Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.
University of Utah Partnership
The Board of Education told the Administration to begin work on a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Utah that would allow Alta High to launch an early-college high school program in 2017. If realized, it would be the first partnership of its kind between the U. and a Utah public school district. Students chosen through a competitive application process would start taking classes from Utah professors at the U.’s Sandy Campus the summer before their senior years. Then, in the summer months after high school graduation, students in the co-hort would take enough general-education coursework to complete another semester. By participating, 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.
Middle School Schedule
School Performance Director Mike Sirois updated the Board on the middle school schedule. When Canyons transitioned to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school format, CSD received a variance from the Utah State Office of Education to offer a CTE college- and careers-focused class every other day instead of every day. Now that the variance has expired, CSD administrators are brainstorming new schedule options that would accommodate all required courses and popular programs, such as dual-language-immersion, while also providing time for a spate of electives. Board member Clareen Arnold suggested expanding from a six- to seven-period day. Sirois said administrators and principals would look at all such options while developing a new schedule. The Board gave approval for administrators to study the issue.
Hillcrest Feeder Proposal
The Board of Education heard a proposal that would provide a concentrated and aligned effort to strengthen the schools in the Hillcrest High feeder system. Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt said the aim of the $461,000 proposed initiative is to provide a systematic method for tracking and transitioning Midvale-area students from one school to the next. The issue is highlighted by data showing that 33 percent of Hillcrest students are not on track to graduate, and 45 percent of Midvale students entering Hillcrest in 2016-2017 are below grade level in reading and mathematics. Systemically, the District faces myriad challenges in all levels of education in Midvale, where three of CSD’s four Title schools are located. At Midvale, East Midvale and Copperview elementary schools and Midvale Middle, principals struggle with high teacher-turnover rates and low numbers of veteran teachers willing to stay in schools that must handle social and academic issues simultaneously. The schools also report low parent engagement, chronic absenteeism and high numbers of students who transfer schools several times throughout the year. To the end of addressing these challenges, the administration is asking the Board to approve funding for an additional administrative intern at Hillcrest High, one additional Achievement Coach at each Midvale elementary school and Midvale Middle, and funding for an intensive summer school program for Hillcrest’s incoming ninth-grade students. The Board advanced the proposal for a second reading, per protocol.
PTA Vote at Silver Mesa Elementary
The Board unanimously ratified the parent vote recognizing the PTA as the official parent organization of Silver Mesa Elementary. The ballots were tallied by Canyons Superintendent Jim Briscoe and his staff on Friday, Jan. 22, in the presence of representatives from the petitioning Parent Teacher Organization and the Silver Mesa PTA. The school’s recognized parent group, the Silver Mesa PTA, won the election by a vote count of 232 to 105. The Canyons Board of Education earlier this year established a policy to allow communities to have a role in deciding which parent support group should represent their school. All schools in Canyons have PTA/PTSA as the recognized parent-support group.
Sale of Property
The Board voted to approve the sale of the former Valley High at 10000 S. State Street for $4.7 million. The 5.62 acres will be sold to Wadsworth Development Group.
High School Graduation Speaking Assignments
Assignments were made to attend and speak at specific graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2016. The five traditional Canyons high schools will hold commencement exercises on Thursday, June 2, 2016.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from the Jan. 19, 2016 Board meeting; student overnight travel; hire and termination reports; approval of School Resource Agreement with Sandy City; approval of specialist and CTE coordinator salary schedules; and the approval of an administrative appointment. The Board also approved the Memorandum of Understanding for JEEC membership.
Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Week
School Performance Director Alice Peck and Information Technology Director Scot McCombs updated the Board on the efforts to comply with HB213. The bill requires School Community Councils to engage in discussions about how technology is used in classrooms and the efforts of school administrators to safeguard youth from inappropriate and harmful online content. The Board of Education also adopted a resolution supporting Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Week, Feb. 1-5, 2016.
Tiffany Kasteler, a parent at Butler Middle, expressed a concern that student learning is measured only by assessments. She said students aren’t being taught responsibility when they aren’t required to turn in homework assignments for credit.
Steve VanMaren encouraged the Board to minimize school activities on March 22 for political caucuses.
Region 17 PTA President Betty Shaw expressed appreciation for the Board’s willingness to address difficult issues, especially the District’s new parent-organization policy. She said the Board showed great leadership in creating a fair and balanced policy.
Candace Johnson, Silver Mesa PTA President-elect, thanked the Board for the parent-organization that was in place before the vote to continue having PTA as the parent organization.
Board and Administration Comments
Superintendent Jim Briscoe said it was a pleasure to attend the opening of the 2016 Utah Legislature. Utah Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, asked the Board to attend and be recognized for having a positive relationship with lawmakers. He also was proud to represent CSD at the Tuesday, Feb. 2 public announcement of a new diesel technician-training initiative. Dr. Briscoe was on a list of speakers that included Gov. Gary Herbert. He also congratulated CTE Director Janet Goble and her staff on the Job Shadow Day held throughout CSD on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board of the Alta View Elementary reconstruction. He also thanked Canyons teachers for their hard work and dedication as they meet with parents to discuss student achievement levels.
Chad Iverson congratulated Mary Bailey for being named the Utah High School Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Administrators. He also thanked the Administration for bringing the Hillcrest feeder proposal to the Board for study and consideration.
Board 1st Vice President Steve Wrigley thanked Alta High for extending an invitation to attend the Saturday, Jan. 30 presentation by Elizabeth Fenn, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History. Fenn’s presentation was part of a series of lectures in the Social Studies Colloquium created by Alta’s administration and history teacher Rique Ochoa. Wrigley also congratulated administrators and teachers at the Canyons Technical Education Center for holding a successful Open House on Jan. 28.
Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey spoke about the Board’s appearance at Speaker Hughes’ opening-day remarks at the Utah Legislature. She said Utah lawmakers are important partners in delivering high-quality education to the state’s schoolchildren. She also appreciates the legislature’s respect of local governance of neighborhood schools. She also commended the students, teachers and parents who helped produce Albion Middle’s production of “Oklahoma,” which she attended. She also appreciates the Administration’s Internet safety and digital citizenship initiatives.
Amber Shill thanked Alta High Principal Brian McGill and Assistant Superintendent Bob Dowdle for working with the U. on the “StepUp2theU” early-college program proposal. A Board member of the Utah High School Activities Association, Shill invited patrons to a public hearing on a proposed realignment. The meeting is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 at the UHSAA offices, 199 E. 7200 South. The public also can give input online at http://uhsaa.org/machform/view.php?id=14359.
Robert Green thanked the Administration for the Hillcrest feeder proposal. He also said the Speaker’s recognition of the Board at the outset of the 2016 was a wonderful experience. Green believes the District is advancing in the right direction.
Sherril Taylor expressed appreciation for Canyons’ teachers and Education Support Professionals who put in so much time and effort on behalf of the District’s children. Taylor especially thanked those who work with children whose families are homeless or struggling financially.