Education News Roundup: May 23, 2016

 

Living Traditions Festival School Day Program/Education News Roundup

Living Traditions Festival School Day Program/Education News Roundup

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Local media take a look at the funding race in the gubernatorial campaign.

http://gousoe.uen.org/776 (SLT)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/779 (DN)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/77I (OSE)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/78p (KSL)

 

Trib also looks at campaign funding in the Utah State Board of Education races.

http://gousoe.uen.org/777 (SLT)

 

Sen. Hillyard discusses the governor’s position on Common Core.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77X (CVD)

 

Nationally, the Hechinger Report looks at student achievement data in Kentucky, one of the earliest adopters and testers of Common Core.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77e (Hechinger Report)

 

The Gates Foundation also looks at Common Core implementation.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77b (Seattle Times)

or a copy of the letter

http://gousoe.uen.org/77c (Gates Foundation)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Johnson gets another fat check; Herbert campaign asks: Is he beholden to his ‘sugar daddy’?

Fundraising » Jonathan Johnson gets $250K check from Overstock cohort; Herbert asks: Is he beholden?

 

So far, challengers for Utah school board are outraising incumbents

First reports » Several campaigns are self-funded, while some report zero in raised funds.

 

Timing of Herbert’s about-face on Common Core doesn’t make sense to Hillyard

 

National Science Foundation grant aims to curb Utah teacher shortage

 

Gov. Herbert praises Utah tech companies for initiating technology education

 

Davis County schools risk funding over incomplete community council websites

 

Lawsuit at Ogden school spotlights struggle to educate disabled Utah children

 

Transgender Bathrooms in Utah

 

A step into the future for education

 

Utah charter schools spend public funds on private companies

 

Intergenerational poverty a problem in Millard County

 

Census: Southern Utah growing

 

Utah bus drivers put safety to the test

 

ProStart Gives Budding Chefs, Entrepreneurs Head Start

 

Gateway Preparatory Academy offers free summer programming, enrichment activities

 

Kenosha native seeks to open college prep school in Utah

 

Alumni and students honor John Miller in multiple concerts

 

Small-town teacher shares life-changing lesson with students

 

Edith Bowen students plant aspen on Blacksmith Fork River

 

Teen leads Humane Society service project to lift shelter animals’ spirits

 

Son shares dance with terminally-ill mother at high school prom

 

State Board of Education awards STEM designations to 3 Southern Utah schools

 

Riverton educator named Jordan District’s Teacher of the Year

 

Bridger Elementary principal named Logan District Administrator of the Year

 

Creek Wood principal leaving to helm Utah performing arts school

 

Cache Valley enamored with little, front yard libraries

 

Former Utah teacher pleads guilty to sexual enticement of student

 

Dixie High athlete dies, teen in critical condition following SR-18 accident

 

Utah man arrested after tweeting about bringing gun to school

 

Bomb threat evacuates Murray High School, closes school for day

 

Southern Utah Home Builders Association awards $16,000 in scholarships

 

CentraCom Announces Winners Of Annual Scholarship

 

Pure joy: Special needs students vie for the gold

 

Teachers’ bike ride aims to educate others on improving air quality

 

Utah Virtual Academy to host in-person graduation on May 26

 

Q&A: Is the ‘math myth’ holding back students who don’t need it?

 

The nation’s most aggressive school choice program has cleared at least one hurdle

 

A high school graduation ceremony in the dark

 

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Investing in education today ensures a solid economic future

 

Finding – not forcing – a balance for transgender rights

 

In a world full of problems, we’re talking about this?

The manufactured debate over transgender bathroom usage is distracting, dividing

 

We’ve started to reduce childhood food insecurity, but we can’t stop now

 

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in northern Utah?

 

One conservative’s hero is another’s villain

 

The ‘bathroom issue’ and others affecting Utah elections

 

Bathrooms, transgender students and Obama: A reader conversation

 

A father’s heartbreaking letter

 

Lesson from charter schools

 

A new method of teaching and learning

 

Put Common Core clamor aside: Let’s talk about educational standards

 

Gender politics: bathrooms, locker rooms …

 

Top 5 reasons why you should consider dual immersion for your child

 

Alpine reaction makes me an embarrassed alum

 

Teacher thrilled at the growth shown by Ben Lomond HS students

 

Teacher at South Ogden Junior High didn’t need to use racial slur

 

A high schooler’s choice: sleep vs. GPA

 

Ogden’s Dee Elementary School was a special place

 

Utah Program Taps Technology to Close Kindergarten-Readiness Gap

 

Changing an NFL Team’s Name Won’t Fix Indian Schools

Throwing federal money at them won’t help either. What is needed? Holding tribal leaders accountable.

 

This ed-reform trend is supposed to motivate students. Instead, it shames them.

A third-grade teacher on why “data walls” don’t work.

 

What Are Massachusetts Public Schools Doing Right?

Widely seen as the best public-school system in the U.S., the Massachusetts school system’s success can offer lessons to other states.

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

More than five years after adopting Common Core, Kentucky’s black-white achievement gap is widening

Now the state is rolling out new ideas for closing it

 

Gates Foundation CEO offers peek into philanthropy giant

Susan Desmond-Hellmann notes successes on tobacco and African sleeping sickness, and a fumble on the controversial Common Core in education.

 

Here’s what the NRA says will make schools safer

 

Paul calls for end of gun-free zones

 

How the Push to Advance Bathroom Rights for Transgender Americans Reached the White House

 

Georgia school chief issues own guidance on transgender bathrooms. Cites privacy, safety concerns

 

The nation’s largest school districts are rushing to fill the coding gap

 

Publisher’s ultimatum in test leak riles educators

 

Mexican-American Textbook Stirs Cultural Debate in Texas

 

Education board hopeful who said Obama was a gay prostitute in spotlight for Texas primary runoffs

 

Taking over struggling schools easier said than done, experts say

 

Charter school advocates flood Sacramento education races with $300,000

Roy Grimes gets nearly $132,000 to take on incumbent Harold Fong, who voted against charter

 

Education department chief of staff chosen as interim commissioner, Crandall discusses sudden exit

 

Concussion Tied to More School Problems Than Other Sports Injuries

Study suggests need for ‘return-to-learn’ guidelines

 

Supporters of Amite valedictorian banned from graduation plan to call for school officials’ resignations at rally Monday

 

Barred from her prom for wearing suit, Aniya Wolf welcomed by William Penn

 

From diapers to diplomas: McCaughey septuplets graduate from high school

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

UTAH NEWS

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Johnson gets another fat check; Herbert campaign asks: Is he beholden to his ‘sugar daddy’?

Fundraising » Jonathan Johnson gets $250K check from Overstock cohort; Herbert asks: Is he beholden?

 

The fundraising focus in the battle for the Republican governor’s nomination isn’t letting up as Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne continues to pour money into challenger Jonathan Johnson’s campaign, prompting Gov. Gary Herbert’s team to ask: What does Byrne expect for his generosity?

Byrne, in recent days, wrote a check for $250,000 to Johnson’s campaign, bringing his total contributions to the cause to $600,000, which is likely the largest single donation to a political candidate in Utah and makes up more than half what Johnson has raised.

Last week, even before the latest donation, Herbert referred to Byrne as Johnson’s “sugar daddy” because of the money he has pumped into the challenger’s bid to unseat the governor in their June 28 primary.

Byrne is no stranger to headlines over his controversial views on business and his libertarian stance on political issues.

In 2007, Byrne and his family gave about $4 million to oppose a ballot initiative seeking to repeal a statewide school-voucher program passed by the Legislature.

Voucher supporters suffered a crushing defeat. Byrne called it a “statewide IQ test” that Utah failed.

Johnson and his family appeared in television ads for the pro-voucher side, and his lieutenant governor candidate, Robyn Bagley, said she still backs vouchers. But Johnson said voters have spoken, although he believes “educational savings accounts,” like those enacted in Arizona, are a good idea.

http://gousoe.uen.org/776 (SLT)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/779 (DN)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77I (OSE)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78p (KSL)

 


 

 

So far, challengers for Utah school board are outraising incumbents

First reports » Several campaigns are self-funded, while some report zero in raised funds.

 

Newcomers vying for a seat on the Utah Board of Education are raising more campaign funds than their incumbent opponents, according to disclosure reports released last week.

And one candidate raised more than the other 30 prospective board members combined.

That candidate, Dan Tippetts of West Valley City, reported total contributions of $22,974 for the fundraising period that ended May 11.

Of that total, $20,000 was donated by Leadership for Educational Equity, a Washington, D.C.-based social welfare organization affiliated with Teach For America, which places short-term educators in low-income schools.

