill. They knew they would have to talk to every Lower School class, so they divided into teams, with each team choosing the grades they wanted to present to and the approach they thought best for that age group, such as a slideshow, a game of Kahoot!, or a Book Creator story. They also teamed up with staff and faculty members Emily Clawson, Mary Anne Wetzel, and Collin Wolfe to create a TikTok video demonstrating these skills, which they played for every class.

@rowlandhall1867

Jodi Spiro's third-grade class is on a crusade to make our school more environmentally friendly, and their first stop is the dining hall. After seeing how many plastic utensils were being thrown away, the students knew they had to take action. They urged the school to bring back metal cutlery, reusable cups, and compost buckets. Even at such a young age, these students are authentically learning and making a difference not only for our school, but for the world. Great job, third graders!

♬ original sound - Rowland Hall

Rowland Hall third graders demonstrate where to discard leftover milk, how to separate trash from compostable materials (which are then used by the Lower School’s Garden Club), and where to return utensils, cups, and trays.


These class presentations were another chance for the third graders to tap into their respectful dialogue skills: they had to present their material in ways that didn’t place blame on anyone and inspired students to want to help. “We wanted to make sure everyone understood the problem,” explained Helena. “We showed them what’s been happening and what they can do.”

And the presentations made an impact. From first to fifth grade, students expressed a desire to help fix the dining hall’s dual waste problems through their daily actions. “I didn’t really know that I could actually convince people this well of what's been happening in the cafeteria,” said Declan. “It felt really good.” Fellow third graders in Matthew Collins’ and Katie Schwab’s classes even created posters to help remind students to pay attention when disposing of items on their lunch trays, which are helpful resources as students continue to build these habits.

From her perspective, Jodi was thrilled to see not only how other classes responded to her students’ hard work, but how the experience also built the students’ confidence. She said her class loved being seen as experts on a subject and answering their peers’ questions; after each presentation, they returned to the classroom beaming and asking to talk to more people. “I think it brought out parts of themselves that they probably didn’t even expect,” she said.

They learned change is slow, but change is possible, and to be persistent: just because you want something to change doesn’t mean it’s going to follow your timeline.—Jodi Spiro, third-grade teacher

It also showed them that hard work on a cause you believe in is worth it. When the reusable cutlery and cups returned to the dining hall after April break, the moment was more than just the culmination of a nearly school-year-long goal; it was a strong reminder of how young learners can help address problems that seem insurmountable—such as waste in the environment—and truly make a difference.

“It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the bigness of it,” said Jodi, “but the students learned you can start with something small and in your control, like what’s happening in our school. They learned change is slow, but change is possible, and to be persistent. Just because you want something to change doesn’t mean it’s going to follow your timeline.”

They also learned that making good choices add up and that, often, being the change you wish to see in the world starts by simply making a small decision to do something.

“Don’t be a problem starter,” summarized Jodi. “Be a problem solver.”

Ethical Education

Photo Gallery: Grandparents Day 2022
Grandparents Day Photo Gallery

 

On March 18, Rowland Hall was thrilled to welcome grandparents and other special friends to our campuses for our first Grandparents Day since November 2019.

A cherished school event, Grandparents Day provides students’ most beloved adults the opportunity to enjoy short programs and tour the school. This year’s event kicked off on the McCarthey Campus, home to students in 3PreK through fifth grade. Grandparents enjoyed a performance featuring music, singing, and dancing by ​kindergartners and fifth graders, followed by classroom visits. Visitors were then welcomed to the Lincoln Street Campus, home to students in sixth through 12th grades, where they were treated to a performance by members of the chamber orchestra and a student-led tour of campus.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this year’s Grandparents Day. We look forward to welcoming you back next year.

Community

You Belong at Rowland Hall