Education News Roundup: Nov. 23, 2012

"NYC: Carnegie Hall" by Wallyg/CC/flickr

“NYC: Carnegie Hall” by Wallyg/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Trib looks at Granite District’s a “special-needs wrap-around service hub.”
http://goo.gl/MOSWe (SLT)

Channel 2 takes another look at Utah’s budget.
http://goo.gl/LmPqE (KUTV)

How much school support do pregnant teens get?
http://goo.gl/0tb9T (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Granite’s engaging “hub” helps special needs students succeed Education » Therapy, technology and personal connections help children focus on academics.

Utah Projected Surplus Could Drop

Lincoln was a storyteller and politician, Copper Hills students learn History » Copper Hills teens watch film and discuss the 16th president with professors.

Mountain man brings history to life for students

Barnett Elementary celebrates pilgrims’ heritage

Students experience hands-on learning, practice teamwork at Red Mountain Super Science Day

Teens and suicide: Schools work to combat issue

HollyFrontier funds Davis teachers’ program

‘Surprise Patrol’ delivers joy to cash-strapped schools

Thanksgiving tradition
Red Rock Canyon School serves up free holiday dinners

Volunteer dads delight students at Kaysville school

Pleasant View considers shared city/school rec center

Utah Teenagers Invited To Headline Carnegie Hall

Educators share their favorite Christmas books for children

Logan High debate team conducting car wash fundraiser

Operation Educate the Educators helps schools support military-connected students

One tablet per child: creating opportunity in Africa

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Keep arts programs in education

Banning children’s books cripples the education system

When ‘Grading’ Is Degrading

NATION

Study: Pregnant teens need better school support

Behind The Native American Achievement Gap

State Supreme Court rejects challenge to scholarship program

A Chinese Education, for a Price

Fenwick teacher wins ‘Jeopardy!’ tournament

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UTAH NEWS
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Granite’s engaging “hub” helps special needs students succeed Education » Therapy, technology and personal connections help children focus on academics.

Whittier Elementary School in West Valley City has all the usual fixtures, from desks to whiteboards to a playground, but it also has the unexpected — a climbing wall, a disco ball and a zipline.
Its wing for special needs students includes a sensory room with multi-colored lights, a boom box with calming music, a vibrating mat and soft mats for jumping or resting. The nurse’s office has three full-time nurses and a host of medical equipment. The physical therapy room is typically used by about 20 students a day, but it serves up to 60 on busy days.
The abundant natural lighting, adjustable electric lighting, rubberized floors and split doors are designed to keep students with special needs safe and comfortable.
The Granite School District calls it a “special-needs wrap-around service hub,” and it’s set to open another one for the 2013-2014 school year at Granger High school’s new building. The district’s main special-needs school, Hartvigsen, also will move into a new building next year, located near Taylorsville High School to foster relationships.
http://goo.gl/MOSWe (SLT)

Utah Projected Surplus Could Drop

The state’s projected $300 million dollar surplus for the upcoming fiscal year may not hold.
State officials revealed the number Tuesday, but there are cautions it ought not to thought of as ‘Fat Tuesday.’
The $300 m is based on a ‘status quo’ scenario for federal income taxes.
http://goo.gl/LmPqE (KUTV)

Lincoln was a storyteller and politician, Copper Hills students learn History » Copper Hills teens watch film and discuss the 16th president with professors.

West Jordan • American myth surrounds him: Honest Abe, Uncle Abe, The Great Emancipator.
Copper Hills High senior Kaylie Prietzel, amid her 200 peers, some munching on popcorn, learned this week the finer points in separating fact from fiction.
As part of their U.S. history class, the teens watched a private screening of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” then discussed its veracity with Salt Lake Community College professors.
http://goo.gl/tF0Y2 (SLT)

Mountain man brings history to life for students

LEHI — The time he brought home a five-point buck on a bicycle may have been one of mountain man Scott “Grizzly” Sorensen’s tall tales, but the excitement on student’s faces while he taught about the history of the West was the real deal.
Sorensen visited fourth-grade students at Meadow Elementary School in Lehi this month as part of their Utah history unit.
Dressed in home-sewn buckskins, Sorensen showed students the tools of the trade of early trappers and explorers who mapped much of the West.
http://goo.gl/4MOTt (PDH)

