Parents and Pastries at Oquirrh Hills Elementary!

amy_worthingtonby Amy Worthington
Volunteer Events and Training Coordinator

On the third Friday of every month, students at Oquirrh Hills Elementary set their alarms and wake up early to participate in the school’s Parents and Pastries literacy event. Parents and Pastries is a monthly activity intended to encourage students and parents to read together. Students are invited to bring their parents before school to read a book together, and once they’ve completed their book, everyone is rewarded with a delicious donut!

Often times, due to schedule restrictions, many students’ parents are unable to join them. We’ve been fortunate to have dedicated volunteers from inContact who have made time to join students and sit in the hallways to read. We are grateful for the employees of inContact and their continued commitment and support of the students at Oquirrh Hills! Thank you for LIVING UNITED!

image 01

If you or someone you know is interested in getting more involved in literacy improvement efforts in our community, we are always looking for book donations (lightly used books for children ranging in ages of 2 to 18). For those looking to become an ongoing reading volunteer, visit our website for more information on the Read. Graduate. Succeed. program or contact our Volunteer Center at!

We Love Data at UWSL!

mollie_murphy_daleby Mollie Murphy Dale
Continuous Improvement Manager, Training and Decision Support

We love data at UWSL! Through incredible relationships with Granite School District, Davis School District, Park City School District, and dozens of community partners we can access, analyze, and then use aggregate-level data to inform and drive the work of partners in our six Promise Partnerships.

Data helps us target individuals for the specific programs and other resources that they need, develop individualized plans and instruction, and predict who is high-risk, so that we can intervene early. Data helps students and families understand where they are educationally, set goals for improvement, and meet them.

One of the tenets of Collective Impact is to develop a shared measurement system. Collecting data and measuring results on indicators at the community-level and across our partners is how we ensure that Promise Partnership work is aligned, and is moving towards our target goals (like every child entering kindergarten ready to learn, or every third grader reading on grade level). We move toward our goals by collecting and assessing data across our partnerships in a cloud-based data management system called ClientTrack. A data team at UWSL works with our partners to build data tracking systems that align with community level objectives, then trains and supports partners as they collect data on the programs in our partnerships that they run. As one can imagine, this is complex work– and we cannot do it alone!

In June 2013, we formed a Data Governance Committee of a cross-section of the partners we work with. Current committee members represent diverse educational strategies and each of the six Promise Partnerships. These advisors come from Big Brothers Big Sisters, City of South Salt Lake, Davis Community Learning Center, English Skills Learning Center, Granite School District, Holy Cross Ministries, Junior Achievement, Salt Lake County Youth Services and the United Way of Salt Lake. Data Governance Committee members are crucial advisors in developing our vision around data, laying the foundation on how we collect and use data, and developing policies and practices that drive data use that result in positive change for kids and communities!

Past and current projects this committee has worked on include:

  • Case study review to understand how data is used to drive results in other communities around the nation
  • Provide input on our Data Sharing and Privacy Agreement, which provides the framework for protecting student privacy and keeping data safe
  • Contribute to policies and procedures around Data Breeches and Accountability
  • Identify content for an online partner website, a tool for UWSL partners
  • Inform a report summary key and report key that will help data end-users select and use appropriate reports
  • Advise the design and content for various data “dashboards” that give the end-user a quick glance at data that is relevant to their strategy
  • Revise data-related content for UWSL’s 2014-2015 contract period

The Data Governance Committee meets on a regular basis and works on projects in between meeting times. UWSL would like to give a huge shout out to our 10 members who’ve dedicated the next six months to this important work – THANK YOU for LIVING UNITED!


For more information on the Data Governance Committee please contact Mollie at

Increasing Parent Engagement in South Salt Lake!

ellis-chrisby Chris Ellis
Community Collaborations Director

Increasing parent engagement is a key contributor to academic success for all students, and a goal of many of our Community Schools. Schools in South Salt Lake, along with numerous dedicated partners, have been committed to determining how to increase parent engagement. Recently in South Salt Lake, a group of Community Schools, parents, and various partner organizations, formed the South Salt Lake Parent Engagement Committee, and have been engaged in regular conversations regarding this issue and how it impacts academic outcomes of students in the community.

