2020–2021 McKay School Theme

“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”
—Moses 7:18


Message From the Dean's Office

With graduation this month, this year seems like a time warp. Tina Taylor encourages participation in our virtual graduation as well as other opportunities in this month's message from the dean's office.

Faculty Accomplishments

Our faculty works hard to publish and present their work, and they often receive awards for doing so. Check out some of the hard work that's been done recently, and don't forget to send us information on your own publications, presentations, and awards. We love to share your research with everybody!


New Chair For McKay School Students

The McKay School has recently been blessed by several donations and endowments for students. Among these is a donation by longtime BYU supporter and donor Ira R. Fulton, who recently gifted six more endowed chairs to BYU, one of which is the Mary Lou Fulton Chair in the McKay School. The Fultons have funded endowed chairs in the past, but this most recent endowment completes their set of ten chairs across ten different colleges, thus providing ongoing resources for student-assisted research and other student-focused learning activities.

Professor Heads Utah ACLU Board

Roni Jo Draper, PhD, teaches courses in multicultural education, content-area literacy, and research methodology in the Department of Teacher Education at the McKay School. She is using her experience and her expertise in her service as president of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Utah Affiliate.

The ACLU works to achieve its goals through educational and lobbying efforts as well as litigation. Draper supports these goals for reasons that, in part, have personal roots at the heart of her family.

“My parents’ marriage wasn’t recognized as legal throughout the entire United States,” she explains. Draper’s parents were an interracial couple; her father is a member of the Yurok tribe and her mother was White. In 1967, the ACLU represented Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple, who were arrested in Virginia after marrying in Washington, D.C. In Loving v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court struck down state laws that prohibited interracial marriage. This legalized the marriage of Draper’s parents.

As a professor at the McKay School and as president of the ACLU Utah Affiliate, Draper is able to advocate for students and teachers experiencing discrimination. She is working to make a lasting difference for people of color and other marginalized groups. As she puts it, Draper is doing her part in “fighting for the underdog.”


In The News

BYU McKay School Children's Art Gallery, courtesy of the BYU ARTS Partnership, is currently on display on the second floor of the McKay building. The display highlights work from students at Eastlake Elementary School in Jordan School District and reminds audiences of the importance of the arts in learning.

An IES grant that Doug Petersen worked on has recently been highlighted in news outlets across the country. The grant has provided room for an intervention program called "Bridge of Stories" to help children build their skills in English as well as their home language.

The McKay School's Brenda Beyal and Heather Sundahl write about three women who ensured that the truth is being told about the Bear River Massacre in 1863. Mae Timbimboo Perry, Patty Timbimboo-Madsen, and Alexis Beckstead worked to accurately portray history on behalf of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. They have worked with the Native American Curriculum Initiative to write accurate lesson plans about the massacre.


Barry Graff recently directed the Instructional Leadership Conference, which had over 3,000 registrants and ended on March 26. It is available online for viewing until April 3. You can learn from keynote speakers Douglas Fisher, Anthony Muhammad, and Gerry Brooks. You can also enjoy breakout sessions from many other phenomenal educators.

The Utah Division of Arts and Museums has awarded a third consecutive partnership grant to the BYU ARTS Partnership for the Native American Curriculum Initiative, signifying their ongoing support of the goals, practices and outcomes of this long-term project. Brenda Beyal, a member of the Navajo Nation and retired educator from Nebo School District, is the program coordinator. She leads the collaboration with leaders from each of the eight Utah sovereign nations by starting with a question: What would you like the children of Utah to know about your tribe?

Resulting lesson plans, bearing the tribal seal of approval, can be found on the McKay School website. Many additional resources are under development. We invite any BYU faculty members interested in this topic to contact Cally_flox@byu.edu for more information.

The latest episode of the podcast "Seek Learning" features Terry Young (TEd) who focuses on the need for classroom expository literature that provides students with the opportunity to appreciate the wonders of the world. You can find his episode—and other episodes—on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.





Graduation is coming up and that means that many of our student employees will be graduating. In lieu of an employee spotlight this month, the McKay School PR Team would like to spotlight our members who are graduating and thank them for their hard work!

Take A Break

With semester's end approaching, we all have a lot going on. We scoured the internet for surprising facts to give you the five-minute break you need. Enjoy these fun facts!


April 6 | Devotional: Ryan Gabriel, Assistant Professor of Sociology
April 13 | Unforum
April 14 | Last Day of Winter Semester
April 15 | Exam Preparation Day, No Classes
April 16-21 | Finals
April 22-23 | Graduation
April 27 | Spring Term Begins
See the Full Calendar