Barnett Elementary celebrates pilgrims’ heritage

Sixteen FBLA students from Salem Hills delivered nearly 200 handmade pilgrim hats to kindergarteners at two elementary schools on Tuesday. Following a six-year tradition, the Future Business Leaders of America delivered the hats to the students at Barnett Elementary just before Thanksgiving, and then helped serve the Thanksgiving feast and chaperone activities for the first-graders throughout the day.
Josie Reynaud started this service project as the FBLA adviser at Payson High, carrying it over to Salem Hills’s FBLA when she made the switch to the new school in 2008. This year, Foothill Elementary in Salem was added to the service project.
http://goo.gl/DZ8ul (PDH)

Students experience hands-on learning, practice teamwork at Red Mountain Super Science Day

IVINS – At Red Mountain Elementary School’s Super Science Day 2012, students experienced hands-on learning in a variety of fun and exciting experiments.
Red Mountain is part of the STEAM program, which integrates science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics into all curriculum areas. The school has emphasized technology education for the past five years, and last year began working with Southern Utah University and Dixie State College of Utah to provide STEAM opportunities to its students.
“Being a STEAM school provides opportunities for (our students) to learn required course material with engaging, real-world experiences that will prepare them for an increasingly technological future,” staff developer Sherri Lords said.
Each school year, Red Mountain hosts five special days focusing on the STEAM disciplines: Super Science Day, Terrific Technology Day, Exciting Engineering Day, Awesome Art Day and Mighty Math Day. All students participate a variety of hands-on activities that give them the opportunity to not only learn, but apply their classroom curriculum.
http://goo.gl/PuKoL (SGN)

Teens and suicide: Schools work to combat issue

While high school can be a time of great opportunity, for those students dealing with depression and anxiety, it can be a struggle to get out of bed, let alone take an active involvement in their schoolwork.
http://goo.gl/8HN4u (LHJ)

HollyFrontier funds Davis teachers’ program

FARMINGTON — HollyFrontier Corp. recently funded a math-mentoring program for all first-grade teachers in Davis School District.
It also provided funding to upgrade technology in some classrooms in Farmington and West Bountiful elementaries, according to a news release.
Davis School Board recognized the Woods Cross petroleum refinery and Lynn Keddington, the plant manager, for its continuing partnership with the district.
http://goo.gl/CqtFk (OSE)

‘Surprise Patrol’ delivers joy to cash-strapped schools

OGDEN — Teachers and administrators across the Ogden School District got a boost from the Ogden School Foundation recently, as many were greeted with balloons and a check, representing grants they had applied for in the past few months.
Thanks to the foundation and grant-writing teachers, students will have various extras in their classrooms. Some will have classroom Kindles, iPads, personal books, math manipulatives or even desks for new computers.
The checks ranged from about $500 to $6,000. Mini-grants of up to $300 were also awarded to teachers. In all, the foundation awarded $180,000 to teachers across the district.
http://goo.gl/ZKiJK (OSE)

Thanksgiving tradition
Red Rock Canyon School serves up free holiday dinners

ST. GEORGE — While homes throughout Washington County resounded with the din of family members coordinating their Thanksgiving dinners, a steady stream of visitors filtered through the halls of the Red Rock Canyon School on Thursday to enjoy a holiday meal served free to the community.
“There’s a lot of people in this town (who) are just lonely,” said Frank Habibian, the school’s owner. “They want to come and share (the holiday). It’s a blessing to have them here.”
http://goo.gl/sMMoh (SGS)

Volunteer dads delight students at Kaysville school

KAYSVILLE — An elementary school in Kaysville has found a way to get more dads involved at school, and the kids and dads love it.
Dr. Brian Miles makes his way with the equipment cart to the kindergarten wing at Endeavor Elementary.
“I’m just here to help with whatever they need,” he said.
His schedule has him starting the day volunteering in his son Lincoln’s classroom. Later he’ll go to his two older children’s classrooms. He’ll help at recess and eat lunch with his kids.
http://goo.gl/3eug9 (KSL)

Pleasant View considers shared city/school rec center

PLEASANT VIEW — Council members recently discussed the idea of building a recreation center to use with the Weber School District and Weber High School.
“Right now (students) are working out basically in a closet,” said City Administrator Melinda Brimhall. “We would like some weight-lifting (equipment) and some elements for cardiovascular. … Kids play basketball. In the future we could add other programs, such as volleyball.”
http://goo.gl/2X6tU (OSE)

