USBE: Education-Related Bills

We have a very supportive state at the Utah State Board of Education, who are interested in teacher feedback on education issues. As a Special Educator in this state, I have had the privilege of working  with Glenna Gallo, the State Director of Special Education. She is so great at making sure special education teachers are kept current on Utah education issues. She recently sent out a document outlining the Utah State Board of Education Education-Related Bills. I will forewarn you that this is a long post–but that just goes to show just how many changes are made in the education world often without teacher knowledge or input. While many of these bills may not directly affect a classroom teachers’ duties, I do feel it is important for educators to be current on the changes in their profession. Here is a run down of the number, name, sponsor, and summary of the  educationally relevant bills (Thank you Glenna for sharing this with me) I bolded the bill being proposed to raise teacher salaries–as I am sure more teachers would be in support of that.

HB 5
Retirement and Independent Entities Base Budget    L. Christensen

Provides appropriations for the use and support of certain state agencies; provides appropriations for other purposes described; approves employment levels for internal service funds; and approves capital acquisition amounts for internal service funds.

HB 5 S1
Retirement and Independent Entities Base Budget    L. Christensen

Supplements or reduces appropriations previously provided for the use and operation of state government for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017; and appropriates funds for the support and operation of state government for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018.

HB 43
American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments    M. Noel

Creates a pilot program related to teachers at American Indian and Alaskan Native concentrated schools located in certain areas; makes technical corrections; appropriates for fiscal year 2018 to the State Board of Education as an ongoing appropriation from the Education Fund, $500,000; and provides a special effective date.

HB 60
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Amendments    N. Thurston

Changes “hearing impairment” to “deaf or hard of hearing” throughout the Utah Code; and makes “deaf or hard of hearing” and “hearing loss” consistent throughout the Utah Code.

HB 62
Educator Rights Amendments    K. Stratton

Defines “abusive conduct”; requires a local school board or charter school governing board to update a policy related to bullying; and implement a grievance process for a school employee who experiences abusive conduct; provides for training related to abusive conduct; and makes technical and conforming changes.

HB 81 S1
Post-employment Restrictive Covenant Amendments    B. Greene

Outlines the scope of the chapter; addresses consideration and termination of employment as they relate to post-employment restrictive covenants; restricts the time for bringing an action to enforce post-employment restrictive covenants; and makes technical changes.

HB 87
Student Access to Online Courses    K. Coleman

Amends provisions authorizing an eligible student to enroll in an online course; removes a limitation on the number of online credits an eligible student may enroll in; requires a primary LEA of enrollment to provide physical space and technology for an eligible student to access an online course under certain conditions; and makes technical and conforming amendments.

HB 92
Physical Restraint in Schools    C. Moss

Defines terms; amends provisions related to the infliction of corporal punishment on a student; amends provisions related to the use of physical restraint in schools; amends provisions related to a student who willfully defaces or otherwise injures school property; and makes technical and conforming changes.
HB 125
Student Residency Amendments    D. Owens    Defines terms; enacts provisions governing the school district of residency for a child who is receiving services from a health care facility or human services program; and makes technical and conforming corrections.

HB 126
Student Plan for College and Career Readiness Revisions    M. Winder    Replaces references to “student education/occupation plan” or “SEOP” to “plan for college and career readiness”; and “student education plan” or “SEP” with “individual learning plan.”

HB 147
Living Wage Amendments    L. Hemingway

Modifies the minimum wage for a private or public employee within the state; modifies the cash wage obligation for a tipped employee within the state; and provides for future increases of the minimum wage and cash wage obligation.
HB 168 S1
Kindergarten Supplemental Enrichment Program    V. Snow

Defines terms; establishes the kindergarten supplemental enrichment program; requires the State Board of Education to: develop kindergarten entry and exist assessments for use in a kindergarten supplemental enrichment program; and administer a grant program to support certain kindergarten supplemental enrichment programs; and gives rule-making authority.
HB 212 S2
Incentive for Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools    M. Winder

Creates the Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program (program); defines terms; authorizes the State Board of Education to award a salary bonus to an eligible teacher; excludes a teacher salary bonus from compensation for purposes of a state retirement program; requires the State Board of Education to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and submit a report to the Education Interim Committee; and makes technical corrections.
HB 223 S1
Elementary School Counselor Program    S. Eliason

