Education News Roundup: July 2, 2013

"Dhanurasana or Bow Pose" by Insiya Rasiwala-Finn/CC/flickr

“Dhanurasana or Bow Pose” by Insiya Rasiwala-Finn/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Colorado City school district will buy two United Effort Plan buildings. (SLT)

Cache School Board has a new member. (LHJ)

Utah Association of Public Charter Schools names George Washington Academy best in the state. (SGS)

USA Today asks: Should more kids go to summer school? (USAT)

Judge rules yoga is exercise, not religion, for school purposes. (LAT)
and (Reuters)
and (AP)

Check out some of these teachers on YouTube. (NBC Nightly News)

And it’s been awhile since ENR was able to come up with some school satire, but The Onion comes through today. (The Onion)



Polygamous trust to sell property to Colorado City School District Colorado City School District to pay $200K each for 2 buildings.

Newton resident Teri Rhodes to serve remainder of Garrick Hall’s term

George Washington Academy named top school

WSU alumnus critiques education system in new book

Lady Dons give back to paralyzed softball player


Student enjoyed Legacy Jr. High

Progressive Charter School Doesn’t Have Students


Summer school: Should more kids go?

San Diego judge: Yoga case ‘almost like a trial by Wikipedia’

Oklahoma won’t test with national college readiness testing alliance

No promises from education commissioner on school grades

Should Schools Implement Social Media Policies?

Pop Music Star Kicks Off National Charter Schools Conference

Exploring YouTube’s education channels

2 Win National High School Musical Theater Awards

Sweden’s for-profit schools blamed for sliding results


Polygamous trust to sell property to Colorado City School District Colorado City School District to pay $200K each for 2 buildings.

A school district in a polygamous town plans to buy a group of buildings in order to deal with a recent influx of students.
Court documents show that the Colorado City, Ariz., School District has arranged to buy two buildings from the United Effort Plan, a multi-million dollar trust formerly controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The sale is the result of discussion between the school district and Salt Lake City accountant Bruce Wisan, whom a judge appointed in 2005 to oversee the trust.
The sale includes two former school buildings, each for a price of $200,000, as well as a third building the school district is already leasing for $30,000. The more expensive buildings have been vacant, expect for domesticated goats seen grazing in the school yards.
The total $430,000 will be turned over to Wisan and held in an interest-bearing account. Attorney Jeffery Shields, who represents Wisan, said the buildings are located in downtown Colorado City in an area that gives residents easy access. (SLT)

Cache County School Board selects new member after resignation Newton resident Teri Rhodes to serve remainder of Garrick Hall’s term

The Cache County Board of Education has its newest member.
By unanimous vote Monday evening, the board appointed Newton resident Teri Rhodes to fill the vacancy on the board.
The spot opened up after former board member Garrick Hall resigned in order to move to central Utah. Rhodes will finish Hall’s term, which will conclude in 2014. (LHJ)

George Washington Academy named top school

ST. GEORGE — Based on its students’ high academic achievement, quality education and strong mission statement, George Washington Academy in St. George has been named the school of the year by the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools.
Principal Don Fawson said he is grateful to see the school recognized for its commitment to education. (SGS)

WSU alumnus critiques education system in new book

Sinhue Noriega takes a critical look at the education system of the United States in his book “If It’s Broken Don’t Fix It.” Noriega graduated from Weber State University in 2006 with an English teaching degree.
“The book focuses on a few different topics, but the heart of the book is about the problem with what I call the collapse of the education system, with particular focus on NCLB and Common Core curriculum,” Noriega said. “It is about the tragedy of the government taking over education.”
In preparation for writing his book, Noriega traveled the country, taking on temporary teaching jobs. In six years, Noriega taught at 12 different schools, mostly throughout the Midwest. He said some of the information he learned during his research was shocking to him. (WSU Signpost)

Lady Dons give back to paralyzed softball player

SPANISH FORK — The Spanish Fork High School softball team had a great 2013 season. They won their region title and took second at the state tournament. Their biggest season win came in a final home game played against rival Juab High School, but it wasn’t because of the score posted on the board.
“I honestly can’t remember the score but I’ll never forget that night we honored Sam Guillory, who threw the opening pitch from her wheelchair,” said Kenzie Packard, a Spanish Fork senior who was one of the girls who organized the support for their paralyzed friend from the Juab team. “Sam threw that pitch and it was the first time she had thrown a ball since her accident. You could tell she barely had the strength but she was so determined.”
Sam Guillory played the previous summer with four of the Spanish Fork girls on the softball team. A few days before school started last fall, Sam was in a car accident, which left her paralyzed from the waist down and with limited use of her arms. When the Dons found out about it, they visited her in the hospital and wanted to find a way to show her they would always be team members. (PDH)