“They support people who want to show educational leadership in the community,” Tippetts said of the group.

Tippetts is running for the board’s District 7 seat against incumbent Leslie Castle, who reported self-funded contributions totaling $380 for the same January-to-May period.

Castle has served two terms on the state school board and said she has never accepted money from donors.

http://gousoe.uen.org/777 (SLT)

 


 

 

Timing of Herbert’s about-face on Common Core doesn’t make sense to Hillyard

 

Many people were surprised and puzzled this week at what seems to be a new opposition to the use of Common Core State Standards and Sage testing by Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

Herbert had commissioned studies that found the standards to be favorable, but he said he made the change after consulting with some educators.

Utah State Senator Lyle Hillyard says, to him, the timing didn’t make much sense.

“I know he’s not been the cheerleader for Common Core,” the state senator exclaims, “but he certainly hasn’t been an opponent of it. He felt it ought to be implemented as recommended by the state board.

“I’ve been told by people, ‘the legislature should step in to fix it.’ Our constitution, the Utah Constitution, is very clear that the State Board of Education is elected and has the charge under the Utah Constitution to step in and make those policy decisions, not the legislature.”

http://gousoe.uen.org/77X (CVD)

 


 

 

National Science Foundation grant aims to curb Utah teacher shortage

 

OREM — Michele Jones, a math teacher at Brockbank Junior High School in Magna, admits that math was “not my first love.”

In fact, it was introductory college math that cost her a scholarship to a prestigious college in California, and the subject seemed to lengthen her already “meandering” path into a career, filling it with “many, many tears and trials,” Jones said.

But ironically, it was that rocky start that intrigued and beckoned her toward a degree in mathematics. And finding out that the subject is one of the primary reasons most college students don’t graduate on time sparked her interest in math education.

“I like a good challenge. Math was a huge challenge,” Jones said. “I’m a weirdo.”

Jones completed her degree and teaching certificate after a 10-year journey of balancing college attendance with the needs of her family. A lot of it, she said, was thanks to “phenomenal” college professors.

“It was their passion and their belief in me — as usual with teaching — that kind of fired my own passion and belief,” she said.

Jones is one of only a few math and science experts who choose to re-enter the classroom. Punctuating Utah’s teacher shortage dilemma is a significant need for science and math teachers in seventh through 12th grades.

But educators at Utah Valley University hope a National Science Foundation grant will bring more teachers like Jones into Utah schools.

The foundation this month awarded a five-year grant of $1.05 million to UVU, primarily for scholarships for science and math education students. University administrators estimate the grant will provide 65 scholarships of $10,000 to help those students in their final two years of college.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77i (DN)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77j (KSL)

 


 

 

Gov. Herbert praises Utah tech companies for initiating technology education

 

Students at Maple Ridge Elementary had the opportunity to reverse positions and teach for the day — and their student was none other than Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Herbert visited the Mapleton school Friday to observe the results of a public/private partnership in which volunteers from the technology industry taught more than 200 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders the basics of coding.

During a 16-week period the volunteers taught the kids coding techniques, as well as binary non-coding strategies, by using fun tools such as games, designs and automation, said Sean McKeehan, senior director of talent acquisition at InsideSales.com and one of the volunteer teachers for the program.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77S (PDH)

 


 

 

Davis County schools risk funding over incomplete community council websites

 

FARMINGTON — Utah schools receive millions of dollars each year from revenues generated by school trust lands. Each school’s community council decides how the money will be spent, but must keep the public informed by posting specific information on the school’s website.

An audit discussed at a Davis School Board meeting on May 17 revealed only one of the district’s 84 community council websites was fully compliant with Utah law. The other schools could be at risk of losing funding, totaling more than $4.2 million district wide.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77F (OSE)

 


 

 

Lawsuit at Ogden school spotlights struggle to educate disabled Utah children

 

OGDEN — A mother’s six-year conflict with the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind over her severely disabled daughter’s education has veered back into U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled May 10 the Salt Lake court must reconsider its decisions in the case of a woman who filed suit in 2013 challenging the USDB’s handling of her daughter, who is blind, hearing-impaired and has been diagnosed with autism and a cognitive impairment.

State officials and parent advocates said such a case ending up in a federal appellate court is unusual, but varied approaches are a fact of life in the often difficult realm of educating students with disabilities.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77G

 

A copy of the ruling

http://gousoe.uen.org/77H (10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals)

 


 

 

Transgender Bathrooms in Utah

 

Salt Lake City, Utah — This week has been a busy one at the State Capitol. State Senators Jim Dabakis and Todd Weiler sat down with me on the Inside Utah Politics Panel to discuss hot topics like transgender restrooms and the Bears Ears Monument.

First we talked about the transgender bathroom directive from President Obama. Sen. Weiler admits that there is a problem with the way the President went about with this directive. Weiler said a lot of schools could lose Title IX funding for not complying with the directive which could affect lunch programs for low income students. Sen. Dabakis said it really is an issue that needed to be addressed. Dabakis said Utah has just fallen through in helping transgender people feel comfortable. He added that Utah needs to come up with a Utah solution.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78T (KTVX) video)

 


 

 

A step into the future for education

 

Just the thought of robot teachers brings to mind instructors zipping around on wheels or speaking through monitors.

Telepresence technology, however, is not that exactly that; instead it is a tool that allows educational specialists and other expert professionals to lend support for teachers in special education classrooms and other settings in in Washington County schools.

Special education students at Crimson View, Sunset, Hurricane and Horizon Elementary schools have been receiving the benefits of a new program that uses the technology, according to Aaron Fischer, educational psychologist at the University of Utah.

Fischer uses robots, which look similar to an iPad mounted on a miniature Segway, to consult with teachers in special education classrooms, provide support, and seek solutions to behavioral problems.

http://gousoe.uen.org/780 (SGS)

 


 

 

Utah charter schools spend public funds on private companies

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s charter schools are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on the services of private companies, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis.

A study of expense reports shows two companies received nearly $7 million from the state’s charter schools last year for providing administrative and academic functions, the latest in a trend in recent years.

Unlike public schools, charter schools are their own districts and rely on private charter-management businesses for needs such as information technology and human resources departments. These companies are not obligated to disclose how they spend any public money, according to the newspaper (http://bit.ly/1TsGTbd).

Any surplus funds are kept for profit and not returned to the schools.

Carolyn Sharette, executive director of the Draper-based American Preparatory Schools, disputed speculation that she and other charter management companies earn million-dollar salaries. American Preparatory Schools operates five American Preparatory Academy campuses in Utah. So, school administrators at those campuses are not considered school employees. The company charges $900 a student — or $4 million in 2014 — for managing operations and curriculum.

“If a school-management company is able to provide that richness of programming in the lowest-funded state in the country and still find profit, then perhaps they shouldn’t be criticized,” Sharette said. “Perhaps we should be delving into what on earth they are doing to be able to do it.”

Shorten

http://gousoe.uen.org/77J (OSE)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77T (LHJ)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77W (CVD)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77Z (SGS)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78U (Ed Week)

 


 

 

Intergenerational poverty a problem in Millard County

 

Intergenerational poverty (IGP) is where people who grew up depending on welfare, now have children and grandchildren who also rely on welfare for survival.

This problem was addressed at the April 28 meeting of the Millard County Economic Development Association.

The Intergenerational Poverty Initiative, established in 2012, has been collecting data for four years. The agencies which contributed data and analyses to this report include the Department of Health, Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Child & Family Services, DHS Division of Juvenile Justice Services, DHS Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Juvenile Courts, Utah Data Alliance, a multi-agency collaborative partnership maintaining Utah’s statewide, longitudinal, educational database.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78Y (Millard County Chronicle Progress)

 


 

Census: Southern Utah growing

 

Southern Utah’s largest cities hit some population benchmarks in the last year, with St. George moving past 80,000 people and Cedar City crossing 30,000, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Most local cities were expected to have grown between 2 percent and 3 percent over the course of 2015, according to the numbers, with most cities continuing on an upward trajectory that has stayed relatively steady since the last official census was conducted in 2010.

St. George was at 80,202, according to the figures, while Cedar City was at 30,184.

The next-largest city was Washington City, with 24,299, followed by Hurricane (15,501), Ivins City (7,876) and Santa Clara (6,841).

http://gousoe.uen.org/781 (SGS)

 


 

 

Utah bus drivers put safety to the test

 

WEST JORDAN — Marcus Swainston was sweating the course.

“It was extremely challenging,” the 26-year-old driver said. “Everything is so tight with a vehicle that size. It’s tough.”

Swainston takes his day job seriously, especially because it involves the lives of hundreds of Utah schoolchildren. He’s a bus driver for the Jordan School District and he believes safety matters most.

