What We Are Known For
Students searching for stellar, signature programs from preschool through twelfth grade will find them at Rowland Hall. This is a destination for those who yearn to be supported in their passions and coached by experts in their fields.
For 150 years, Rowland Hall has offered thousands of students an unrivaled liberal arts education. Today we have incorporated into our philosophy pedagogy that prepares young people to thrive in a world of constantly changing information.
We know they will need to relate their learning to challenges that require analysis, collaboration, and creative solutions.
We also strongly believe that no education is complete without commitment to a worthy purpose and passion for making the world a better place.
Rowland Hall embraces the philosophy advocated by the National Association of Independent Schools that enlightened schools today should focus on teaching collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, communication, character, and cross-cultural competency. These skills coalesce naturally with our school’s strategic vision, the structure of our curriculum, teacher training, and relevant research about how students learn best.
Throughout every grade, class, and school division, through projects and activities, our children learn the importance of collaboration and functioning well as a contributing member of a team.
Students develop fluidity and discernment with ideas and abstractions, and learn to integrate cross-disciplinary knowledge and to reason analytically to solve real-world problems.
Creativity is central to the spirit of Rowland Hall, as manifested through our offerings in performing arts, specialty classes, and exploratory courses. Indeed, creativity and innovation are continually encouraged and nourished across disciplines.
Mastery in three fluencies—writing, public speaking, and technology—is required of our graduates, and these are taught and continually practiced and refined.
Rowland Hall students learn that character includes the development of self-discipline, drive, and grit, as well as the universal values embodied by the ethical principles of fairness, empathy, integrity, and altruism.
Our students acquire cross-cultural competency by cultivating global perspectives and an awareness of the cultural and societal richness in their own communities. Rowland Hall students value differences and are willing to consider various points of view.
The Beyond the Classroom program is a three-year sequence of experiences designed to take students into the field and beyond the traditional classroom walls and buildings, to develop life and leadership skills, and to serve the greater community. It is intended to promote professional, entrepreneurial, ethical, civic, and intellectual engagement in the local community for all our high school students.
Ninth grade: Inspiring a Passion for Learning
This program dovetails directly with the curriculum of ninth grade classes, the centerpiece of which is the ninth grade interdisciplinary trip in September to Camp Roger in the Uinta Mountains. The trip integrates science, art, geography, and history.
Tenth grade: Inspiring a Passion for Science and Engineering
Some of the best learning occurs outside the traditional classroom setting. Each September, sophomores are presented with a complex task and asked to solve it through collaborative, hands-on work. In 2012, for example, sophomores designed, built, and raced gravity cars. In 2013 and 2014, they built cardboard boats and sailed them on the Great Salt Lake. In 2015, they built complex Rube Goldberg machines, and in 2016, they built mouse traps (like the board game) as a nod to the Upper School's concurrent performance of the Agatha Christie play.
Eleventh grade: Nurturing a Spirit of Service and Activism
Service learning, whether integrated in dance, science, or math class, addresses issues as diverse as poverty, hunger, autism, wildlife habitat, domestic violence, and racism. Juniors, through Project 11, identify a local need for which they feel passion, then devote over 25 hours of time to one organization whose mission it is to address that need. The culmination of the project results in a written reflection paper which allows students to look back at their experience and the difference they made in the community.
*25 hours of service are required for graduation.
Rowland Hall set the stage for the burgeoning elementary school chess movement in the ’90s and has been teaching Lower School students the game—and winning chess championships at city, state, and national levels—ever since. As one of several Specialty classes, students in grades one through five go to chess class weekly to learn essential skills such as predicting, problem solving, using empathy in winning and losing, taking risks, and learning from mistakes. Numerous studies highlight the benefits of chess in education, including teaching tactical thinking, higher order pattern recognition, self-discipline, and time management skills. Rowland Hall is one of the very few institutions in the country that offers chess as a part of the regular school curriculum.
Students seeking more chess time or competitive chess settings can become involved in Chess Club, offered after school via the Extended Day program. Many of those students join the school’s chess team that participates in local, state, and national tournament competitions.
Studies “in the field” begin for Rowland Hall students as early as 3PreK and continue in the Lower School with trips to local museums, performances, and natural sites around the Wasatch. Students from grades one through eight enjoy a variety of sports experiences for five weeks every winter through the Winter Sports program. Overnight trips, beginning in sixth grade, take our students on fall excursions that include curricular themes and also serve to welcome new friends into each grade level and strengthen the bonds between teachers and students.
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Guiding students and their parents through the highly competitive, complex college admission process requires an expert degree of knowledge, professionalism, networking, and skill. No Utah public school or neighboring private school gives more attention and resources to student-centered college counseling than Rowland Hall.
Our counselors draw on years of experience in college admissions and advising when they discuss each individual student’s and family’s goals for the next step after Rowland Hall. You can expect informed guidance regarding schedule planning, college entrance tests, teacher and school recommendations, and college essays and applications. We provide current and accurate information about a range of colleges and universities, as well as information about trends in the ever-changing college admissions environment to help students gain admission to colleges and universities that best fit their interests, academic record, aspirations, and the family’s financial considerations.
