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Board Meeting Summary Dec. 1, 2015

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs and by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Administrators Recommend Maintaining Middle Years Programme

CSD School Performance Director Mike Sirois and Midvale Middle Principal Wendy Dau recommended that the Board reauthorize the school’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. While other programs and approaches to improve academic performance have been explored over the course of several months, they believe that continuing to implement MYP with proper supports from the District is in the best interest of the students. The recommendation also has significant support from the faculty and community.

Principal Wendy Dau said the school’s MYP reauthorization is coming in 2017, and that the administration aims to ensure that MYP is accessible to all students and implemented with fidelity.  She said the MYP aligns with CSD’s college- and career-readiness mission, and stands to boost the number of students participating in the Hillcrest High School International Baccalaureate Program.

The recommendation came as part of a Study Session presentation about how the program addresses the academic and character education needs of the school. Sirois said the presentation marks the beginning of a longterm conversation about Midvale area schools. The District is taking a comprehensive look at school resources to determine how to better support academic advancement and prepare students for college and careers in the Midvale feeder system.

Secondary Academic Performance Trends Reported

Dr. Hal Sanderson, Director of Research and Assessment, reported on ACT, secondary school SAGE results and Advanced Placement test achievement trends in CSD.

CSD was among Utah’s first to administer the ACT to all 11th-graders to help them prepare for college and careers.  Even with full participation in the test, CSD’s ACT performance has outpaced the state and national average scores between 2012 and 2015. An upward trend was particularly pronounced in English test achievement, compared to declines in the state and national performance in that subject area.

CSD student participation in AP has risen by more than 40 percent since 2010. Nevertheless, CSD has maintained a 69 percent pass rate, which exceeds state and national pass rates. Students who pass AP exams are eligible for college credit, which results in college tuition savings.

CSD has worked to open up Honors Courses to middle school students who want to take them in hopes of eliminating barriers to more rigorous curriculum, said Jesse Hennefer, Administrator of Instructional Supports.

Nevertheless, achievement gaps persist among low-income students, Hispanics, English-language learners and students with disabilities.  

Board Member Robert Green expressed grave concern about the gaps, and said the Board should consider ways, including financial incentives and aggressive volunteer recruitment, to attract and retain high-quality teachers to Title I schools.

Annual Financial Report, Audit Presented

The Board received the annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015, as well as the external auditor’s report, prepared by Squire & Co., as required by state law.

The reports include information about federal, state and local funding; fund balances to ensure stability in times of recession or other catastrophic event; and funds set aside to ensure coverage of employee retirement benefits and to complete bond building projects of Butler Elementary, Alta View Elementary, Midvale Middle School, and the upcoming Indian Hills Middle School renovation.

The report noted funding increases due to state economic growth and increased per-student state funding, decreasing unemployment, and 5 percent increases in assessed valuation in 2013 and 2014. CSD’s 34,000-student population is expected to remain stable.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Nov. 17 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Hire and Termination Reports; Eastmont Middle Pedestrian Bridge Easements and Contribution; FY17 Small Capital Projects; FY15 Audit Reports; and the Purchase of K-5 Elementary Math Book. The Board also approved student overnight travel for the Alta Music Department and Boys Tennis and Brighton Model United Nations and Wrestling teams.

The Board approved revisions to the Resignation of Employees, Drug-Free Workplace, and Service Animals in Schools polices.

Patron Comments

Sheradee Bradfield, a teacher of 20 years at Midvale Middle, said MYP has changed students and given them hope to rise above the challenging environments they may face, and provides them with skills needed for college- and career-readiness. She said she saw improvements in its first year of implementation.

Bree Otto, Midvale MYP parent, said the MYP certificates event is unforgettable celebration of achievement needed in the school community. She hopes the program will continue for all students at Midvale Middle.

Stephanie Monroe, Midvale Middle teacher, said MYP brings students back into the school system, is mastery-based, and leads students to college and successful careers. She urged the Board to continue the program.

Debra Delliskave, Midvale Middle teacher, says the MYP program makes her a better teacher and improves instruction to make learning more relevant to students. She said the program benefits all students and gives them hope. She hoped the board would continue the program and encourage Midvale to collaborate with Hillcrest High.

Adamaris Gonzalez, Midvale Middle student, testified that MYP helps her to feel more knowledgeable and provides hands-on learning opportunities. She said she hopes MYP will give her a better future with more opportunities.

Rahul Ramkamar, alumnus of the MYP program and IB Diploma-earner, said MYP prepared him for the IB program and IB style of independent and critical thinking.

Ulises Fernandez, Midvale resident and Hillcrest parent, says MYP helps students experience success and hope. He said the community support benefits students who need it most.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe thanked Dr. Sanderson for the thorough report, and the Board taking the time to delve into the information and ask tough questions about student achievement. He commended Student Support Services Director Tamra Baker and the communications team for their work to respond to recent crises.

CFO’s Report

Wilcox thanked the Board for approving the Eastmont Middle School area easements to allow for a pedestrian bridge. He said proposed utility and mechanical system upgrades for Eastmont could be presented soon for Board approval.  He thanked the employee association negotiating teams for looking at the Education Support Professionals’ and teacher salary schedules, and appreciates the discussions he has had with them. He said he also appreciated Dr. Sanderson’s presentation.

Board Reports

Board Member Green visited Midvale Elementary and praised Principal Chip Watts for his leadership and the implementation of the United Way partnership. He said construction progress on Midvale Middle is exciting. He visited Midvale Middle in its temporary location and commended efforts to implement Positive Behavior Interventiosn and Supports on buses.

Board Member Amber Shill attended a Brighton feeder school luncheon meeting, and was pleased to have Hennefer attend as well. She participated in the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation board meeting, in which the board talked about ZAP tax funding. She also participated in the Utah High School Activities Association board meeting. She shared information about awards offered to athletes and coaches who have overcome adversity.

Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey attended musicals at Alta and Hillcrest high schools, and commended students on their outstanding performances. She thanked the parents, students and teachers who put in extra time to provide performing arts opportunities for students. She attended the BHS feeder school luncheon feeder school luncheon and appreciated the meaningful conversation. She attended the Army All-American invitation assembly for football player Simi Fehoko at Brighton High School, where Reno Mahe, former NFL player-turned-Bengals coach, was honored during the Super Bowl Honor Roll presentation. She said that Mahe told her that while a student at Brighton, he learned that he can do more. She said she hopes all students can say the same about CSD high schools.

Board Vice President Steve Wrigley said he appreciates the friendships and associations that he’s built with teachers, staff, board and administration over the past five years, and said that CSD has made amazing progress in many areas. He said appreciates being able to serve on the Board’s internal audit committee. He attended the TEDxYouth event at Mount Jordan Middle  and the Alta View Open House. He attended musicals at Jordan and Hillcrest high schools. He and Tingey held a town hall meeting the day after the last Board meeting.

Board Member Chad Iverson said he feels grateful for all the work that the Administration and staff and teachers do, and the associations built with them and fellow Board members.  He said appreciated the updates about MYP, the CAFR, and student achievement.

Board President Sherril Taylor thanked the Board members and Dr. Sanderson for their hard work, and team presenting the MYP update. He also thanked the patrons and students who addressed the Board about MYP this evening.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.