Utah Teenagers Invited To Headline Carnegie Hall

Band practice may seem like an after school activity – but for one group of extraordinary teenagers, it’s become much more than that.
Members of the Crescent Super Band, high-schoolers from around the state, have been invited to headline a show at one of the most premiere stages in the world: Carnegie Hall.
But getting there – and all their equipment – doesn’t come cheap.
http://goo.gl/9DJNK (KUTV)

Educators share their favorite Christmas books for children

SPRINGVILLE­ — Principal Dwight Liddiard and mentor teacher Katherine Beck present their list of new Christmas books every year at East Meadows Elementary. They also were invited to share their all-time favorites at the Springville Library before their annual presentation in Spanish Fork on Nov. 29.
“I find the Christmas books several ways, including literacy conferences I attend and Amazon and other book sites,” Liddiard explained to the audience. “This year there were a lot fewer Christmas books for children which were interesting. Usually there are more than 200 to look at but this year there were only about 90. I’m not exactly sure why, but I know publishers don’t make much on the first printing of a book so it has to be popular enough to go to the second printing the next season.”
http://goo.gl/GjYC1 (PDH)

Logan High debate team conducting car wash fundraiser

The public is invited to participate in a Logan High car wash fundraiser Saturday morning.
http://goo.gl/A5zLV (LHJ)

Operation Educate the Educators helps schools support military-connected students

Each Independence Day and Veterans Day at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Hopkinsville, Ky., the preacher asks veterans, active duty service members and their families to stand. A handful of people rise. Among them, a few children and teens beam with pride for their parents. Some children struggle to hold back tears as the applause of more than 1,000 congregants fills the large chapel, echoing off the high ceiling. It’s a moment of recognition for children whose friends have little understanding of the sacrifice military families make, and who might not even remember their country is at war.
Historically, the U.S. military has been mostly comprised of single men, but now 55 percent of service members are married, and 43 percent have children. With U.S. troops stationed in 150 different countries, and withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for two years from this December, the 2 million military-connected children will continue to face relocations, deployments and reuinions.
http://goo.gl/L96CM (DN)

One tablet per child: creating opportunity in Africa

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ben Tanner and his wife Jessica, of Saratoga Springs, knew they were raising a budding hacker when they found their 4-year-old, Abe, in the basement playing “Angry Birds” on their Internet TV. The Tanners were shocked. They don’t play “Angry Birds,” a popular video game in which players use a slingshot to launch birds into a pig pen. Twenty minutes alone in the basement and Abe had turned on the TV, decided on a game, and was launching birds with surprising accuracy.
Young children across the country are becoming skilled at manipulating gadgets they have never been shown how to use. Kids between 2 and 5 are more likely to know how to play computer games than swim or tie their own shoes, according to a 2010 survey of 2,200 mothers in the U.S., Canada and northwestern Europe by AVG, an Internet security company. It seems as if humans are born with a “natural” tendency to learn technology. And it isn’t just an American phenomenon.
Researchers at One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit based in Cambridge, Mass., suggest that children in the developing world have the same technological intuition and appetite.
http://goo.gl/CebnN (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Keep arts programs in education
Deseret News op-ed by Carlie Adair, communications major at Southern Utah University

As technology pervades our lives and education systems become prevalent to using its devices, can we say that technology is really improving our lives and the lives of children? Here is my concern: A high school in Draper is being built to use top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art technology to help students become great scientists, computer programmers, doctors, etc.
This plan may serve those interested in pursuing those professions, but what about those with no interest and, frankly, no talent in those fields? The arts are being taken out of school systems and communities. Funding has decreased. The children with interest in dancing, singing, painting, sculpting, etc. are being suppressed.
Culture within school systems and societies could diminish. The arts are important in education for various reasons.
http://goo.gl/eI8Zn

Banning children’s books cripples the education system Utah Daily Chronicle commentary by columnist Rachel Jackson

The recently dubbed “controversial” children’s picture book, “In Our Mothers’ House,” by Patricia Polacco, was placed behind the counters in an elementary school library in Davis County earlier this year.
The book features a story about a lesbian couple — that is, two mothers — who raise their kids in a loving household. This, of course, is fiction. It can’t happen ever — especially in Utah. It would be absurd to allow our children to read about it at school, right?
A Kaysville mother sued the Davis School District on Nov. 11, claiming her child’s constitutional rights were violated, causing the school to hide the book behind counters rather than displaying it freely on the shelves.
Who is she to say her child has rights? Everyone knows that children don’t know what is best for them and this is why we need to shelter them from books that will introduce them to people who might be different — yes, that pesky concept of diversity.
http://goo.gl/MJJ7c

When ‘Grading’ Is Degrading
New York Times op-ed by MICHAEL BRICK, author of “Saving the School: The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids, and a Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform.”

