U.S. education secretary praises school improvement efforts at Northwest Middle

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  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 7:39 p.m.

    I think they got some "evil" federal grant (because we know the legislature wouldn't pony up any funding) to bring resources to the school that made the difference such as performance pay, more aides, more technology and more support for teachers, lower class sizes, tutors. And guess what, it actually worked. Go figure...

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    Dec. 7, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    So what will happen next? The fact that millions of dollars of resource were funneled into this school will be ignored. The UEA/SLTA also collaborated in this effort and brought monies and professional development to this project. That piece gets left out of ALL reporting. Here is what will happen, the legislature will IGNORE the systemic nature of the work and focus on their idea of "performance pay" just as the DN has done. Performance pay=unsustainability, test taking focus, and unproven results. If all you want to accomplish are higher test scores, then by all means continue down this road.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    Dec. 7, 2013 12:21 a.m.

    but, but, we should never "throw money" at education! Surely this school didn't really need 2.3 million dollars to make improvements! Teaching coaches are a waste of time. (sarcasm off)

    Really, congratulations to Northwest Middle School. Now maybe the legislature will notice that more money does help, that resources to help make changes are needed, and schools don't need to be micromanaged by the state legislative board of education. (but I'll be surprised if they do notice.)

  • steve53 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 9:32 p.m.

    The bigger question is what happens to these kids when they leave Northwest? The incentives are not in place at the high school. I know about GPAs and test scores. Do they succeed at the next level? If not, why not? Those are the bigger questions if you really want a student prepared for college and/or career. Taking a snapshot is great, but there is a much bigger picture.

  • Reader81 SLC, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 6:33 p.m.

    I think simply saying that performance pay was such a large factor for the change, honors rewards, and an extra 12 days in the classroom is somewhat misleading. A very large sum of money was utilized. How else was the grant used? What other structures and supports to parents, students, and teachers were created? Were there teacher coaches? Was there access to new technology? I would like to see a more comprehensive overview of how the grant money was used. I could see some readers conclude that simply using performance pay and simple incentives would improve our schools, but reality is much more complex than that.

  • Homer1 MIDVALE, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 5:35 p.m.

    So, we see success and we see results . . . how did this happen is now the big question. The usual political reactions come like "firing teachers" and the use of data to label schools as failures. But the real key here is supportive, hard-working and dedicated educators who were able to do their jobs with all the support and resources they needed to get the job done. Our Republican legislature works to gradually defund our education system and then brag about how we can do so much with so little. But, in the end you get worn out, underpaid and under-supported teachers that just can't hang on forever. Wake up--if you want the job done, you pay for it. And the work that teachers do at these "at-risk" schools is not the same work that teachers do at other more privileged schools. Paying them extra for the work they do is not a "bonus". It's for the work they do. They absolutely should be paid more. So, now where does this money and support come from??? I'm looking at you Legislature.

  • UtahFan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    I have to give a lot of credit to Northwest. A few years ago, I sent my child to another middle school across town. Northwest was bad then. Today, my other child goes to Northwest, as we decided the recent improvements to the school were reasons enough to send our child to Northwest. I like the improvements, and it is clear MUCH progress is being made.

    Good job to all the teachers, students and administrators to Northwest!