Education News Roundup: Jan. 16, 2013

"Story time craft" by NJLA/CC/flickr

“Story time craft” by NJLA/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Granite District takes one small step for STEM education; one giant leap …
http://goo.gl/gDD4V (KSL)

There continues to be follow up on school safety …
http://goo.gl/H8FQf (LHJ)
and http://goo.gl/ezFD4 (KTVX)
and http://goo.gl/NwWCW (KSL)
… including at the national level.
http://goo.gl/1LDc2 (Reuters)

How to re-engage high school dropouts?
http://goo.gl/9gIrt (CSM)

How to measure parent engagement?
http://goo.gl/gwuJ5 (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

New school encourages kids to think like scientists

Logan police chief instructs educators on best response to school shooter

Sandy Hook tragedy prompting change in Utah School

School offers ‘cop stop’ to attract police for protection, refreshment

Utah ranks last in the nation for school breakfasts for low-income kids Schools » Only one-third of kids getting free, reduced-price lunch also get breakfast.

Ogden considering land swap to create new Dee Elementary, inner-city housing

Vanity plate supports tutoring for struggling readers

Photo exhibit inspires students at Hobble Creek Elementary

Group names Utah secondary principals of the year Education » Three school leaders win honor.

Canyons School Board elects new leadership

Manzione takes school board helm

Ogden teacher arrested for investigation of sexual abuse of children

Freeze rocks Box Elder High as pipes burst

Davis School District to hold makeup day on March 22

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Short takes on issues

The Problem With the School of One
Can technology make education too customized for the student?

NATION

Obama makes biggest gun-control push in decades

How to get high school dropouts into ‘recovery’? Ideas bloom across US.
Innovative programs across the US are finding some success in reengaging high school dropouts. They strive to target ‘disconnected’ youths – those not in school and not working, who are a costly burden for taxpayers.

Harvard, SurveyMonkey Offer Tool to Weigh Parent Engagement Harvard, SurveyMonkey serve up template

Metal Detectors to Bear Spray, Students Search For Gun Violence Solutions

Parents Want to See More Reading for Fun With Paper or Digital Books

Wyoming Senate approves education chief changes

Court: Ariz. education spending must account for inflation

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UTAH NEWS
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New school encourges kids to think like scientists

SALT LAKE CITY — The Granite School District is getting ready to open a first of its kind school in the district. It’s designed to make elementary school children think like scientists.
Last week, district officials decided to name the first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school after one of the most famous people in the world of science. The Neil Armstrong Academy will open in the fall of this year.
http://goo.gl/gDD4V (KSL)

Logan police chief instructs educators on best response to school shooter

The Logan City Police Department met Tuesday with principals in the city to discuss the best response in the case of an active shooter on school property.
http://goo.gl/H8FQf (LHJ)

Sandy Hook tragedy prompting change in Utah School

WASHINGTON TERRACE, Utah – Subtle changes are sweeping public schools across the nation in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings and we’re just beginning to see some of those changes take hold in Utah.
Bonneville High School Students are required to wear I.D. lanyards beginning February 1. They’ll help school leaders quickly identify who belongs and who does not.
http://goo.gl/ezFD4 (KTVX)

School offers ‘cop stop’ to attract police for protection, refreshment

WEST HAVEN — After Sandy Hook, everything has suddenly been put on the table in the discussion of how we prevent a further tragedy, from more guns to less guns to armed guards in schools full time.
One Utah Charter school has a an innovative solution: Put out the refreshments and the cops will come to you.
Quest Academy have put together what they’re calling “comfort zones,” affectionately referred to as “cop stops,” where any uniformed law enforcement officer can stop by for a coffee and a granola bar before returning to the beat.
http://goo.gl/NwWCW (KSL)

Utah ranks last in the nation for school breakfasts for low-income kids Schools » Only one-third of kids getting free, reduced-price lunch also get breakfast.

A new report ranks Utah last in the nation when it comes to the first meal of the day — showing that only about one-third of low-income Utah kids who eat lunch at school also get breakfast there.
It’s a statistic that has some wondering how many Utah students are spending their mornings hungry at school.
Last school year, 33.9 percent of Utah students who received federal free or reduced-price lunches at school also received breakfast under the federal School Breakfast Program, according to a new report from the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit organization aimed at eradicating hunger in the United States. To qualify for free and reduced-price meals, students must come from low-income families.
Last school year, 177,246 Utah low-income students got lunch at school, compared with 60,039 who got breakfast, according to the report.
http://goo.gl/SR7pb (SLT)

http://goo.gl/MngQd (DCC)

http://goo.gl/uhAoK (KSL)

http://goo.gl/GvW2k (KCPW)

