Empowering

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Upper School: Grades 9–12

Welcome to Rowland Hall's independent private high school, where we encourage students to choose their challenges and become their best selves.

I am honored to be a member of Rowland Hall’s administrative team, as well as a parent of two students. You will discover here, as I have, a supportive community that balances academic excellence with whole-child development and a commitment to inclusion, sustainability, and civic engagement.

Rowland Hall’s outstanding faculty engages students in myriad authentic learning experiences every day. There are many opportunities for individual growth, in-depth study, and learning beyond the classroom through our rigorous, college preparatory curriculum, dynamic electives, and extensive co-curricular offerings. I look forward to working with you and your student to chart an engaging course and a challenging process of personal development, enrichment, and achievement. I invite you to join us today.

Sincerely, 

Ingrid Gustavson signature

Ingrid Gustavson 
Upper School Principal

High school students perform chemistry experiments outdoors
High school student and teacher in robotics at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City.
High school teacher with students during a physics lesson at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City.
High school girls soccer players at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City.
A high school students poses for the camera during a class at Rowland Hall

Upper School Stories in Fine Print Magazine

Tenth-grade Rowland Hall Upper School students visit a religious community center for Half Day/Whole Heart


On Tuesday, October 13, Upper School students and faculty participated in Half Day/Whole Heart, a long-standing Rowland Hall tradition.

“Half Day/Whole Heart is meant to get students out in the community, exposing them to organizations they could do continued service with, providing illustrations of concepts from classroom curriculum and dilemmas, and experiencing the satisfaction of doing good in the community,” said Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund, who organized the event. “We know from brain science that service opportunities benefit the giver as well as the receiver. Also, when illustrating classroom concepts like working at the Jordan River while studying Utah watersheds or helping organizations that support the most vulnerable in our community, learning and empathy come to life in ways not possible in the classroom alone.”

When illustrating classroom concepts like working at the Jordan River while studying Utah watersheds or helping organizations that support the most vulnerable in our community, learning and empathy come to life in ways not possible in the classroom alone.—Ryan Hoglund, director of ethical education

This year’s Half Day/Whole Heart included the following grade-level opportunities, many of which supplemented Beyond the Classroom curricular connections.

Ninth Grade

Ninth graders continued their study of local watershed dilemmas, working with the Jordan River Commission to clean the river corridor and seed native species and wildflowers, mitigating invasive weed species.

Tenth Grade

Guided by Chaplain Jeremy Innis, tenth graders continued their exploration of world faith traditions in our community by visiting local religious sites to meet with faith representatives, then reviewing pilgrimage films.

Eleventh Grade

Eleventh graders continued their study of community dilemmas requiring individual and legislative action, this time focusing on food insecurity and unsheltered people. They heard from Glenn Bailey, executive director of Crossroads Urban Center, and Rina Jordan, a local food security advocate (and parent of two Rowland Hall alums), about individual commitment to this work and the legislative challenges of addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

Twelfth Grade

Twelfth graders completed deferred maintenance projects around the campus of The Sharing Place, a nonprofit that helps children and adolescents navigate their grief following the loss of a parent or caregiver.

Ethical Education

Ninth-grade students pose for a group photo in the Uinta Mountains during their Beyond the Classroom experience

Beyond the Classroom 2021 was a great success!

"We were so glad to be able to offer our Beyond the Classroom program again this year after taking a break due to COVID in 2020,” said Upper School Principal Ingrid Gustavson. An Upper School tradition, Beyond the Classroom is a four-year sequence of experiences designed to take students out of the classroom and into the broader community.

We enjoyed a great day of relationship building, exploration, and self-reflection.—Ingrid Gustavson, Upper School principal

“Beyond the Classroom offers an opportunity for students in grades nine through eleven to engage with the greater Salt Lake City community and its natural surroundings to learn leadership skills, identify areas of interest, and develop an understanding about how to have an impact through individual and collective action,” said Ingrid. “Students heard from guest speakers, worked in teams, and explored areas of our own backyard, like the state capitol and Three Creeks Confluence, while also having a chance to go much further afield in the High Uintas. Seniors focused on their college applications, with a full day of workshopping their essays with college counselors and English teachers. The smiles in the photos say it all! We enjoyed a great day (three days for ninth graders) of relationship building, exploration, and self-reflection.”

This year’s event was held on September 21 and included the following experiences.

Ninth Grade

Ninth graders enjoyed activities around the theme Water and the West, first learning about federal water policy—including tension between the federal government and states around managing and conserving water—from the Debate Team. They then worked with the Seven Canyons Trust and Jordan River Commission to understand current efforts to daylight creeks.

Ninth graders continued their Beyond the Classroom experience with learning rotations at Camp Roger, located in Utah’s High Uintas, on Wednesday and Thursday, and meetings with advisors and teachers on Friday.

Tenth Grade

Tenth graders spent the day at Camp Roger, where they enjoyed learning rotations involving watercolors and hiking.

Eleventh Grade

Eleventh graders spent the morning examining climate effects in the West and how they disproportionately impact communities. They then mapped the heat island effect in the Folsom Corridor before traveling to the state capitol to learn from Better Utah about Utah’s climate and air quality issues.

