SALT LAKE CITY (Good Things Utah) — Mark Miller Subaru and the Utah Jazz are long-term business partners who recently started a new joint philanthropic initiative to support learning in our community.
West Lake STEM Jr. High school was selected to be the first beneficiary of this joint campaign.
While all schools have struggled during the past few years, West Lake STEM Jr. High in particular has faced even greater challenges due to the irreparable damage to the school that was caused by the 2020 Earthquake in Utah. The original West Lake Jr. High had to be demolished as a result of the earthquake, and students are currently being bussed to a previously decommissioned elementary school in Taylorsville.
West Lake STEM is a vibrant and diverse middle school. It uses creative, engaging, and hands-on teaching strategies to meet the diverse needs of its highly impacted student body. Within the halls of West Lake STEM, twenty-five different languages are spoken and for 70% of our students, English is not their first language.
Many students at West Lake STEM recently moved to America. Entering school for the first time in a new country presents significant challenges for Multi-Language Learner (MLL) students. Most of them are learning about their new community and trying to find a place of belonging. They walk on campus not having friends, not knowing their teachers, and not being sure what middle school is all about. For some students, this is their first experience in an educational setting. Many find that their teachers do not speak their language.
To assist West Lake STEM in supporting these English Language Learners, Mark Miller Subaru and the Utah Jazz have jointly donated a combined $30,000 for a new Language Lab within the school.
The West Lake STEM Language Lab will have a huge impact on our student’s language acquisition. Specifically, their multi-language learners who need the support the most (typically our newest students learning English) will be benefitted from the lab.
Research shows that language acquisition improves through consistent practice. The language lab will increase practice opportunities and engagement in language learning. It also will support students socially and emotionally by providing opportunities for students to communicate with each other in a variety of ways, and with a variety of students thereby increasing their connections with others while practicing English at the same time.
The Language Lab was officially unveiled during a school-wide celebration on Friday, November 11, 2022.
To learn more about these contributions, click the link here.
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