The goal of this committee is to work together applying Collective Impact principles to develop a definition for parent engagement, identify priorities, and ultimately utilizing existing strategies (or develop new ones) to improve this measure.  At the first meeting, group members collaboratively defined parent engagement in South Salt Lake as:

“Empowering parents, supporting schools, and integrating community to improve academic outcomes, high school graduation, and post-secondary attainment for all students within South Salt Lake Community Schools.”

This definition determined a specific direction to identify and consider existing resources. After defining “parent engagement,” the Committee prioritized Joyce Epstein’s Six Types of Parent Engagement. These types were prioritized based on the needs of the community of South Salt Lake and they chose to focus on addressing the following types of parental involvement: Communicating, Learning at Home, and Collaborating with the Community.

The Salt Lake Parent Engagement Committee has made tremendous progress in a short amount of time to address parent engagement in South Salt Lake, and we are excited to see their work continue to identify strategies that can increase this measure. Parent engagement can look different from community to community and household to household – but there is no doubt that parent engagement is critically important to the success of students and schools. Particularly in South Salt Lake, where there is a rich diversity of families, parent engagement is key to sharing that richness cross-culturally for the benefit of the entire community. Committee members will continue to support this measure in South Salt Lake and give families the resources and tools necessary to engage in each students’ education.


Questar’s Giant Check!

timby Tim Harrison
Community Investment Advisor

On January 27, Questar employees stopped by our offices personally to deliver a giant check—both in size and amount—for its 2013-2014 employee workplace giving campaign.

Chairman, President, and CEO Ron Jibson, and UWSL board member Craig Wagstaff, Executive Vice President and COO, presented the check to us with smiles. They also brought along two of my favorite campaign coordinators: Gary Stidham and Shelley Shelley.  Deborah Bayle and Rebecca Dutson were happy to accept on behalf of our staff and our community!

That figure represents an immeasurable amount of hard work and generosity on from everyone at Questar. Many, many thanks to everyone there for all they do for our community and for LIVING UNITED! 


UWSL’s Collective Impact Department is Serious About their NY’s Resolutions!

linda_2010by Linda Turkington
Collective Impact Administrator

Most people make New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year: exercise 5 times a week, lose 5 pounds, eat more fruits and vegetables, etc. Here in the Collective Impact Department at United Way of Salt Lake, we also set goals for 2014. But unlike New Year’s resolutions, we are actually going to meet our goals! Why? Each of us, like the rest of the staff at United Way of Salt Lake, is committed to changing the odds for kids and families in the neighborhoods where we work.

Here are some of our department goals:

mollie_murphy_daleMollie Murphy Dale, Continuous Improvement Manager, Training & Decision Support

My co-worker, Korey, and I both have a goal to have everyone up and running in ClientTrack, and using the system robustly, before the start of the school year. Client Track is the data system we use to track outcomes to make sure that kids are on track.

Andrea CoxAndrea Cox, Community Collaborations Director, South Salt Lake

My goal is to ensure Mentor 2.0 starts on time next fall as school begins at Cottonwood High School. Mentor 2.0 is an innovative new strategy providing mentors to approximately 75 students per year at Cottonwood High School, for the next four years. These mentors interact with students through email and group activities are all geared towards academic achievement, high school graduation, and college enrollment.

rokich-stephanieStephanie Rokich, Community Collaborations Director, Kearns and West Valley

My goal is to help onboard two new schools that are joining Promise Kearns while continuing to support the schools that we already work with in Promise Kearns and Promise West Valley. This work is exciting as we continue to build out the pipeline in Kearns with the addition of Kearns High School and an elementary school.

beckyBecky Eisinger Land, Roosevelt Elementary Community School Coordinator

My goal is to focus on setting long-term goals that I can achieve at Roosevelt Elementary. I want to build more relationships with teachers so that I can better understand how to achieve more in my role, with the help of everyone at the school.

craigCraig Foster, South Salt Lake Volunteer Coordinator

My goal is to create a training system with all the necessary information and helpful tips and tricks for any new neighborhood volunteer staff. This will help us move our volunteer work forward because we are so busy with events, that having great volunteer staff trained from day one will help us do our work!

Here is to 2014 being the best year yet for our Promise Neighborhood work!