Utah education news

U. med school among top 50 nationally for research, primary care

Utahns who want to be physicians have only one option for medical school in the state, but a recently released report found that choice is a good one. U.S. News & World Report this week released its 2018 rankings of best graduate schools — from medicine to business to law — and determined that the University of Utah School of Medicine was among the top 50 in the country for both research and primary care. The school also improved significantly from last year’s rankings. It was No. 40 in research...

Utah school board passively repeals revision for student-athlete transfers

The Utah Board of Education walked back three months of debate over transfer rules for student-athletes on Monday, effectively repealing a new policy adopted in December. Board members have debated transfer rules since September, including various proposals to eliminate or loosen restrictions on athletes switching teams. Those proposals generated significant resistance, including near-unanimous opposition from school administrators and prep sports representatives. But in a debate Monday, board... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Tiny Navajo Mountain school reaches Utah robotics contest

Everyone stood around with blank stares, not knowing where to start that first day of robot building at Navajo Mountain High School. The newly formed team only had five weeks before their deadline to enter the annual Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition — taking place Friday and Saturday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City— and nobody in the room had actual experience assembling a robot. But science teacher and team supervisor Daniel Conrad was hopeful. His students translated the in...

Utah teachers see give-and-take during legislative session

The 2017 legislative session was boom and bust for education advocates on all sides of the ideological spectrum. Included in more than $230 million in new public school spending, lawmakers voted to cover the cost of teacher license fees and offer $5,000 bonuses to high-performing educators in high-poverty schools. But while organizations such as the Utah Education Association have long advocated for higher teacher pay, the UEA opposed the $5,000 performance bonus for its reliance on test score... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utah lawmakers give final approval to this year's school-grading overhaul

A seven-year tradition of passing school grading bills continued Wednesday when the Utah Senate gave the final vote of approval for SB220. The new proposal, which awaits the signature of Gov. Gary Herbert, creates a report card listing various performance metrics in addition to labeling schools with a single grade of A, B, C, D or F. Under SB220, the calculation for grades would place greater emphasis on student performance growth, and would be expanded to include additional metrics beyond stan... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Salt Lake City schools seek more input before vote on immigration-enforcement policy

The Salt Lake City Board of Education declined Tuesday to pass a resolution that lays out what school district employees can do to protect students from immigration officials, opting instead to gather more input. Passing such a resolution is a priority that supporters said gained urgency after people recently parked four unmarked vehicles and donned U.S. Department of Homeland Security vests and guns on Salt Lake City School District property. Yet postponing the vote is exactly what supporters w...

House approves revised system with a one-year break from school letter grades

School grades would be suspended for one year under a possible compromise bill approved Tuesday by the Utah House. House members voted 56-18 for SB220, which expands school grading to place a greater emphasis on student improvement and to include metrics beyond standardized test scores. The bill also removes the grading curve, which sees schools punished if too many campuses improve, in lieu of a criteria-based system allowing any — or potentially all — Utah schools to receive high marks. “It... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Complaints accuse Utah lawmaker of bullying, berating school officials in front of students

Students who visit Utah’s Capitol during the legislative session get a civics lesson on state history and government, and, for at least one group of Utah County fifth-graders, a front-row view to rancorous politics. That’s what Jenna Wood described in a letter to Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, after witnessing an “agitated” Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, threatening to sue Alpine School District administrators during a Feb. 24 confrontation in the Capitol Rotunda with several ...

Senate approves $5,000 bonuses for teachers at high-poverty schools

Both the House and Senate have approved a bill that would give a $5,000 bonus to top-performing teachers who work in high-poverty schools. Senators voted 25-0 on Tuesday for HB212, but amendments require an additional vote in the House, which voted 51-23 in favor of the bill last month. Under HB212, roughly 100 high-performing Utah teachers — identified through a test score metric called median growth percentile, or MGP — would be eligible for an annual bonus when they remain at or move to one...

Senate approves symbolic bill letting state school board ask for money

The Utah Board of Education’s ability to request state funding to cover the cost of ignoring federal mandates would be enshrined in law under a bill approved by the Utah Senate on Tuesday. Senators voted 20-8 for HB136, which directs the state board to review federal programs and determine whether those programs comport with state goals. Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork and the Senate sponsor, said federal funding often has “strings attached” that can be onerous to local schools. She gave... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Got a favorite educator? Nominations open through March 17 for Huntsman Awards

The Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education — now celebrating 25 years of honoring Utah educators ­— are open for nominations through 5 p.m. on March 17. The awards committee selects 11 winners from around the state, including six teachers, three administrators, a special education teacher and a volunteer. The Jon M. Huntsman family presents a crystal obelisk and a check for $10,000 to each of the winners. Meet 2016’s winners here. Nomination forms for this year’s awards are available from p...

