Education News Roundup: Nov. 27, 2015

Artwork by students at James Madison Elementary school.

Artwork by students at James Madison Elementary school.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


Utah lawmakers eyeing early childhood education  (DN)


Full tables, full bellies at the Red Rock Canyon School Thanksgiving dinner (STGN) (KCSG)


How Elementary School Students Taught Me about Being Globally Competent (USDoE Blog)


Kids Making Oral History with Storycorps Holiday Project (AP)









Utah lawmakers eyeing early childhood education


Midvale Elementary addition gives students, teachers a space of their own


Watch kindergartners teach Ogden cops the ‘Whip/Nae Nae’ dance


Student of the Week: Kash Cullimore


Cache District looking for ways to save orchestra program


Inside our schools


Full tables, full bellies at the Red Rock Canyon School Thanksgiving dinner


Student chefs team up to prepare Thanksgiving dinners for Utah families in need


Red Rock Canyon School invites everyone for annual feast





Letter: Approve plan for Granite High land


Congrats to LHS for great production


How Elementary School Students Taught Me about Being Globally Competent


Why more teenagers and college students need to work while in school


Finding the sweet spot of reason in evaluating schools and teachers





Kids Making Oral History with Storycorps Holiday Project


How to Make Middle School a Smoother Ride


The Place Where Ranking Schools Proves They’re Actually Equal


Study: Fewer ‘Affordable’ Homes Near ‘Good’ Elementary Schools






Utah lawmakers eyeing early childhood education


Lawmakers and education leaders are setting their sights on new funding and policies for early childhood education as they prepare for the 2016 legislative session.

Adding to two bills that propose expanding full-day kindergarten, the Utah Legislature is considering a proposal for funding to extend more preschool options to disadvantaged students.

Both initiatives are part of a focus state and education leaders hope will lead to better readers and more school-ready children among low-income families, minorities and other at-risk populations.

“If we get high-quality (early childhood education) to these kiddos, that is huge for them. It changes their lives,” said Nannette Barnes, assistant director of preschool services at the Granite School District.


Preschool programs

Lawmakers last week discussed a draft bill that would set aside $8 million in new ongoing money for public preschool. Most of the funds would be awarded to schools as grants, which would be administered by leaders of Utah’s School Readiness Initiative, a public-private partnership that provides funding for preschool. (DN)




Midvale Elementary addition gives students, teachers a space of their own


The Midvale Mustangs have a few new corrals, so to speak, now that a $1 million expansion at Midvale Elementary has been completed.

Four classrooms were added to the 4-year-old school, located at 7830 Chapel St., to address high enrollment numbers.

Midvale Elementary Principal Chip Watts says there’s been a marked change in the attitude of the students in the month since the school’s fourth-grade and Dual Language Immersion program moved from portable classrooms to classrooms inside the building.

“I think the best feedback I have received from the students is that they feel like part of the school now,” Watts said in a prepared statement. “When they were in the portables, they felt like they were separate from the rest of the school. Teachers say they have noted a sense of community, and the feeling in the class has improved by being a part of the school.” (DN)




Watch kindergartners teach Ogden cops the ‘Whip/Nae Nae’ dance


Can you ’Whip/Nae Nae’ better than these kindergartners from Ogden’s DaVinci Academy?

Probably not.

Watch them teach Ogden law enforcement how to do the popular dance to Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” during their Helpers Feast activity in the YouTube clip below.

We know — the cuteness is unbearable.

”We invited Ogden City Police, Fire, Animal Services and other helpers to come to our classroom to show our appreciation,“ the description of the video posted to Alicia Gardner’s YouTube account says. (SE)




Student of the Week: Kash Cullimore


Kash Cullimore is a student at Maple Ridge Elementary and was chosen as the Daily Herald’s Student of the Week.

Kash, from Springville, is 11 years old and enjoys football and baseball.

He also likes the outdoors, camping, fishing and hiking.

Kash is kind and a friend to all. He is so often willing to help others. With his outgoing personality, he makes friends easily.

Outside of school, he is active in Scouting. He plans on going to college someday and becoming a doctor.

According to his school, they are excited to honor Kash because he is known as a great kid. (DH)




Cache District looking for ways to save orchestra program


Some parents in the Cache County School District are concerned the reconfiguring of grades next year will cause students to lose their orchestra programs.

With sixth grade currently housed at the middle schools, students can enroll in orchestra for one of their class periods. When sixth grade goes back to the elementary level, it will shift away from the middle school format and to a traditional elementary format.

“We also are adding more instructional time now that they’re in the elementary,” said Cindy King, administrative secretary at the Cache County School District. “They’re going to have more instructional time in their math as well as their language arts and reading and science.”

