Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Utah Core Survey

Governor Herbert is asking for stakeholders to provide input about the Utah Core Standards.  Please take the time to read the standards and provide input through this survey.


As you are aware, the Governor is asking parents, teachers, community members and other constituency groups to provide input and comment on the Common Core Standards which Utah has adopted as part of the Utah Core Standards. This input is being invited via the following website:

This survey allows for a general response on the support, or lack of support for the standards overall, but more importantly, it asks for comments on specific standards that respondents feel are problematic or that could be improved.

All comments related to specific standards will be given to a committee of Utah higher education experts who have been asked to evaluate the alignment between the K-12 standards and the requirements of Utah post-secondary programs. This committee will consider the survey comments as part of of their work.

Please forward this email and survey link to your membership, business partners, parents, and other stakeholders you associate with and invite them to take a few minutes and give us their feedback. The more feedback we receive, the better position we will be in to address concerns over these issues.

Thank you!



Tami Pyfer, Education Advisor

Office of the Governor

Utah State Capitol, Suite 200

P.O. Box 142220
Salt Lake City, UT  84114-2220

Phone: (801)538-1178

Cell: (435)770-6555

State Superintendent Search

Letter sent by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh to Members of the Utah State Board of Education about the minimum requirements for the State Superintendent.  UEA is concerned about having a political person in the position in stead of an educator.  You can see in this job posting that having a Utah teaching license is not a requirement of the job. 

TO:                Utah State Board of Education Members 

FROM:          Utah Education Association

DATE:          August 25, 2014

SUBJECT:    State Superintendent of Public Instruction – MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

Dear Board of Education Members:

I don’t envy the task you have ahead in sorting through the applicants and selecting a leader to fill the Superintendent of Public Instruction position. The person filling this important post not only carries out the strategic direction set by the Board, but is also the “face” of Utah public education to school administrators, teachers, classified staff, parents and students.

In order to effectively implement statewide public education policy, the UEA believes it is imperative the person selected for this position have shared experience with teachers and administrators…someone who understands the complex intricacies of public education policy, knows what it is like in a classroom, and can garner the respect of those they will be directing.

To this end, the teachers of Utah call on the State Board of Education to seek a State Superintendent of Public Instruction who possesses the following minimum qualifications:

·          Relevant public school classroom experience including knowledge of public school curriculum, education policy, research and best practices

·          Relevant public school administrative experience, including knowledge of education finance, school budgets, human resources, employee contracts and education law.

·          Advanced degree in education

·          Proven record of collaboration with multiple stakeholders

·          Ability to be the superintendent to superintendents

As representatives of Utah’s educators, the Utah Education Association looks forward to participation, as a stakeholder, in the Superintendent selection process.

Thank you for your service to Utah public education.


Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, NBCT, MA
UEA President

2009 Utah Teacher of the Year

Friday, August 8, 2014

Administrative Conference 2014

Robyn Jackson -- Giving Effective Feedback to Teachers

Need to spend the time to give support to teachers who need it. Some things need to come off the administrators' plates to have the time. Administrators need to have a mindset and priorities shift to find the time to give needed support.

Will is teacher motivation to do what is right for students, school, and profession. Skill is teacher ability to implement instruction, pedagogical and subject area knowledge.  You cannot solve a WILL problem with a SKILL solution, and you cannot solve a SKILL problem with a WILL solution. 

SKILL:  Novice (not effective or new) teachers need diagnostic feedback.  Helps teachers understand what isn't working and why it isn't working. Apprentice (minimally effective) teachers need prescriptive feedback. Helps teachers understand what to do to improve their practice. Give two options and the teacher chooses which one feels better to them.  Have a third option if the teacher doesn't like the other two. Practitioner (effective) teachers need descriptive feedback. Holds up a mirror so that teachers can diagnose their own practice and improve. Master (highly effective) teachers need micro-feedback. Helps teachers become aware of nuances and tweaks that can improve their practice and sustain mastery. They have a hard time articulating why they are good.

WILL:  Coerced teachers have to be forced to do something. Compliant teachers do what they are asked to do.  Cooperative teachers offer to help. Committed teachers will continue to do something even if the focus changes. A cynical teacher is a high will, committed teacher who has been disappointed. Teachers can be in different places depending on the topic or situation.

WILL drivers: Autonomy is having control over things that matter to them. "What, when, where?" Mastery is becoming good at things that matter to them. "How?" Purpose is being involved in things that matter to them and their work is meaningful. "Why?" Belonging is being important to those who matter to them. "Who?"

How to get this done:  eliminate time wasters, automate time consumers, delegate empowerment failures.

Your office is not your home. Don't make it so comfortable that you want to stay there. You should be out in the school.  Give files to your secretary. Have your secretary handle your schedule, so you can block out time to go out into classrooms. Train staff to make appointments to see you.

Make providing feedback to teachers a priority. Do paperwork at the back of the classroom. Move your office. Set office days and coaching days. Divide staff amid leadership team.

Feel more confident in your own leadership, and feel more effective and efficient. Strengthen your leadership style.  Feel more connected to staff. Give yourself time to stare out the window and reflect.