Education News Roundup: Nov. 16, 2012

"My Weapon of Choice..." by Krug6/CC/flickr

“My Weapon of Choice…” by Krug6/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

D-News and KUER catch up on federal land policy.
http://goo.gl/30Ve6 (DN)
and http://goo.gl/x8H2T (KUER)

Cache considers a new high school.
http://goo.gl/g3EaB (LHJ)

Lt. Gov. Bell writes about the 66 percent goal.
http://goo.gl/dIJbA (UP)

The Times and the Monitor look at education and sequestration (or is that, in honor of the cliff, SEQEStratioooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnn?) http://goo.gl/8lkEO (NYT) and http://goo.gl/J3Y86 (CSM)

What happens when you distribute a bunch of iPads to middle school students only to have them robbed of them on their way to or from school.?
http://goo.gl/xm5mW (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Tussle over federal lands proving complex for Utah

Cache County School District reviews options with need for new high school

Director blends voices of more than 125 select Davis choir students

UHSAA unveils new six-class system
Prep Football » Starting next year, 3A will be broken into two classifications

Two Hillcrest High seniors achieve perfect ACT scores ACT aces » Hillcrest seniors Micah Johnston and Jacob Brown have excellent academic records.

Granger High teacher honored for her dedication, determination UEA award » Beckey Carson was given the Excellence in Teaching Award with nine other teachers.

‘Evertaster’ author speaks at Riverview Elementary

Returning Airman surprises his kids at South Jordan Elementary

Students at Mountain Ridge Jr. adjusting to new school lunch

Riverton High student get slicked up for Grease High school musical » Play runs Nov. 15 through Nov. 19.

Devoted volunteer earns admiration, gets a High 5

Students stack it up in attempt to break world record

Ogden School Foundation Prize Patrol at Mt. Ogden Jr. High School

Smartphones can have a huge impact on student achievement

Raising a prodigy: How to accelerate the gifted child

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Teach tolerance
Davis made wrong decision on book

66% by 2020

Interim Day: Don’t call HB 148 a ‘land grab’ – Utah has every right to control its land

Space for growth

School Reform in Newark

Report Emphasizes Creating Culture of Better Data Use in Schools

NATION

School Districts Brace for Cuts as Fiscal Crisis Looms

iPad thefts from Cleveland Heights-University Heights middle school students prompt community soul searching

Gay students can be themselves at Q High Program provides haven for learning, freedom from bullying

Only 31% of California students are physically fit

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UTAH NEWS
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Tussle over federal lands proving complex for Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Attempting to take control of federal lands in Utah will be a complicated endeavor that could stem the flow of federal revenue to the state, legislators were told this week.
More groundwork must be laid, more information must be gathered and more economic analysis must be done before the Utah Legislature could move ahead with its plan to claim millions of acres of land from the federal government, said Tony Rampton, an assistant attorney general assigned to public lands.
http://goo.gl/30Ve6 (DN)

http://goo.gl/x8H2T (KUER)

Cache County School District reviews options with need for new high school

The need for a new high school in the Cache County School District has sparked discussion on the configuration of schools district-wide.
Three options that address some of the issues the district is facing — namely growth and structural stability of the buildings — were revealed Thursday night during a school board meeting.
“We looked at all kinds of scenarios, and we put numbers against them all. … We feel like we have really done our homework,” said Deputy Superintendent Mike Liechty.
The option that appears to be a favorite among the school board and the building task force committee is one that would cost taxpayers $97 million.
Under this option, the district would build a new high school that would include grades 9 through 12. The location of this new school has not been determined at this time.
http://goo.gl/g3EaB (LHJ)

Director blends voices of more than 125 select Davis choir students

CLEARFIELD — More than 125 Davis School District Junior High choir students came together Tuesday night for a Select Choir Concert. And, after only three rehearsals, the group performed to a crowded audience at Clearfield High School.
Designed to challenge and enhance the students’ choir experience, the 16 junior high schools in Davis School District nominated eight students from their school choirs to be a part of the experience, which included more challenging music than they are accustomed to singing.
http://goo.gl/v458m (OSE)

UHSAA unveils new six-class system
Prep Football » Starting next year, 3A will be broken into two classifications

Midvale • The Utah High School Activities Association made its first steps toward a six-classification football system on Thursday, drafting its first version of the plan on how to best split up the state’s 103 football programs starting next fall.
There was no small amount of confusion and posturing as the trustees divvied up the schools by enrollment, splitting up the current 3A region into 3AA and 3A regions.
http://goo.gl/j5VQE (SLT)

http://goo.gl/HLCbY (DN)

http://goo.gl/0EOZr (PDH)

http://goo.gl/jZJOr (MUR)

Two Hillcrest High seniors achieve perfect ACT scores ACT aces » Hillcrest seniors Micah Johnston and Jacob Brown have excellent academic records.