“When I see people run my reds, that’s the scariest part of my job,” he said, referring to the flashing red lights on his bus. “That could’ve been one of my kids. Sometimes you feel like they’re your kids. You really get to know them picking them up every day throughout the school year.”

The kids are the most valuable part of the job of a bus driver, said Murrell Martin, pupil transportation specialist at the Utah State Office of Education. He said perhaps the greatest skill for a bus driver to hone is safely loading and unloading the children.

“That’s one they cannot make mistakes on,” Martin said.

The Jordan School District hosted the state’s annual Safety Skill Competition for bus drivers Saturday, and about 24 of the state’s nearly 3,000 drivers vied for top recognition, a coveted position and an opportunity to compete in regional and national competitions.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77z (DN)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78o (KUTV)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78q (KSL)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78s (KSTU)

 


 

 

ProStart Gives Budding Chefs, Entrepreneurs Head Start

 

Utah lawmakers turned their attention to the high school career and technical program ProStart this year. They debated whether to fund a reality TV cooking show where ProStart students compete for a scholarship.

At Westlake High School, seniors Damin Floyd, Abby Raff and Hunter Weston are baking simple chocolate chip muffins. But don’t be fooled. Raff can whip up some sophisticated grub.

“Last year we got to make an apple gelée, which is a type of tart almost with a pie crust base and apples and then a glaze and it was really pretty,” Raff says.

The ProStart curriculum is designed by professionals working in the restaurant industry. And it’s a huge commitment for students, says teacher Candace Wilson. She says they have to complete two full years of basic cooking classes before they can even apply for the program.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78t (KUER)

 


 

 

Gateway Preparatory Academy offers free summer programming, enrichment activities

 

CEDAR CITY — As school draws to a close, kids may be singing the praises, but for working parents, summer presents unique challenges. That’s why Gateway Preparatory Academy in Enoch is pleased to be offering their second year of free summer programming, which will include specific focus on academic subjects, artistic pursuits, athletics and weekly enrichment activities.

The free program is not restricted to Gateway students or even Iron County students

David Lawrence, community liaison for the program, said the free program is not restricted to Gateway students or even Iron County students.

“They can come in from anywhere, as long they can get here,” Lawrence said. “We’ll take any kid from K through eighth grade.”

Gateway is able to offer this programming to the public through a variety of grants, Lawrence said. The program runs five days a week for two separate sessions: from June 6 to July 1 and July 11 to July 29. Last year, approximately 200 children attended one or both of the sessions.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78S (SGN)

 


 

 

Kenosha native seeks to open college prep school in Utah

 

A new college preparatory high school will open this fall in St. George, Utah. And while it will be located in the arid desert area of southwest Utah, its roots are in Kenosha.

A driving force behind the school is Kenosha native and Bradford High School graduate Steve Wattles. Like many people from Wisconsin, Wattles grew tired of the cold and snow and relocated his family to the growing St. George area.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78Z (Kenosha [WI] News)

 


 

 

Alumni and students honor John Miller in multiple concerts

 

American Fork High School band director John Miller is retiring at the end of this month, after 30 years as the high school’s director of bands.

So many alumni, students, colleagues, and community members wanted to celebrate Miller, the school decided to honor him with one program performed three different times Saturday night, just to allow all those who wanted to the opportunity to participate.

At 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday evening, participants packed the American Fork High School auditorium to hear tributes in song and voice, celebrating Miller’s 40-year teaching career.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77R (PDH)

 


 

 

Small-town teacher shares life-changing lesson with students

 

ESCALANTE, Garfield County — A class assignment unlike any you’ll find in a textbook has made a huge difference at Escalante Elementary School.

As a third-grade teacher at the school, Beth Christensen wants to make sure her students experience as much as possible to make them better adults one day.

“They can make the world a better place one person at a time,” Christensen said.

But when she saw how one student treated a classmate earlier this year, she realized she needed to teach them more.

“So many of them were scared at first. They were apprehensive. They didn’t know what it would be like,” Christensen said.

That’s because there aren’t any other students at the Garfield County school like Carston Byrd. He has cerebal palsy, which means he is fine mentally — he understands everything that’s going on — it’s just his body doesn’t respond well to what his brain tells it to do.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78r (KSL)

 


 

 

Edith Bowen students plant aspen on Blacksmith Fork River

 

Students from Edith Bowen Laboratory School at Utah State University got their hands dirty planting aspen seedlings Thursday near the Blacksmith Fork River as part of a service learning project.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77U (LHJ)

 

 

 

Teen leads Humane Society service project to lift shelter animals’ spirits

 

MURRAY — Griffin Bonacci smiled as he watched his 16-year-old daughter, Allexis, cuddle a tabby cat Friday at the Humane Society of Utah.

Meanwhile, 30 of Allexis Bonacci’s classmates were off doing the same — comforting, grooming and playing with the many homeless cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs at the shelter.

It was a service project Allexis organized through her online school, Utah Connections Academy, to demonstrate to her peers the importance of donating time to a community cause by helping to keep animals happy and healthy while they await adoption.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77A (DN)

 


 

 

Son shares dance with terminally-ill mother at high school prom

 

When doctors told Kerry Huffaker the diagnosis, a stage-4 glioblastoma brain tumor with a 9-month to 2 year prognosis, she didn’t want to focus on the future.

“You try not to concentrate on the things you won’t be there for and unfortunately I couldn’t stop this one from coming, I just kept thinking, ‘who is he going to dance with?” Huffaker said.

Her worry was about who would dance with her son Dylan, a 17-year-old high school senior, at his future wedding.

Dylan doesn’t have plans to get married in the next months to years that doctors have given his mom, but hearing his mom’s concern sparked an idea.

With the Canyon Ridge High School prom just around the corner, Dylan thought it would be the chance to share a dance with his ill mom.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78n (KUTV)

 


 

 

State Board of Education awards STEM designations to 3 Southern Utah schools

 

  1. GEORGE — In an effort to develop strong instruction for K-12 students in Utah that will prepare them for college and careers, as well as enlighten members of the public seeking quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics education experiences, the Utah State Board of Education — in partnership with the Utah STEM Action Center — approved 19 public schools last week for the Utah STEM School Designation program.

Three of the schools are located in Southern Utah: Crimson View Elementary and Sunset Elementary schools in St. George and Hurricane Elementary School in Hurricane.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78M (SGN)

 


 

 

Riverton educator named Jordan District’s Teacher of the Year

 

WEST JORDAN — Sanya Payne, a first-grade teacher at Riverton Elementary, has been named the Jordan School District’s Teacher of the Year.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77C (DN)

 

 

 

Bridger Elementary principal named Logan District Administrator of the Year

 

Bridger Elementary’s principal was recognized Friday as the Logan City School District Administrator of the Year as students and teachers crowded into the gym to surprise him.

Principal Jed Grunig, who has been with the school for four years, accepted the award — a $500 check given to him by the Logan Schools Foundation — in front of Bridger’s entire studentbody and faculty.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77V (LHJ)

 


 

 

Creek Wood principal leaving to helm Utah performing arts school

 

Creek Wood High School Principal Dr. Andrew Williams has only a few more days on the job before heading back to his home state of Utah for another principal position at a small performing arts high school.

Williams starts July 1 at 400-student Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, a charter school in southwest Utah. Founded in 1999, Tuacahn High School was Utah’s first public charter school.

http://gousoe.uen.org/790 (Nashville Tennessean)

 


 

 

Cache Valley enamored with little, front yard libraries

 

Logan • The wooden post in the front yard of the Duncan family’s boulevard home in Logan often gets mistaken for a mailbox. But take a closer look, and the neatly painted and designed box resembling a house is actually full of books.

Logan resident Jennifer Duncan, who is also associate dean at Utah State University’s Special Collections and Archives, maintains the library of books outside her home, filled with material for all ages — from kids fiction (“Infestation: Something Huge is on the March” by Timothy Bradley) to autobiography (“The Measure of a Man” by actor Sydney Poitier).

“It’s very little,” Duncan laughed about her library.

The size of Duncan’s library is not trivial, The Herald Journal reported. In fact, it represents something larger that is being called by some in Cache Valley a grassroots book movement.

That movement is Little Free Library, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit. It was founded by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., who built a model of a one-room schoolhouse in his front yard, filled it with books and got a great response from the community.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77r (SLT)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77K (OSE)

 


 

 

Former Utah teacher pleads guilty to sexual enticement of student

 

A former Park City middle school band teacher accused of paying a 13-year-old male student to participate in a fake scientific study that included detailed questions about the student’s sexuality has resolved the case by pleading guilty to lesser charges.

