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Board Meeting Summary, April 12, 2016

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

Technology Plan Update

Education Technology Director Dr. Darren Draper and Information Technology Director Scot McCombs delivered an update on progress with Canyons’ technology plan. The District’s technological footprint has grown tremendously since the District’s inception in 2009. In the first two years of operation, the number of computers expanded from 10,122 to 11,800, and the District added Wi-Fi, faster connections to the Internet and more than 20 Education Technology Specialists and Field Technicians to train and support personnel in Canyons schools. In 2011, the District created a five-year plan to get more technology into the hands of teachers and help them to use it well. This is still the No. 1 priority, but the plan has expanded to include other objectives, such as making hands-free microphones available to all teachers and creating a Data Dashboard to track student test scores. Today, there are more than 34,000 computer devices districtwide and 80 critical systems in need of support. On any given day, 15,000 students use Canyons’ wireless networks. Surveys show personnel are pleased with the technology and support available, and that the District is making strides in removing barriers to more widespread use. Surveys show a majority of students are using a computer or handheld tablet device daily or weekly at school, and most students and teachers agree that’s the right amount. Thirty-nine percent of students and elementary teachers, and 33 percent of secondary teachers, believe there is more room for technology.  A small number of survey respondents — between one and 7 percent — say the District uses too much. Goals for 2016 include focusing on Canvas, CSDDocs, and the use of blended-instruction Nearpod; building teacher capacity in their knowledge of technology-facilitated pedagogy, eventually expanding technology’s inclusion in the teacher- evaluation system; maintaining high-quantity and -quality levels of technology-related professional development; improving technology access and its academic use by students; and maintaining the infrastructure needed to meet these technology-related needs.

Utah College Application Week

The Board heard an update about the fall’s Utah College Application Week, an across-the-district effort to encourage all high school seniors to submit a viable college application. This year, the completed application rate increased from 82 percent to 91 percent of high school seniors completing at least one application. For the first time, students at Diamond Ridge, CSD’s new alternative high school, participated in UCAW activities. Tori Gillett, the District’s coordinator of comprehensive counseling and guidance, told the Board that 50.7 percent of the Class of 2015 are enrolled in a two- or four-year college for the fall semester. This shows an uptick from 2014, when 49.4 percent enrolled in a college or university. Gillett also expressed thanks for the Canyons Education Foundation’s contribution of $15,000 to help defray the costs of the college-application feeds of students who cannot afford them. She also informed the Board about the various activities planned in CSD schools for Decision Day. Looking ahead, the CSD staff members who plan UCAW each year want to present more information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), include technical schools in a bigger way, and continue to gather data about the post-secondary planning of CSD students.

Student Advisory Council Report

Members of the Student Advisory Council reported to the Board about the opportunity to serve on the panel. While the students enjoyed learning about the District’s operations, they also gave feedback to Board members about the student experience in CSD. The students suggested more attention be paid to parking lots, especially at Hillcrest and Brighton. There are plenty of spots, they said, but the lots are hard to enter and exit. The students also encouraged the Board to help improve some of the menu items in the cafeteria and allow for more options in the vending machines.  In addition, the student council also gave input on the half-day schedule on the day juniors take the ACT. It’s a wonderful option for the 11th graders, they said, but it makes it difficult for teachers and students to pack a whole day of learning into a half day.  Students gave the similar input about late-start Thursdays. The students also asked for assistance from the Board in helping to loosen Utah High School Activities Association rules governing comportment of student sections, and they also expressed support for standards-based grading.

Board Meeting Schedule

The Board of Education accepted for review a tentative meeting schedule for the 2016-2017 school year.  The proposed schedule includes a regular study session and public business meeting each month, unless otherwise noted, at the Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East. Business meetings will begin at 7:30 p.m. unless the Board decides otherwise. If a change is made, the new time will be noticed appropriately. All dates, times and locations are subject to change at any time, and patrons are encouraged to frequently check the Canyons website for the most recent information.

Online Learning Fees

In 2011, Utah lawmakers created a program that enables high school students to earn graduation credit through completion of publicly funded online courses. At Canyons Virtual High School, which serves thousands statewide, students can earn original or make-up credit at their own pace. However, the program only provides funding for up to six full credits of the eight required in high school — and sometimes students who have fallen behind or are on an accelerated track to graduate desire to take more than six credits. To facilitate their enrollment while recovering the costs, Education Technology Director Dr. Darren Draper proposed for the Board’s consideration a fee schedule. The recommended fees, which range from $109 to $190 per course, are in alignment with the amount of state funding that Canyons receives for these courses. It’s estimated the fees would impact fewer than 10 percent of online students. Fee waivers have always been honored.

LAND Trust Plans

School Performance Director Alice Peck submitted for the Board’s review reports detailing how Canyons schools are spending LAND Trust funds in 2015-2016.

Consent Agenda

The Board voted in favor of the Consent Agenda, which included the approval of the minutes from the March 15 meeting, purchasing bids; student overnight travel; hires and terminations; and LAND Trust Amendments. 

Superintendent and Business Administrator’s Report  

Superintendent Briscoe thanked the members of the Student Advisory Council and wished them well as they graduate and pursue future opportunities. He also welcomed Denise Haycock, who will replace the retiring Gaylene Halvorsen, who has served as the Board of Education secretary and an Administrative Assistant in the Superintendent’s Office since the District’s founding. He also thanked Dr. Draper and McCombs and their departments for working so hard to provide technological assistance to the schools and District Offices. He told the Board he spoke to parents at the Region 17 PTA Spring Training, and reminded the community about the Tuesday, April 26 Teacher of the Year announcement and the Spring Gala of the Canyons Education Foundation. The Foundation's fund-raising event will be Thursday, April 28 at Corner Canyon High. 

Wilcox updated the Board on new year-round schedule of the Midvale overflow shelter of The Road Home. He congratulated Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray, who represented the District at an awards ceremony of the Department of Environmental Quality. CSD was honored for its radon-testing program. He also thanked McCombs and Draper and their departments for their hard work.

Board Comments.

Board member Chad Iverson thanked McCombs and Dr. Draper for their presentation regarding the district’s technology plan. He noted the success of Utah College Application Week and the emphasis on preparing students for college and careers. 

Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey said she attended the unveiling of Alta High’s Sacred Images Mural and Corner Canyon High’s world premiere of a piece of music composed with funds from an Innovation Grant from the Canyons Education Foundation. She also reported on Jordan Valley’s delightful production of “Aladdin,” a tour of The Road Home in Midvale, and Brighton’s “Shark Tank” business-idea competition. 

Board member Amber Shill said that she, too, was impressed with the ideas generated by the students at Brighton’s impressive and first-ever “Shark Tank.”  She thanked the administration for its work in providing the articifical turf at Brighton High, which is now being used by lacrosse teams. Parents of players expressed appreciation for being able to use the field. She additionally reported on her attendance at the National School Boards Association conference, and thanked Dr. Draper and McCombs for the District's technology plan. 

President Taylor expressed condolences to the friends and family of those in the Canyons community who have passed away in recent weeks.