Defines terms; creates the Elementary School Counselor Program; authorizes the State Board of Education to award grants to qualified local education agencies to employ licensed school counselors; and requires a local education agency that receives a grant to make an annual report to the State Board of Education.
HB 231
Educator Evaluation Amendments    J. Moss

Defines terms; amends provisions related to components of an educator evaluation program; amends provisions related to a mentor for a provisional educator; amends duties of the State Board of Education related to educator evaluations; amends provisions related to reporting regarding educator evaluations; repeals provisions related to educator and administrator evaluations; and makes technical and conforming changes.
HB 239 S1
Juvenile Justice Amendments

Addresses duties of prosecutors; modifies adjudications of minors under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act; amends provisions related to sanctions and driver licenses; addresses education of certain persons under 21 years of age; amends provisions related to powers and duties of local school boards, charter school governing boards, school districts, or public school administrators; addresses reporting of certain conduct; addresses public school discipline policies; modifies provisions related to rules addressing prohibited conduct; enacts a tiered approach to disciplinary actions related to students; amends provisions related to disruptive student behavior; addresses contracts between LEAs and law enforcement for school resource officer services; . . .
HB 241
School Accountability Amendments    M. Poulson

Defines terms; requires the State Board of Education to establish a school accountability system; enacts provisions related to the school accountability system, including provisions related to: the indicators used to determine a school’s rating under the school accountability system; board duties and rulemaking under the school accountability system; and required reports; modifies provisions in the School Turnaround and Leadership Development Act; and makes technical and conforming changes; provides a special effective date.
HB 264 S2    Utah Public Education Review and Strategic Planning    L. Christensen

Requires the legislative auditor to review the effectiveness of education policies and programs by November 30, 2018; requires the State Board of Education to prepare and submit a complete and updated 10-year plan to the Education Interim Committee by November 30, 2019; and requires the Education Interim Committee to review the updated and revised 10-year plan, recommend changes, and consider legislation that would implement the updated 10-year plan.
HB 292
Charter School Admission Amendments    J. Fawson

Allows a charter school to give an enrollment preference to the sibling of an individual who was previously enrolled in the charter school.
HB 294
Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-sufficiency Tax Credit    J. Westwood

Enacts a refundable state earned income tax credit for an individual who is experiencing inter-generational poverty or moving out of inter-generational poverty; requires the Department of Workforce Services to notify individuals who are eligible for the state earned income tax credit and to provide certain information about those individuals to the State Tax Commission; provides for apportionment of the tax credit; addresses the time period for the State Tax Commission to issue a refund of the state earned income tax credit; and requires transfers from the General Fund to reimburse the Education Fund for the amount of the tax credit claimed.
HB 294 S2
Utah Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-sufficiency Tax Credit    J. Westwood

Defines terms; enacts a refundable state earned income tax credit for certain individuals who are experiencing inter-generational poverty; requires the Department of Workforce Services to notify individuals who are experiencing inter-generational poverty of the state earned income tax credit and to provide certain information about those individuals to the State Tax Commission; provides for apportionment of the tax credit; addresses the time period for the State Tax Commission to issue a refund of the state earned income tax credit; and requires transfers from the General Fund to reimburse the Education Fund for the amount of the tax credit claimed; provides a special effective date.
HB 305
Utah Youth Sports Safety Policy    P. Ray

Requires a local school board or charter school governing board to employ a licensed athletic trainer at each public high school that has an athletic team; and enacts provisions related to the employment of a licensed athletic trainer at a public high school.
HB 346 S1
Suicide Prevention Programs    S. Eliason

Establishes reporting requirements; creates a position in the Department of Health; and provides for grant awards for suicide prevention programs.
HB 363
Federal Funds Amendments    K. Ivory

Provides that each agency that receives federal revenues greater than the amount appropriated to them by the Legislature in the annual appropriations act may expend a certain amount that exceeds the appropriated amount if the expenditure is authorized by an approved amended work program; amends the definition of new federal funds for determining approval requirements for federal funds; and makes technical changes.
HB 401
Electronic High School Amendments    R. Ward

Enacts provisions placing the Electronic High School under the management and administration of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN); provides UETN with rulemaking authority for the management and administration of the Electronic High School; and makes technical and conforming changes.
HB 404
Early Warning Pilot Program    V. Peterson