Derek Spitzer, 54, was charged in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony counts of solicitation to commit sodomy on a child and solicitation to commit aggravated sexual abuse of a child; a second-degree-felony count of enticing a minor; and two third-degree-felony counts of enticing a minor.

On Monday, Spitzer pleaded guilty to two second-degree felony counts of enticing a minor.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78a (SLT)

 


 

 

Dixie High athlete dies, teen in critical condition following SR-18 accident

 

An 18-year-old is dead and a 16-year-old girl is in extremely critical condition after a silver Chevy Cobalt overturned on state Route 18 near milepost 17, according to a Utah Highway Patrol press release issued Sunday.

According to the release, the vehicle, driven by Drex Taylor “drifted to the left across the southbound lane and left the roadway.”

The vehicle rotated clockwise and slid across the shoulder of the road, according to the release.

“The left side wheels dug into the ground and the vehicle overturned,” according to the release. “The vehicle rolled back onto the roadway and came to rest on its wheels in the southbound travel lane facing southeast.”

Both Taylor and the passenger were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the vehicle.

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http://gousoe.uen.org/783 (SGN)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/784 (DN)

 

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http://gousoe.uen.org/788 (KSL)

 

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Utah man arrested after tweeting about bringing gun to school

 

An 18-year-old man was arrested by Springville police Friday after he posted on Twitter that people could meet him at Springville High School with an AK-47.

The suspect, a former Springville High student, was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of making a terroristic threat, according to a Springville police news release.

According to the school officials, as soon as they became aware of the threatening post — which was followed by a second post that was a depiction of a skull — they contacted the school resource officer, police said.

Officers went to the man’s home where they spoke to him about the Twitter posts. There, officers discovered he had made other posts that referenced Columbine High School.

Police did not locate any weapons at the man’s home, and the man told officers he didn’t actually own an AK-47 assault rifle.

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http://gousoe.uen.org/78h (DN)

 

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Bomb threat evacuates Murray High School, closes school for day

 

MURRAY, Utah – Murray School District officials have evacuated Murray High School after a bomb threat was called in and said the school will remain closed for the rest of the day.

Officers said there is “no credible” threat at this time, other than the actual threat itself.

School officials said law enforcement is investigating the threat and searching the building after getting the call at about noon.

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http://gousoe.uen.org/78P (KTVX)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78O (KSL)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78Q (Gephardt Daily)

 


 

 

Southern Utah Home Builders Association awards $16,000 in scholarships

 

  1. GEORGE — The Southern Utah Home Builders Association has announced its 2016 SUHBA Scholarship recipients. Increased from last year’s $14,000, a total of $16,000 in college scholarships will be given out this year to 29 students. SUHBA has distributed over $100,000 for college scholarships since 2006.

http://gousoe.uen.org/791 (SGN)

 


 

 

CentraCom Announces Winners Of Annual Scholarship

 

CentraCom announced the winners of their annual scholarships Thursday, May 19th.

Six central Utah students received the $500 scholarships. Three students chose to attend Snow College and as a result, had their award increased to $1250. The winners were chosen from a pool of highly qualified candidates in CentraCom’s service area.

The winners include Kallie Anderson, Landon Beebe, and Kylie Mitchell of North Sanpete High School; Caitlyn Howard of Wasatch Academy; and Katelyn Jeffery and Celeste Stephenson of Delta High School.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78u (MUR)

 


 

 

Pure joy: Special needs students vie for the gold

 

Gordy Averett heads for the finish line in the 50-meter dash during the annual Special Needs Sports Day at Herriman High School on Friday. This year, 370 special needs students from schools throughout the Jordan School District hit the track and field for a variety of events, hoping to take home a gold, silver or bronze medal.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77x (DN)

 


 

 

Teachers’ bike ride aims to educate others on improving air quality

 

Teachers at the Kauri Sue Hamilton School ride their bicycles through the halls of the Riverton school on Friday after biking from their homes in Salt Lake City, Kearns and Cottonwood Heights on Friday. At least 25 teachers made the trek in an effort to educate others on ways to help improve air quality in the Salt Lake Valley. The ride was also an opportunity to say thanks to Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth for making bike-friendly improvements along 2700 West, which goes right in front of the school.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77B (DN)

 


 

 

Utah Virtual Academy to host in-person graduation on May 26

 

SALT LAKE CITY — 108 students who attend classes online will meet in-person to celebrate their graduation from Utah Virtual Academy  (UTVA), a tuition-free, online public school, on Thursday, May 26.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78W (PR Newswire)

 


 

 

Q&A: Is the ‘math myth’ holding back students who don’t need it?

 

Are high school algebra requirements a needless stumbling block or a necessary bridge to success? The answer depends on who you ask.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77w (DN)

 


 

 

The nation’s most aggressive school choice program has cleared at least one hurdle

 

A state judge in Nevada has upheld the constitutionality of the state’s Education Saving Account plan, which was passed in 2015 and would be the nation’s most aggressive school choice program, if and when it finally clears legal hurdles, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77y (DN)

 


 

 

A high school graduation ceremony in the dark

 

A not-so-pleasant surprise swept the class of 2016 graduates of Georgia’s Window-Barrow High School last week.

During the ceremony, which took place on the high school’s football field, a bundle of balloons soared into the air and caught on a powerline, causing a transformer to blow and the power went out, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77v

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Investing in education today ensures a solid economic future

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

Utah’s economy continues to earn top honors nationally, and there’s no mistake that business is thriving here.

Just drive down the freeway past Lehi, Pleasant Grove or Lindon, and you’ll see evidence of how much Utah County’s skyline is changing as more and more corporations make this county their home.

This is great news for us today. But we can’t coast. With all this explosive growth, there are a few sectors of Utah County that are still trying to catch up. One of those is education.

All of these flourishing companies along the Wasatch Front need employees, and many of those workers are drawn to this area for — among other things — its family-friendly atmosphere. Not surprisingly, as local companies add tens, even hundreds, to their workforce within a short time, that brings in a lot of children to the area as well. And our school districts, always strapped for cash, are scrambling to keep up.

Utah, with its notoriously low per-student funding, has been succeeding thus far, not necessarily because of the state’s low price tag, but very possibly in spite of it. Multiple studies have shown children learn best when their education is catered to their learning style and accompanied by small group or one-on-one support. But in a class full of too many wiggling third-graders, it’s more crowd control than learning environment — something many teachers frustratingly experience daily in many schools across this valley.

There is a real and — in some places desperate — need for more schools, and renovations to those built before State Street in Orem was paved over and became a major six-lane connector. Our children don’t need the Taj Mahal, but they do need more room, more classrooms — good facilities that allow them to receive a great education.

The past few weeks, Alpine School District has been holding community meetings about a $386 million bond it is considering in order to build multiple schools in high-growth areas, improve security at existing schools and update infrastructure.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77a

 


 

 

Finding – not forcing – a balance for transgender rights

Deseret News editorial

 

The complex and serious challenges faced by people who are transgender deserve society’s attention, care and respect. It is therefore unfortunate that a joint U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Department of Education decree about transgender access to bathrooms in federally funded educational facilities may have actually set back the cause for respect of transgender people.

Those whose personal sense of gender differs from their sexual biology have, throughout history, experienced emotional distress and societal discrimination. All persons deserve personal dignity and respect. Those who are transgender deserve equal access to housing, employment and social services, and they deserve to avoid unnecessary discomfort and embarrassment in public life.

But meaningful respect for a person’s conscientious sense of self need not overturn generally applicable laws and norms. When, for example, an exemption is granted in deference to the fundamental religious-freedom rights of an individual, it is rare that the exception overturns the rule. Instead, remedies are crafted by an accommodation specific to the practice of the conscientious observant. For example, religiously motivated dress and grooming for sincere adherents can be accommodated within an overall military dress and grooming standard without throwing out the entire code.

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In a world full of problems, we’re talking about this?

The manufactured debate over transgender bathroom usage is distracting, dividing

(St. George) Spectrum editorial

 

Since the legislature in North Carolina passed and Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law their state’s controversial Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act banning individuals from using public restrooms that do not correspond to their sex as listed on their birth certificate, the topic has been hotly debated.

Entertainers began canceling events in North Carolina; businesses began pulling out of the state; President Obama issued a directive to the nation’s public schools directing them to accommodate transgender individuals; and North Carolina, along with a number of other states, have either filed lawsuits or are threatening to do so in response.

Here in Utah, three members of the Alpine School District School Board — Paula Hill, Wendy Hart and Brian Halladay — penned an open letter to Utah’s elected officials in which they said allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms, locker rooms and showers of the sex with which they identify was “morally reprehensible.” The trio went on to suggest that Utah should be willing to reject all federal funding for public schools and ignore the directive form the Department of Education.

