University of Utah Partnership
The Board of Education heard a partnership proposal that would give Alta High students a jump-start on college. If the first-of-its-kind plan is realized as currently configured, a group of Alta-enrolled students would soon be granted the chance to study with University of Utah professors at the U.’s Sandy Campus. The alliance would be the U.’s second academic, early-college partnership with a secondary school. However, it would be the tier-one, PAC 12 research institution’s first official collaboration traditional, comprehensive high school. The proposed program, called Step2theU, would allow juniors to apply during the fall of their junior year for a summer-block program. Coursework would begin between the students’ junior and senior years, and provide an opportunity for students to finish one semester of college. Then, in the summer months after high school graduation and before the start of their freshman years, the students would take enough general-education coursework to complete another semester. In essence, by the time the Alta students reach their first day of school at the U., they would have two complete semesters under their belts and qualify for a General Education Certificate. By participating, Alta Principal Brian McGill told the Board, Alta students could expect to save $8,000 to $10,000 in tuition, fees, books and other associated college costs. The proposal calls for a pilot co-hort of 30-35 students. The target audience of students would include current Alta students who have solid grade-point averages and ACT and SAGE scores, as well as involvement in AP and concurrent enrollment. However, the students also will be required to be involved at the school, demonstrate leadership and personal engagement with the community, and declare a preference in continuing their studies at the University of Utah. In addition, McGill said, the program would be heavily marketed to first-generation, minority, and low-income students. Cost to the District is $70,000, which would pay for faculty salaries, marketing materials, and time for curriculum mapping and vertical teaming between Alta faculty and the U. professors. The Board decided to entertain the proposal as an action item at a future business meeting.
Semi-Monthly Payroll Update
The Board was apprised of the pending plan to begin paying Canyons employees on a semi-monthly basis. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the board the new twice-a-month payroll schedule was approved last year during contract negotiations with the employee associations. A communication plan is being created to inform employees that they will be paid on the 15th and last day of month, starting in July 2016. Anticipated exceptions: If a payday falls on a weekend or a holiday then the pay date will be on the previous working day. Teachers and ESP who don’t work in the summer months will begin the new payday schedule when they return in the fall. On each paycheck, which is anticipated to be equal from pay date to pay date, an equal amount will be taken out of checks to cover taxes, 401K, 403B, 457 and insurance costs. According to the proposal, various non-contract payments, such as coaching stipends, evening Professional Development allocations, and transportation to athletic events, etc., will be paid on the last day of the month. Another benefit: New hourly employees will sooner receive payment for services rendered. Currently, if an hourly employee starts Jan. 1, they would not be paid until Feb, 25. Under the new payroll structure, the employees would be paid in the second pay-period in January. While employees may be receiving payments earlier, the District also wants to make sure employees are aware they may have to change their automatic bill pay schedules. Professional Development also has been planned for school administrative assistants who will be responsible for providing the salary information to payroll. The Board indicated a willingness to change Board policy to move toward a twice-monthly payroll schedule.
Board Recognizes Student, District, Employee Excellence
The Board recognized the following for their achievements:
- The Canyons District community for earning a spot on the sixth-annual Advanced Placement Honor Roll.
- Alta High students Kiara Vargas, Gabriela Puerto and David Duran for being selected to receive Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Leadership Awards from the University of Utah.
- Hillcrest piano phenom Junhao Wang, who won the regional MTNA Southwest Division Competition at Tempe, Ariz. He now qualifies for the national competition.
- Mount Jordan Middle teacher Kristi Kimble, who is one of 25 teachers chosen from across the country to participate in the first-ever Northrup Grumman Foundation Teachers Academy.
- Corner Canyon High Principal Mary Bailey, who was named Utah High School Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals.
- Jennifer Toomer-Cook, an Award of Appreciation, given by the Canyons Board of Education.
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe asked the Board to start mulling ideas for a policy that schools on moratorium status could follow to determine whether enrolled students meet the residency requirements to attend the school. Board President Sherril Taylor directed the administration to move forward in crafting a policy for the Board’s consideration.
Government Relations Director Charlie Evans updated the Board of Education on proposed legislation set to be considered during the 2016 General Session of the Utah Legislature, which begins on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. Board members asked about specific bills that could affect the District’s funding, among other topics.
