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Husky Strong Academy

Canyons School District, Sandy, Utah
Canyons School District
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By 2015-16, 33 percent of Hillcrest High School students in grades 9 and 10 weren’t on track to graduate and 45 percent of freshmen were below grade level in reading and math.

In 2015-16, the school board approved $461,000 to hire additional instructional coaches and an administrative intern to launch a new program: Husky Strong Summer Academy, a boot camp for Hillcrest’s incoming ninth-graders.

Students received four hours of daily instruction in math, science, English and geography from mid-July through mid-August, gaining a quarter of an elective credit at the start of school. The district provided busing every day and picked up students at their neighborhood elementary schools. Students were also paid $5 in attendance stipends.

Those who earned completion certificates received an additional $400 cash card, donated by the United Way of Greater Salt Lake.

Mentors, whose salaries are co-funded by the district and Americorps, are also available to monitor student progress and to connect students and their families to public programs.

To start your own program:

  • Identify students who need academic, behavioral supports.
  • Motivate students with money, or have students meet with mentors who can help them set goals and stay on track.
  • Meet with families to explain the program.
  • Provide PD, as many as 12 to 25 sessions per teacher.