Last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called the executive order “one of the most egregious examples of federal overreach I have ever witnessed. … Unfortunately, this is exactly what I have come to expect from the Obama administration. If we have to fight this order, we will not hesitate to do so.”

While we are loathe to condone federal overreach, we find ourselves marveling at the amount of time, energy, and, if the lawsuits go forward, money paid to lawyers being invested in this issue.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78j

 


 

 

We’ve started to reduce childhood food insecurity, but we can’t stop now

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks that provides meals for nearly 50 million Americans each year, says 14.2 percent of Utahns live with food insecurity.

Among children, it’s worse —18.2 percent of Utah children live in homes where there isn’t enough food for everyone, according to “Feeding America 2014.”

Inadequate nutrition can harm a child’s learning ability, social development and health, Feeding America points out. And children here are experiencing hunger — in Weber County, the childhood food insecurity rate matches the state’s at 18.2 percent.

That’s worse than Box Elder County and Davis County, at 17.7 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively.

Of the 164,400 Utah children experiencing food insecurity, 12,700 — 7.7 percent — live in Weber County.

But even though nearly 1 of every 5 local children live with hunger, the number is falling. Feeding America says the total dropped from 14,120 in 2012 to 13,800 in 2013. In three years, childhood food insecurity declined 10 percent in Weber County.

Yet school is about to end and nearly 13,000 Weber County children continue to live in food insecurity; take away the two meals many of them get at school each weekday, and it could be a long, hungry summer for thousands of kids if they don’t take part in a summer lunch program.

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Who deserves praise and criticism this week in northern Utah?

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

THUMBS DOWN: To the Davis School District, which faces the loss of millions of dollars because nearly all its school websites fail to include state-mandated information about school trust land funding.

An audit found that one — one! — of the district’s 84 school websites met state requirements. And that, in turn, means those 83 schools could lose more than $4 million in state funding.

Fix the incomplete websites. Now. And make sure they never fall out of compliance.

Parents and taxpayers deserve the information — and just as important, we cannot put a single dollar of education funding at unnecessary risk.

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One conservative’s hero is another’s villain

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

 

The ongoing battle for the soul of the Utah Republican Party is illustrated in the rankings of state legislators by two organizations that advocate solid conservative principles.

They just seem to differ on what solid conservative principles really are.

The legislators ranked as the best by one organization were ranked among the worst by the other.

Both organizations are nonpartisan and base their advocacy on principles and issues. Traditionally, the principles of both have generally fit more comfortably in the Republican Party.

But one organization, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, stresses issues that best support business, which is that organization’s goal, while the other, Utah GrassRoots.org, stresses conservatism, individual liberty and “constitutional principles.”

Matt Lusty, communications director for the chamber, said the chamber had 16 priority bills in the Legislature this year. The bills ranged from improving Utah’s business environment to boosting education and aligning school curriculum to business needs to addressing the homelessness issue to providing a stable work environment to protecting businesses’ intellectual property, etc.

The UtahGrassRoots.org website lists its legislative priorities as protecting citizens from government asset forfeitures, opposing the continuation of the Women in the Economy Commission, protecting Second Amendment rights and protecting a political party’s right to decide how to choose its candidates.

Members of the group omitted by the chamber but lionized by Grass Roots tend to be among the most passionate about public land transfers from the federal to state government, reducing regulations on various industries, including food products, and getting Utah out of Common Core education standards and mandated testing for students.

In other words, the different all-star lists symbolize the classic struggle in the Republican Party: the establishment, business promoters vs. the “give us liberty or give us death” crowd.

http://gousoe.uen.org/775

 


 

 

The ‘bathroom issue’ and others affecting Utah elections

Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb

 

Spring seems to have finally arrived, bringing flowers, bright clothing … and new issues for politicos. We tiptoe through the political tulips.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department ordered all public school districts to ensure a “safe and discrimination-free environment” by allowing self-identified transgender students to use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms they wish. This friendly “guidance” came with some sharp teeth: Comply or lose federal funding. A firestorm erupted across the country, with heated responses from conservative and liberal politicians. Will the “bathroom issue” impact Utah elections?

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Bathrooms, transgender students and Obama: A reader conversation

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist GREG HALLING

 

Phil S. Johnson of Ogden considers himself a modest person. He also does not believe it’s possible to be a transgender man or woman.

So when the Obama administration directed the nation’s public schools to accommodate transgender students in bathrooms and locker rooms, Johnson objected in a May 17 letter to the editor.

“Shame shame on you, President Obama, for this disgraceful behavior. Where does it all end? Perhaps when you force people to have sex in public places you will be happy,” he wrote.

Here how readers reacted to Johnson’s letter when we shared it on Facebook. All quotes are verbatim:

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A father’s heartbreaking letter

Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

 

One of the most heartbreaking letters I read while working with Sen. Orrin Hatch many years ago was one sent to him by a white father agonizing over affirmative action. He wrote that his Detroit auto factory entered into a consent decree to give preferential treatment to correct past discrimination regarding minorities. He said he understood the need for the action but the most difficult part, he asked, “What will I tell my son when he grows up and wants a job?”

Heartbreaking because it brought up painful memories of when I was 9 years old and saw my father cry for the first time over a similar concern for his children. One parent Anglo and one Mexican, but with the same hurt. Human hurt is human hurt, regardless of one’s background.

I know a bit about discrimination, having been born Mexican in Utah, and raised here, with my Mestizo Indian characteristics. I looked different than the white kids, and was reminded constantly by my Riverside School kindergarten classmates on the school grounds. I was teased, harassed and marginalized. They called me dirty Mexican, monkey, Indian, and the n-word. In the classroom, I was singled out by my teacher because I could not understand all the English words, coming from a Mexican home that only spoke Spanish.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77E

 


 

 

Lesson from charter schools

Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoon by Pat Bagley

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/77q

 


 

 

A new method of teaching and learning

(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Rep. Brad Last

 

As the House Chairman of the Education Interim Committee, I get an up close and detailed look at the inner workings of our public education system.

Often, the media seems to focus on the negatives like the size of classrooms, the amount of spending and whether we are doing the right sort of testing.

Given the whirl of the information age, sometimes it is those negative messages that stick and the successes and innovative solutions don’t become part of the public discourse on the state of public education.

For instance, at the May Legislative Interim meetings, the committee heard an update from Interim State Superintendent, Dr. Sydnee Dickson, about the implementation of competency-based education. This is a new method of teaching and learning that local districts are beginning to pilot, and the state is encouraging through a grant programs that I believe offers tremendous benefits to our students.

The creation of the grant program for the new system was contained in SB143 Competency-Based Learning Amendments. One of our own, Dr. Royd Darrington, who grew up in Toquerville, is a leading figure in this movement as the principal of Juab High School.

The idea is that a student will advance to higher levels of learning when he/she has demonstrated competency of skills and concepts regardless of time, place or pace. Subject mastery is the goal.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78k

 


 

 

Put Common Core clamor aside: Let’s talk about educational standards

Utah PoliticoHub commentary by Boyd Matheson and Christine Cooke, both of the Sutherland Institute

 

Education, which represents two-thirds of our state budget and is vital to our future, continues to be front and center in Utah’s political and policy debates. It is worthy of our attention and our best efforts to engage in serious, meaningful dialogue. We are convinced that a marketplace of educational options and a culture that respects the unique, individual learning needs of students is critical.

In order to cut through the clamor of political rhetoric, here are a few of our insights on this issue of educational standards:

No matter who you’re voting for in this year’s gubernatorial race, Utah’s policy dialogue should move beyond the deeply pitted “anti-Common Core” and “defending Utah Core” rhetoric.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78l

 


 

 

Gender politics: bathrooms, locker rooms …

Utah PoliticoHub commentary by Rod Mann,  a member of the Highland City Council

 

I attended a local school board meeting (Alpine School District) today and made the following comments to share my views on the recent edict from the Federal Departments of Justice and Education (click here to see their Letter on Transgender Students). This is what I wrote in advance and not necessarily the exact words I used.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78m

 


 

 

Top 5 reasons why you should consider dual immersion for your child

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by Dual Immersion Academy

 

One of the most difficult decisions parents will make is where their children will attend school. More than 10 percent of Utah’s public school students attend a dual immersion program where students spend 50 percent of their school day learning in another language. Unlike most dual immersion programs in Utah, Dual Immersions Academy (DIA) which opened in 2007, follows a 90:10 model as opposed to a 50:50 model. The 90:10 dual language program was developed in Canada in the 1960s and then was adopted in the United States in the 1970s. It begins with 90 percent of the instructional time in the target language with a gradual reduction each year until reaching a 50:50 ratio compared to English instructional time usually by fifth grade. “Longitudinal studies shown that the 90:10 model is the most efficient bilingual program in getting students to grade level achievement in both languages,” said Dr. Juan A. Freire, Assistant Professor Curriculum & Instruction, Department of Education, New Mexico State University.

