Frequently Asked Questions

What is content-based, sheltered English instruction?

This refers to a large group of teaching strategies and school practices ensuring that students can learn the English language in the context of their regular middle school and high school classes, rather than taking a separate class in English as a Second Language.  For example, a history teacher who is teaching a unit on the abolition movement might first teach key English vocabulary words that the unit will require.  She may re-write texts at two or three lower reading levels, break text up into small, manageable pieces, add visual representations of concepts, and build in frequent opportunities for students to talk and write about the material  in small groups.  This ensures that students are understanding the content material, even if they have a low level of English, and also provides many opportunities to practice and improve English language skills.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is an independent public school authorized by a school district or the state charter school board.   Charter schools are tuition-free, are open to all students, and are operated using state and federal funds.  The purpose of charter schools is to give parents and students an alternative to their local, district-operated school.  Utah International is chartered by Granite School District, but run by a volunteer board of trustees.

Who can attend Utah International?

There are no entrance requirements and no school boundaries for Utah International.  Any Utah student in grades  6 to 12 is eligible to attend Utah International, including students whose first language is English.

In 2019-20, we have 229 students, of whom 90% were born outside the United States.  Our students speak 32 home languages, including Somali, Swahili, Arabic, Kinyarwanda, Karen, Spanish, Karenni, and Nepali.

How do students get to school?

We provide UTA bus and TRAX pass to students who live more than a mile from school.    The school is a short walk from bus lines on State Street, 5th East, 33rd South, and 39th South, and a reasonable walk from the TRAX stations at 33rd South and 39th South.  Students should be able to get to the school from every direction on public transportation.  Click here for directions and bus information.

 What about school lunch?

We serve breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. Breakfast and lunch are provided through Granite District’s Food Services.  From 2018 to 2022 we are a community-eligibility school.  This means meals are free to all students without having to complete the free-lunch application process.     Click here for information about school meals.

How much does it cost to go to Utah International?

As a public charter school, Utah International provides a FREE education.  Unlike most secondary public and charter schools, we do not charge any fees.  We gratefully accept donations from families who can afford to pay for their student’s bus pass or other items.

Is Utah International only for refugee, immigrant, and other English-learning students?

No.   Our student-centered, project-based curriculum will engage and challenge all students, and the multicultural environment will prepare every student to succeed in college and a global economy.

Does Utah International have sports and activities?

Yes.  Right now we offer student council, choir, piano, art and ceramics, yearbook, peer leadership, robotics, coding, dance, recreational basketball, volleyball, and soccer, homework support, and open computer time after school.   Offerings vary over the course of the year. We hope that every student will participate in at least one after-school activity.   Sports teams compete with other after-school programs and clubs.

How do you teach students with such a wide range of first languages and English ability?

Our approach is to provide students with academic support and scaffolding to engage with challenging ideas.  English learners need extra support, but their cognitive and academic goals are the same.  All students  have the opportunity to develop high level critical thinking and problem solving skills through group projects and other student-centered methods.

How will Utah International help my child learn English?

Every math, science, language arts, and social studies teacher at Utah International understands the process of language development and is trained in content-based, sheltered English instruction.  Teachers  use a variety of strategies to teach reading, writing, listening and speaking associated with their content area.  Small classes and sheltered English instructional strategies will ensure that every student participates and practices English speaking and writing every day.

What if my child already knows English?

All students  benefit from the interdisciplinary, group projects that  more closely mimic real world problems and 21st century work.  As students work collaboratively with young people from all over the world, they gain an international perspective and understand how to apply solutions globally.

What is a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum?

An interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to look at an essential question or problem through mathematical, scientific, linguistic, and historical lenses.   Students address multiple aspects of the same question in several disciplines  at the same time.

How will this prepare my student for college?

Students  learn analytical reading skills to study and research complex issues. They learn the writing skills to describe, explain, compare, and synthesize the issues they research. The rigorous curriculum challenges students to develop the necessary critical thinking, problem solving, and study skills to succeed in college and a 21st century workforce.

Is Utah International accountable for student achievement?

Yes.  Utah International is held to the same federal and state standards  and administer the same statewide tests as district public schools, including an annual test of English language skills.

How is Utah International funded?

Utah International receives state and federal funds available to all public schools. While we always accept private donations, there are no costs associated with enrollment.

How can I enroll my child?

Enrollment for the 2020-21 school year is open now and will remain open until all classes are filled.  Call us at 385 290-1306 or visit the school at 350 East Baird Circle (3605 South) to complete registration paperwork or arrange for your student to visit classes.  We are accepting applications for the 2020-21 school year for grades 7 to 12.  Click here for enrollment information.

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