Student enjoyed Legacy Jr. High
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Trevin Cutler

I’ve just finished my first year at Legacy Jr. High School. I really enjoyed my time at Legacy Jr. High during this last year. It has table tennis tables to play on during lunch time, awesome teachers, and nice looking classrooms. This was the 4th year Legacy Jr. High has been in session.

Progressive Charter School Doesn’t Have Students Satire from The Onion

ATLANTA—One year into its founding as the purported “bold next step in education reform,” administrators on Monday sang the praises of Forest Gates Academy, a progressive new charter school that practices an innovative philosophy of not admitting any students. “We’ve done something here at Forest Gates that is truly special, combining modern, cutting-edge pedagogical methods with a refreshingly non-pupil-centric approach,” said academy president Diane Blanchard, who claimed that the experimental school boasts state-of-the-art facilities, a diverse and challenging syllabus, absolutely zero students, a world-class library, and the highest faculty-student ratio in the nation. “Thanks to our groundbreaking methods, we’ve established a structured yet free-thinking environment where the student is taken out of the equation entirely, and in fact is not allowed on school property. And the results, we think, speak for themselves.” According to its budgetary records, Forest Gates has so far received approximately $80 million in public funding from the state of Georgia.


Summer school: Should more kids go?
USA Today

For years, Jennifer Dresmich, a middle school teacher in Pittsburgh, saw students come back from summer vacation further behind than when they left. Lessons from the prior year seemed to have evaporated under the summer sun. Some students needed weeks, if not months, of review before they were ready to settle into their new grade.
“I had to reteach quite a bit before I could even get started into the new curriculum … and we don’t have time to reteach all the skills they had lost,” Dresmich said. “And then there were other kids, who weren’t necessarily bored, but you knew they were doing meaningful things over the summer, because those kids come in ready to go.”
Today, Dresmich works as a curriculum coach for the Summer Dreamer Academy, a camp-like program that engages the poorest students in Pittsburgh public schools, hoping to bring all students onto even ground during the summer months. The academy offers three hours of reading and math lessons in the morning, followed by afternoon forays into swimming, ceramics, judo and even fencing.
“These are the things that we know kids – especially urban kids – wouldn’t have the opportunity to do if it wasn’t offered by the district,” said Christine Cray, academy project manager.
Pittsburgh Public Schools are among dozens of American school districts that have redesigned summer school in recent years in an effort to combat summer learning loss.

San Diego judge: Yoga case ‘almost like a trial by Wikipedia’
Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — In rejecting a claim Monday that teaching yoga in the schools is an improper attempt at religious indoctrination, a San Diego County Superior Court judge said some opponents of an Encinitas elementary school yoga program seem to have gotten their information from inaccurate sources on the Internet.
“It’s almost like a trial by Wikipedia, which isn’t what this court does,” Judge John Meyer said.
The ruling by Meyer, who heard the case without a jury, means that the Encinitas Union School District can continue to teach yoga as part of a health-and-exercise curriculum.
Dean Broyles, president and attorney for the Escondido-based National Center for Law and Policy, had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a couple with two children in the school system. The suit sought to have the program ousted as a violation of state law prohibiting the teaching of religion in public schools.
Broyles said having yoga in the schools “represents a serious breach of the public trust.”
But Meyer sided with the school district’s explanation that its program has taken out any references to Hinduism and its liturgical language, Sanskrit. Yoga, the judge said, is similar to other exercise programs, such as dodgeball. (Reuters) (AP)

Oklahoma won’t test with national college readiness testing alliance Oklahoma City Oklahoman

State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi announced her decision Monday to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, also known as PARCC.
Barresi said the state won’t participate because the tests take too long and Oklahoma schools don’t have enough technology infrastructure. Also, Barresi said dropping out of PARCC could save the state up to $2 million a year, though Barresi declined to give more specific information.
The state Education Department will take bids soon on testing options.

