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Benjamin Wood

Education reporter, Health, education, environment

801-257-8715, bwood@sltrib.com


  • Courtesy  |  Nate Edwards, BYU Photo  Demolition begins this week on Brigham Young University’s 58-year-old smokestack. BYU to demolish campus smokestack, move to natural gas
    A nearly 60-year-old feature of Brigham Young University’s Provo campus will meet its end in the coming days. Demolition will begin this week on the s...
    Updated Dec 05 2016 10:10 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Utah Rep. Rich Cunningham is accusing Athlos Academy of Utah of violating Utah law, which requires public schools to open a bid process before sending taxpayer dollars to building costs. Athlos’ private parent company built the school’s Herriman location, which Athlos now leases. Utah charter lobbyist says procurement code’s lease exception protects schools
    When a Utah school district builds a new campus, administrators traditionally outsource construction after soliciting bids from private companies. Th...
    Updated Dec 05 2016 10:39 am   |     |   Share

  • |  Courtesy of Waverly Giles  BYU-Idaho student Waverly Giles was given a score of zero by her professor for an art project that included images of a woman with bare shoulders. Bare shoulders earn failing grade for BYU-Idaho student’s art project
    A freshman student at Brigham Young University-Idaho said she was surprised to learn that a recent art project went too far by showing exposed female ...
    Updated Dec 02 2016 08:59 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Second graders at Washington Elementary School sing a song at a press conference announcing the launch of a ballot initiative for an income tax increase to fund schools during the 2018 election, Tuesday November 29, 2016. Utah business leaders will gather signatures to put education funding on ’18 ballot
    A group of Utah business leaders is turning to voters to raise funds for public schools. The Our Schools Now initiative will begin collecting signatur...
    Updated Dec 03 2016 05:32 pm   |     |   Share

  • University of Utah boosts programs aimed at race, gender and social justice
    Administrators at the University of Utah have launched a new school aimed at race, gender and social justice. The School for Cultural and Social Tran...
    Updated Nov 29 2016 10:45 am   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Students line up by classroom and march together to enter the brand new Butler Elementary in Cottonwood Heights on Aug. 25, 2016. Report: Changes to Utah taxes pulled $1.2 billion a year from schools
    Two decades of Utah tax policy has cost public schools $1.2 billion a year, according to a report released Monday by Utah Foundation. Between 1995 an...
    Updated Nov 28 2016 10:16 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   David Cichoski poses for a portrait before starting his shift at Costco in Lehi Thursday November 17, 2016. ‘You have to really swallow your pride’: Utah teachers describe working multiple jobs
    Lehi • Thanksgiving is an all-too-rare day off for Orem resident David Cichoski. He teaches third grade at Freedom Elementary School in Highland and ...
    Updated Nov 28 2016 03:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Utah Rep. Rich Cunningham is accusing Athlos Academy of Utah of violating Utah law, which requires public schools to open a bid process before sending taxpayer dollars to building costs. Athlos’ private parent company built the school’s Herriman location, which Athlos now leases. Utah lawmaker accuses charter school of skirting procurement law
    An outgoing Utah lawmaker is crying foul about the creation of a new charter school in Herriman. South Jordan Republican Rep. Rich Cunningham said Fr...
    Updated Dec 03 2016 08:27 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah high school graduation rate increases to 85 percent
    Utah’s public high schools continued to improve graduation rates in 2016, lifting the statewide rate 1 percentage point to 85 percent. The latest inc...
    Updated Nov 22 2016 11:13 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Pat Vaughn teaches her Advanced Human Resources course at Stevens-Henager College in Murray where most of her students will go into IT. The college which does international outreach to countries like China and India offers in part masters of business administration and information systems. Education under Trump: Some Utahns hoping for less oversight, more state control
    President-elect Donald Trump’s candidacy was most known for hard-line stances on immigration, trade and divisive rhetoric on race, religion and gender...
    Updated Nov 22 2016 08:49 am   |     |   Share

  • UVU library named for school benefactors Ira and Mary Fulton
    Utah Valley University announced Friday the renaming of its library in honor of two longtime campus benefactors. The building was designated the Ira ...
    Updated Nov 18 2016 08:03 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)     BYU student Jerron Orton with the Memorial Wall behind him on the east side of the student center on the campus of BYU in Provo Wednesday November 16, 2016. Orton is critical of BYU student leaders position in considering relocating the Memorial Wall to create a meditation space. BYU student government mulling relocation of memorial to fallen soldiers
    Student leaders at Brigham Young University are facing backlash over a proposal to relocate a tribute to those from BYU who have died in war. Memorial...
    Updated Nov 17 2016 01:04 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    GOv. Gary Herbert answers questions from the media, after a press conference, at the Utah State Capitol, Thursday, November 10, 2016. Harassment of students after election prompts statement from Utah’s guv, school superintendent
    Utah’s governor and top education leader have received numerous reports of “harassment and bullying in our schools” since Election Day, according to a...
    Updated Nov 14 2016 04:45 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Christi Paulson gets her second grade class ready for recess at Riley Elementary School Wednesday November 9, 2016. Diversity and poverty ratios unchanged in Utah public schools
    Minority enrollment in Utah’s public schools increased by more than 5,000 students in 2016, according to demographic data released Thursday by the Uta...
    Updated Nov 10 2016 11:13 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Sticks placed in cups reflecting the mood of students in Christi Paulson’s second grade class at Riley Elementary School Wednesday November 9, 2016. Utah schools seeing fear, frustration and absent students after Election Day
    Before she left for work on Wednesday, Riley Elementary School teacher Christi Paulson said she had a bad feeling about how her students would be resp...
    Updated Nov 11 2016 05:00 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Salt Lake City School Board member Michael Clara poses for a portrait in his home in Salt Lake City Tuesday August 13, 2013. Combative SLC school board member possibly unseated
    The Salt Lake City Board of Education could be saying goodbye to one of its most vocal and divisive members. Preliminary results from Tuesday’s electi...
    Updated Nov 09 2016 07:47 pm   |     |   Share