A couple of points off the mark of a perfect ACT score might not seem bad to any student, but for Micah Johnston and Jacob Brown, settling was not an option.
Johnston and Brown, seniors at Hillcrest High, scored 36 on their ACT exams after having come close to the perfect score on previous attempts.
http://goo.gl/fGTZN (SLT)

Granger High teacher honored for her dedication, determination UEA award » Beckey Carson was given the Excellence in Teaching Award with nine other teachers.

Tackling the daily challenges of teaching all the core subjects to special-education students at Granger High School is what inspires Beckey Carson to work so hard at her craft.
Her peers took notice of her dedication and determination, nominating her for the Utah Education Association Excellence in Teaching award. Carson was one of 10 teachers in the state who were recipients of $1,500 courtesy of the Arch Coal Foundation at the Superstars in Education banquet in October.
http://goo.gl/X84sm (SLT)

‘Evertaster’ author speaks at Riverview Elementary

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Author and visual effects artist Adam Glendon Sidwell shared the imaginative adventure of storytelling with Riverview Elementary School students in an assembly that included fast-paced film clips, a taster’s table and a make-believe gorilla. Students cheered as Sidwell and his brother Jarom Sidwell crafted the elements of smart storytelling from films and books into a format to fit any tale.
“You can tell your own stories. Write a story with your friends. Draw a comic or write a script and make a movie,” Adam Sidwell said. The author compared storytelling to making a sandwich as he introduced the characters and plot of his debut novel, “Evertaster,” illustrating story elements of theme, structure, story line, character development and dialogue using passages from his book.
http://goo.gl/sQBny (PDH)

Returning Airman surprises his kids at South Jordan Elementary

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – A local airman who has been away on deployment to the Afghan region returns home and surprises his children at school.
Staff Sergeant Ephraim Peterson has been away from home for six months. Thursday he surprised his three children at South Jordan Elementary school.
http://goo.gl/8snhz (KTVX)

Students at Mountain Ridge Jr. adjusting to new school lunch

There has been a lot of attention in recent months about how the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which became effective July 1, has been implemented and if it is effective.
Critics, including parents and students, often complain that the new regulations leave kids more hungry than healthy. There are YouTube music videos, talk show topics and newscast segments, all focused on the topic, and local schools are dealing with the issue too.
Mountain Ridge Jr. High School Principal Mark Whitaker said that in reality, school lunch looks much the same as it did before, but with some more healthful options.
http://goo.gl/Wg1sc (PDH)

Riverton High student get slicked up for Grease High school musical » Play runs Nov. 15 through Nov. 19.

Riverton • The stage reposes in hushed darkness as muted moonlight shines down on an actor and actress rehearsing lines from Grease.
http://goo.gl/kEkQA (SLT)

Devoted volunteer earns admiration, gets a High 5

SALT LAKE CITY — An elementary school volunteer who is respected and admired by students and teachers alike refuses to be paid for his efforts. But we gave him a High 5 this week.
“Grandpa Joe” Garcia began volunteering at Wright Elementary in West Valley City two years ago.
http://goo.gl/Lsi2I (KSL)

Students stack it up in attempt to break world record

SALT LAKE CITY — Hawthorne Elementary students are looking to see how they stack up against the competition
The entire student body joined in up- and down-stacking various pyramids in prescribed patterns at lightning speeds for at least 30 minutes.
http://goo.gl/4nBY2 (DN)

http://goo.gl/5KBgW (KSTU)

Ogden School Foundation Prize Patrol at Mt. Ogden Jr. High School

Ogden School Foundation Prize Patrol at Mt. Ogden Jr. High School.
http://goo.gl/QkNem (OSE)

Smartphones can have a huge impact on student achievement

Schools are starting to capitalize on the technology students love to use, including smartphones, tablets, and other personal devices. Rather than banning the devices from classes, some schools are welcoming them as effective learning tools. A recent study shows smartphones can have a huge impact on student achievement.
In Pennsylvania, Peters High School is inviting students to bring their own devices to specific classes or during certain scheduled times of the day. In the pilot stage of the program, 14 teachers allowed the devices one day a week. Now, the school is extending the initiative schoolwide.
Skeptics, including some parents, worry about kids wasting time in class, but so far the benefits of allowing personal technology in schools outweigh the risks.
http://goo.gl/cUa4U (DN)

