June 7, 2013 Meeting
The Utah State Board of Education:
• Altered Utah’s English language arts core curriculum by adding handwriting, both cursive and manuscript, to the elementary standards.
• Set cut scores for student achievement growth as part of the new state school grading system, but also asked the Governor to consider calling a special session to make adjustments to the statute on school grading and ask the Legislature to consider reverting to the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System for use as a grading system.
• Named Joel Coleman new superintendent of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
Handwriting – Both Cursive and Manuscript – Added to Language Arts Standards
The Utah State Board of Education gave its approval to adding both manuscript and cursive handwriting to Utah’s elementary English language arts core standards. Handwriting was not included in the existing English language arts core standards, but following study and public comment, they were added.
The Utah State Office of Education received 381 comments on the proposed handwriting standards with 83 percent in favor of adding them. Reasons for inclusion most often centered on historical and cultural needs and on handwriting as a skill still needed today. Comments against adding handwriting standards mostly centered on a societal shift to technology and that time would be better spent instructing students on keyboarding.
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.
Board Sets Growth Cut Scores, But Calls for Change to New School Grading System
During its 2013 session, the Utah Legislature passed a new statute on grading schools that revised the method for grading schools based on academic performance. Part of that bill requires the Utah State Board of Education to set cut scores that define sufficient growth in student academic performance as part of that grade.
The Board set the cut score for growth at the 40th percentile, meaning that only students whose academic performance has grown sufficiently to receive a growth score in the 40th percentile of students or higher will get credit for the growth portion of the school grade.
The Board felt, however, that there are sufficient concerns over the implementation of the school grading bill, that they called upon Gov. Gary R. Herbert to call a special session of the Legislature to look at amending the bill and called upon the Legislature to consider reverting back to the existing Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS) as the primary school grading mechanism.
For additional information:
Judy Park, Associate Superintendent for Student Services and Federal Programs, at (801) 538-7550.
Board Names Joel Coleman Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Superintendent
Coleman, of West Jordan, recused himself from the deliberations and vote on naming a new superintendent and will resign as the Board’s District 6 representative before beginning his new job on July 1. Gov. Gary R. Herbert, with the consent of the Utah Senate, will appoint a new member to fill out the remainder of Coleman’s term which ends in 2014.
Board Gives Tentative Approval to 14 Rule Repeals, Changes and Continuations
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 August 2 meeting.
- R277-410-3 Accreditation of Schools – Accreditation of Public Schools. This rule is being amended to eliminate the requirement for charter schools to be accredited through AdvancEd Northwest now that the State Charter School Board has its own performance standards.
- R277-470 Charter Schools – General Provisions. This rule is being amended with minor changes to timelines, eligibility criteria for startup grants, and to include new ways to spend mentoring funds.
- R277-481 Charter School Oversight, Monitoring and Appeals. This rule is being amended to remove accreditation requirements for charter elementary schools in light of new State Charter School Board performance standards, and to require chartering entities to audit and investigate claims of fraud or misuse of public funds.
- R277-482 Charter School Timelines and Approval Processes. This rule is being amended to make minor changes in the timeline for approval of a new charter school and school expansions.
- R277-606 Grants to Purchase or Retrofit Clean School Buses. This rule is being repealed since the objects of the program have been met.
- R277-425 Budgeting, Accounting, and Auditing for Utah Local Education Agencies (LEAs). This rule is being amended to set new monetary thresholds for reporting requirements and to require financial submissions align with a uniform chart of accounts in accordance with new state law.
- R277-412 State Capitol Visit Program. This new rule creates criteria to identify schools to participate in field trips to the Utah State Capitol and allocate funding established by the Legislature.
- R277-492 Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) Centers Program. This rule is being amended to change program requirement dates from specific dates to annual dates.
- R277-609 Standards for School District, School and Charter School Discipline Plans and R277-613 School District and Charter School Bullying and Hazing Policies and Training. These rules are being amended to reflect changes in statute approved by the Legislature.
- R277-620 Suicide Prevention Programs. This rule establishes criteria for a new suicide prevention program established by the Legislature. The Utah State Office of Education is also looking for a coordinator to run the program.
- Utah State Board of Education Special Education Rules. These rules are being amended to keep them current with revisions in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Unlike other rules in this list, this rule change is now considered final.
- R277-526 Paraeducator to Teacher Scholarship Program. This rule is being continued following a routine five-year review.
- R277-726 Statewide Online Education Program. This rule is being amended to accommodate expended eligibility standards and expanded allowable credits under new legislation.
Board Sets Position on the Role of Testing and Assessment in Public Schools
The Utah State Board of Education approved a resolution setting its official position on the role of testing and assessment in Utah public schools. The Board reaffirmed its support of computer-adaptive testing while recognizing parental choice in school-wide testing participation.
Board Approves Four Charter School Amendments
The Utah State Board of Education gave approval to the following charter school amendments:
- Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning, a K-8 school in Perry, was granted permission to reduce the number of days for kindergarten students from 180 to 157.
- Ranches Academy, a K-6 school in Eagle Mountain, was granted permission to reduce the number of board membership classes and the size of the board from nine to seven members.
- Spectrum Academy, a proposed 7-12, satellite school in Murray, was granted permission to change its location to the Alpine School District area in northern Utah County and to eventually expand to a K-12 school.
- Guadalupe School, a K-6 school in Salt Lake City, was granted permission to expand its enrollment by 105 students beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
For Additional Information
Marlies Burns, State Charter School Director, at (801) 538-7817.
Brenda Hales, Deputy Superintendent, at (801) 538-7515.
Board Honors Utah’s Schools to Watch
Utah Schools to Watch is a member of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform which sponsors the National Schools to Watch program. The program recognizes the unique emotional and learning needs of early adolescent students. The Schools to Watch Program requires fidelity to 36 indicators of success in three main domains:
- Academic Excellence
- Social Equity
- Developmental Responsiveness
Each of these three domains is then supported through the schools’ organizational structures and practices.
Utah boasts eight schools continuing in the National and Utah Schools to Watch Program. Once designated, each school must apply for re-designation every three years. This year three schools are being re-designated for the first time:
- Cedar Middle Schooll, Iron County School District
- Fort Herriman Middle School, Jordan School District
- South Hills Middle School, Jordan School District
Two schools are being re-designated for the second time:
We are very pleased to announce the ninth and most recently designated Utah School to Watch:
- Ecker Hill Middle School, Park City School District (Principal, Traci Evans)
Ecker Hill Middle School serves 692 sixth and seventh graders. The student population is 79 percent caucasian, 18 percent Latino, with African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders each making up 1 percent of the population. The dedicated and innovative staff creates a safe atmosphere, which encourages students to take risks and thrive. Through their high-access technology initiative, they are preparing students for the 21st century.
The Board approved its consent calendar.