House lawmakers want to give families with autistic children a helping hand. They voted Tuesday to continue supporting a few programs that have shown success in Utah.
Republican Representative Rhonda Menlove says a constituent call a few years ago triggered her interest in autism programs. She told her House colleagues that she picked up the phone one day and heard a screaming child in the background as the sobbing mother pleaded for help.
The Salt Lake City School Board plans to discuss tonight how to move forward with an outside investigation into the seizure of more than 30 school lunches from Uintah Elementary School. The decision comes as the district’s human resources department continues its ongoing probe into the incident.
The University of Utah College of Engineering marks National Engineering Week boasting a doubling of the number of engineering graduates since 1999. 368 engineering and computer science degrees were issued that year by the U. Then Governor Mike Leavitt challenged the state’s higher education system with the 2000 Engineering Initiative. 777 total degrees were issued in 2013. Dean of the College Richard Brown says the result has been a reverse of the so called brain drain of 30 years ago.
A $6.6 million dollar renovation is planned for the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Crews will begin work as soon as the Ute basketball season is over so the project can be completed before the commencement season starts. Shireen Ghorbani of University Facilities Management says the sound baffle known as “the cloud” is going away.
“And then above in that space in the center will be a grid system that can hang curtains to break up the space in different ways,” says Ghorbani.
She says the project fills the long-time need for medium sized spaces on campus.
House Speaker Becky Lockhart only needed to look at her own children to see kids and electronic devices go together naturally. The insight has inspired her new initiative to transform Utah’s public schools.
Lockhart says parents and teachers need to catch up to children when it comes to technology. That’s what prompted her Public Education Modernization Act. It would put electronic devices into the hands of all 620,000 students in Utah’s schools. Lockhart’s asking for up to $300 million to make her vision a reality.
What is Salt Lake City going to look like in 2050 with double the population predicted along the Wasatch Front? The University of Utah’s Department of City and Metropolitan Planning hosted the 4th Annual Mayor’s Symposium Thursday. Participants worked on that population question with the theme Mountain Urbanism, Mountain Modernism. Nan Ellin is the chair of the department. She says the intent of the event is to catalyze the conversation about how to build harmoniously in the mountain landscape.
The idea behind House Bill 96 is to help preschoolers prepare for the classroom -- through at-home programs as well as pre-K programs. The bill is headed to the Senate after passing the House on Tuesday.
The Utah House threw its support behind new results-based programs to boost early-childhood education. It’s a concept backed by leaders of both parties.
Republican Rep. Greg Hughes of Draper says all Utahns have a stake in making sure that all children get a good start at school – even before they’re in kindergarten. His bill calls for investors to foot the bill for expanding early education programs like those in the Park City and Granite School districts. Hughes says the $5 million program will provide opportunities for disadvantaged children
The riderless testing phase of the new all electric bus at the University of Utah is now complete. Alma Allred, the Executive Director of Commuter Services, says they’ll start shuttling riders for the next testing phase as soon as they get approval to release the federal grant money.
Chocolate: The Exhibition officially opens Saturday at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Sarah George is the executive director of the museum. She says the exhibition gives visitors a good sense of the botany, culture, and history of the cacao that date back to the Olmec people of the Mexican Gulf Coast.
The Westminster College community will be watching the opening ceremonies in Sochi with extra pride this year. The liberal arts school in Salt Lake City has more students competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics than any other U.S. college or university.
In all, there are 23 skiers and snowboarders in Sochi right now who are working simultaneously towards a degree at Westminster College. Deb Vickery is their academic advisor on campus.
Proposed legislation could give Utah teachers more days to train and prepare at no additional cost to taxpayers –but it would mean fewer days in the classroom with students. Members of the Senate Education Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to advance the bill.
Senate Bill 103, sponsored by Republican Senator Aaron Osmond would give local school districts the flexibility to swap regular instruction days for teacher professional development days.
The Governor's Office of Economic Development launched its 2-million dollar STEM Media Campaign Thursday at Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City. In 2013 legislators approved 8 and a half million dollars to support math readiness and another 1 and a half million to set up the Utah STEM Action Center to build student skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Executive Director of GOED, Spencer Eccles, says kids need to have these skills whether they are going to be artists or astronauts.
