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West Valley City Journal

Cyprus teacher awarded for after-school endeavors

Dec 08, 2016 03:30PM ● By Travis Barton

Cyprus High School math teacher David Ashton is congratulated by Granite School District Superintendent Martin Bates. Ashton won the Teacher of the Year award from the Utah Afterschool Network in October. (Cyprus High School)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

David Ashton of Cyprus High School was named the Teacher of the Year by the Utah Afterschool Network at the 12th annual Jump Start Conference at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center in October. The Jump Start Conference honored teachers and city leaders alike for their efforts in after-school programming. 

“I was pretty surprised, I mean it’s something I’ve always done, it’s something I enjoy,” Ashton said. 

Ashton has worked with the after-school program since Salt Lake County created the program five years ago. Ashton tutors kids as part of the math lab while also running the summer program, which helps kids fix failing grades. He identified the one to one ratio of teacher to student as major reason for the benefit of the program. 

“There’s something to be said about being one-on-one, and you can’t always get that in the classroom. And that’s where the magic happens,” Ashton said. The one-on-one teaching appears to comply with Ashton’s teaching philosophy.  

“Every student is different and teaching is about taking the time to figure out what that student needs,” Ashton said. 

It is Ashton’s fifth year at Cyprus High after making a career change after working in retail and computer programming. What began as a desire to spend more vacation time with his family soon turned into something more. 

“It’s a job that I can be proud of, that’s what made me stick with it,” Ashton said. 

 Besides the ever-evolving nature of teaching, Ashton said “you can always feel like you’re doing good.” 

“It’s one of the few jobs where you can even have that feeling,” Ashton said. It may have been only been five years, but Ashton has learned a lot in those five years. 

“It’s not about winning every battle, it’s about doing your best,” Ashton said when asked what he wished he’d known about teaching when he started. 

While Ashton won the award, he was quick to point out that the program involves more than his tutelage with other teachers covering various subjects. 

“[Tutoring] definitely helps the grades go up, it helps kids feel more confident in their ability to do their classwork,” Ashton said. 

He said other programs besides tutoring are involved in assisting kids with the growing pains of life. The Hope Squad has students who are trained to help fellow students with depression while an elementary school’s after-school program taught kids about the importance of exercise by buying them tennis shoes and taking them running outside. 

“The after-school program is great because it’s not just about tutoring, it’s about a lot of aspects,” Ashton said. 

But tutoring is where Ashton is most involved and he said he’s witnessed special moments of academic growth. 

“Kids come in with no confidence about being able to get their homework done and they leave realizing they’re missing that one piece they didn’t get in class,” Ashton said. “Now they have confidence and it relates to their life in general, they have confidence in what they’re doing at school then they’re confident in life.”