Directs the State Board of Education to contract with a provider for a one-year pilot software program; requires that the program be designed for use by teachers, school administrators, and parents; requires that the software program: collect and report on certain assessment and other data; and provide certain information and communications to users on student progress; requires a local school board or charter school governing board to pay one-third of the cost of a license to use the software program; and provides a repeal date.
HB 414
Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Referral Amendments    D. Owens

Requires reporting results of a test for hearing loss to the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind under certain circumstances; requires the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to provide educational services to certain individuals; and makes technical and conforming changes.
HB 418
Assistive Teaching Technology Amendments    B. Last

Defines terms; directs the State Board of Education to enter into a contract with a technology provider for the sales and service maintenance of a humanoid robot program for a one-year pilot program; requires that  the program include mechanisms to teach social and behavioral  skill development in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder; directs the State Board of Education to award grants to local education agencies for cost of the program; gives the State Board of Education rulemaking authority; and provides a repeal date.
HJR 4 S1
Joint Resolution on Maintenance-of- effort Requirements    E. Redd

Recognizes that federal maintenance-of-effort requirements can severely limit state budget flexibility; and requests that Utah’s congressional delegation submit federal legislation adding the following language to each maintenance-of-effort statutory requirement: “In nowise shall the state amount obligated as a maintenance-of-effort calculation exceed the amount of federal funding provided through the grant.”
HJR 8
Joint Resolution Supporting the Retention of Public Educators    R. Edwards    

Recognizes the shortage of credentialed public educators in the state of Utah; acknowledges that public education is a critical component of Utah’s prosperity; and directs that net revenue generated from the management of public lands that have been transferred to the state of Utah be deposited into a new fund for the purpose of increasing public educator salaries.
HR 1
House Resolution Urging Restorative Justice in Utah’s Education System    S. Hollins

Encourages the Utah State Board of Education and Utah’s school districts to implement restorative justice programs in Utah’s public primary and secondary schools as a way to help Utah’s students stay in school and deal with their challenges in a healthier and more constructive way; and encourages the Utah State Board of Education and Utah’s school districts to implement restorative justice programs in Utah’s public primary and secondary schools as a means to help school districts better manage their student disciplinary issues
SB 1 S1
Public Education Base Budget Amendments    L. Hillyard

Provides appropriations for the use and support of state education agencies; provides appropriations for the use and support of school districts and charter schools; sets the value of the weighted pupil unit (WPU) initially at $3,184 for fiscal year 2018; sets the estimated minimum basic tax rate at .001596 for fiscal year 2018; provides appropriations for other purposes as described; and provides intent language.
SB 21 S1
Retirement System Amendments    D. Hemmert

Modifies the responsibility for certain functions within the Utah Retirement Systems; modifies an exception to the post-retirement reemployment restrictions; modifies certain retiree notification and benefit conversion provisions relating to retirement options affected by death or divorce; specifies additional names for the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program; and makes technical changes.
SB 34
Competency-based Education Funding    A. Millner

Establishes the Reimbursement Program for Early Graduation From Competency-Based Education; and authorizes the State Board of Education to reimburse a local education agency that offers a competency-based education for a student who graduates early from the local education agency.
SB 37
Statewide Crisis Line    D. Thatcher

Defines terms; creates the Mental Health Crisis Line Commission; addresses the membership and duties of the Mental Health Crisis Line Commission; requires the Mental Health Crisis Line Commission to report to the Political Subdivisions Interim Committee; and provides a repeal date.
SB 59
Students with Disabilities Evaluation Amendments    G. Davis

Requires the State Board of Education to: make rules regarding communication, within a specified time, with the parent or legal guardian of a student who may have a disability; make rules to create a process to review certain violations; and annually report certain violations to the Education Interim Committee; and makes technical changes.
SB 60 S1
School District Amendments    G. Davis

Defines terms; and requires a private school to: provide local education agencies with personally identifiable information of students with disabilities; and provide parents of students with disabilities information regarding individual rights and school resources.
SB 61
Students with Disabilities Accommodations Funding    G. Davis