Young Utahns need to know about consent and sexual violence in a real-world way, panel says

Romeo Jackson believes the best way to teach young people about consent and sexual violence is to put the concepts in a context they can understand. For example, they need to understand how consent might be sought and given in a crowded club when both people are drunk, said Jackson, a graduate student in the University of Utah’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. “I think we need to then fit our conversations into what students are actually doing and experiencing in their lives so ...

Resurrected school truancy bill dies again in the Utah Senate

Utah Senators gave a decisive vote of opposition on Monday to a bill that failed the chamber last week but was kept alive through legislative maneuvering. The Senate voted 13-16, short of the majority needed to approve SB115, which sought to end the criminal penalties for parents of truant children. While truancy citations are rare, and typically used to compel school attendance and dialogue with administrators, bill sponsor Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, said contempt of court and other complic...

Struggling students forced to wait as Utah's public colleges don't have enough therapists

David Bush can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but he’s seen more students than ever before in Utah State University’s counseling center asking for help. It could be that the stigma associated with mental illness is dissipating. It could be that higher expectations have led to more stress and anxiety. Or it could even be that instant access to news is overwhelming and unsettling, said Bush, director of USU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. But whatever the reason, USU’s counselors are bei... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Senate panel clings to school grading despite push to end practice

A brewing showdown over school grading may have ended Friday, when the Senate Education Committee voted to stop a bill from reaching the Senate floor that would end the controversial practice of awarding letter grades to schools. Both the House and Senate have passed legislation aimed at reforming school grading — HB241 and SB220, respectively. But while both proposals would broaden the performance areas used to measure school quality, HB241 would end the practice of assigning a single letter ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Senate combines property tax freeze, school funding equalization proposals

Senators played matchmaker on Friday, joining a bill to raise money for education with a dormant proposal to equalize school district funding. The Senate gave a preliminary vote of 26-0 to SB255, which would freeze the statewide property rate and capture roughly $21 million for schools — and potentially more each year — through inflation. But before that vote, the bill was substituted to include elements of SB80, which aims to supplement school districts with low property tax yields by creating... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

'I sure hope we weren't wrong': Utah school board questions decision to not immediately shut down Vineyard charter school

The Utah Board of Education had its first opportunity on Thursday to weigh in on the allegations of misconduct at Franklin Discovery Academy. The Vineyard charter school was given probationary status over the weekend by the state charter school board in response to concerns over student safety, financial impropriety and teacher licensing. But at least one school board member questioned why Franklin Discovery was given until June to address those issues, rather than being immediately shut down. ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

'Good teachers deserve to be rewarded': Bonus bill sails through Senate committee

A proposal to pay high-performing teachers extra to work in high-poverty schools is headed to the Senate after a warm committee reception on Thursday. HB212 narrowly cleared the House Education Committee last month — ahead of a 51-23 vote in the House — but the Senate Education Committee gave the bill unanimous support, bolstering its odds of passage in the final days of the legislative session. “This may not be everything but it’s a little,” said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. “It has the ...

Senate approves lifting ban on 'advocacy of homosexuality' in Utah schools

The Utah Senate gave near-unanimous approval on Wednesday to ending a state ban on the advocacy of homosexuality in public school sex education courses. Senators voted 24-1 in favor of SB196, which replaces the homosexuality language with a restriction against advocating “premarital or extramarital sexual activity.” Utah law already restricts sex education to a format focused on abstinence and marital fidelity. But Adams has described SB196 as adding “belts and suspenders” to the law, while al... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

High school sports association gets another outside mandate -- this time from Utah lawmakers

A simmering debate over Utah prep sports reached the Legislature on Wednesday, with a House committee approving new requirements for the Utah High School Activities Association. Members of the House Education Committee voted 11-2 in favor of HB413, which places the association under Utah’s open meetings and records laws and cuts the group’s governing body in half, from 32 members to 15. During the fall and winter, the Utah Board of Education approved and later delayed implementation of a polic...