Austin, Tex. – IN his speech on the night of his re-election, President Obama promised to find common ground with opposition leaders in Congress. Yet when it comes to education reform, it’s the common ground between Democrats and Republicans that has been the problem.
For the past three decades, one administration after another has sought to fix America’s troubled schools by making them compete with one another. Mr. Obama has put up billions of dollars for his Race to the Top program, a federal sweepstakes where state educational systems are judged head-to-head largely on the basis of test scores. Even here in Texas, nobody’s model for educational excellence, the state has long used complex algorithms to assign grades of Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Unacceptable to its schools.
So far, such competition has achieved little more than re-segregation, long charter school waiting lists and the same anemic international rankings in science, math and literacy we’ve had for years.
And yet now, policy makers in both parties propose ratcheting it up further — this time, by “grading” teachers as well.
It’s a mistake.
http://goo.gl/580b7

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Study: Pregnant teens need better school support Associated Press

MIAMI — When 15-year-old Kali Gonzalez became pregnant, the honors student considered transferring to an alternative school. She worried teachers would harass her for missing class because of doctor’s appointments and morning sickness.
A guidance counselor urged Gonzalez not to, saying that could lower her standards.
Instead, her counselor set up a meeting with teachers at her St. Augustine high school to confirm she could make up missed assignments, eat in class and use the restroom whenever she needed. Gonzalez, who is now 18, kept an A-average while pregnant. She capitalized on an online school program for parenting students so she could stay home and take care of her baby during her junior year. She returned to school her senior year and graduated with honors in May.
But Gonzalez is a rare example of success among pregnant students. Schools across the country are divided over how to handle them, with some schools kicking them out or penalizing students for pregnancy-related absences. And many schools say they can’t afford costly support programs, including tutoring, child care and transportation for teens who may live just a few miles from school but still too far to walk while pregnant or with a small child.
http://goo.gl/0tb9T

Behind The Native American Achievement Gap NPR Tell Me More

Over five million people in the U.S. claim some form of Native American identity, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For Native American Heritage Month, guest host Celeste Headlee checks back in with author Anton Treuer about historic education challenges Native Americans have faced and what’s being done to close the achievement gap.
http://goo.gl/lhtio

State Supreme Court rejects challenge to scholarship program Tulsa (OK) World

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a constitutional challenge by two school districts of a law that allows the use of public funds to send special-needs students to private schools.
In the two years that the law has been in effect, it has stirred controversy over whether it violates the state constitution’s ban on the use of public funds for private sectarian institutions.
http://goo.gl/PFDsV

A copy of the ruling
http://goo.gl/nPZt3

A Chinese Education, for a Price
New York Times

BEIJING — For Chinese children and their devoted parents, education has long been seen as the key to getting ahead in a highly competitive society. But just as money and power grease business deals and civil servant promotions, the academic race here is increasingly rigged in favor of the wealthy and well connected, who pay large sums and use connections to give their children an edge at government-run schools.
Nearly everything has a price, parents and educators say, from school admissions and placement in top classes to leadership positions in Communist youth groups. Even front-row seats near the blackboard or a post as class monitor are up for sale.
Zhao Hua, a migrant from Hebei Province who owns a small electronics business here, said she was forced to deposit $4,800 into a bank account to enroll her daughter in a Beijing elementary school. At the bank, she said, she was stunned to encounter officials from the district education committee armed with a list of students and how much each family had to pay. Later, school officials made her sign a document saying the fee was a voluntary “donation.”
http://goo.gl/gOXyC

Fenwick teacher wins ‘Jeopardy!’ tournament Chicago Tribune

Fenwick High School teacher Colby Burnett won the “Jeopardy!” Teachers Tournament and the $100,000 grand prize in an episode that aired Tuesday.
Burnett, an Advanced Placement world history teacher and coach of the Scholastic Bowl team at the Oak Park school, beat two other finalists on Tuesday’s episode, which was taped about seven weeks ago.
Burnett, 29, said he intends to buy a condominium for his mother.
http://goo.gl/7giuw

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

December 3:
Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2012&Com=APPEXE

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:
Public Education Appropriations Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2012&Com=APPPED

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

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