The Board heard a presentation on how Canyons’ Department of Student Advocacy and Access works to help the District’s at-risk students. CSD remains committed to increasing the achievement levels of students who are poor, struggle with emotional or mental health issues, or come to our schools with limited English skills. The aim is to identify the students (and their families) who need assistance and provide it as soon as we can, said Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling. It can be a challenge, she said, when the number of students considered living in poverty has gone from 7,516 in CSD’s first year to the current number of 9,374. Coordinator Analis Cattarini Ruiz also said the District is working hard to close the opportunity and achievement gaps between English Language Learners and their English-speaking peers. Canyons’ academic framework was built with standards and instructional protocols, as well as goal-setting, to help guide ELL students as they progress through grades and subject areas. The good news is that since 2012, when Canyons adopted a Community Collaboration Model for School Improvement, which connects Title I communities with social and educational programs, our Title I schools have either improved or maintained school-grade scores. Sterling also noted that the Title I schools are seeing lower rates of student absenteeism and higher marks from teachers who are surveyed on whether the District is providing a network of support to struggling students. The District’s educational efforts, including providing language and computer classes to parents, have resulted in success, Sterling said. CSD has worked hard to achieve 444 ESL endorsements since 2009; the receipt of $60,000 in scholarships by Latinos in Action students, and alignment work with Instructional Supports and Special Education. Remaining challenges include developing technology solutions for registration and tracking student progress; providing additional supports to schools based on their needs; and establishing cultural responsiveness as a norm in our schools.
The Board unanimously approved two appeals from parents to the open enrollment permit moratorium. The vote allows the students to continue attending the students’ current school for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year.
No patrons signed up to address the Board of Education.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from the Dec. 15, 2015 Board meeting; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; hire and termination reports; December Financial Statements.
Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked the Board and Administration for attending the Utah School Board’s Association yearly conference, which he described as an excellent event for learning and networking. He congratulated Corner Canyon Principal Mary Bailey for being named the Utah High School Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals. He also noted the hard work and dedication of all other principals in Canyons District. Dr. Briscoe expressed appreciation to Jennifer Toomer-Cook for her service to the CSD community.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the board that security vestibules have been installed at Crescent, East Sandy, Quail Hollow, Bell View, Bella Vista, Canyon View, Edgemont and Willow Canyon elementary schools. Plans are being reviewed for security doors at Midalley, Ridgecrest, Peruvian Park, Lone Peak, Altara, and Sprucewood elementaries. The aim is to finish all those projects by fall. Jordan Valley, Albion, Eastmont and Union also are being considered for the security doors. Two meetings have been held to discuss the Indian Hills Middle rebuild, which would be the 13th project completed with proceeds from the $250 million voter-approved bond.
Board member Clareen Arnold enjoyed the sessions she attended at the Utah School Board Association conference. She was pleased to see that Canyons is already moving forward with ideas and protocols that were presented at the conference.
Board Vice President Steve Wrigley reported on his attendance at breakfasts with legislators. He said it’s an honor to live in a District where residents are well-represented by legislators who are committed to education. He also appreciates the attention given to Canyons by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who attended the District’s legislative breakfast. He also thanked those who attended USBA and congratulated Hillcrest students who earned International Baccalaureate honors.
Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey also congratulated the 120 Hillcrest students who received IB diplomas and certificates. The rewards of the achievements, she said, are intensely individual. She also congratulated the District on being named to the AP District Honor Roll and urged everyone to strive for another appearance on the list. She thanked her fellow Board members for their kind words about the conference hosted by USBA, of which she’s a Board member. She also thanked local legislators for coming to the District’s breakfast, and saluted Corner Canyon Principal Mary Bailey and former Communications Director Jennifer Toomer-Cook for their contributions to the District.
Board member Amber Shill congratulated students who earned IB diplomas and certificates, and the students across the District who pursued excellence in AP classes. The results, which showed Brighton High at an 82 percent pass rate, were gratifying, considering she remembered sitting with other parents and brainstorming ways to encourage students to enroll in AP classes at Brighton. She appreciates the students, teachers and administrators who made it possible for the District to be on the Honor Roll. She encouraged her fellow Board members to use the Board Evaluation Tool and work toward the Master Board Award through USBA.
Board member Robert Green was impressed at how focused Utah Rep. Bruce Cutler and Sen. Brian Shiozawa are on education. He recently attended a constituent meeting with the two legislators. He urged everyone to make New Year’s Resolutions to become better in the coming year.
Board President Sherril Taylor thanked Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt for bringing students to Board meeting to do the flag ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance. He also expressed appreciation for the Sandy Police Officers who regularly attend our meetings. The fatal shooting of an officer this week, he said, reminds us of all the good work they do to keep our communities safe. He also expressed appreciation for Toomer-Cook. He said she has always done good work with a cheery disposition.