Defines terms; requires the State Board of Education to make rules regarding the disposition of any money appropriated to the Board to reimburse local education agencies for certain services rendered to a student with an autism spectrum disorder; and requires the Board to present draft rules to the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee or Education Interim Committee for review and recommendation.
SB 78 S1
Teacher Pedagogical Assessment    A. Millner

Defines terms; requires the State Board of Education to: establish a teacher pedagogical assessment that is performance based and assesses an individual’s pedagogical skills; require an individual to pass a teacher pedagogical assessment to receive or retain a certain license to teach; administer a baseline-year program to implement the use of a teacher pedagogical assessment; and make rules related to a teacher pedagogical assessment; and makes technical and conforming changes; provides a special effective date.
SB 80
School Funding Amendments    L. Fillmore

Defines terms; directs the Legislature to annually appropriate an amount equal to one-third of the funds allocated for an increase in the weighted pupil unit value  to increase the number of guaranteed local levy increments; directs the State Board of Education to use the appropriation to increase: the number of guaranteed local levy increments, giving first priority to guarantee board local levy increments and second priority to guarantee voted local levy increments; and the guaranteed amount for each local levy increment per weighted pupil unit after increasing the number of guaranteed local levy increments; directs a local school board to use funds received from the state local levy guarantee for a public education purpose; recodifies and enacts language governing: a voted local levy; the use of guaranteed local levy increments; and a board local levy; makes technical and conforming amendments; and provides a special effective date.
SB 86
Education – Accreditation Amendments    L. Fillmore

Repeals the requirement that the State Board of Education set accreditation guidelines; amends provisions related to State Board of Education accreditation; and makes technical changes.

SB 102
Utah Student Privacy Act    Karen Mayne

Provides that a local school board or charter school governing board require a public school to make a list of individuals  who are  authorized to access  education  records; requires  a local school governing board or charter school governing board to: provide training on student privacy laws; and require individuals who are authorized to access education records to complete training on student privacy laws and certify to the local school board or the charter school governing board that they have completed the required training and understand student privacy requirements; and prohibits a local school board, charter school governing board, public school, or school employee from sharing an education record with a school employee who is not authorized.
SB 115 S1
Compulsory Education Revisions    J. Anderegg

Eliminates criminal penalties for a parent of a truant school-age child; and makes technical changes.
SB 125
Authorization to Modify Charter School Charter Agreements    H. Stephenson

Amends provisions related to charter school enrollment preferences and amends provisions related to the modification of a charter agreement to ensure that: 1) changes to enrollment preferences under this bill will not require schools to seek SCSB approval; and 2) to narrow and redefine existing enrollment preferences from districts and municipal boundaries to offer preference to students of a district school at capacity, within a two-mile radius of the charter school.
SB 127
State Board of Education Amendments    A. Millner

Modifies a provision relating to the supervision of the director of the Division of Facilities Construction and Management over projects of the State Board of Education; includes the State Board of Education as an educational procurement unit that is a procurement unit with independent procurement authority; removes State Board of Education employees from certain overtime provisions; expands the category of State Board of Education employees who are exempt from certain classification provisions; and exempts certain State Board of Education employees from career service provisions.
SB 144
Carson Smith Scholarship Amendments    L. Fillmore

Permits  a  child  with  a  disability  or  impairment  that  qualifies  the  student  for  a  Section  504 accommodation plan under federal law to qualify for a scholarship.
SB 149 S1
Financial Education and Savings Plan to Benefit At-risk Children    R. Edwards

Defines terms; creates the Parental Coaching to Encourage Student Savings Program within the Department of Workforce Services; describes the program, which provides: financial training to parents of economically disadvantaged children attending kindergarten to encourage the parents to start saving money for their child’s eventual higher education expenses; and a financial contribution to the 529 savings accounts of economically disadvantaged children attending kindergarten, if their parents successfully meet the requirements of the program; and describes the reporting and other requirements of the Department of Workforce Services related to the program.
SB 161
Bullying and Hazing Amendments    L. Escamilla

Amends definitions related to bullying and hazing; requires a school board to update the school board’s policy regarding bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation by September 1, 2018; requires employees, students, and parents to sign a statement annually acknowledging understanding of the school board’s policy; requires the State Board of Education to require a school board to report on compliance with a requirement for employees, students, and parents to sign a statement acknowledging understanding of a school board’s policy; requires the State Board of Education to make rules describing standards for training regarding bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation; requires that the training of school employees related to bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation meets standards described in State Board of Education rule; and makes technical and conforming changes.
SB 163 S1
Student Data Protection Amendments    J. Anderegg