Here’s why dual immersion experts, educators and students think parents should consider this program.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78X

 


 

 

Alpine reaction makes me an embarrassed alum

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Jacob Brown

 

Earlier this week, several board members of the Alpine School District publicly renounced the national decree to all public schools detailing the right for transgender students to use the restrooms they are most comfortable with, going so far as calling the policy “morally reprehensible.”

One of the board members who crafted this letter was Wendy Hart, who oversees Lone Peak High School, my alma mater.

I don’t understand why Hart and other board members have decided to embark on a moral crusade over the nonissue of transgender student attacks on fellow students in bathrooms — especially when Utah County is plagued with much more pressing issues.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77u

 


 

 

Teacher thrilled at the growth shown by Ben Lomond HS students

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Lori Durrant

 

As another round of SAGE testing comes to an end, I want to express my gratitude and pride in the students, parents, teachers and community of Ben Lomond High School. I’ve been a teacher at Ben Lomond for 10 years and have three Ben Lomond grads of my own who are proud to be Scots! Despite the controversy surrounding the Utah Integrated Core SAGE testing, and the state of education in general across our great nation, Ben Lomond students remind me how blessed I am to be part of this great Ogden community!

Our students are bright, talented young men and women, some of whom face daily challenges that are daunting. I am humbled daily by the trust they place in me. I feel desperate for them to know how much they matter to our school, our families, our community and our nation. They listen to me when I tell them that education is important and has the power to change lives. They trust me when I tell them to hang on a little longer and that the best things in life are yet to come. They inspire me to be a better teacher — to be better in general!

As I review the results from this round of SAGE testing, I am again thrilled at the individual growth of students as compared to prior years.

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Teacher at South Ogden Junior High didn’t need to use racial slur

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Christine Lopez-Jarvis

 

With all due respect to teachers and especially our students, we are too quick to use racial slurs.

At South Ogden Junior High School, history teacher Douglas Barker did say the full “N-word,” which I know is not at all necessary to say. Just say “the N-word” or “black.”

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A high schooler’s choice: sleep vs. GPA

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Hailey Winterton

 

While trying to balance everything that a high school student is required to, there is very limited time for teenagers to get the amount of sleep that their bodies require. I am a high school senior student-athlete, trying to do my school work and as get an adequate amount of sleep.

With school starting at 7:30 a.m., practice after school and spending time with family, by the time I am able to start my homework, it is around 8:30 p.m. Homework then consumes every last minute until I finally get to bed with only about six hours until having to wake up for school and repeat that the next day.

Oh wait, and then what about a job to save for college? Psh … No time for that! Social life? Try again later. Always busy!

http://gousoe.uen.org/77t

 


 

 

Ogden’s Dee Elementary School was a special place

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Phyllis Savage and Alice Glenn, former Dee teachers

 

In September 1970, a most unique and remarkable elementary school opened its doors to excited children and faculty. We are two of those teachers who started at Dee Elementary School 46 years ago. It has been our joy and privilege to be counted among the dedicated educators who have served there.

Many innovative programs and traditions were started by Milton Kendrick, the first principal. He so believed in this new, open, family-oriented school system. He wanted the families, children, faculty and staff to feel love and care as we worked together to be committed to the happiness and academic progress of all.

This Ogden school truly benefitted from the generosity of the Thomas D. Dee family, who, in addition their initial large contribution, continued to support the school generously for many years.

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Utah Program Taps Technology to Close Kindergarten-Readiness Gap

Education Week commentary by Matthew Lynch, dean of the school of education, psychology, and interdisciplinary studies at Virginia Union University

 

A program in Utah is aiming to reach preschool age children and close the kindergarten readiness gap. Many children are not attending preschool and are arriving to kindergarten already behind their more affluent peers. Some of these children do not speak English, are not able to sit still and haven’t mastered basic skills necessary for learning. Many Utah children do not attend preschool due to cost or programs being inconveniently located. The Waterford Institute, a nonprofit, created a software platform for four-year-olds to prepare them for kindergarten.

Funded by the state of Utah, the program called UPSTART was launched 7 years ago. The 4-year-old and parent or caregiver are instructed to devote 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week using the software. UPSTART teaches the alphabet, numbers, how to spell your name and incorporates songs and games to entice the user. For families who didn’t already have a computer and internet capabilities, the state provides these free of charge.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78V

 


 

 

Changing an NFL Team’s Name Won’t Fix Indian Schools

Throwing federal money at them won’t help either. What is needed? Holding tribal leaders accountable.

Wall Street Journal op-ed by NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY, author of “The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians”

 

A new poll out this week from the Washington Post finds that 90% of Native Americans are not offended by the name of the Washington Redskins football team—despite a long campaign by elites in the nation’s capital who made changing the name the pre-eminent Native American issue of the past few years.

But the poll is unlikely to stir much soul-searching in Washington, where it appears to be an unshakable belief that the problems of American Indians can be solved by greater cultural sensitivity—and more money.

A few days ago, Education Secretary John King announced a federal grant of $100,000 to the Crazy Horse School of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “This grant,” Mr. King said at the tribe’s Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, “will help Oglala educators strengthen the learning environment so that all students can reach their full potential.”

With all due respect, more money won’t help these children. Bringing accountability to their broken education system, however, could actually make a difference.

http://gousoe.uen.org/774

 

 


 

 

This ed-reform trend is supposed to motivate students. Instead, it shames them.

A third-grade teacher on why “data walls” don’t work.

Washington Post op-ed by Launa Hall, who lives in Northern Virginia and is working on a book of essays about teaching

 

My third-graders tumbled into the classroom, and one child I’d especially been watching for — I need to protect her privacy, so I’ll call her Janie — immediately noticed the two poster-size charts I’d hung low on the wall. Still wearing her jacket, she let her backpack drop to the floor and raised one finger to touch her name on the math achievement chart. Slowly, she traced the row of dots representing her scores for each state standard on the latest practice test. Red, red, yellow, red, green, red, red. Janie is a child capable of much drama, but that morning she just lowered her gaze to the floor and shuffled to her chair.

In our test-mired public schools, those charts are known as data walls, and before I caved in and made some for my Northern Virginia classroom last spring, they’d been proliferating in schools across the country — an outgrowth of “data-driven instruction” and the scramble for test scores at all costs. Making data public, say advocates such as Boston Plan for Excellence, instills a “healthy competitive culture.” But that’s not what I saw in my classroom.

The data walls concept originated with University of Chicago education researcher David Kerbow, who in the late 1990s promoted visual displays to chart students’ progress in reading. Kerbow called these displays “assessment walls,” and he meant them to be for faculty eyes only, as tools for discussion and planning. But when that fundamentally sound idea met constant anxiety over test scores in K-12 schools across the United States, data walls leaked out of staff-room doors and down the halls. Today, a quick search on Pinterest yields hundreds of versions of children’s test scores hung in public view.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77s

 


 

 

What Are Massachusetts Public Schools Doing Right?

Widely seen as the best public-school system in the U.S., the Massachusetts school system’s success can offer lessons to other states.

Atlantic commentary by columnist ALIA WONG

 

When it comes to the story of Massachusetts’s public schools, the takeaway, according to the state’s former education secretary, Paul Reville, is that “doing well isn’t good enough.”

Massachusetts is widely seen as having the best school system in the country: Just 2 percent of its high-schoolers drop out, for example, and its students’ math and reading scores rank No. 1 nationally. It even performs toward the top on international education indices.

But as Reville and others intimately familiar with the Bay State’s school-improvement efforts emphasized in a panel at the Education Writers Association National Seminar earlier this month, the “Massachusetts story” is complicated. The Bay State’s famous successes are juxtaposed with stubborn achievement gaps and concentrations of poverty that have made across-the-board strides all but impossible. Income-based disparities in academic performance have actually grown over the last decade or so, and last year the state’s achievement gap was the third highest in the nation.