Ogden considering land swap to create new Dee Elementary, inner-city housing

OGDEN — A new Dee Elementary School is likely coming to Ogden.
The city council is considering a resolution that authorizes the city to enter into an interlocal agreement with the Ogden School District for the property acquisition and development of a new Dee Elementary School, which would be built on 5 acres west of Liberty Park, on the west side of the 2100 block of Madison Avenue.
As part of the agreement, the school district would transfer the existing Dee School site, at 550 22nd St., to the city on Jan. 1, 2016. The city would then develop new inner-city housing at the site.
http://goo.gl/BwaFN (OSE)

Vanity plate supports tutoring for struggling readers

If you are a parent in Alpine School District, you can support your child’s summer reading program simply by driving your car.
“You’ve probably seen it on some license plates. It is a school bus,” said Tim Eisenhart, director of the Alpine Foundation, which is run by the district.
The vanity license plate that drivers can purchase, named “I Support Public Education,” costs $35 initially and then $25 a year. The district gets part of the $35 and then gets the $25 annually.
http://goo.gl/uhL7R (PDH)

Photo exhibit inspires students at Hobble Creek Elementary

Students who line up for lunch at Hobble Creek Elementary in Mapleton have something interesting to look at on the wall of their school for the next few weeks. Thanks to education and arts grants and dedicated educators, these children are being introduced to many forms of art. Past visits from the Repertory Dance Theatre, storyteller Lora Schmidt and now a photo exhibit are bringing the arts to schools like Hobble Creek.
Carol Day, gifted and talented specialist in the Nebo School District, is the coordinator of the Arts in Education Project, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. This 25-year veteran supporter of the arts in schools brought the Utah State Fair Prize Winner Photography Exhibit to Hobble Creek Elementary, where she works in the afternoon.
http://goo.gl/74lnZ (PDH)

Group names Utah secondary principals of the year Education » Three school leaders win honor.

Three Utah school leaders have been named as Utah Secondary Principals of the Year.
Spanish Fork High Principal Dave McKee, Union Middle School Principal Mary Anderson and Enterprise High School Assistant Principal Royd Darrington will represent the state in the MetLife Principal of the Year competition. The three were chosen by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals.
http://goo.gl/YOpRQ (SLT)

http://goo.gl/BncSb (KCSG)

Canyons School Board elects new leadership

SANDY — Drawing comparisons to a software upgrade from former Canyons School Board President Tracy Cowdell, “Canyons 2.0” began Tuesday with the election of a new school board leadership.
Sherril Taylor, who had been serving as board vice president, was elected president, and Steve Wrigley was elected vice president.
Newly elected board member Nancy Tingey was chosen to serve as a second vice president, a position created by the board Tuesday after a 6-1 vote.
http://goo.gl/pzkVO (DN)

Manzione takes school board helm

Tooele County Schools has a new president of the board who vows to continue the district’s pursuit of excellence in education.
“I believe our schools are the best in the state,” said Maresa Manzione, who was unanimously elected president of the Tooele County School Board at their Jan. 8 meeting. “As a board we work well together and support our great teachers, and we are also open to the community.”
http://goo.gl/LS9Ew (TTB)

Ogden teacher arrested for investigation of sexual abuse of children

OGDEN — An Ogden elementary school teacher has been arrested for investigation of sexual abuse of three children.
Scott Ray McMurray, 58, was arrested Monday after police began investigating accusations of the abuse, Weber County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Lowther said. McMurray is being investigated for 11 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child and one count of sodomy of a child.
McMurray is a sixth-grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School, 373 S. 150 West. None of the alleged victims were students at school, Lowther said, and police were continuing interviews about the case Tuesday.
http://goo.gl/J44nZ (DN)

http://goo.gl/J2p59 (OSE)

http://goo.gl/MyuZd (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/kdhsk (KSL)

http://goo.gl/WRRvk (KSTU)

Freeze rocks Box Elder High as pipes burst

BRIGHAM CITY — Several students and teachers returned to classrooms Tuesday after minus 10 degree temperatures burst pipes at Box Elder High School.
Box Elder School District facilities management director Jim Christensen said the cold affected a unit ventilator in one of the classrooms around 4 a.m. Sunday.
“We aren’t as sure what happened,” Christensen said. “It brings in fresh air, and when it gets cold, something blocks the air.”
Christensen said the cold air managed to get through, and when the temperatures dropped, it affected the heat levels in the school’s boiler and pump system, causing a shutdown.
http://goo.gl/ncLi3 (OSE)