The Cache County School District Music Committee is working with the Mountain West Strings Academy to try to develop a program that would allow sixth-grade students to take orchestra. Mountain West Strings Academy provides orchestra programs both before and after school for students in fourth and fifth grade. (HJ)




Inside our schools

Iron County

Enoch Elementary

The spirit of service is alive and well at Enoch Elementary. ​Our school recently had the opportunity to participate in a service project. In partnership with Samaritans Purse and Operation Christmas Child, students and staff donated small gifts to fill shoeboxes. These boxes are distributed wherever there is a need. Our school was able to build 80 boxes to brighten the lives of children in need. Our school appreciates Mrs. Marcy Christensen and Mrs. Ann Marie Walker for spearheading this service project. Our school wholeheartedly thanks the many families who donated items to help this project be such a success. (TS)




Full tables, full bellies at the Red Rock Canyon School Thanksgiving dinner


  1. GEORGE — A line of area residents stretched out the door of the Red Rock Canyon School on Thursday afternoon as they waited to be let in to the school’s popular Thanksgiving dinner. By the end of the day, the feast will have fed thousands.

School owner and avid lover of the community, Frank Habibian, walked around shaking hands and spreading good wishes to those in attendance.

“We love to have them,” Habibian said. “I’m so glad everybody come here to share this blessing with us.” (STGN)




Student chefs team up to prepare Thanksgiving dinners for Utah families in need


SALT LAKE CITY — More than 40 cooks teamed up Thursday to provide Thanksgiving dinners for hundreds of Utahans in need. But, these aren’t professional chefs, in fact, they’re due back in a classroom on Monday.

Several high school students are spending their Thanksgiving vacation a little differently than most.

“Today we’re making turkey dinners for people who can’t feed themselves, in association with the Salvation Army,” Chef Justin Smith said.

They are part of the ProStart education program, which started in Utah in 1996.

The two-year program provides high school juniors and seniors with culinary skills and training in order to prepare them for a career in the restaurant industry. (Fox13)



Red Rock Canyon School invites everyone for annual feast


ST GEORGE, Utah – The Red Rock Canyon School will again be holding their annual Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. This will be the 44th year of giving back to the community for the holiday by serving a meal to any who attend. School’s founder Frank Habibian started this tradition over 40 years ago. Each year it only gets bigger and better!

According to the Red Rock Canyon School’s website: “Many people assume it is designed for those who cannot afford the traditional dinner, but this isn’t the case. People line up at the doors to get in and everyone has a great time, including the teens from the residential treatment center and their families. No one is turned away; food is served until everyone is filled and the last piece of pie waits to be eaten. We appreciate our great community and the diverse people who live here and hope to see everyone who would like to join us to give thanks for each other, our friends, families and the wonderful community in which we live.” (KCSG)







Letter: Approve plan for Granite High land Salt Lake Tribune letter from Robert LeMone


Residents of South Salt Lake recently defeated a $13 million parks bond which was promoted by our city government.

Many believed this money would have been used to buy the old Granite High School and its 27 acres.

Four years ago another bond was defeated for this same purpose.

Now that the people of this city have spoken twice, I hope this will put an end to the city’s five-year attempt to buy this property.

The Granite High property is currently under contract with Garbett Homes and the Granite School District.

Garbett homes plans on building more than a hundred new homes and a new grocery store on 3300 South and 500 East.




Congrats to LHS for great production

Herald Journal letter to the editor from Gary Frodsham


I attended the Logan High theater production “Meet Me in St. Louis” on Monday night, and though the play ran a little long, it was well worth the time and cost for the ticket. I have attended Logan High productions in the past, so I was not surprised, but I must commend the directors, stage crew and performers for an outstanding performance. I noticed that the actors stayed in character, the vocals to be substantial and the dancing enthusiastic and varied from well synchronized to periodically spectacular. The stage scenery was fucntional and cleverly arranged, but the ballroom scene backdrop was sticking. I do not know if these young people will continue in this field or drift off to other interests, but I have a feeling that they will never forget feeling of camaraderie and moments in the spotlight. I was particular taken by their youthful smiling faces, and it occurred to me that these folks well represent all that is positive about our hopes for the future. Thank you Logan High faculty, staff and students for a job well done.




How Elementary School Students Taught Me about Being Globally Competent Homeroom blog post from Marina Kelly, intern in the International Affairs Office at the U.S. Department of Education and a Senior at American University.


At age nine I had the chance to visit my father’s birthplace, a rural town in Guatemala surrounded by mountains. This trip, and many others that followed, would change the way I view the world and have inspired me to learn more about my heritage. Over the years, I have developed an affinity for international issues that led me to learn Portuguese and study abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Through these experiences, I learned important skills like flexibility, adaptability, open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, and I gained greater self-knowledge. I didn’t realize it, but I was learning to be globally competent.

The Global Competence Task Force, established by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Asia Society, defines globally competent individuals as people who can “use their knowledge and skills to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize their own and other’s perspectives, communicate their ideas effectively with diverse audiences, and translate their ideas into appropriate actions.”




Why more teenagers and college students need to work while in school Washington Post commentary from Jeffrey J. Selingo.


