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October 2, 2023

Publication Announcement

Sagamore-Venture Publishing is pleased to announce a new release: Best Practices for Inclusive Camps from editors Gary N. Siperstein, Stuart J. Schleien, Martin E. Block, and Utah Education Policy Center's own, Emily D. McDowell!

This comprehensive resource is designed to help camp leaders and staff create inclusive programs that welcome campers of all abilities, guided by the newly developed "Standards for Inclusive Recreation Programs." Part I of the book addresses best practices in various aspects of camp, while Part II is a series of case studies about inclusive camps that represent both day and overnight programs across a range of organizational affiliations and geographical locations. 

Over the past decade, there has been a heightened focus on the inclusion of children and adolescents with disabilities alongside their peers without disabilities in recreation programs. Research shows that there are many benefits of inclusive camps, such as increased self-esteem and social connections for campers with disabilities, and greater patience and empathy among campers without disabilities.  

This book is an essential resource for anyone involved in the administration, planning, or implementation of camp programming, with a focus on helping camp leaders and staff create environments that intentionally foster inclusion for all children. Co-authored chapters represent decades of combined experience in the camping field, with perspectives and examples from major recreation organizations like the American Camp Association (ACA) and the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America (JCCA).  

To learn more, or to order Best Practices for Inclusive Camps, visit

November 30, 2020

STEM Landscape Report

In partnership with STEM Action Center and Boeing, we present an interactive dashboard that allows you to explore an initial perspective on the STEM education landscape in Utah.

First, we provide an overview of STEM policies and initiatives enacted between 1999 and 2019. Next, using secondary data sources, we provide a longitudinal overview of STEM education, participation, and outcomes within K-12, postsecondary, and the workforce. The dashboard also permits an understanding of the state’s progress on important STEM-related outcomes, including how these outcomes vary by gender, race/ethnicity, and Free or Reduced Lunch status. Where possible we also compare Utah data to national trends. This dashboard will be expanded as additional data become available and accessible.

July 1, 2020

Upcoming Research Studies: STEM, CTE, and Teachers

This summer, find out about upcoming studies that we are excited to share:

STEM Pipeline

In view of the nation’s leaky STEM pipeline and the persistent underrepresentation of students of color and women in STEM majors, numerous researchers have sought out to understand the factors that facilitate or hinder enrollment and persistence in these fields (Berhane, Secules, & Onuma, 2020).

To date, a large body of literature has confirmed the important role that high school experiences and coursework in math and science play in a student’s choice to enroll in and complete a postsecondary major in STEM (Harper, 2010; Perna et al., 2009; Phelps, Camburn, & Min, 2018; Robinson, 2003; Seymour & Hewitt, 1997; Onuma, Berhane, & Fries-Britt, in press; Utley, Ivey, Weaver, & Self, 2019).

The UEPC plans to extend this body of literature by examining the relationship between pre-college student characteristics and STEM major intention for Utah high school graduates.

CTE Pathways

Utah high school students enjoy access to multiple pathways as they prepare for post-secondary training, education, and careers.

Many juniors and seniors are concurrently enrolled, earning college credits while attending high school. Some high school students enroll in Utah technical colleges and have the opportunity to earn professional certificates by the time they graduate. In addition, there are multiple career and technical education opportunities, honors, and advanced placement classes, and the international baccalaureate program for high school students in Utah.

The UEPC is interested in exploring the outcomes of students based on the pathways they choose in high school.

Educator and leadership pipelines

Work from Washington state by Goldhaber and Cowan (2014) identified variation in placement and attrition among new teachers based on where they were trained.

This summer, the UEPC will explore whether similar variation exists among preparation programs in Utah.

According to Title II federal reporting, there are 12 providers—10 traditional and 2 alternative—that train teachers in Utah. Although these programs are different in many ways, including size, student demographics, and the areas in which teachers can become licensed, we know little about how post-graduation placement and retention vary by program across Utah.

We plan to take this work a step further by exploring how school leader placement and retention vary by preparation program as well. Stay tuned for updates on our exploration of educator training, placement, and retention in Utah!

May 15, 2020

Online Resource Library

We understand how difficult this time has been, particularly as we all are finding balance between our personal and professional needs and responsibilities. We know that navigating the transition to online learning can feel overwhelming. Bridging research, policy, and practice is at the core of the UEPC.