  • Voters approve amendment to send more state land money to Utah schools
    Utah’s public schools will receive a bump in land trust funding after voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday night, early elections result...
    Updated Nov 08 2016 11:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah voters complete purge of state school board incumbents, early results show
    State school board incumbents faced an unfriendly electorate in 2016, with preliminary election results showing challengers succeeding in three races....
    Updated Nov 09 2016 11:37 am   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  | Tribune file photo)   In this 2013 photo, students play during recess at Butterfield Canyon Elementary in Herriman, which had 14 portable classrooms. Jordan School District voters that year rejected a $495 million bond that would have eased overcrowding, and the district is now trying again with a slimmer request. Early results show voters approving Jordan, Alpine school bonds
    Voters in Salt Lake County and Utah County approved $630 million in school bonds on Tuesday for the Jordan and Alpine School Districts, according to p...
    Updated Nov 08 2016 11:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Second graders at Wasatch Peak Academy, a charter school in North Salt Lake, play a clapping-attention excercise to help them listen and concentrate. Utah charter school growth slowing down in latest enrollment data
    Is enrollment at Utah’s charter schools nearing a saturation point? The alternative public schools welcomed roughly 4,000 additional students in 2016...
    Updated Nov 08 2016 11:56 am   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)     Kearns High School junior Tyler Turnbow, left, talks with Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox as he is announced as the winner of the Utah College Application Week logo contest at the high school n Kearns Monday November 7, 2016. Utah’s lieutenant governor tells high school seniors to prove stats wrong, apply for college
    Kearns • Growing up in the rural Sanpete County town of Fairview, Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox said Monday, it wasn’t common to enroll in college aft...
    Updated Nov 07 2016 09:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Brianna Cluck, center, speaks during an Understanding Same-Gender Attraction meeting at Provo City Library Thursday October 20, 2016. LGBT at Mormon universities tell of isolation — often from the people teaching them
    Brigham Young University-Idaho is a great school, Grant Hopkins said, albeit one with an “unfortunate” culture. The academic quality is high and the ...
    Updated Nov 06 2016 09:50 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Members of the football team practice at Skyridge High School in August. Utah school board loosens athlete transfer rules
    High school athletes at the sub-varsity level could switch teams at will, with varsity athletes able to transfer only in defined circumstances, under ...
    Updated Nov 04 2016 09:57 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Dillon Lawler, a sophomore at the University of Utah moves his belongings into the new Donna Garff Marriott Residential Scholars Hall dedicated specifically for Honors students. The new hall, housing 309 students and resident advisors in apartment-style units began to fill up for the first time during moving day on Thursday, August 16, 2012. Utah State University dorms open doors to opposite-gender sleepovers
    Campus residents at Utah State University can now invite their guests to stay overnight, after a recent policy update removed restrictions on opposite...
    Updated Nov 03 2016 10:58 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  Tribune file photo)   Westminster president Stephen Morgan receives a standing ovation during his inauguration at Richer Commons in 2015. Westminster to sell Garfield School to Elizabeth Academy
    The Garfield School is changing hands again, with Westminster College announcing the sale of the property on Wednesday to Elizabeth Academy, a private...
    Updated Nov 02 2016 08:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Roy High School football team takes the field. The Royals defeated Fremont High School 27-20 during their Region 1 game, Friday, September 16, 2016 in Roy. State school board considering new challenge to athlete transfer rule
    Members of the Utah Board of Education are preparing for a rematch with the state’s governing body over high school athletics. Public agendas for the ...
    Updated Nov 01 2016 10:56 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     A procession of Rotary members crosses 300 West on their way to the Utah Rotary Club’s and Rotary Youth Program’s conference on refugee services at West High School on Saturday. Utah Rotary chapter celebrates state’s refugee community
    Members of the Utah chapter of Rotary International honored the state’s refugee and immigrant community on Saturday. The event, at Salt Lake City’s We...
    Updated Oct 29 2016 10:09 pm   |     |   Share

  • Elder D. Todd Christofferson ï LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Mormon apostle violates church policy by donating to Utah school board candidate, acknowledges ‘oversight’
    A high-ranking LDS Church leader has run afoul of his faith’s policies on political neutrality by contributing to a candidate for state school board. ...
    Updated Oct 27 2016 10:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah Technology Council flips its support in two school board races
    In a campaign season of endorsements, unendorsements and re-endorsements, a Utah business association is experiencing its own political reconsideratio...
    Updated Oct 27 2016 10:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Eleventh graders make glass slides and count Paramecium through microscopes, part of a national science competition in biology class Wednesday October 26 at Salt Lake Center for Science Education.  New test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show Utah students leading the nation in science. Utah students lead the nation in science scores, Nation’s Report Card shows
    Science education in Utah, according to Matt Smith, has come a long way in the past 20 years. Where schools once relied on memorization, they now emph...
    Updated Oct 27 2016 08:20 am   |     |   Share