Davis School District to hold makeup day on March 22

FARMINGTON — Davis School District has scheduled a makeup day as a result of school closures due to the recent snowstorm.
School officials announced Tuesday on the District Facebook page that all schools will be in session Friday, March 22, which was previously scheduled as a professional day.
http://goo.gl/HEcwx (DN)

http://goo.gl/Wp6Wu (OSE)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Short takes on issues
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Teachers on front lines » Utah’s teen suicide rate is higher than the national average. The sad fact is that two youths every day on average in the Beehive State are treated for attempting to end their lives. Two every day. In 2011, 19 teens committed suicide and more than 300 received medical treatment after failed attempts. So a training program for teachers, counselors and principals to help them recognize and help troubled teens is more important than ever. A law passed last legislative session requires suicide prevention training as part of teacher recertification. Teachers are busy and often overworked overseeing the largest classes in the nation. But they also must be the first line of defense in any public effort to reduce the number of youths who take their own lives. Besides teaching history, English and math, educators must instruct students in the dangers of bullying and intolerance toward gay students.
Unbanned book » It took a lawsuit, but the Davis School District has finally done the right thing. The district returned a book about a family with two lesbian parents to its library shelves after the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah filed suit on behalf of a parent. A group of parents in the district demanded that the book be put behind the library counter and that children be required to bring a permission slip from home before they could read it. That was backward, as the district eventually decided. Parents now can request that their children not be given access to the book. The inoffensive book can help children understand that not all families are the same, but that all deserve respect. How can that be a problem?
http://goo.gl/7ICAa

The Problem With the School of One
Can technology make education too customized for the student?
Slate commentary by James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University


Modern technologies allow the human urge to optimize and lower the level of challenge full rein and near endless application. In modern times, the human urge to optimize takes the form of customization. Modern technologies increasingly allow each of us, if we wish, to customize many things to fit with our skills, styles, desires, and beliefs in such a way as to leave us less challenged and feeling more “successful.” This process goes ever forward with each new technological advance.
For example, today there are adaptive, artificial (computer-based) tutors to teach algebra. Based on how the learner is faring, these tutors (which do quite well) customize presentation, problems, and the order of problems to each individual learner. They can also be equipped with sensors that tell the system when the learner is bored, confused, or frustrated and adapt instruction accordingly. Each learner proceeds based on his or her favored style of learning in a way that lowers the level of frustration as far as possible. Artificial tutors do not care where you start, how long you take to finish, or how smart or stupid your initial answers are. They are far more tolerant than most humans.
There is nothing wrong with, and lots right about, such artificial tutors. They are just one device among many that seek to transform education into “a school of one.” But they represent a perfecting of the human urge to optimize that can go too far and end with bad consequences. People who never confront challenge and frustration, who never acquire new styles of learning, and who never face failure squarely may in the end become impoverished humans. They may become forever stuck with who they are now, never growing and transforming, because they never face new experiences that have not been customized to their current needs and desires.
http://goo.gl/aiaKm

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Obama makes biggest gun-control push in decades Reuters

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama launched the biggest U.S. gun-control push in generations on Wednesday, urging Congress to approve an assault weapons ban and background checks for all gun buyers to prevent mass shootings like the Newtown school massacre.
Rolling out a wide-ranging plan for executive and legislative action to curb gun violence, Obama set up a fierce clash with the powerful U.S. gun lobby and its supporters in Congress, who will resist what they see as an encroachment on constitutionally protected gun rights.
Obama presented his agenda at a White House event in front of an audience that included relatives of some of the 20 first-graders who were killed along with six adults by a gunman on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We can’t put this off any longer,” Obama said, vowing to use “whatever weight this office holds” to make his proposals reality. “Congress must act soon.”
In an indication of how bitter the political fight over gun control could be, the National Rifle Association released an advertisement hours before Obama spoke that accused the president of hypocrisy for accepting armed Secret Service protection for his daughters. The White House condemned the ad as “repugnant.
Until now, Obama had done little to change America’s gun culture. But just days before his second inauguration, he appears determined to champion gun control in his next term, which also will be dominated by debt fights with Congress and a likely debate over immigration reform.
His plan calls on Congress to renew a prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, require criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and pass a new federal gun trafficking law — long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.
He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research on gun violence, putting more counselors and “resource officers” in schools and better access to mental health services.
http://goo.gl/1LDc2

How to get high school dropouts into ‘recovery’? Ideas bloom across US.
Innovative programs across the US are finding some success in reengaging high school dropouts. They strive to target ‘disconnected’ youths – those not in school and not working, who are a costly burden for taxpayers.
Christian Science Monitor