In an effort to streamline the multitude of resources available, UEPC has curated a collection of resources pulled from reputable education sources aimed at supporting educators, students, parents, and community members as they navigate this transition. We know that the impact of school closures is far-reaching, and we will continue to add relevant, practical resources as we learn more from our incredible education community.

[This library is under construction, contact Magda for questions!]

If you have other related educational resources to share, please contact Magda Tsagaris via email:

March 23, 2020

Leadership Development for Online Learning Interview: Online Collaboration

Bryan Becherini from the Utah Education Policy Center interviews Dani Sloan, Instructional Technology Trainer at Utah Education Network about virtual collaboration.
Related Resources:

March 19, 2020

March 23, 2020

Leadership Development for Online Learning Interview: Blended Learning with canvas

Bryan Becherini from the Utah Education Policy Center interviews Luke Rassmussen, Principal of Ogden High School, about his school's experience and advice regarding blended learning with Canvas, a Learning Management System.

March 19, 2020

Leadership Development for Online Learning Interview: TIER ONE ONLINE INSTRUCTION

Bryan Becherini from the Utah Education Policy Center interviews Wendy Rush, Instructional Coach at Utah Virtual Academy about Tier 1 instruction in both synchronous and asynchronous environments as Utah teachers in brick and mortar schools are making this shift.

Related Resources:

Email Wendy Rush with any questions.

March 19, 2020

Leadership Development for Online Learning Interview: Shifting to Online Instruction

Bryan Becherini from the Utah Education Policy Center interviews Meghan Merideth, Head of School at Utah Virtual Academy and Justin Brooksby, Associate Director at Utah Education Network about what is most imperative for schools and leaders to take action on in these early stages as schools move towards remote learning.

Related Resources:

Student schedules:

Strong start (establishing routines):

Educators can contact for any help they need with online learning

February 6, 2020

Partnership With University Neighborhood Partners

Dr. Cori Groth and Matthew Pecsok from UEPC recently co-wrote an article with University Neighborhood Partners, "Building Deeper Knowledge Systems at UNP". UNP partnered with UEPC to develop a comprehensive evaluation system to support the implementation of the UNP Long-Range Plan, develop a new logic model, and create a new system to collect, analyze, and report on the indicators and outcomes outlined in the Logic Model. UNP and UEPC are currently collaborating to produce an annual evaluation report based on their work.

Read the ARTICLE.

November 15, 2019

Dr. Janice Bradley on UEN Homeroom Podcast

Dr. Janice Bradley, Assisant Director of Professional Learning at the UEPC was a guest on UEN Homeroom podcast. She spoke about changing a toxic school culture, and how a teacher can make a difference in a negative school culture. Janice has been at UEPC since 2015  and brings extensive expertise in designing and facilitating Professional Learning for educators at all levels of a system, designing and implementing Professional Learning Communities, Instructional Coaching, co-designing professionally and emotionally fulfilling learning cultures in schools, STEM, and facilitating implementation for change.

Listen to the EPISODE.

October 20, 2019

“Lift and Lead” Article in Learning Forward's The Learning Professional

Dr. Andrea Rorrer, Dr. Janice Bradley and Dr. Cori Groth published "Lift and lead," an article about "what it takes to thrive as a leader of a turnaround school" in Learning Forward's The Learning Professional. Learning Forward is a professional learning association that builds the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning.

Read the ARTICLE.

January 30, 2019

Afterschool Programs Provide “Incredible Benefits”—but Many Utah Youth Are Missing Out on Them

As many as 99,000 Utah youth may be left unsupervised when the school day ends. The State of Afterschool Report summarizes five years of evaluation and research on Utah's funded afterschool programs. It also documents current availability of afterschool programs, identifies needs, and profiles three programs. The UEPC co-authored the report with the Utah Afterschool Network.


June 25, 2018

National Afterschool Association Names Utah Education Policy Center One of Its Most Influential in Research and Evaluation 2018

The UEPC was recently honored as a National AfterSchool Association's (NAA) Most Influential in Research and Evaluation 2018. The UEPC’s work has led to increased state-level funding for afterschool programs, more informed and effective technical assistance, and improved statewide capacity to ensure that youth and families have access to high-quality afterschool programs throughout the state. This award was the result of the UEPC's ongoing collaborations with the Utah Afterschool Network, Utah State Board of Education, and Utah Department of Workforce Services Office of Childcare. You can read about the NAA awardees here.


