It’s Thursday- Thank a Teacher: Heather Raithel Edition

It is my honor to thank Mrs. Heather Raithel for her service as a Utah teacher.  Today is especially meaningful because Heather is being recognized at the National CEC Conference as the 2017 Graduate Student of the Year. Heather is a veteran teacher, but has also spent the last two years attending Utah State University to earn her Masters in Special Education. Well done friend!


Here is a little more about the talented Mrs. Raithel:

Where did you do your teacher prep? Sam Houston State University BS in Elementary Education, Utah State University MEd in Special Education Transition

Where have you taught in your teaching career?

  • Sunset School in Blackfoot Valley of Montana: K-8, one room schoolhouse
  • Corpus Christi, TX: 5th grade Math/Science and 6th grade Writing, ESL
  • Thailand: taught conservation in local communities, English to adults, Reef Check volunteers
  • Maui, Hawaii: K-8 SpEd Inclusion and 6-8 ELA
  • Kerrville, TX: 6th grade SpEd Inclusion
  • Utah Virtual Academy:  Transition Coordinator, 4th and 5th math resource

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? “You kind of look like a whale” – student that rarely spoke told me when I was pregnant with my first child.

What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? Keep learning and honing your craft, get involved in your district and state.

What is your favorite teacher resource?

Describe any experience you have had in education policy- I have met with legislators on disability at Utah State Capitol, read policy, follow on twitter

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? I would like to see more inclusive post-secondary programs for students with more significant disabilities.

Heather is an incredible teacher, colleague, and friend. She has done so much for students in Utah. Thank you!



Tabitha Pacheco 

Is SAGE Testing Leaving Utah?

SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) is Utah’s computer adaptive assessment system aligned to the state’s core standard. The results of these tests have been used to evaluate teacher effectiveness and school letter grades. However, a new state testing plan has been released. This year, 11th grade students were not required to take SAGE and instead took the ACT. Soon, 9th and 10th grade students will be taking the ACT Aspire in place of SAGE to help prepare them to take the ACT in 11th grade. Several other changes are being implemented in state end of year testing over the next few year. Below is an image outlining the plan:


What are you thoughts? As a teacher do you like SAGE? What do you think about using the ACT Aspire? I look forward to reading your comments!