Raising a prodigy: How to accelerate the gifted child

In a recent New York Times Article, Andrew Soloman asks, “How Do You Raise a Prodigy?” Soloman has been exploring the prodigiously gifted for years, KJ Dell’Antonia reported at Motherlode. “He emerged with a vision of parents who are bemused, stunned and even a bit battle-scarred, and children who, for the most part, cannot imagine being other than what they are: mostly musical geniuses, with parents seeming caught up in their wakes,” Dell’Antonia said.
Soloman wrote about the difficulties of parenting a child who doesn’t fit in well anywhere. “Genius can be as bewildering and hazardous as a disability,” he wrote. “If you dream of having a genius for a child, you will spot brilliance in your child, sometimes even when it isn’t there. Such children, despite being the subjects of obsessive attention, can suffer from not being seen; their sorrow is organized not so much around the rigor of practicing as around invisibility.”
Most schools cannot handle the needs of gifted children, so acceleration is a prime means of giving the prodigiously gifted the intellectual stimulation they need, a 2004 report by the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration found, according to A Nation Deceived.
http://goo.gl/rQwgV (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Teach tolerance
Davis made wrong decision on book
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Public schools should be in the business of adding to children’s knowledge, not restricting what children know to what one group of parents wants them to know.
That is what the Davis School District is doing by requiring children to have written parental permission in order to read In Our Mothers’ House, a sweet picture book about a family with children of several races who have two lesbian mothers. In doing so, the district is teaching its children that books about families headed by same-sex parents are akin to forbidden pornography that is placed behind the counter or curtains at the magazine shop or convenience store.
The decision by a school committee earlier this year to remove the book from shelves of elementary school libraries perpetuates the bigotry evident among parents who demanded it. And, worse, it is likely to extend that bigotry to their children. If parents want to teach their children at home to discriminate against gays and lesbians or any other group, they have that right. But they should not be allowed to force other district parents to accept their biased views.
http://goo.gl/0P4VE

66% by 2020
Utah Policy op-ed by Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell

What does that mean?
Gov. Herbert has set a state goal for 66% of our workforce to hold a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020.
Joining him in this auspicious objective are his Education Excellence Commission and the Chamber of Commerce’s Prosperity 2020.
The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, released the June 2010 report titled “Help Wanted.” This highly-regarded study reviewed state-specific data to determine the education and training Utah’s workforce will require in 2020.
Gov. Herbert then asked our colleges, universities, and technical colleges to prepare the numbers of students with the degrees and skills necessary to align with these workforce projections. To meet this ambitious goal, we need to increase our current college graduation rates by 50% a year–a daunting task.
http://goo.gl/dIJbA

Interim Day: Don’t call HB 148 a ‘land grab’ – Utah has every right to control its land Sutherland Institute commentary by Stan Rasmussen, director of Public Affiars

Mid-November meetings of the Utah Legislature are traditionally the final regular monthly gatherings of interim committees prior to the full-time session that begins in January. The issues and proposals discussed foreshadow and prepare the way for the work legislators will engage in the forthcoming annual general session.
The report of the Constitutional Defense Council and the Public Lands Policy Coordination Office was among the more significant and high-profile matters at Wednesday’s Interim Day. The report was presented consistent with requirements included in Transfer of Public Lands Act and Related Study (HB 148, 2012), passed in the 2012 general session and signed by Governor Herbert.
http://goo.gl/Ov8I7

Space for growth
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Matt Bezzant

Re “Alpine District closes popular space center — for now” (Tribune, Oct. 25):
I spent my fifth and sixth grade years in The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. It was one of the most influential periods in my life. My time there shaped the way I look at the world, and developed the skills that I use every day.
http://goo.gl/qdNkf