Amends definitions; repeals an incorrect cross reference; permits a third-party contractor to identify for a student institutions of higher education or scholarship providers that are seeking students who meet specific criteria; and makes technical corrections.
SB 168 S1
Career and College Readiness Mathematics Competency Revision    H. Stephenson

Requires the State Board of Regents to select at least one test as an alternative to the ACCUPLACER College-Level Math test.
SB 173 S1
English Language Arts Amendments    H. Stephenson

Defines terms; requires the State Board of Education to select one or more technology providers, through a request for proposals process, to provide software licenses for an English language arts instructional tool that meets certain criteria; provides for the distribution of the English language arts instructional tool licenses to school districts and charter schools; requires the State Board of Education to annually report testing data regarding the English language arts instructional tool to the Education Interim Committee; and provides a repeal date; appropriates: to the State Board of Education – Initiative Programs, as an ongoing appropriation: from the Education Fund, $200,000; provides a special effective date.
SB 216
Reading Intervention Software Program Accountability Amendments    H. Stephenson

Provides that a school district, the State Board of Education, and a technology provider work with a public school if the usage rate of reading intervention software falls below the recommended rate within the first month of a public school implementing the software; provides that a public school shall be placed on probation by the school district and the State Board of Education if the public school fails to meet the minimum usage rate for reading intervention software within the first half of the school year; provides that a public school that fails to meet the minimum usage rate for reading intervention software after being placed on probation may not continue to use the licensed software; and provides that the State Board of Education may hire one staff person to administer the reading intervention software implementation.
SB 220
Student Assessment and School Accountability Amendments    A. Millner

Defines terms; repeals outdated references to the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students or “U-PASS”; amends provisions related to the administration of statewide assessments; enacts provisions related to a high school assessment; repeals and reenacts provisions related to: State Board of Education duties related to assessments; and standards assessments; amends other provisions related to assessments; establishes a school accountability system; enacts provisions related to the school accountability system, including provisions related to: the indicators and calculation of points used to determine a school’s rating under the school accountability system; required rulemaking by  the board;  and required reports;  repeals and reenacts, for  technical purposes, provisions related to youth suicide prevention training; and makes technical and conforming changes; provides a special effective date; provides revisor instructions.
SB 223 S1
Modifications to Charter School Governance    D. Henderson

Requires the  State  Board of Education  to adopt principles  and standards for quality charter authorizing; requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules for the oversight of a charter school authorizer; amends provisions related to appointment of the staff director for the State Charter School Board; modifies the State Board of Education’s authority to review an application for a charter school to the State Charter School Board; requires certain persons to be absent from portions of a meeting where a conflict of interest may arise; and makes technical corrections.

SB 234
School Turnaround Amendments    A. Millner

Defines terms; amends provisions related to the designation of a low performing school; requires a local school board of a low performing school, or a charter school authorizer of a low performing charter school, to partner with the school turnaround committee to select a facilitator and develop a school turnaround plan; directs the State Board of Education to identify and contract with a facilitator to partner with a low performing school; repeals and enacts certain provisions related to funding; directs the State Board of Education to identify specialists for a local education board to contract with to provide interventions; directs the State Board of Education to adopt rules establishing implications for a low performing school that fails to improve; amends provisions related to an extension granted to a low performing school; amends and provides a repeal date for the School Recognition and Reward Program; enacts the Turnaround School Teacher Recruitment and Retention Program; and makes technical corrections.
SJR 15
Joint Rules Resolution – Federal Revenue Consideration    L. Fillmore

Requires the Executive Appropriations Committee to consider treating above-trend federal revenue in the same way as one-time revenue.

Whew!

Tabitha

Utah Teacher Turnover

The teacher shortage is a national crisis and hitting especially hard in Utah, where research is showing that over 50% of teachers are leaving the profession.I’m sure after a long day of nurturing young minds followed by a late night of grading papers and typing class newsletters, you would like nothing better than some light reading on teacher turnover.Here are links to several studies by the U of U, Utah Education Policy Center, on our state teacher retention:

Teacher Turnover in Utah Between 2013-14 and 2014-15

Beginning Teacher Turnover in Utah Between 2008-09 and 2014-15

Teacher Retention in Utah: Exploring 2011-12 SASS and 2012-13 TFS Survey Data

Our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sydnee Dickson, said the following,

“The Utah State Board of Education’s mission is to provide an opportunity for education excellence for each Utah student. Recruiting and retaining quality teachers in the classroom is a fundamental part of that mission that supports educational equity and quality learning.”