In researching my forthcoming book on why so many recent college graduates are struggling to launch into a career, one concern I heard repeatedly from employers is that too many of today’s college students lack basic work experience. Though plenty of students completed internships while in college — a critical marker on any résumé — many of them never had other part-time jobs, working the register at McDonald’s or folding clothes at the Gap like previous generations did.

Indeed, many students now enter college without ever having held a part-time job in high school. The number of teenagers who have some sort of job while in school has dropped from nearly 40 percent in 1990 to just 20 percent today, an all-time low since the United States started keeping track in 1948.

Some of that can be blamed on a lackluster youth job market, of course, but most teenagers are unemployed by choice. In upper-middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods, in particular, they are too busy doing other things, like playing sports, studying, and following a full schedule of activities booked by their parents.




Finding the sweet spot of reason in evaluating schools and teachers Los Angeles Times editorial


The pendulum of American public education policy is swinging back, away from the stiff reform agenda of the past decade and a half. And the reformers themselves bear a share of the responsibility for the backlash. The No Child Left Behind Act, passed by Congress in 2001, will no doubt be remembered as one of the worst-constructed laws of the century. Instead of holding schools accountable by carefully measuring their improvement and creating mechanisms for change, it measured how many students had reached an arbitrary bar called academic “proficiency,” which left many disadvantaged schools looking bad even when they were improving, and made many affluent schools look good even when their students stayed at about the same level.

The reform movement kicked into gear by the act scapegoated teachers and made teaching a less attractive career, just when the nation needed to attract more bright college students to the teaching profession. And it overemphasized high-stakes standardized testing in just two subjects, so that instruction and curriculum were narrowed to an unacceptable degree. Doing well on the largely fill-in-the-bubble tests was all that mattered.







Kids Making Oral History with Storycorps Holiday Project


High school students across the country are making oral history this week by recording interviews with their elders in an unprecedented effort to stockpile wisdom for the ages.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen was conceived by leaders of the nonprofit oral history project StoryCorps. They’re encouraging kids to send their audio recordings to a Library of Congress archive, using a free smartphone app available online at

StoryCorps president and found Dave Isay hoped to double, in one weekend, the 65,000 audio recordings StoryCorps has collected since 2003.

Students and their interview subjects talked with The Associated Press before and after Thanksgiving about their StoryCorps interviews. Here are their stories: (AP)




How to Make Middle School a Smoother Ride


When I tell people I teach the 7th and 8th grades, their initial response is usually the same: “What a terrible age!” or something to that effect. Then: “How can you stand it?”

While it bothers me to hear strangers make these assumptions, I try to remember: This isn’t about my students; it’s about them.

People tend to recoil at the thought of middle school because of their own experiences. It can be hard for them to push aside the trauma or awkwardness they remember to understand why I love working with middle-school aged students.

That said, the preteenage years can be a fraught phase in life. As adolescence takes over, things become less black and white. Relationships evolve. Bodies change. Students become more conscious of their outward appearance and how that sometimes conflicts with what they feel inside. (TA)




The Place Where Ranking Schools Proves They’re Actually Equal


In Finland you’re not supposed to wonder—let alone ask out loud—if one school is better than another. That’s because all Finnish schools are designed to be equal.

We Finns are very proud of our equal education system. In fact, education is the one positive thing Finland is known for all around the world. Our results in global assessments of 15-year-olds have won us international attention a small nation rarely receives.

The strong ideology of equality doesn’t always make life easy for us Finnish education reporters. We feel, for example, we should rank the nation’s high schools even though the government doesn’t want us to.

In 2011, my boss asked me to help her create a more ambitious high-school ranking than anything Finland had ever seen. I had just been promoted from an education reporter to the editor of domestic news at the Finnish News Agency, which is like the Associated Press of Finland except on a smaller scale. (Since there are only 5 million Finns, all things Finnish are small scale.) (TA)




Study: Fewer ‘Affordable’ Homes Near ‘Good’ Elementary Schools


  1. LOUIS (KMOX)-Homes near ‘good’ elementary schools are out of reach for many Americans. That’s the finding of a new study by the real estate research firm RealtyTrac.

The study, according to RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist, defines an affordable home as one with mortgage payments less than one-third of the homeowner’s salary. A ‘good’ school is one that scores at least one-third better than the state average on standardized tests.

Nationally, the study found 65 percent of homes in zip codes with good schools, are unaffordable, with an average price of $411,ooo. Blomquist says the coasts scored the worst, “Places like costal California, of course the San Francisco area shows up near the top of that list with places like Brooklyn, New York. If you’re going to try to live near a good school you’re going to pay a million dollars for a home on average.” (CBS)








USOE Calendar



UEN News



December 3:

Utah State Board of Education study session and committee meetings

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



December 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



December 7:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol



December 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



January 6:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol



January 25:

Utah Legislature

First day of the 2016 general session

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