Historic church to become downtown Salt Lake City’s new school
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This fall, one of downtown Salt Lake City’s venerable churches will come back to life as a school. The American Heritage School will welcome students to a new campus in downtown Salt Lake City, just northwest of Temple Square, in August 2022.
The church building, located at 142 West 200 North, served for decades as a meeting place for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and features an iconic stained glass window depicting the scene of the First Vision of faith.
A stained glass mural of Joseph Smith’s First Vision is housed in the auditorium; it reminds students and teachers to seek revelatory experiences every day.
“We are grateful to be able to provide students with access to the rich educational opportunities that a downtown location provides, and to do so in a building with such a rich past,” said Grant Beckwith, Principal of the school. “This is a unique and powerful model of education that combines faith, a deep appreciation for the founding of America, and rigorous scholars to create a transformational experience not just for students but for entire families. If a family is strongly committed to this type of education, we want to have significant financial support available and will find a way to help you become part of our school community.
The school’s academic results are impressive at all levels, including elementary, middle and high school standardized test scores that are well above state and national averages.
Founded in 1970, American Heritage School is Utah’s largest private K-12 school with nearly 1,100 students attending its 40-acre campus in American Fork. The school is funded entirely by tuition and private donations and accepts no local, state, or federal taxes.
AHS also runs an online education program that reaches thousands of students in dozens of countries around the world. The new campus provides even more access for families living in the Salt Lake area.
“The core of our mission is to help parents develop the whole child – heart, mind and body,” said Salt Lake City campus principal Leland Anderson. “We have found that our parents really appreciate the support our teachers provide. Teachers reinforce core values and concepts, and parents and teachers form a unified partnership between home and school working together.”
Anderson first joined the American Heritage School in 2008 after completing a master’s degree in school leadership at Harvard University. From 2017 to 2021, Anderson served as Principal of the RDF International School in Shenzhen, China. He returned to American Heritage School in June 2021 to help open the Salt Lake City campus.
The school has hired a world-class faculty, with excellent credentials and teaching experience. For example, Elizabeth Rasmussen Nielson, Ph.D., will teach social dancing to students in grades 5-9. In addition to being an experienced ballroom dancer herself who has toured 25 countries with BYU teams for five years, Nielson has led standard-trained and Latin junior national teams. She has a doctorate. from BYU in Educational Psychology and Technology.
Other teachers are also qualified. For example, Thiago Lopes is an accomplished footballer and has coached several excellent football teams. He develops excellent relationships with his students. He will be the athletic director on campus and will teach physical education classes. He is finishing his master’s degree in exercise science at the University of Utah this spring.
“Every teacher we’ve hired is warm, highly intelligent, and an exceptional communicator,” Anderson says.
The Salt Lake City campus will reflect the curriculum and code of honor of the American Heritage School, which cultivates a learning atmosphere consistent with the values of The Church of Jesus Christ. All students must adhere to the school’s honor code, whether or not they are members of the Church. All families are welcome to apply. Families are registering from the Salt Lake Valley, Davis County and Tooele County.
“There are three steps to applying for admission,” says Kristen Jansen, the school’s director of admissions. “Complete an application, attend an admissions interview in person or online, and participate in a new student assessment.”
The application can be completed online. New student assessments are scheduled for May 14, June 13, July 7, and August 6. Families are encouraged to apply early and schedule an assessment date soon, as most places at the school will fill up by mid-August.
Initially, the Salt Lake City campus will accommodate 225 K-9 students in traditional academic subjects such as language arts, math, history, literature, science, computer science, art , music, physical education, theater and social dancing. Years 10-12 will be added in future years.
Extracurricular activities will include basketball, choir, constitutional studies, debate, electronics and robotics, family history, mock court (mock trial proceedings), orchestra, football, government student and volleyball. There will also be writing and math labs available after school.
An extracurricular orchestra will be available for students in the community, not just registered students. Students will also be able to audition for the annual Lyceum Music Festival and other summer orchestra offerings. The American Heritage School Lyceum Philharmonic is Utah’s premier youth orchestra program. He has been recognized for 15 consecutive years by Best in State Utah and performs regularly with top industry professionals including The Piano Guys, GENTRI, Nathan Pacheco, Lexi Walker, and more. Full program information is available at LoveMusicMore.com.
The after-school choir will be open to the community. Students who participate in the choir will also be able to participate in the annual AHS Summer Choir tours.
Job opportunities are available for teachers and full-time staff. Applications for employment are handled online through the American Heritage School employment system. Interested candidates are invited to apply.
Jansen invites all interested families to a virtual open house on Thursday, April 21 or 28, 7-8 p.m., or an open house on the American Fork campus (736 North 1100 East, American Fork) on Saturday. May 14, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. “Come meet our teachers, parents, students and administrators,” says Jansen. “Attending an open house is a great way to learn more about the school. You can view the classrooms and ask questions to find out specifically how AHS can partner with your family to provide an academic education and exceptional confessional.”
The May 14 Open House is held at American Fork as the SLC campus will not open until after renovations are complete this summer. A virtual tour of the new campus is available on the school’s website.
Tuition fees range from $6,698 for full-day kindergarten to $8,670 for grades 1-5 and $9,010 for grades 6-8.
“A lot of help is available for families who need financial assistance,” says Beckwith. Information on financial aid is available on the school’s website.
Registration is limited and places are filling up, so Jansen encourages families to apply early.
For more information, please contact campus at email@example.com or 801-642-0055 x 503.