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As Utah students struggle, businesses enter the classroom

By Deanie Wimmer | Posted - Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:26pm

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MORGAN — A business in Morgan has become one of the first to join a statewide movement to get involved in Utah schools.

Employees of Holcim Cement gather at Morgan Elementary twice a week to be Read Today tutors, an unlikely group to be sitting at the desks of little kids.

"When we are working with these kids, big smiles on our faces, it's a really nice break out of the day," said plant manager Keith Krugh. "It does I think as much good for us as for them."

It's not just corporate responsibility that drew Holcim Cement to be Read Today tutors, though. Twice a week, they send employees to the school knowing they're making a difference in their own neighborhood.

"To have professionals come in and make a connection with the kids benefits the reading, and the comprehension is amazing," said Tim Wolff, principal of Morgan Elementary. "The benefits and connection to the community are great, too."

The Holcim employees have become a model for what groups like Read Today and Prosperity 2020 hope will become a grassroots effort, with businesses helping schools.

"It's a wonderful example of a partnership between private industry, government and, you know, the school, KSL — just being partners together, making something wonderful happen," said Ben Johnson, CFO of United Way of Northern Utah.

Utah ranks 29th among states in public education spending per $1,000 of personal income, and spends less per pupil than any other state.

Although eighth-grade students in the state score above the national average on standardized math and reading tests, they score last among states with similar incomes, parents' educations and ethnic diversity.

Contributing: Stephanie Grimes


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