Our Programs


Recognizing that each child is unique in their development, our grade level teams collaborate as we think about how we implement classroom instruction. With various structures, students receive the personal support they need to achieve success and develop core skills. We have a vertical curriculum that is aligned around priority standards taught with fidelity at each grade level using a range of teaching methods, instructional materials and student groupings.

The academic program, while sophisticated, is not based on a linear approach to curriculum. Rather, the emphasis is on inquiry-based learning and designed to broaden conceptual experience and create opportunities for students to construct highly personal and meaningful understanding.

Looking at what’s most critical to success, we focus on student feedback, teaching strategies, and the development of the relationship with the child. Students are engaged in the process of understanding how they are progressing as learners and navigating where they are and where they need to go to master grade level concepts and continue beyond.

Students attend specialty classes taught by masters in the fields of art, science, music, drama, PE, Spanish, Ethics and Cultures, and Health and Wellness, with the end goal that every day is the start of a lifetime.


Lower School

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade Program

Our Kindergarten through 2nd Grade Program is designed to prepare children with fundamental skills that lead them to be successful students, mindful community members, and critical thinkers. We achieve this by partnering with families and tapping into students' natural curiosity.

Concrete skills are taught through engaging, interactive lessons guided by the McGillis twelve essential attributes. Fluency in basic math and literacy skills is attained through frequent opportunities for repetition and practice. Students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers to solve problems that are meaningful to them and to our community.

The McGillis School values taught in these formative years serve as pillars for social development. Within a nurturing and safe environment, students are encouraged to reach beyond their own thinking, view the larger community that surrounds them, and begin to understand their individual role in their world.

3rd - 5th Grade Program

Our 3rd through 5th Grade Program is designed to develop a sense of curiosity and creativity as students explore the joy of learning. As students move from the concrete to the abstract they increasingly develop critical thinking skills.

Learning is purposeful, dynamic, rich, and engaging. Through community experiences, students begin to understand how their actions impact the world around them as they develop a global vision. Peer relations become increasingly important as students learn the importance of effective communication.

McGillis students are given the opportunity to move beyond self in order to embrace the gifts and contributions of others and in building a community of learners. Students work to find their voice and to advocate for themselves and others as they build a sense of place and purpose. Students are encouraged to become independent and confident thinkers by persevering through challenges.

Curious Student Investigations (CSI) Brochure

Middle School

Learning in Middle School Extends Beyond the Core Academics

Middle School (grades 6 through 8) provides students with a multitude of opportunities to explore and practice academic excellence, ethics, and community. In preparing our students to be global citizens and critical thinkers, we strive to create learning opportunities that actively involve students in all aspects of exploration, sense making, and learning through multiple lenses, perspectives, and representations.

Learning in Middle School extends beyond the core academics to include character education, visual arts, performing arts, outdoor education, ethics, foreign language and cultures, and physical education to more actively engage the mind and body.

Middle School Information

High School Selection Information

The McGillis program is designed to prepare our young adolescents for their next step in their educational journey. Children change dramatically in the lower and middle school years, and a K-8 program provides the opening for our 13-14 year old students to attend a high school that ensures continued academic, athletic, emotional, ethical, and social growth. Attending a K-8 school like The McGillis School provides the opportunity to make the very best high school choice and we partner with families to find the best fit for each student. Our graduates attend a diverse list of independent, private, boarding, and public high schools. 

More information about High School Placement. 

AfterSchool Program


Our AfterSchool Program encourages social, creative, and academic growth in a post-school day setting. Our goal is to facilitate and support an environment that allows students to thrive, explore, and grow beyond the classroom through exciting programing and authentically caring for children.


AfterSchool is available for students Kindergarten through 8th grade, Monday through Friday, from 2:45 P.M. - 6:00 P.M. Following the regular school day, participating students check in with AfterSchool Staff in the Dining Hall where they join their grade level group for the afternoon. Once grouped, students get a snack, head outside to play, or get ready to attend enrichment opportunities. Those who choose to stay in the program for general activity time take part in supervised homework time, independent reading time, indoor/outdoor games, and creative projects.