I know we have many education advocates working on The Hill this legislative session, but we also have well meaning policymakers, who propose rules without understanding the affect on teacher morale or the classroom implications. Please reach out to your local legislators so that teacher voices are included in every discussion about education.

You can find contact information for your legislators at www.le.utah.gov

Cheers!

Tabitha

It’s Thursday-Thank a Teacher: Riley Hanni Edition

I had the privilege to meet Riley Hanni at the #ECET2SLC convening in January. It was just energizing to meet such a passionate young teacher and to know that our Salt Lake City ECET2 had a positive impact on her life. This is what she said about the event:

capture

I reached out to Riley to thank her for attending and to feature her on this week’s It’s Thursday-Thank a Teacher:

Where did you do your teacher prep? Utah State! Go Aggies! 2009-2014

Where have you taught in your teaching career? Lehi Junior High, Midvale Middle School and now Centennial Middle School!

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? Oh man, I have journals full of this stuff. The first one that comes to mind is not really what a student said, but what a group of students did. Last year right after SAGE testing (on April Fools, so call me a fool I guess!) I had a student request to speak with me while I was teaching. She tearfully confessed that she cheated on SAGE and sent the answers to all of her friends etc etc. She was so convincing! I went back into my room to email the Principal and all my students had flipped every piece of furniture in my room to face the opposite direction while I was talking to the girl who “cheated”! They got me so good!

What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? Be pro-active during the summers and observe other teachers in the school year. I snuck two in 🙂

What is your favorite teacher resource? Teachers Pay Teachers. My co-workers jokes that I fund the entire site myself. I love supporting other teachers and I love not having to work too hard at coming up with awesome lessons!

Describe any experience you have had in education policy- I’m currently writing this on the eve of my first legislator day on the hill! I am excited to go tell my story and represent my school.

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? Obviously teacher respect and pay is first and foremost on my mind, but I would love to see standards based grading statewide. I used to be so terrified of that phrase because I didn’t understand what that actually meant. I think that students own their own learning instead of worried about a grade.

rh

Thank you Mrs. Hanni for all your work with students in the state of Utah and for being a positive example of an emerging teacher leader.

 

Cheers!

Tabitha

It’s Thursday- Thank a Teacher: Sierra Charlesworth Edition

I feel so privileged that I am able to connect with so many teachers across the state (and nation) who are passionate about creating positive social impact through education. It energizes me each time I am able to discuss policy, teacher voice and student outcome with teachers and other invested stakeholders.

I recently met Sierra Charlesworth at the Utah ECET2 event. She is an excellent example of the amazing teachers in Utah. Here is a bit more about her:

Where did you do your teacher prep? Utah Valley University (woot!) in Elementary Education.

Where have you taught in your teaching career? I taught one year of fourth grade and the past five years have been in sixth (still in elementary school in my current district)

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said?

Student:”You are like the funniest and prettiest teacher I’ve ever had.”

Me: “Oh, you’re sweet! Thank you.”

Student: “No, really. I’ve had some really ugly teachers…”

What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? Be patient with yourself. You will not be a master at every aspect of teaching every year. You will continue to learn and change and grow as a teacher, so keep doing what you can! Don’t give up. I know the first year can be difficult, but you came into this profession for a reason. Be confident and don’t kill yourself.

What is your favorite teacher resource? I LOVE Weebly, Prodigy, and Scootpad.

Describe any experience you have had in education policy. I currently attended ECET– a conference for teachers who were nominated as leaders. This conference helped solidify that I am beginning to be involved in education policy! I have been to Educator on the Hill at the State capitol to help legislators in their decisions in education. I have contacted my local legislator regarding issues on class size and teacher pay. I have started following other teachers on twitter and Instagram  (@sierrasview) and continue to use my voice to stand up for teachers’ and what is best for my career, as a teacher, and for the students. We do have a voice!!!

