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UVU-Convened Social Summit of State Leaders to Work Toward Improvements in K-12 Education

8 July 2013 No Comment

July 8, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert

Written by: Mike Rigert

If you’ve visited Utah Valley University’s campus in recent weeks, there’s a good reason why 26 local seventh graders have been busy conducting science experiments and meeting with top-level scientists and engineers from companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, IM Flash and Disney. They are part of UVU PREP, an inaugural UVU summer enrichment program to expose high achieving middle-school students, particularly girls, to a plethora of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.

National studies show that nearly two-thirds of eighth graders lack proficiency in math and science. The UVU Pre-freshman Engineering Program, or PREP, is aimed at motivating middle schoolers to explore and prepare for STEM careers. It’s one of more than a dozen component programs that comprise UVU’s multi-year University Project for Civic Engagement. Launched in December, the project, in partnership with United Way of Utah County’s EveryDay Learners, brings all facets of the university’s resources to bear toward the goal of improving the reading and math skills of local schoolchildren.

On July 15, top for-profit, non-profit, government and education executives will come together in a historic summit to forge new partnerships and approaches to improving literacy and math attainment among Utah youths. The Social Summit, co-sponsored and organized by UVU, United Way of Utah County and the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, is designed to bring durable solutions along the lines of UVU PREP to literacy and math learning, while building connections between the private and public sector stakeholders who are best positioned to lead out on these issues.

“This is a summit of leaders from across the state that have the authority to bring about real change in childhood education,” said UVU Vice President for University Relations Cameron Martin. “The discussion will be a sort of Camp David on education in Utah.”

Corporate CEOs, school district superintendents, mayors, state legislators, county commissioners and higher education leaders will be in attendance.

Scheduled to speak at the summit are UVU President Matthew S. Holland; Val Hale, president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce; Bill Hulterstrom, president and CEO of United Way of Utah County; and Mossi White, former president of the National Association of School Boards. Participants will engage in small working groups to design and forge partnerships that will advance student attainment in specific areas.

Summit topics include:

  • Building Corporate-School Partnerships, led by Jim Evans, COO of Xactware and mayor of Orem City.
  • Building Small Business-School Partnerships, led by Todd Hansen with 7-Eleven.
  • Advancing STEM Education, led by Tammy Goetz, assistant dean of external relations with UVU’s College of Science & Health and a former Utah state science adviser.
  • Improving Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students, led by Claudia Jensen with Dixon Middle School.
  • Partnering with Higher Education, led by Liz Andrus and Eldon McMurray with UVU’s School Community University Partnerships.
  • Improving Parent Involvement, led by Terry Shoemaker, superintendent of Wasatch County School District.

Most critically, the event will conclude with the consideration and possible adoption of a vision statement and set of goals for improving education attainment among youths in our community.

“One of the best strategies to strengthen our community for the future would be to focus on early childhood literacy and numeracy,” said Hulterstrom. “When three out of 10 Utah County third graders do not read at grade level, that’s a clear warning sign of problems ahead. Not reading at grade level in third grades reduces the chances of a child graduating from high school and finding economic independence in the future.”


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