The cost is $10 per hour (students are billed for actual time attended).

Enrichment Program

In addition to our basic AfterSchool program, a selection of Enrichment classes are offered twice a year. These exploratory classes are intended to spark curiosity, ignite creativity, and reinforce passions in visual/performing arts, S.T.E.M., foreign language, and outdoor education.

2020 Spring Catalog

All Day Care Program

We offer all day care from 8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M. on select days school is not is session. These full days include group games/activities, themed art projects, and typically an off-campus field trip.

Summer Program

At the end of a long summer day, as your child begins to peel back the layers of sunscreen, dirt, and watermelon juice from their face, they reflect on memories formed during a day filled with amazing experiences. These experiences sparked curiosity and ignited creativity. These adventures offered fond memories of influential leaders that helped them persevere when challenged or inspired a larger vision. They felt safe, cared for, and allowed the space to explore their independence and authenticity. They felt warm not only from the sun but also from newly forged friendships and days filled with laughter.

2020 Summer Excursions Catalog

Service Learning

In Service Learning, we engage in experiences that promote self-awareness, increase communal engagement, and create a sense of community by doing. We explore our thoughts, feelings, and place in the world as we reflect upon our participation in service learning activities. The skills we gain will help develop future leaders better prepared to take initiative, think critically, respond empathetically, and collaborate effectively as we begin solving the social and environmental challenges facing us locally, nationally, and globally.

All School Service Events:

  • Sukkot Potluck and Bake Sale
  • Ethics in Action
  • Fall Leaf Haul
  • Brownies in a Bag
  • Deck the Halls with Scarves and Mittens
  • Food for All Food Drive
  • McGillis Community Garden: proudly supported by Wasatch Community Gardens
  • Creation of The McGillis School Adopt a Stream Habitat at The Tracy Aviary

Community Partnerships:

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Crossroads Urban Center
  • Utah Food Bank
  • Wasatch Community Gardens
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • CAWS for Paws
  • Tracy Aviary
  • Breathe Utah
  • Momentum Recycling
  • Sarah Daft Home
  • Friendship Manor
  • Rotary Club of Salt Lake City
  • Edible Schoolyard Project
  • The Road Home 
  • Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Athletics & WOW

School Athletics

We are official members of the WAC (Wasatch Athletic Conference). Our athletic program is successful both in terms of participation and also in fielding competitive teams in every sport.

The WAC is an athletic league serving independent and parochial schools in the SLC area of the Wasatch Front. The League aligns with our athletic philosophy in that it progressively moves from an experiential/learning level (Level C) to an appropriately competitive level (Level A). All players who register, attend practices, give honest effort, and who demonstrate sportsmanship will play. 

Current members of the league are: Christ Lutheran, Redeemer Lutheran, Intermountain Christian School, Waterford, Grace Lutheran, Rowland Hall, Layton Christian, St. Joseph, Christian Heritage, St. Paul, and The McGillis School. This is a great group of similar sized (enrollment) and philosophically aligned (athletically) schools.

We participate in girls volleyball, boys soccer, girls soccer, boys basketball, girls basketball, and cross country.

Wonderful Outdoor Winter

The Wonderful Outdoor Winter (WOW) program provides all students in grades 1-8 an opportunity to try a new winter sport or increase their ability at a winter sport they already enjoy. This is a glimpse of the program: 

All students in grades 1-8 commit to one activity on Thursday afternoons for four weeks. Kindergarten students participate in WOW-like activities that are woven into their school days during these four weeks.

WOW activities encompass about half of the school day. Some activities extend past the end of the school day.

A variety of activities are offered including nordic skiing, snowshoeing/hiking, ice skating, hockey, alpine skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, and Utah Olympic Park training. A sport clinic on campus is offered free of cost while others require a financial commitment.