Clarity in the wake of the Tribune article

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Clarity in the wake of the Tribune article

Jorge Omar Casiano Vazquez, Staff Writer

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Recently there has been some confusion about the future of Innovations Early College High School after an article was published in The Salt Lake Tribune.

On March 9, Tara Radmall, acting principal of Innovations, presented the state of our school and what the future looks like for Innovations.   

Radmall started the assembly by thanking the students for being present and stating the students are in a safe place with adults that care about them.

Innovations believes personalized learning is critical to the students success, Radmall said. She also added all teachers are certified and Innovations is an accredited school. Innovations has the full support of the district and will continue educating you. She stated that any fear that the students or parents might have about Innovations closing down is false.

Radmall also addressed changes of payment for college classes. Everything in terms of funding is staying the same—the only thing that is changing is funding for college classes. The following is an email sent to parents on how the funding for free college classes is changing:

We can no longer say that concurrent courses will be paid for every student. However, using Innovations budget, we are setting aside as much money as possible to develop a scholarship fund. Students will be able to apply for scholarships from this fund to cover tuition, books, and supplies. We hope to be able to set aside and raise enough funding to cover each student who applies for it and meets the criteria established. Scholarships will be awarded to those who apply based on the criteria established and the availability of funds. The Education Foundation has also established a scholarship for this purpose.

Radmall said, “The cost for tuition for concurrent enrollment is $5 per credit hour, so on average for tuition it will cost you $15 to $20 per class. Books and supplies are different depending on the course you take”.

The school has already purchased a lot of books so if a student needs a book for a certain class they could check it out, Radmall said.

An article in The Salt Lake Tribune article it said that Innovations had, “mediocre-to-average academic outcomes.”

Radmall explained while the data the reporter was accurate, the reporter chose which data to focus on, and there were positives the reporter did not choose to report on.

For example, Innovation’s graduation rate in 2016 was 89% versus East, West, and Highland schools 88%.

Innovation’s ACT scores compared to East, West, and Highland’s scores for 2014, 2015, and 2017 for math were higher, but lower for 2016.

For science the ACT scores were lower for the past four years compared to the other schools. ACT scores for language arts on the other hand, were higher for the past four years. But like Mrs. Radmall said, “That’s what a school is, right? We work towards making things better and learning more and doing better and better.”

One thing that was not mentioned in The Salt Lake Tribune article was the number of students that are currently taking concurrent enrollment classes. Innovations has 53% of its student taking concurrent enrollment classes compared to East’s 18%, West’s 9%, and Highland’s 20%.

Radmall also explained some of the purchases Innovations made. Eric S. Peterson, author of one of the articles written about Innovations, wrote, “And in April 2017 alone, the school bought $2,192 worth of prepaid Visa cards.”

Those prepaid visa cards that he is talking about were used by students on a school field trip, paid by the students-not the school-to Washington D.C.

Earlier in the school year, Kenneth Grover resigned as principal and some students were concerned as to why when the article was published.

To clear this up, Radmall presented a part of Grover’s email that he sent to parents.

“I have been offered an opportunity to work with many school districts throughout the country as they transform to personalized learning during the next year,” Grover wrote.

“I want you to know that it doesn’t matter what other people say, each of you know what’s going on at our school and our opportunities are going to remain the same”, Radmall said.