New charter school opening this fall in Silicon Slopes. | Jennifer Wirth

Lehi’s newest public charter school will be opening this August for the upcoming school year. Nestled on the hillside at Travers Mountain, Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy is enrolling kindergarten through seventh grade students, and plans to extend to eight grade next year. With a name that has piqued the interest of many locals, Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy hopes to work closely with surrounding businesses. Executive Director Heidi Long said, “Location and proximity to Lehi’s Silicon Slopes has been huge. The idea and need we’ve heard from local business leaders is that our kids need to be more innovative, creative, problem-solving, conflict managers. In a traditional school setting, that’s not always at the forefront.”

The charter school will use the Montessori educational method, combined with project-based learning and technology. Long said. “Montessori public schools are hard to come by. In our school we will have tactile, student led, student directed classrooms with multiple grades in every class working on individual goals.” Assistant Director Kelly Tate has been working for about four years to get the school launched. Tate said that having the Montessori system of teaching has always been in the plans. “As a private dyslexia reading therapist, I’ve worked with kids that don’t thrive in a traditional setting. Then I was able to see first-hand the process of Montessori leaning and see it work for all kinds of kids. It was absolutely enlightening.”

Both Long and Tate say the school’s name will not solely define its purpose. “While ‘Entrepreneur’ is part of our name, we aren’t exclusively taking kids who want to be business starters. It’s more someone that’s creative and thinks outside the box, and we use education as a way to help them get to the next stage of life and continue to create and problem solve.” Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy has partnered with local business to provide a variety of fee-based after school programs, from STEM based programs to musical groups and performing arts.

There are 437 students currently enrolled for the upcoming school year, with another 60 students enrolled in a distance learning program. Classrooms will include a mix of students from different grades, combining first through third grade students and fourth through sixth grade students within classes. Kindergarten and seventh grade classes will not be combined. Class sizes are capped at 26 students per class, with a teacher and educational assistant in each classroom. The majority of currently enrolled students are from the Traverse Mountain area. More information about the school may be found at igniteutah.org.

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