“On the one hand, these first-place finishes and so forth—which are all based on averages—are great, we’re proud of it, but it should be a pretty short celebration in light of the deep, persistent achievement gaps that look a lot like they did when we set out on this,” said Reville, now a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The Massachusetts experiment with transforming public education traces back to 1993, when state leaders decided to set high standards, establish a stringent accountability system aimed at ensuring that students from all backgrounds were making progress, and open its doors to charter schools. And despite some hiccups, it was able to do so largely without all the partisan wrangling and interagency tensions that have notoriously confounded such efforts on a national scale.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78K

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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More than five years after adopting Common Core, Kentucky’s black-white achievement gap is widening

Now the state is rolling out new ideas for closing it

Hechinger Report

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The second-graders in Sarah Bowling’s class at Dunn Elementary were on a scavenger hunt to find “arrays.”

The bookshelf had a picture of three rows of five fish. The door had an image of four rows with three beach pails in each. Several other pictures were strategically placed in different corners of the brightly decorated classroom. The students cradled clipboards with a worksheet as they moved from spot to spot, writing out mathematical expressions such as: 5+5+5 = 15 and 3+3+3+3+3=15, to convince themselves that three fives is the same as five threes.

But three of the students were seated on the carpet in the middle of the room. They were getting “Dolphin time” — individualized instruction with Bowling, who was talking them through the difference between rows and columns.

Two dolphins on the rug are African-American. While the classes at Dunn Elementary have kids of all skill levels mixed together, there is, on average, a persistent gap between many kids of color and the rest of the students.

The different levels are designated as tiers. “Tier-3” kids, such as the dolphins, are those not meeting expectations on in-class tests, and Bowling was working to catch them up. Students don’t start taking standardized tests until third grade, but Bowling is still tracking her students closely.

A lot is at stake. It was hoped that the persistent gap would be closing by now. It’s been over five years since Kentucky adopted the Common Core, guidelines for what students need to know in math and the English language arts in each grade.

Introduced as an ambitious educational reform at the end of the last decade to make sure that, across the U.S., students graduating from the K-12 system are college and career ready, Common Core has ramped up academic expectations that schools everywhere, including those in Kentucky, are still far from meeting.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77e

 


 

 

Gates Foundation CEO offers peek into philanthropy giant

Susan Desmond-Hellmann notes successes on tobacco and African sleeping sickness, and a fumble on the controversial Common Core in education.

Seattle Times

 

For philanthropy watchers, the annual letter from Bill and Melinda Gates provides a rare window into the world’s richest private foundation and its priorities.

Now, the chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is offering another yearly peek into the inner workings of an organization that exerts tremendous influence on the world of global health and development, but which remains an enigma even to many in the field.

“One of the things I’ve heard from people is that they don’t really understand the foundation, it seems mysterious,” said Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who took over the top administrative job two years ago.

She calls her letter, issued Monday, a progress report. In an interview last week at her Seattle office, Desmond-Hellmann said she wants to share her reflections on the foundation’s work and be more transparent about what’s succeeding and what isn’t.

In the negative column, she noted the controversy over the Gates-backed Common Core education standards, which spell out for each grade what students should learn in reading and math. Many states have rejected the standards or objected to tests designed to measure student progress.

Desmond-Hellmann blamed much of the turmoil on a lack of learning materials tailored to the new curriculum. She said the foundation hopes to fill that gap with digital content and tools.

“One thing we learned is that teachers needed and wanted more support to make Common Core a success,” she said.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77b

 

A copy of the letter

http://gousoe.uen.org/77c (Gates Foundation)

 


 

 

Here’s what the NRA says will make schools safer

Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal

 

A lack of front door intercoms, a door propped open, overgrown shrubbery – these are some of the most common security vulnerabilities in schools, according to a Saturday panel about school safety during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville.

“When you teach … your whole focus is to get to school on time, get in that classroom, accomplish what you’re mandated to do now in class and wipe your forehead at the end of the day,” said Franklin, Tenn. Police Department Capt. Alan Laney, who trains officers to perform free school security assessments as part of an NRA-affiliated safety initiative.

There’s no one at schools, the panelist said, “that’s really focusing on security.”

A major role of the National School Shield, a branch of the NRA focused on school security that launched in December 2012, is to help schools identify security concerns and best practices. So far, law enforcement agencies from four states – California, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Florida – have participated in the training.

After receiving training, the officers go into schools and inform principals and other school personnel of security vulnerabilities and recommended improvements.

Most often, these suggestions include changing locks on doors or the configuration of a school’s front entrance, said NRA board member and panelist David Keene. They’re usually inexpensive fixes, he said, but for more costly improvements, the NRA offers school safety grants.

If school districts decide they want their school resource officers or other security to carry a firearm, Keene said the NRA offers training.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77d

 


 

 

Paul calls for end of gun-free zones

(Washington, DC) The Hill

 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Friday called for an end to gun-free zones during a speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA), saying it is not wise to “pre-announce that you’re defenseless.”

“These terrible tragedies keep occurring in one place: Gun-free zones,” Paul told the crowd of gun rights supporters.

Paul attacked gun-control policies that attempt to “legislate away evil” and said law-abiding citizens should have a “fighting chance to defend themselves.”

“One way to avoid these senseless killings would be to announce once and for all time that no school, no movie theater, no supermarket in America will be left defenseless,” he said.

The Kentucky senator spoke shortly after the NRA endorsed Donald Trump for president. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee also called for lawmakers to abolish gun-free zones.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78G

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78H (Washington Times)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78I (Ed Week)

 


 

 

How the Push to Advance Bathroom Rights for Transgender Americans Reached the White House

New York Times

 

The people of Palatine, Ill., a middle­class suburb of Chicago marked by generic strip malls and tidy cul­de­sacs, had not spent much time debating the thorny questions of transgender rights. But in late 2013, a transgender high school athlete, so intent on defending her privacy that she is known only as Student A, took on her school district so she could use the girls’ locker room.

After the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights ruled in her favor last fall, the two sides cut a deal: Student A could use the locker room and the school would install private changing areas. Some in the community denounced the arrangement; others joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which represented the girl, in declaring a victory for civil rights.

Now the whole nation is in a pitched battle over bathroom access, with the Obama administration ordering all public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. Across the country, religious conservatives are rebelling. On Friday, lawmakers in Oklahoma became the latest group to protest, proposing one measure to effectively overturn the order, and another calling for President Obama to be impeached over it.

How a clash over bathrooms, an issue that appeared atop no national polls, became the next frontier in America’s fast­moving culture wars — and ultimately landed on the desk of the president — involves an array of players, some with law degrees, others still in high school

http://gousoe.uen.org/77k

 


 

 

Georgia school chief issues own guidance on transgender bathrooms. Cites privacy, safety concerns

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods issued guidance today to school districts regarding the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague Letter” on transgender students and school restrooms.

In its letter of guidance last week, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice said districts must under Title IX ensure transgender students can use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity.

The Woods letter, sent to district superintendents, came in response to a request from Gov. Nathan Deal that GaDOE “provide guidance to those local school systems seeking assistance and clarity on this issue in order to ensure that there will be as much uniformity across our state as possible.”

Here is the letter:

http://gousoe.uen.org/77f

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78E (AP)

 


 

 

The nation’s largest school districts are rushing to fill the coding gap

NewsHour

 

On a recent Friday afternoon at a Brooklyn public school, the children of Sabrina Knight’s second-grade class listened intently as she used a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to talk about algorithms.

Moments later, a student volunteer walked back and forth across the room to demonstrate looping, a technical term used in the field of computer programming.

“Thumbs up if you got it,” Knight said, as a flurry of 7- and 8-year-old hands and thumbs shot up in the air. “Open up your computers and thumbs up when you see the blue screen.”

Students grabbed their headphones and flipped open yellow laptops issued to Park Slope’s PS 282. The rest of the lesson would be devoted to coding, as the class of 15 used simple equations to command cartoon characters to move across their monitors.

Knight’s young class is one in a growing number of public schools across the United States that are introducing computer science education into their curricula, in part to make up for the educational disparities among female and minority students that contribute to a professional void in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78J

 


 

 

Publisher’s ultimatum in test leak riles educators

USA Today

 

A long-simmering dissatisfaction over standardized testing came to a head this month when an academic uploaded a handful of test items to the Internet and promptly got a note from the test’s creator, threatening legal action if she didn’t take down the items — and name her source.

The academic, Celia Oyler of Columbia University’s Teachers College, took down the items, which she said came to her anonymously. But the episode is irking educators and other observers who already believe that the powerful forces behind the tests are hijacking not just the educations of millions of children but, in this case, teachers’ rights to free speech. They note, for instance, that tweets about the episode have been taken down at the test publisher’s request.

The controversy began nearly two weeks ago, when Oyler posted a lengthy essay by an anonymous teacher who set out to show that the fourth-grade reading test designed by the non-profit Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, is “developmentally inappropriate” for the children taking it this spring in a handful of states. The blog post included details from three test items.

