Farmington High has something to celebrate.Mar 04, 2021 02:55PM ● By Peri Kinder
Farmington High School claims one of the highest graduation rates in Utah, with 97.6 of its senior class earning a diploma. More than 1,900 students are enrolled at FHS and 620 seniors make up the 2021 graduating class. Getting a student to graduation is a team effort, one that starts during the student’s sophomore year.
The high school opened three years ago and the Class of 2021 will be the first group to have attended the school since their sophomore year. FHS Assistant Principal Merci Rossmango said there are many strategies in place to help students succeed.
“We have a mentoring program where students are assigned a mentor in their sophomore year and they go with the mentors for their three years here,” she said. “They meet, not just about academics, but also about the student’s personal life.”
Each mentor has a group of approximately 25 students and spends 50 minutes every day with their group for all three years of high school. The mentor also schedules one-on-one sessions every couple of weeks to make sure the kids are staying on track.
This is the third year the school has used the mentorship program, and the first group of students who have gone through all three years with the same mentor will graduate this spring.
“If you ask the mentors about how the program has gone, they get choked up talking about it,” Rossmango said.
Along with the mentorship program, teachers keep a lookout for students who might be struggling. If a student’s attendance drops, grades fall or behavior changes, the teacher submits a concern to the case management group which kicks into gear to get to the heart of the matter. The group creates a plan with the student, parent, counselors and other professionals to create the best strategy for success.
Often, if a problem arises, counselors will reach out to parents and might schedule a home visit to ensure a student knows they have lots of support.
FHS also uses the Summit Learning research-based education approach which includes a dynamic student-teacher connection to help students prepare for life after graduation. Through Summit Learning, students progress at their own rate while building curiosity, resilience and purpose.
“It’s a brand-new way of learning where 70 percent of their grade is based on showing proficiency in cognitive skills, and they have all year to show proficiency,” she said.
Group projects are a big part of learning at FHS which means students have accountability for their part of the project; they must show up, participate, and learn together.
Fridays are set aside for targeted workshops, tutoring, reviewing materials and assignments, and checking in with students. Even though Fridays are non-attendance days, Rossmango would argue that FHS has the most students, of any high school in Davis County, showing up on Friday to get that extra help.
While COVID has taken a toll on students’ mental health and performance, the FHS staff has kept kids motivated and engaged, making sure they’re flexible when it comes to accommodating a student’s situation and need.
“We truly believe our mentoring program is, for sure, the key to success,” Rossmango said. “In the end, I think our seniors are going to be okay.”