April 19, 2018

State Afterschool Program Makes a Difference for Students in Utah Affected by Intergenerational Poverty

We found that students who participated in afterschool programs that were designed to serve those affected by intergenerational poverty performed better on year-end state assessments to the same students’ performance in the years they did not participate. Moreover, students in these programs also performed better the longer they were in the afterschool program. Students tripled the average academic gains in assessment scores after attending for three years compared to the gains in scores for one year of attendance. Read the full report here (


The intergenerational poverty report was featured in multiple news outlets including KUTV and ABC4.

April 19, 2018

UEPC Director Speaks to RadioWest About Utah Teachers

Dr. Andrea K. Rorrer, Director of the UEPC, talked with Doug Fabrizio on RadioWest about the value and satisfaction of Utah teachers.  Dr. Rorrer highlighted findings from report the UEPC published using the Educator Career and Pathway Survey (ECAPS) for Teachers survey.

Check out the audio here.

January 25, 2018

Deciding to Stay or Go: Making a Difference Matters

The Utah Education Policy Center (UEPC) found that choosing to make a difference isn’t just a reason for becoming a teacher. As it turns out, teachers report that making a difference in the lives of children and young adults, and contributing to the greater social good are among the top factors in their decisions to remain a teacher. Turns out that the convenience of the work schedule doesn’t hurt either. Read the report on the Educator Career and Pathway Survey (ECAPS) for Teachers here.


June 29, 2017

Home Visiting Research Featured in National Report

A UEPC report on home visiting is highlighted by the Council for a Strong America in Parenting Works: The Public Safety and Economic Benefits of Home Visiting in Utah.

Check out the original report here.

May 18, 2017

Dr. Yongmei Ni Featured in ABC4 Report on Teacher Raises

Dr. Yongmei Ni was interviewed by ABC 4 about teacher raises and salary in Utah.  Check out the segment here.

April 10, 2017

UEPC in the News: Teacher Turnover

Check out the briefs that are referenced in this article here.
More than half — 56 percent — of the public school educators who started teaching in 2008 left the profession by 2015, according to a recent report by the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah.

University researchers say they are still exploring why so many new teachers leave the profession after just a few years in the classroom.
Source: Deseret News

March 20, 2017

Allison Nicholson, Research Associate at the UEPC, was interviewed by KUER about three teacher turnover research briefs and data brief recently released by the UEPC.  Check out the article and interview here.

In addition, the reports were covered by The Salt Lake TribuneDeseret News, KSL, and US News & World Report.

January 27, 2017

In collaboration with the Utah State Board of Education, the UEPC published three Utah teacher turnover briefs and a summary brief.

Click here to read the briefs.

October 19, 2016

Dr. Andrea Rorrer and Allison Nicholson were featured in a Deseret News article about the Informed Decisions 2016 Utah Educators Policy Brief. The UEPC authored the brief in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

October 1, 2016


In partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the UEPC co-published an Informed Decisions 2016 Election Brief on early learning. Click here to read.

September 15, 2016

BRIDGEWORKS DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER SERIES: Developing Student Responsive Learning Environments

Above is a video of Dr. Terry Scott's presentation on engagement and classroom management. (Please do not use the video for trainings without permission from Dr. Scott).

September 13, 2016


Dr. Andrea Rorrer presented on teacher retention in Utah at the Joint Education Conference.

View the PowerPoint slides here.

Jun 28, 2016


Allison Nicholson, Research Associate at the UEPC, and Dianne Meppen, Director of Survey Research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, sat down with ABC 4 Utah to discuss education issues important to voters as identified by Informed Decisions 2016. See the interview and read the Education Focus Group Snapshot for the "Informed Decisions 2016,” a collaborative project of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Jun 14, 2016


In collaboration with Utah State Board of Education, the UEPC is exploring the teaching labor force in Utah through multiple data and research briefs. This first brief gives a general overview of the topic of teacher shortages and compiles existing data  to help policymakers and the public understand the issue.  Look for additional briefs in Spring 2017.

See our News Archives for more