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Board Meeting Summary, March 1, 2016

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

Board OK's Logo, Colors for Diamond Ridge High


Diamond Ridge, CSD’s new alternative high school, has a sparkling new logo, colors  — and a fierce mascot to match.  Communications Director Jeff Haney unveiled logo designs developed by the CSD Office of Public Communications with input from the Diamond Ridge school community. The blue, silver, gold and black Diamond Ridge Raptors signify ferocity because, as Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling said, we want Diamond Ridge students to be persistent. The dinosaur also is a reminder that we want dropouts to be extinct.

Board Vision and Goals

When CSD was formed in 2009, District leadership, in cooperation with the community, invested a lot of work and time in creating a vision, mission and strategic plan. As a next step in creating a guiding document, Board Vice President Nancy Tingy presented to the Board a document that conveys CSD’s guiding principles. She shared a one-page draft to spark discussion at future work sessions. At the center is CSD’s mission to have every student graduate college- and career-ready. Supporting that mission are Canyons’ four guiding tenets:  student achievement, innovation, community engagement and customer service.

Legislative Update

The Board of Education received an update on the 2016 General Session of the Utah Legislature from Canyons District's Director of External Affairs Charlie Evans. Evans told the Board there is a solid chance that a representative from public education will be on a commission created by HB318. The study group would examine the local impacts of the relocation of the Utah State Prison. Evans also said SB38, which focuses on the funding of charter schools, has a good chance of gaining approval by lawmakers. If the bill is realized, it will be the first time that taxpayers will see how much tax money goes to charter schools. He also updated the Board on potential state funding figures.

Teacher, Parent Feedback on Elementary School Schedule

Some 84 percent of teachers who responded to recent survey said this year’s elementary school schedule is either very or extremely helpful to them. This is in contrast to the 72 percent of teachers in 2014-2015 who indicated that a previous schedule was not at all or a little helpful to them as they planned and executed classroom instruction. School Performance Directors Joanne Ackerman and Alice Peck told the Board that while there are some teachers who have frustrations with parts of the schedule and calendar, most of the identified challenges could be addressed at each school site. Other results of the elementary-teacher survey:  87 percent said they think the additional protected teacher-planning time has improved their instruction; 86 percent said the Brain Boosters component is a worthwhile part of the students’ day. 

Voluntary No-Idle Campaign

The Board gave an OK for the Office of Public Communications to begin working with school communities on a districtwide no-idling campaign with the aim of reducing air pollution. The idea to go idle-free throughout the District was presented to Superintendent Briscoe by an Altara Elementary parent who was irritated at the car exhaust billowing from the cars idling in the parking lot at her child's school.

LAND Trust Final Reports

School Performance Director Alice Peck submitted for the Board’s review reports detailing how Canyons schools spent LAND Trust funds in 2014-2015. The Board must acknowledge receipt of year-end spending reports before the District can submit budget plans for the next year.

Policy Updates

The Board of Education forwarded for final consideration recommendations from the Policy Committee. The proposed policies state the Board’s college- and career-ready philosophy; an acknowledgement of the Board’s statutory authority to establish instruction and graduation requirements; and definitions of CSD’s differentiated diplomas. Per protocol, the Board asked the item to be placed on a future agenda for a third reading. 

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from Feb. 16, 2016 Board meeting; purchasing bids; proposals for student overnight travel; approval of hire and terminations; and approval of LAND Trust Final Reports.

Patron Comments

Jen Buttars, President of the Canyons Education Association, told the Board she attended the National Education Association conference in Dallas, Texas.  While there, she heard David J. Johns, the new Executive Director of White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African-Americans. She also attended workshops that made her think of the many ways that Canyons teachers, administrators and the Board of Education maintain a fierce dedication to helping all students succeed.

Patron Steve Van Maren urged incumbent Board members to run for re-election. 

Administration Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Board for supporting the District’s no idling campaign while crediting Altara Elementary parent Cindy Boyer for suggesting the idea. The District has a responsibility to protect the health of the children it serves, he said, noting that enrollment is projected to double in the next 30 years. Dr. Briscoe also remarked on efforts to improve communication with families involved in the District’s dual-language immersion programs. Responding to a parent survey, the District has adjusted the middle school schedule to allow more flexibility for electives. Administrators have been holding more regular informational meetings with parents, in addition to regular school-based meetings. And parents have organized their own support network. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox expressed appreciation for the collegiality of Utah lawmakers who are deliberating hundreds of bills. He made special note of efforts to find a middle ground on SB38, a bill that focuses on charter school funding. Wilcox, who also said that the old Valley High property is being leased by the Larry H. Miller Group, thanked Board secretary Gaylene Halvorsen for her dedication to the school district. Halvorsen this week submitted her retirement papers.   

Board Reports

Chad Iverson reported that he attended the Spelling Bee at Crescent Elementary, as well as the District’s Feb. 20 Ski and Shred night-skiing event at Brighton Ski Resort. He expressed appreciation for Halvorsen and her hard work on behalf of the Board. 

Clareen Arnold expressed appreciation for the crews who worked on the Mount Jordan Middle basketball court after a recent flood in the gymnasium. She also thanked the parents and guardians who attended Parent-Teacher Conferences, and publicly commended Halvorsen for working so diligently for the District and Board.

Board 1st Vice President Steve Wrigley thanked the good teachers in Canyons who inspire students on a daily basis. His own daughter wants to be a teacher because so many educators have been positive influences on her life.  He also thanked Halvorsen. 

Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey reported on a recent meeting with the Board’s Student Advisory Council. The students, she said, gave great input on the operations and the direction of their schools and the District. She also reported on her time at Utah’s Capitol during the 2016 General Session of the Utah Legislature, and said how impressed she is at how much work is done during the session. She also thanked the Scouts who honored the American flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Amber Shill thanked Halverson for her years of service. She reported on her recent visits to the Utah Legislature, and also said she attended Brighton High’s production of “The Giver.” Shill invited patrons to a 7 p.m. Town Hall she is hosting with Tingey on Wednesday, March 9 in the media center at Butler Middle School.  

Robert Green said he accompanied Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt and United Way officials on a tour of the new Midvale overflow shelter of The Road Home. He also was pleased to see the Jordan High baseball team on a service project at the St. Vincent De Paul homeless shelter while he was there volunteering. 

President Sherril Taylor expressed appreciation for Halvorsen and her years of dedicated service to Canyons. He also thanked teachers, parents, administrators and Education Support Professionals who have worked so hard in the past seven years to make Canyons a district of regional, state and national distinction.