A spokesperson for Salt Lake City School District says Uintah Elementary School made a mistake by taking away the lunches of students who owed money. Now state lawmakers say they want to get to the bottom of it.
District Spokesman Jason Olsen says on Tuesday cafeteria workers at Uintah Elementary School threw away the lunches of about 32 students whose lunch accounts were in the negative. Those students were instead given a partial lunch of fruit and milk.
Utah Fourth Graders are all improving their reading scores, but child advocacy group Voices for Utah Children notes that over the past decade, fourth graders who come from low-income families have not improved as quickly as their peers.
According to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, from 2003 to 2013 the gap between reading scores from low income children and upper income children increased by 22 percent – meaning kids from higher income households are improving at a faster rate.
Governor Gary Herbert has appointed state school board member Tami Pyfer as his new education advisor. The Governor’s spokesman Marty Carpenter says Pyfer brings in a very broad-scoped education experience from administrator to parent volunteer in public and private classrooms.
Marchers young and old prepare to walk in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. They walked south from Westminster College on 1300 East. They then headed into the business district of the area before meeting in the Gore School of Business Auditorium for jazz music and speeches.
A small crowd of about 150 Westminster College students, faculty, and families from the neighborhood celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior today Monday. They marched through central Sugarhouse. Luciano Marzulli is the director of Diversity Student Affairs and Services at Westminster. He says the legacy of Dr. King should be celebrated because there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton spoke at the University of Utah today as part of its Martin Luther King celebration week. Fulton called on all Utahns to stand up against racism and injustice in their communities.
A Republican State lawmaker from Bountiful wants to change the way state school board members in Utah are elected to office, and he hopes to leave politics out of the equation.
Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor is responsible for vetting state school board candidates. That group sends it’s nominations to the governor who then selects two candidates for each position. House Bill 59, sponsored by State Representative Jim Nielson would get rid of that committee and the governor’s role in process.
The University of Utah kicks off its week-long Martin Luther King Junior celebration Thursday with an appearance by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in Florida almost two years ago. The U’s theme this year is “Beneath the Hoodie: A Look at Racial Profiling in America”.
Republican State Representative Greg Hughes is sponsoring a bill that would get about 3,000 at risk-kids into preschool. He says Utah will save money by getting kids better-prepared for kindergarten and reading at grade level.
Last year, state lawmakers said “no” to this idea– or at least one that closely resembles Representative Hughes’ proposal.
But Hughes says getting more kids into preschool will shave costs for the state, which shells out an additional $2600 per student for kids who need special education and individual attention.
Yesterday’s fire at Utah State University’s Extension Facility in St. George has resulted in an apparent total loss. Brian Higgenbotham is the Associate Vice President for the extension. He says it’s going to be difficult to put a dollar value on the damage to this center of community education.
“In St. George we actually have, we had I should say, a very nice facility that had conference rooms, and rooms for demonstrations for some of our family consumer science programs, also had large area for our 4H,” he says.
The Utah Educational Savings Plan is expecting to seeing an increase in investments as the year ends. It’s already seen a 10 percent year-to-date jump in investments. UESP is Utah’s official non-profit 529 college savings program. It was set up by the state legislature in 1996. The fund gives tax incentives to anyone wanting to invest in a young person’s higher education. Diane Johnson is the outreach manager for UESP. Johnson says the nationally-recognized fund typically sees a nice jump in investors at year-end.
Attorneys and law enforcement personnel at University of Utah are reacting to recent attacks by so-called cyber-squatters. Thousands of University employees are being targeted by an internet scheme making fraudulent purchase orders with sites that attempt to appear to be representing the U. Valoree Dowell is the interim communications director for the University of Utah. She says right now the purchasing department is busy alerting suppliers to the scam.
The country’s top education boss was in Utah today to praise and learn from one of Salt Lake City’s highest-achieving Title 1 schools. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stopped by Northwest Middle School to talk about gains the school has made with the help of a federal school improvement grant.
Next year, thousands of Americans will take the GED test and obtain a certificate that’s equal to a high school diploma. But come January 1st the test will be a much different experience. The GED Testing Service has announced a new exam for 2014 that focuses more on college and career readiness and less on high school completion.
The Spanish Fork City attorney’s office filed a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct against a Spanish Fork Junior High School teacher accused of kicking one of his students. Meanwhile Utah State School Board members are considering beefing up teacher discipline standards.