Humanities. All Salt Lake Arts Academy students take a two-period long humanities course, daily. Combining Language Arts and History/Social Studies,  students engage with the Utah State Core Curriculum through multiple lenses. Humanities classes are mixed grade levels, with 5th/6th graders and 7t/8th graders grouped together. Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books, connected to the historical and social events they are studying. Writing, research, technology and art history are integrated into this course.

Our Humanities curriculum is offered on an A/B year schedule. A student joining SLArts in 5th Grade will 

5th / 6th Grade
Year A: Ancient Civilizations – Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, Asia, and Meso-America
Year B: Middle Ages – Exploration – Renaissance – Reformation – Revolution

7th / 8th Grade
Year A: Early American history – colonial history, American revolution, government, westward expansion, Civil War, reconstruction, immigration
Year B: 20th Century through contemporary world history.

Mathematics.  While we are the "Salt Lake Arts Academy," our Math program is well-known for its rigor and the way it prepares students for advanced math studies in High School.

5th-Grade Math: We use "Bridges" for our 5th Grade curriculum, which prepares students for success in the upper grades by solidifying core concepts in elementary math. "Bridges" flows well into our 6th - 8th Grade curriculum,"College Preparatory Math (CPM.)"

6th - 8th Grade Math: We we use the College Preparatory Math (CPM) program, which is rated as exemplary by the US Department of Education.

The CPM middle school and high school core courses were designed and written based on several fundamental learning principles:

  • Mathematics is a coherent intellectual system, not a collection of disjoint facts, and needs to be taught in a way that makes this coherence clear.
  • Curriculum works best when it is successful with all students, including “traditionally struggling students” and “accelerated” students.
  • Teachers teach better when curriculum materials are flexible.
  • Structured investigations and lessons are more successful when students clearly understand what they are looking for.
  • Students learn more when they solve problems and discuss their thinking with others.
  • Teams work better when the work actually requires a team and there is something to talk about.
  • Closure is a vital portion of a lesson.
  • A student’s learning is more meaningful and is better retained when he or she reaches the level of understanding necessary to explain and justify his or her thinking.
  • A mathematical text should have usable reference elements.
  • Literacy can be strengthened through meaningful/rigorous mathematical study.
  • The structure of the lessons and layout of the textbook help students focus on mathematics and eliminate distractions.


Science.  Students take grade-level-specific classes in order to meet the State Core requirements. Fifth graders take science every other day, alternating with their Digital Learning class, where they learn important digital citizenship skills and concepts.  Our 6th - 8th graders have science daily. Hands-on learning through science labs and fieldwork is an important part of these classes. Students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of scientific concepts through original projects that often combine arts with science.

7th-graders attend genetics labs at the University of Utah during their study of human genetics and perform 3 anatomy labs during the year.

8th-graders travel to the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming, for one week during the school year for fieldwork relating to environmental science, geology, and ecology.

Our science teachers meet regularly with the arts and humanities teachers to develop complementary units supporting work covered in other classes. 

Arts. We believe that the arts are a fundamental part of our students’ education. We view Arts as a "core class' and every student will take at least one arts class every day during their years at SLArts. Over their four years at Salt Lake Arts Academy, our students receive a foundation in the arts that will lead to greater understanding and appreciation for a lifetime.

5th Grade:  Students attend a four-quarter rotation through dance, music, drama and visual arts in each of these years, called “Level 1.” This arts rotation provides students not only an exposure to these art forms, but also the fundamental skills, concepts and vocabulary inherent in each.

6th, 7th and 8th Grade: Students are required to select one or two art forms to pursue with greater specialization, moving to “Level 2,” and for some advanced students, “Level 3,'” classes. At this point, we encourage students to identify their artistic passion and make a commitment to expand their competency in these forms.

Throughout the school year, students attend concerts, plays and performances within the local arts community, from Pioneer Theatre to Kingsbury Hall, Ballet West, the Utah Symphony, RDT, and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Companies. Our arts teachers collaborate with local arts professionals for special classroom projects and residencies.

Each year, our students perform and exhibit their work, with performances in our Black Box theater, and in exhibitions in our larger community.

Physical Education

Emphasizes lifetime fitness and utilizes community recreation facilities such a, Central City Recreation Center, and Liberty Park.  In addition to regular PE classes, our students are often found walking to the Main Public Library, to the TRAX station, or to the theaters located in downtown Salt Lake City.