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Dance at Rowland Hall is a soulful, skillful experience for dancers and audiences alike. Everyone in our school community and friends of the school are thrilled by the performances offered by the school’s fine dancers and guest and student choreographers.
Directed by professional dancers Sofia Gorder and Allison Spehar, our dance program teaches technical proficiency and choreography in multiple dance forms. From modern dance to musical theater, from jazz improvisation to contemporary ballet, Rowland Hall's Middle School and Upper School dance students experience a dance curriculum that is second to none.
Whether taking a dance class as an elective or becoming immersed in the choreographic, rehearsal, performance, and social aspects of Dance Ensemble, aspiring and accomplished dancers find our program to be inspirational and deeply involving.
Middle School students take dance as one of the fine arts exploratory classes, and have the option to become a member of Dance Ensemble I during their eighth grade year. This class prepares students to succeed in the Upper School by introducing rigor with regard to dance. Often times the eighth graders will perform in an Upper School concert during the year. Once the students reach eighth grade, they may also audition for the Upper School dance companies.
Upper School students may take dance as an elective, or audition for Upper School Dance Ensemble, levels II, III, and IV.
Two major dance concerts are presented each school year, in the fall and winter. In addition, senior dancers present a concert as the culmination of their four years in Dance Company, in the spring.
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In just the last five years, Rowland Hall Debate has produced seven State Champions, 28 National Qualifiers, 16 Academic All-Americans, and sent dozens of students to college on scholarships.
The high school team is made up of approximately 50 debaters who participate in a variety of events (CX, LD, or PF) and divisions (Varsity or Novice). Students also determine the own commitment level and goals. Our most competitive students attend 10 to 12 tournaments a year and can travel all over the country, from Los Angeles to Boston. Others stay committed to regional or local competitions, but everyone is committed to personal excellence.
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Rowland Hall was founded on ethical and spiritual principles by the Episcopal Church. And although we are no longer a church school, Rowland Hall remains committed to teaching its students to embody ethical behavior, to value and employ civil and courteous discourse, and to embrace and value variety in our diverse human experience.
Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund partners with teachers to ensure lessons in ethics are woven throughout grade levels and curricular themes, through the required world religions and ethics course, through service learning and community service, through chapel and character education strands. Students learn from guest speakers, who often bring stories of their travels throughout the world and their efforts to change the world for the better.
From the first bell to the last each day, our students are mentored by exemplary adults who model ethical living and choices. From sports fields to art classes, students are asked to think deeply about what it means to be a contributing member and voice for good in our community.
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Rowland Hall is known for having one of the best high school instrumental jazz performance programs in the state of Utah. When you attend a Rowland Hall jazz band performance, you may think you’re enjoying the stylings of professional musicians well beyond their teenage years.
Middle School and Upper School jazz musicians of all experience levels develop, under the direction of Dr. Bret Jackson, a better understanding of jazz through both performance and the study of various musical styles and musicians.
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The 30 Rowmark Ski Academy skiers are full-time ninth through twelfth graders at Rowland Hall. That single statement underscores how Rowmark is uniquely different from other ski academies in the country. Here, student-athletes find a rigorous, year-round ski racing program coupled with an extraordinary academic high school. There is nothing quite like it in North America.
Rowmark also offers its Junior Program—an after school/weekend ski program for Rowland Hall students in first through eighth grades designed to foster a lifelong appreciation of alpine skiing and racing. We develop young skiers from beginner to elite alpine levels with the aim to produce all-around versatile skiers.
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One of the best-loved and longest running traditions at Rowland Hall is our Winter Sports program—five Friday afternoons in January and February during which Lower School and Middle School students and faculty engage in a variety of recreational activities. Choices vary each year. Past favorites have included alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, rock climbing, rollerblading and skating, indoor soccer, gymnastics, creative dance, basketball, and swimming.
We most often hear that the ability to write well is the skill that our graduates prize most in their freshman year of college. The writing and rewriting process they were exposed to from Lower School grades until graduation stand them in very good stead compared to their college peers. In fact, some of our alumni say that their English and literature classes were more useful than courses in math and science when it came to being accepted to medical school.
Small classes make this possible because our teachers have the time to assign, coach, mark up, and grade multiple writing assignments. This educational experience is not often afforded to students who don't attend small independent schools.
One aspect of the writing program is Rowland Hall’s literary magazine, Tesserae, which in 2014-2015 won Gold Medal status from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for the second year in a row. Read the Fine Print article here. During the 2016-2017 school year, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) honored Tesserae with a prestigious All-American Award for the seventh consecutive year.
Other accolades for Tesserae include top ratings from the National Council of Teachers of English and the esteemed Pacemaker Award from the NSPA twice, with two additional finalist nominations.
Tesserae is supervised by faculty member Joel Long and produced by students as part of Mr. Long’s Creative Writing/Literary Magazine English elective. Acclaimed writers are frequent guests of this and all of Mr. Long’s English classes. Guest authors have included Frank Bidart (National Book Critics Circle award winner), Diane Lefer, Rebecca Lindenberg, and Chilean poet Felip Cussen.