Five days later, after other bloggers had shared the post, Oyler got an e-mail from PARCC CEO Laura Slover, who respectfully asked her to remove the items. They were protected by copyright, she said, and were “live” test questions, still being used in schools.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77h

 


 

 

Mexican-American Textbook Stirs Cultural Debate in Texas

Associated Press

 

HOUSTON — A textbook proposed to help teach the cultural history of Mexican-Americans in Texas public schools is under scrutiny by scholars, some of whom decry the effort as racist and not a reflection of serious academic study.

The textbook, titled “Mexican American Heritage,” describes Mexican-Americans as people who “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” It also links Mexican-Americans to undocumented immigrants, saying illegal immigration has “caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation”

The State Board of Education voted to include textbooks on Mexican-American studies after activists last year demanded the subject be formally included in state curriculum. “Mexican American Heritage” is the first textbook on the subject included in a list of proposed instructional materials.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78C

 


 

 

Education board hopeful who said Obama was a gay prostitute in spotlight for Texas primary runoffs

Dallas Morning News

 

AUSTIN — Voters left 22 Texas elections undecided in the March 1 primary, resulting in nearly two dozen runoffs that voters will decide Tuesday.

But just one of those is catching everyone’s eye.

The runoff for a State Board of Education seat that encompasses Rockwall and Kaufman counties and most of northeast Texas has grabbed the spotlight, mostly because of comments Republican candidate Mary Lou Bruner has made on social media.

Bruner, who taught school for more than 30 years, made headlines for old Facebook posts that claimed President Barack Obama might have worked as a gay prostitute to pay for a drug habit. She has also said the Democratic Party might have been behind the JFK assassination.

She told The Dallas Morning News that the posts didn’t matter and that voters care about educational issues instead.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78L

 


 

 

Taking over struggling schools easier said than done, experts say

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Milwaukee Public Schools has until June 23 to respond to an invitation from County Executive Chris Abele and his Opportunity Schools commissioner, Demond Means, to partner with them in a plan to turn around some of Milwaukee’s poorest performing schools.

Means has told MPS that rejecting the deal could force him to bring in an outside operator to run the schools as dictated in state law. But school reform advocates and observers in Milwaukee and around the country say that would be tougher than it sounds, and may not yield the results the Legislature envisioned when it created Means’ post.

Charter school operators generally prefer to create schools from the ground up, rather than take over existing operations, they said. In addition, the lack of seed money, the lower per-pupil funding for charter schools, Milwaukee’s competitive school market and highly charged political environment could make it difficult to attract quality operators.

“It’s much easier to build a school from scratch than to go in and work with an existing one,” said Sean Roberts, executive director of Milwaukee Charter Advocates.

“It’s challenging to recruit quality providers in general because of the disparity in funding” between traditional public schools and public charters, he said.

“Most of the good operators in town have their hands full,” said Ricardo Diaz of the United Community Center, which operates the Bruce Guadalupe charter schools.

“And, of course, we haven’t seen a great deal of success from national operators,” he said.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77o

 


 

 

Charter school advocates flood Sacramento education races with $300,000

Roy Grimes gets nearly $132,000 to take on incumbent Harold Fong, who voted against charter

Sacramento (CA) Bee

 

Charter school advocates have spent nearly $300,000 backing candidates for three seats on the board of the Sacramento County Office of Education, positions that once were considered sleepy political outposts.

Besides providing oversight for Sacramento County school districts, the education board reviews the charters of countywide charter school systems and hears appeals from charter schools whose applications have been rejected by local school districts.

In recent years, the California Charter Schools Association has emerged as a major player in supporting candidates for the board. This year, the advocacy group has focused its donations on three candidates: Joanne Ahola, who works for the association; Heather Davis, who is married to Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, an employee of the charter schools group; and Roy Grimes, a former county education board member challenging an incumbent who has voted against reauthorizing charter schools.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77g

 


 

 

Education department chief of staff chosen as interim commissioner, Crandall discusses sudden exit

Chalkbeat Colorado

 

Katy Anthes, the Colorado Department of Education’s widely respected chief of staff, was tapped Friday to temporarily lead the state agency after former Commissioner Rich Crandall’s surprise resignation a day earlier.

The State Board of Education, which met by teleconference, unanimously appointed Anthes as interim commissioner at an emergency meeting. The board also formally accepted Crandall’s resignation after initially meeting in closed session.

Anthes’ appointment represents an about-face for her. On Monday, she wrote to colleagues that she was leaving the agency after five years, joining other top staff who have announced departures recently. Anthes’ last day was supposed to be in mid-June.

Speaking to reporters after her appointment, Anthes described her earlier resignation announcement as a “personal decision” and did not elaborate. She pledged that she was ready to get to work and that the department would not skip a beat.

http://gousoe.uen.org/77p

 


 

 

Concussion Tied to More School Problems Than Other Sports Injuries

Study suggests need for ‘return-to-learn’ guidelines

HealthDay News

 

Students who suffer a concussion may face more school difficulties than their peers with other sports-related injuries, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that concussed high school and college students had more trouble performing at a normal academic level one week later compared to students who injured their arms or legs.

“Concussed students typically return to school within a week after injury, while their brains are likely still recovering,” said Erin Wasserman and colleagues from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, in New York.

The study authors said their findings “emphasize the need for return-to-learn guidelines and academic adjustments based on gender and concussion history.”

http://gousoe.uen.org/77m

 

A copy of the study

http://gousoe.uen.org/77n (American Journal of Public Health $)

 


 

 

Supporters of Amite valedictorian banned from graduation plan to call for school officials’ resignations at rally Monday

Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate

 

Supporters of an Amite High School valedictorian who wasn’t allowed to participate in his graduation ceremony because he refused to shave his beard will protest at the Tangipahoa Parish School System’s central office Monday afternoon.

Andrew Jones, a 4.0 student and standout athlete, missed out on walking with his classmates on Wednesday. The night of graduation, Jones and 13 other students were given the ultimatum to go to the bathroom and shave or not participate in the ceremony, WWL-TV reported. Jones was the only one to refuse, saying he had never been told to shave prior to that night.

The school district has a policy that prohibits beards, and Superintendent Mark Kolwe said Jones was informed three times he had to shave. The parish chapter of the NAACP has organized a rally in support of Jones for 2 p.m., when the group plans to call for the resignations of several district administrators.

The group’s president, Patricia Morris, declined to name those administrators before the rally, but posts circulating on social media are calling for the ouster of Amite High Principal Renee Carpenter, Superintendent Mark Kolwe, School Board President Brett Duncan and School Board member Walter Daniels, who represents the Amite area.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78z

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78A (Ebony)

 


 

 

Barred from her prom for wearing suit, Aniya Wolf welcomed by William Penn

York (PA) Daily Record

 

Before William Penn Senior High’s prom — in all those minutes spent getting ready — student Diavian White had something else on her mind.

She was thinking about how she would welcome someone she and her friends would most likely have never met otherwise: Aniya Wolf.

Wolf, a student at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, attended William Penn’s prom Saturday. She and her date walked up to the front doors of Wisehaven, a banquet hall in Windsor Township, during a rainy afternoon.

William Penn school officials had extended the invite after learning that Wolf was barred from attending her own prom due to what she was wearing. Wolf said she’s a lesbian who has worn a shirt and pants to school all three years she has attended.

Wolf was among the large number of teens who arrived in fashion – the very thing that Wolf has said got her barred from her own prom for wearing a suit. Those who were watching the procession of cars drop off students for the night clapped for her and took pictures with their cellphones. Wolf went inside to enjoy prom and did not speak with the media.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78w

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78x (Seventeen)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78y (People)

 

 

 

From diapers to diplomas: McCaughey septuplets graduate from high school

Des Moines (IA) Register

 

In black and red graduation gowns, the McCaughey septuplets walked across the stage and accepted their diplomas with the rest of the Carlisle High School Class of 2016 on Sunday.

The siblings — Brandon, Joel, Nathan, Kenny Jr., Natalie, Alexis and Kelsey — have caught the attention of Iowans since their birth Nov. 19, 1997, a day that also drew national media attention to the McCaughey family.

But on Sunday, the septuplets blended in with their peers as they walked onto the school’s football field for the graduation ceremony.

http://gousoe.uen.org/78B

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/78D (AP)

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

————————————————————

 

USOE Calendar

http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

June 9:

Utah State Board of Education study session, USDB and committee meetings

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

 

 

June 10:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

 

 

June 14:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8 a.m., TBD

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=INTEDU

 

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2016&Com=APPEXE

 

 

June 15:

Education Interim Committee meeting

1:15 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=INTEDU

 

 

July 14:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://go.uen.org/62M

 

 

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