School Reform in Newark
New York Times editorial

Newark and its teachers’ union deserve praise for the groundbreaking contract that the two sides have hammered out. The relatively calm negotiations that led up to the union’s ratification vote this week stood in sharp contrast to the vitriol that surrounded a similar agreement earlier this year in Chicago that led to a polarizing strike.
The need to improve teacher performance has long been evident in Newark, whose perennially troubled schools do a particularly poor job of preparing its 37,000 students for higher education. According to the district, for example, the graduation rate is nearly 62 percent. But almost 90 percent of Newark Public School students who enter Essex County College, a community college, need remedial help in English and nearly all need remedial help in math.
Despite this grim picture, school officials say, the current teacher evaluation system — based on haphazard observations by administrators — rates 95 percent of the district’s teachers as “effective.” The new contract, which raises starting and midlevel salaries, includes a rigorous evaluation process that takes student achievement into account.
http://goo.gl/nI0MI

Report Emphasizes Creating Culture of Better Data Use in Schools Education Week commentary by columnist Katie Ash

While states have made significant progress in building robust longitudinal data systems and supporting data use in K-12 education, they now face the more challenging task of building a culture that encourages intelligent use of data within schools to improve teaching and learning, says the latest edition of an annual report released today by the Washington-based Data Quality Campaign.
“When you look at the actions that are lagging, it’s because those are the ones that require the focus on people,” said Aimee Guidera, the executive director of the nonprofit data advocacy organization. The infrastructure of data systems has now largely been built, she said, but now “it’s not just about collecting the data, but putting a focus on how we make sure that valuable, actionable, contextual information gets into the hands of stakeholders.”
http://goo.gl/V3Vpj

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/mtMzQ

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NATIONAL NEWS
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School Districts Brace for Cuts as Fiscal Crisis Looms New York Times

During the campaign, both President Obama and Mitt Romney repeatedly extolled the value of schools and teachers. Mr. Romney, in their first debate last month, even vowed, “I’m not going to cut education funding.”
But if his fellow Republicans in Congress and Mr. Obama cannot agree on a resolution for the country’s looming debt crisis, the automatic budget cuts and tax increases that will kick in next year could spawn another round of belt-tightening at public schools already battered by the recession and its aftermath.
If the government is unable to come to a resolution, federal education programs for elementary and high schools would lose a little over $2 billion — or close to 8 percent of the current budget — starting next fall, according to the Office of Management and Budget and the Education Department.
School districts around the country are bracing for cutbacks.
http://goo.gl/8lkEO

http://goo.gl/J3Y86 (CSM)

iPad thefts from Cleveland Heights-University Heights middle school students prompt community soul searching Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The community is wrestling with whether middle school students should take school-issued iPads home.
More than 130 people attended a lively, soul-searching meeting Thursday night seeking answers about how to proceed and whether crime will win out over education.
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district gave 1,300 iPads to middle school students at Monticello, Wiley and Roxboro at the start of the school year. Students were permitted to take the iPads home as a continuing educational tool.
The experiment lasted less than three weeks because the students became targets for thieves. Between Sept. 26 and Oct. 13, a dozen middle school students had the iPads stolen while on their way to and from school, Cleveland Heights police chief Jeff Richardson said.
Since mid October, the district has collected the iPads at the end of the school day and students no longer could take them home.
http://goo.gl/xm5mW

Gay students can be themselves at Q High Program provides haven for learning, freedom from bullying
(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

When Kailee Hernandez told her friends at Central High School last year that she’s gay, things changed between them.
Girls she was once close to mocked the then-sophomore, acting as if she was hitting on them. When she entered a classroom, they sometimes just stared at her.
Kailee, 15, dropped out before the school year was over.
This fall, she is back in class, at Q High, a program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths that offers high-school courses and other activities in what its founders call a harassment-free environment.
Kailee said the change has been dramatic. At Q High she can focus on schoolwork, preparing for college and a career as a pharmacist without being distracted and demoralized by taunts.
http://goo.gl/h9mA1

Only 31% of California students are physically fit Los Angeles Times

For the second year in a row, California students have tested relatively low in a series of statewide physical fitness tests, the state Department of Education announced Thursday.
About 31% of students received healthy scores in all six of the tested areas, State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement.
“When we can call fewer than one out of three of our kids physically fit, we know we have a tremendous public health challenge on our hands,” said Torlakson, a longtime cross-country coach. “It affects more than their health — study after study has demonstrated the very clear link between physical fitness and academic achievement.”
http://goo.gl/NqjYM

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CALENDAR
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USOE Calendar
http://tinyurl.com/5x9oh9

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

December 7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

December 11:
Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting
1:30 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2012&Com=APPEXE

December 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://1.usa.gov/Axtt5K

December 18:
Public Education Appropriations Committee meeting
9 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2012&Com=APPPED

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