BOSTON — Cydmarie Quinones dropped out of Boston’s English High School in May 2011 – senior year. “It was the usual boyfriend story,” she says. “You put so much attention into your relationship … that it kind of messes up the whole school thing.”
Six classes shy of the credits she needed, she thought that she could skip getting a diploma and still find a college that would train her to be a medical assistant.
“I’ve been doing nothin’ for a whole year,” Ms. Quinones says. Actually, she’s been running into walls – spending hundreds of dollars on in-person and online programs that made false promises to get her a high school credential. Meanwhile, her friends graduated and went on to college, including her boyfriend. This fall, she says he told her, ” ‘I can’t have a girlfriend that didn’t do nothin’ in life.’ ” So she decided, “OK … I have to do it for myself and for everybody else…. I have to get my diploma.”
Nationally, about 600,000 students drop out of high school in a given year. And more than 5.8 million 16-to-24-year-olds are “disconnected” – not in school and not working.
http://goo.gl/9gIrt

Harvard, SurveyMonkey Offer Tool to Weigh Parent Engagement Harvard, SurveyMonkey serve up template Education Week

A new survey tool that school districts and parent-teacher organizations can use to measure the quality of parent-school relationships has been created by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and released by SurveyMonkey, a Palo Alto, Calif., company, for widespread use by schools, districts, and parent groups.
The 71-item “question bank” covers seven areas of family engagement—from how much help students receive at home to how confident parents are in supporting their child’s schooling. Districts can adapt the survey to suit their individual needs, and parents responding to it can do so online or on paper.
After introducing the survey last May, SurveyMonkey is working directly with 12 early-adopting districts on its deployment, and others are finding out about it online or via connections with Harvard. Educators and parent organizations can begin using the survey now without enlisting SurveyMonkey’s help.
http://goo.gl/gwuJ5

Metal Detectors to Bear Spray, Students Search For Gun Violence Solutions NewsHour

Universal background checks, armed officers in schools and changes to the country’s mental health system are all ideas being floated as the nation searches for solutions to gun-related violence.
In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the NewsHour asked students from the 45 schools participating in its Student Reporting Labs about ways to prevent the next school shooting.
Here are some of their thoughts:
http://goo.gl/u0BbL

Parents Want to See More Reading for Fun With Paper or Digital Books

More students are reading e-books than they were a few years ago, but are they doing enough reading for fun? Many parents are convinced that they’re not.
That’s one of the findings in Scholastic’s recently released annual survey of parents’ and children’s attitudes toward reading, the fourth of its kind. The survey underscores technology’s increasing reach into the academic and personal lives of students. But it also seems to reveal the lingering uncertainty among parents about whether young people’s growing use of everything from laptop computers to iPads to Kindles is a good thing, and whether both print and digital materials should have a place in their backpacks.
The survey shows that 46 percent of children in the country report having read an e-book, a jump from 25 percent in 2010, the last time responses were collected. (See my colleague Catherine Gewertz’s overview of the results.) The increase in e-book reading was reported among boys and girls of all the age groups surveyed, from 6 to 17.
http://goo.gl/A8uzv

A copy of the survey
http://goo.gl/SqAdV

Wyoming Senate approves education chief changes Associated Press via Casper (WY) Star Tribune

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Senate has approved legislation removing the state superintendent of public instruction as administrative head of the state Department of Education.
Under Senate File 104, the agency would be run by a new director appointed by the governor. The superintendent would remain on various state boards and commissions and retain some education related duties.
The Senate passed the bill on a 20-10 vote Wednesday and sent it to the House for consideration.
http://goo.gl/FDU0f

Court: Ariz. education spending must account for inflation
(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

Arizona schools and voters scored a significant legal victory over the state in a court ruling Tuesday that says the Legislature must fully pay for the base education budget, something that hasn’t happened for three years.
The unanimous decision by the state Court of Appeals amounts to an $80 million annual boon for the schools but could blow a similar-size hole in the upcoming state budget.
In its ruling, the three-judge panel effectively told the Legislature it cannot pick and choose which parts of a voter-approved school-funding initiative it wants to pay for.
Proposition 301, a ballot measure that voters approved in 2000, called for annual inflation adjustments to the base education-funding formula, which covers school operating costs and other education spending such as transportation and extra assistance to state charter schools.
But in the past three budget years, the Legislature paid only for minor elements in the education plan, omitting funding increases to account for inflation.
http://goo.gl/Ha0aw

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

January 28:
Utah Legislature 2013 General Session
Utah State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Cal.asp

January 31:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
Noon, 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

February 13-14:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
9 a.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

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