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? There are many things that I would like to change. But the two that I feel the strongest about currently are: Teacher pay raise and & the allotment of money to be distributed differently. People would be more likely to pay taxes if they knew that those taxes were going to the teachers and not necessarily higher positions or other things in the district. Teachers deserve to be paid more. Simple as that.

Smaller class sizes in Utah. It is NEVER acceptable for a classroom to have more than 30 students. Ever. This needs to change.

sierra

Thanks Sierra for all you do!

 

Cheers!

Tabitha

What is Teach to Lead? A Guest Post by Blogger Meghan Everette

I am so excited to have my first ever guest post, and I scored big! Professional blogger, incredible teacher, and my fellow Hope Street fellow Meghan Everette, recently relocated from Alabama to Utah. She is a very passionate educator and is involved in many organizations. I have asked her to explain what Teach to Lead (or TTL as the cool kids call it) is. Take it away Meghan.

I am a veteran teacher, but new to Utah. A family move brought us west from the Gulf Coast of Alabama this summer and we’ve been enjoying beautiful hikes and our first real winter! I’m currently a K6 Math TOSA in the Salt Lake School District, so I spend a lot of time working with teachers, modeling lessons, and working on our upcoming math adoption. This is my fifth year blogging for Scholastic Top Teaching and I’m an Influence Leader with ASCD. This is my second year as a National Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that aims to engage teacher voice is policy decisions. Through the work of the fellowship and ASCD, I gathered up some good friends and amazing educators and applied to Teach to Lead.

Teach to Lead is an initiative jointly convened by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ASCD and the U.S. Department of Education. Through the Teach to Lead Summits, educators spotlight and advance the groundbreaking, teacher-led work that is happening in states, districts, and schools across the country. Summit attendees are selected by submitting a team proposal with some kind of plan for tackling an education issue. The plan could address something as local as a single school, but could be as far reaching as a global project. Attendees are partnered with critical friends that help guide the teams through completing a logic model to break down the education issue. Teams leave with an action plan to enact over time with the ongoing support of those involved, key connections made to stakeholders through the support of Teach to Lead, and the critical friend.

meg-1

This fall,  our Teach to Lead team comprised of Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellows and ASCD Emerging and Influence Leaders created a plan to advance educator voice. We know there are plenty of educator advocates out there, but many don’t seem to self-identify as advocates. On any given day, in any school around the country, you could walk in and find educators engaging in discussions from what curriculum is the best to who should be the next Secretary of Education. Go visit a youth sporting event and you’ll see your community educators defending school board decisions or convincing parents that their teacher isn’t crazy after all. So, we know that advocates are out there, from the classroom to the stateroom, but how do we get them active? How do we equip them with the best practices for making their voice heard? And ultimately, how do we get more educators effectively involved in decisions about education?

Our team hopes to find just that. We’ve created a multi-year plan that ultimately will help put educators in the best possible position to influence education decisions. The first step of this plan is to engage educators in providing feedback about current perceptions and attitudes around a variety of education topics. That feedback will help inform the design of engagement activities and events to help grow more effective educator advocates.

The first step is getting educators, no matter their current position in education, to take the educator survey. The hardest part will be finding those educators that don’t generally engage and getting their voice as well. We need to hear from those educators that aren’t involved just as much as those that are easy to reach so we can build opportunities to engage all educators.

I ask that you please take the survey yourself and share this important survey with members of your professional learning network and on your social media outlets, using suggested language and image below and/or your own perspectives.

Because Meghan is awesome, she made it easy for my readers to share her survey by drafting some social media language you can simply copy and paste.

TWITTER:

Make your voice count! Take the educator survey now: http://bit.ly/ttlsurvey

It only takes 5 minutes to make a difference. Add your voice to the educator survey: http://bit.ly/ttlsurvey

Check out this short survey from a #TTLSummit team on educator perceptions and attitudes: http://bit.ly/ttlsurvey

Educator voice matters. Make yours heard. Take the survey: http://bit.ly/ttlsurvey

Fellows @TeachDB17 @bamameghan and @laurenpstuart Need your help. Take this short survey now! http://bit.ly/ttlsurvey

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My Scholastic Blog

My Personal Blog

@bamameghan

LinkedIn

 

Thanks so much for sharing your TTL experience and welcome to Utah!

