State Board Meeting Summary: April 5, 2013

Utah State Board of Education SealUtah State Board Meeting Summary

The Utah State Board of Education:
• Agreed to send proposed standards for handwriting out for public comment for possible inclusion in the Utah Core Standards.
• Agreed to seek an opinion from the Attorney General on publication of classroom-level student performance data.
• Approved seven new charter schools for the 2014-15 school year.

Board Looks to Add Handwriting to Utah Core Standards

The Utah State Board of Education voted to send proposed handwriting standards out for public comment before possibly adding them to Utah’s K-5 core standards. Utah Core Standards do not currently include handwriting, but it has long been taught in all Utah public schools. The Board is looking at including specific handwriting standards in response to research in the field.

Handwriting (both manuscript and cursive) is an important skill for students to learn. Teaching and practicing writing allows students to write letters correctly and unconsciously. Fluent writers are able to focus on generating ideas, producing grammatically correct text, and considering audience. Even in a technology-based world, handwriting is important to support the creation of ideas and deeper level thinking.

Public hearings on the standards will be set soon and will be posted on the Utah State Office of Education website.


For Additional Information

Tiffany Hall, English Language Arts Coordinator, at (801) 538-7893.

Sydnee Dickson, Teaching and Learning Director, at (801) 538-7739.

Brenda Hales, Deputy Superintendent, at (801) 538-7515.


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Board to Seek Attorney General’s Opinion on Public Release of Classroom-level Data


The Utah State Board of Education will seek an opinion from Utah Attorney General John Swallow on whether it should publicly release classroom-level assessment data from Utah’s public schools. The Board currently releases state-, district-, school-, and grade-level data on student performance through its Public School Data Gateway.

The publication of classroom-level data became more complicated when the Utah Legislature passed two measures in 2012 that the Board sees as contradictory. The School Performance Report law requires the Board to publish test results “by class.” However, in smaller classrooms, the Board is required to keep classroom-level data confidential. And the Board is required to keep confidential individual teacher evaluation data, which includes classroom-level assessment scores of students.

The Board will ask the Attorney General to resolve the seeming contradictions in the law.



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Board Gives Tentative Approval to Seven Rule Changes

The Utah State Board of Education gave preliminary approval to the following new rules or rule amendments. Final approval will likely come during the Board’s May 2 meeting.

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Seven New Charter Schools Approved for 2014-15 School Year


The Utah State Board of Education approved the following charter schools to begin operation in the 2014-15 school year:

  • Kairos Academy, a 9-12 high school located in the Granite School District serving pregnant and parenting teens. This charter was granted on the condition that the school provide child care for students.
  • Winter Sports School, a 9-12 high school in Park City serving winter sports athletes.
  • Ascent Academies of Utah, a K-9 school with campuses in West Jordan, Centerville and West Valley City.
  • American International School of Utah, a K-12 school located in Murray focused on a blended learning model.
  • Mountain West Montessori Academy, a K-9 school in South Jordan focusing on the Montessori method.
  • Dixie Montessori Academy, a K-7 school located in the Washington School District focusing on the Montessori method.
  • Scholar Academy, a K-6 school located in the Tooele School District.

The Board also approved the following charter school amendment:


For Additional Information

Marlies Burns, State Charter School Director, at (801) 538-7817.

Brenda Hales, Deputy Superintendent, at (801) 538-7515.



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Board Honors 16 Utah Students Who Scored Perfect 36 on ACT Test

Since 1960, high school students all across the nation have been taking the ACT test. This assessment measures a student’s general education knowledge and is an indicator of college-readiness. There are four subject areas (math, English, reading and science reasoning). In 2005, an optional writing test was added. Last school year, more than 1.5 million students took the ACT test. Around one quarter of them meet the benchmarks in all subject areas. The national average score last year was 21.1. In Utah, the average score was a little higher, at 21.8. A very small percentage of ACT-tested students across the United States achieved a perfect score of 36. Sixteen of those exceptional students go to school in Utah. We’re here today to recognize the outstanding achievement of those students. Not all of them were able to be here today, but we’d like to commend them for an extraordinary achievement.

Utah Students with perfect ACT scores:

Student High School   Student High School
Natalie Adair Woods Cross Jenica Jessen Riverton
Nicholas Baker Timpanogos Micha Johnston Hillcrest
Gabriel Bradford Timpview Madeline Knowlton Davis
Jacob Brown Hillcrest Clement Lee West
Chris Carey Woods Cross Abraham Moffat Skyline
Jason Chen West Peter Rosen Murray
David Elliott West Rajdeep Trilokekar Skyline
Samuel Garrard Riverton Peter Young Timpview



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