Twelfth Grade

Twelfth graders participated in a college counseling workshop where they received assistance with their college applications from Rowland Hall’s college counselors and senior English teachers.

Experiential Learning

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

Welcome, Winged Lions!

Rowland Hall was excited to welcome students to our two campuses this week as we kicked off the 2021–2022 school year on Wednesday, August 25. As they arrived, students and families were greeted by a golden sunrise, old and new friends, a peppy group of faculty and staff, and an overall air of excitement. (Some even met Roary, our trusty school mascot, as they made their way to classrooms.) Below, please enjoy some of the images captured on the first day of school.

We look forward to a wonderful year together filled with deep learning, joy, and new memories.

First Day Photo Gallery: McCarthey Campus (PreK through Fifth Grades)

First Day Photo Gallery: Lincoln Street Campus (Sixth through Twelfth Grades)

Community

Student Samantha Lehman at the Utah state capitol.


At the beginning of June, rising Rowland Hall senior Samantha Lehman began an internship for the Utah House of Representatives majority staff. She spent two weeks sitting in on appropriations and caucus meetings, communicating important information through social media, and researching everything from local procedures for foreign diplomats visiting Utah to water and transportation policy (did you know that 32,933,228,764 miles were driven on Utah roads in 2019? Neither did Samantha!).

While working at the capitol, Samantha was approached by Harry Hansen, communications manager and podcast host, who asked to interview her for the Utah House of Representatives Podcast about her experience attending high school during a pandemic. She said yes, and when Harry asked if there was anything specific she wanted to talk about, Samantha immediately answered, “Mental health.” Below, Samantha, a Rowland Hall mental health educator and this year’s student body president, reflects on why she chose to focus that discussion on the toll the pandemic is taking on students' mental well-being.

Mental Health and the Pandemic: A High Schooler’s Perspective

By Samantha Lehman, Class of 2022

The movies don’t lie when they say that high school is tough.

I, and many other students, found it hard to stay motivated and to care about things we were previously interested in. I felt alone, helpless, burned out, and like I was a failure for not being more engaged. It was as if Earth’s gravity had suddenly increased: everything looked the same, but it was harder to lift myself up.

Homework, studying, and the epic highs and lows of extracurriculars are enormously stressful, so a balance between friends and work can help make school manageable. However, the pandemic meant students were isolated in their rooms, unable to be around their friends, making school feel more strenuous and boring. Additionally, in-person class is hard to replicate on Zoom. There’s just not the same energy, and focusing is near impossible when a) you have been staring at a screen for hours at a time, and b) the world of the internet is at your fingertips (I’ll be fully transparent here: I definitely watched The Office instead of paying attention in class more than a couple of times). As the year went on, many students found it harder and harder to keep up with work and make themselves pay attention to what they were supposed to be learning, even if they were able to be in person at school some of the time. I, and many other students, found it hard to stay motivated and to care about things we were previously interested in. I felt alone, helpless, burned out, and like I was a failure for not being more engaged. It was as if Earth’s gravity had suddenly increased: everything looked the same, but it was harder to lift myself up.

Another problem with school during a pandemic is repetitive thoughts. When you’re stuck at home all day in front of a computer with nothing but your brain to keep you company, repetitive thoughts become a real problem. My brain kept telling me, “You should be doing better at school,” or, “You’re a horrible student and don’t deserve to be here,” and, “You’re a failure.” After hearing those things again and again, I started to believe them. Unfortunately, many of my classmates had this experience as well, and they struggled with school and their mental health as a result.

For some students, having their routine dramatically switched up by the pandemic was a huge challenge. For others, they enjoyed being online for school, perhaps because they are uncomfortable in many social situations, so going back in person towards the end of the year was a hard adjustment. Maybe a student lost a relative or a friend during or to the pandemic and didn’t get the community support they needed. Regardless of the reason, the pandemic impacted every student’s mental health in some way, and that may have long-lasting effects, even if this school year looks a little more normal.

I think it’s important to realize that mental health is not a reason a person isn’t strong. You can be strong and still struggle with your mental health.

I think it’s important to realize that struggling with mental health is not a reason a person isn’t strong. You can be strong and still struggle with your mental health. Take Simone Biles, for example. She has 31 Olympic and World Championship medals and pulled out of the Olympic team competition to prioritize her mental health. That’s strength if I’ve ever seen it. A person also doesn’t have to be diagnosed with something like anxiety, OCD, or depression to need to take time to prioritize their mental health. Brains are weird and life is hard.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the advice I’d give to parents and guardians is to remember it’s important to realize that kids need time to recharge and get their heads on straight to succeed. It’s OK for kids to feel tired and want to take breaks from work, and caregivers should encourage them to prioritize their mental health as well as support their kids in times of struggle. My parents support me by reminding me that they are there for me and by never judging or criticizing me for struggling with mental health.

Additionally, as students, we need to remember to support each other. There is never a bad time to tell a friend that they are doing great and that you are there for them. As a community, we need to continue to uplift each other and give each other the space to put mental health first.

Student Voices

You Belong at Rowland Hall