Cheers!

Tabitha

It’s Thursday- Thank a Teacher: Leigh Vandenakker Edition

It is an honor to feature Leigh Vandenakker on this week’s edition of Thank a Teacher. I have had the privilege to work with Leigh on several teacher leadership activities in the state, and each time I meet with her I am so impressed with her professionalism. Leigh is truly an inspiring educator.

Where did you do your teacher prep? I did my teacher prep at Utah State University.  I received my M.Ed.  My Master’s Thesis was, “Addressing the drop out rate, What works and what doesn’t.”

Where have you taught in your teaching career? I taught for 15 years in the Granite School District at Taylorsville High School on Redwood Road before jumping districts to Salt Lake District, East High School where I have been for nine years.

(Editors note- if you aren’t familiar with Utah pop-culture, East High is where the Disney series High School Musical was filmed.)

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said?  The funniest thing a student ever said to me was when they were looking at a picture I have on my wall of me with President Obama.  She asked me, “Is that your husband, Mrs. V.?

What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? I would tell new teachers to embrace knowledge gained from their students.  It is the knowledge that will prove most valuable in your career.  It requires listening without judgment and developing empathy.

What is your favorite teacher resource? My favorite teacher resource is other teachers, without a doubt.  Teachers understand and offer authentic and relevant resources.  They are current and because of time constraints, have the ability to filter through what really is pertinent.

Describe any experience you have had in education policy- I have been fortunate to develop a voice for teachers.  My experience with teacher policy was most powerful when Senator Osmond wanted me to head his committee concerning a new bill he was sponsoring.  I was honest.  I told him, I did not want to end up being the most hated teacher in Utah.  He listened.  He held town meetings.  With the help of Sharon Gallager-Fishbaugh he reversed his decision and pulled the bill.  It gave me the courage to offer my voice to other bills where I either agreed or disagreed.  Teachers voice is critical.  We need to be informed and involved.

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? The biggest change I would like to see in education would be for teachers to feel valued and know their opinion matters.  I would like to see teachers involved in all decisions that affect our profession.  I want teachers to be involved in making decisions on the front end, not merely asked their opinion when the decision is all but made.  Many policy makers underestimate teachers.  They think they know more than the teachers and then teachers have to fix what they put into place.  Teachers deserve to be able to pay their bills.  They need to raise the starting pay of teachers to at least the same level of other professions which require the same amount of education. The price of an education has continually climbed.  Teacher’s salaries have stayed stagnant.  No wonder we are facing a severe shortage.

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I had the opportunity to meet several of Mrs. V’s students this past week at #ECET2SLC. Her student were so impressive and spoke highly of their beloved teacher. Thank you Leigh for all you do to elevate the profession and for being such a positive influence in so many student and teacher lives.

 

Cheers!

Tabitha

It’s Thursday-Thank a Teacher: John Carlisle Edition

I had the pleasure of meeting John Carlise at #ECET2SLC. He was nominated as a teacher leader in our wonderful state of Utah. John had some great insight during our Nebo/Provo colleague circle. Here is a little more about Mr. Carlise:

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Where did you do your teacher prep? Utah State University 2005-2008

Where have you taught in your teaching career? Payson Junior High, 2008- present
What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? In teaching new vocabulary in a Spanish class, I went over the phrase “No sé” a few times then turned to a student not paying much attention and asked what it meant.  The student had a blank stare and said, “I don’t know”.  I made the students day by letting them know that they were exactly correct and that they should keep paying attention to learn more phrases.
What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? Work with students and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Do your best each day to make a small difference in students lives, people do not realize how often the teacher is the only one to care about a student.
What is your favorite teacher resource? There are many that I use.  The most used resource is the internet in my classroom.  This is made more accessible with improve internet connection and computers that students can use.
Describe any experience you have had in education policy- I have been involved in politics as a delegate and seen the working of policy.  I am starting to realize the importance and at the same time the challenge to make change happen in meaningful ways. 
What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? I would like to see school change to allow students the flexibility to have individualized learning how they learn best.  Often schools are viewed as factories teaching the same thing in mass, but students need to have the opportunity to learn differently at their own pace and timing.
Thank you John for all your hard work for students in Utah. Your efforts are much appreciated.
Cheers!
Tabitha