No promises from education commissioner on school grades Tampa Bay Times via Miami Herald

Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett made few promises Monday after listening to a task force of superintendents push for adjustments that would improve this year’s school grades at the 11th hour.
He said all ideas were on the table, and he was “open to dialogue.”
But he made clear his discomfort with one of the superintendents’ key requests — that the state continue to protect schools from dropping more than one letter grade in a year. That protection, implemented in 2012, is slated to expire this year.
Bennett suggested during questioning that he thought it would be “misleading” to continue the protection, which was implemented in 2012 and is slated to expire this year.

Should Schools Implement Social Media Policies?

Facebook wasn’t a topic of conversation in high schools 10 years ago — it hadn’t even been invented yet.
One decade and a billion users later, and with the introduction of Twitter, Instagram and other social networking platforms, it’s become an unavoidable cultural commodity. If you’re a teacher, your students most likely have profiles, and vice versa.
There are plenty of examples of Facebooking-gone-wrong in the education field so far. There’s the teacher in Pittsburgh, Pa., whose colleagues discovered her photo with a stripper online, and the Boston-area teen who was arrested for alleged “terrorist threats” in a rap video he posted to Facebook.
But the logistics of what is and isn’t acceptable between students and teachers online are still being figured out — and it largely varies by school.
Mashable reached out to a few schools across the U.S. to ask about how they’ve adjusted to the digital era. Our primary question: Should there be an overall policy for social media use?

Pop Music Star Kicks Off National Charter Schools Conference Education Week

The need to harness the support of families and communities to strengthen and grow the charter school movement is being repeated many times by charter supporters here at the 2013 National Charter Schools Conference in Washington.
The conference, hosted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, kicked off this morning with a standing ovation for international pop music sensation Armando Christian Perez, or “Pitbull,” who gave his first “real speech” (his words) to educators about his educational experiences as an immigrant growing up in Miami and as a parent of children who attend charter schools. Perez is working to help open SLAM Charter Middle and High School, which is scheduled to open its doors for the 2013-14 school year.
SLAM, which stands for sports leadership and management, will help prepare students for careers in sports-related fields, said Perez. “I don’t want any mom in America to have to lie about where she lives so her child can attend a better school,” he told the audience to a round of applause.

Exploring YouTube’s education channels
NBC Nightly News

Teachers are posting their lessons online in fun educational videos that draw-in tech-savvy kids who love multimedia. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.
YouTube is usually associated with the latest viral video, but now growing numbers of people are turning to the video-sharing website for education instead of entertainment.
Teachers are broadcasting lessons online, everything from biology to foreign languages — and for some, this online “classroom” is more inspiring than the confines of brick and mortar.
Below, check out some of the most popular channels on YouTube EDU.

2 Win National High School Musical Theater Awards Associated Press

NEW YORK — A teenager from Connecticut who sang songs from popular Broadway hits like “Newsies” and another from California who nailed the sassy tune “Raunchy” from the musical “110 in the Shade” won top honors Monday night at the National High School Musical Theater Awards.
Sarah Lynn Marion, from Fullerton, Calif., was named best actress and Taylor Varga from Newtown, Conn., got the best actor crown at the fifth annual “Glee”-like competition, nicknamed the Jimmy Awards after theater owner James Nederlander.
Both top winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship award, capping a months-long winnowing process that began with 50,000 students from 1,000 schools and ended at the Minskoff Theatre, the long-term home of “The Lion King.”

Sweden’s for-profit schools blamed for sliding results Agence France-Presse

Twenty years after Sweden’s school system opened the door for independent profit-making schools and expanded parents’ choice, sliding results have the leftist opposition saying the system is a textbook example of privatisation gone wrong.
In 1992, the Nordic country introduced school vouchers that parents can use to send their children to either state-run or private schools. Both types of schools are funded by the state, and a key condition for both is that tuition remains free.
The idea was to let primary and secondary education providers compete by allowing students to choose where they wanted to study, rather than allocating them a place at the nearest state-run school.
But though the Swedish model has garnered international attention, critics say that in an effort to attract students, for-profit schools are offering courses that don’t tally with the needs of the job market. Studies have also shown that, on average, these schools employ fewer staff and have a higher percentage of unqualified teachers.
Parents are worried about their children’s sliding performances since the mid-1990s in international rankings such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
The leftist opposition has jumped on the issue, which feeds into concerns that the centre-right coalition in power since 2006 has gone too far in scaling back Sweden’s cherished welfare state


USOE Calendar

UEN News

July 11:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

July 16:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

July 17:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building

August 2:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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