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Board Meeting Summary, Aug. 2, 2016

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

Board Mulls Proposal to Use ACT For 11th Grade Measure


Director of Research and Assessment Dr. Hal Sanderson discussed the pros and cons of eschewing the current required year-end assessment in favor of using the ACT as the measurement of how well Canyons high school juniors are performing academically. HB200, passed in the 2016 Legislative session, allows school districts to request a waiver on the requirement to have 11th graders participate in SAGE testing. Dr. Sanderson told the Board that the pros of eliminating the SAGE requirement for 11th graders include gaining valuable instructional time in other classes, particularly Advanced Placement English course. There also could be an upswing in demonstrated competency because students have incentive to do well on the ACT, the commonly accepted college-entrance exam. Furthermore, students may not be fully invested in doing their best on the SAGE test because they are neither rewarded nor penalized for their SAGE test results. Moving away from SAGE for 11th graders also would reduce the number of assessments students would be required to take.  ACT also is representative of the school because a significant portion of students opt-out of taking SAGE.  Dr. Sanderson said the cons of eliminating SAGE testing for juniors include the loss of teacher-level results by course; raise the question of where 11th grade students should be placed during SAGE testing for sophomores and seniors in such courses as physics and chemistry; and the results for SAGE physics and chemistry would be skewed because junior students wouldn’t be included in the data.  The Board will make a decision at a later meeting. 
 
CSD Receives Grant for Summer Services for Homeless Students

Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling updated the Board of Education on summer services that are being provided by Canyons District to homeless students, particularly those finding housing at The Road Home in Midvale. She also informed the Board of Education that CSD has received a $416, 575 grant to help cover the costs. Much of the money to provide the services comes from the Division of Workforce Services and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Funds. A private donor also contributed $10,000 for recreation costs, and the Utah State Board of Education contributed $15,000 to help cover costs.  Sterling also said CSD has been asked to present to state lawmakers on what the District is doing to help the children who live year-round at the shelter, and informed the Board that student academic progress is continually checked. 

Proposed Volunteer Week Changes

The Board was updated on plans to move Volunteer Appreciation Week from the fall to the spring. The Administration recommended the District hold its week dedicated to honoring volunteers in April or May, which is usually when schools plan their volunteer-appreciation events. However, under the proposal, the Board would continue to select an Apex Award winner for Volunteer of the Year; entertain during Board meeting a volunteer report by Region 17 PTA and the volunteer coordinator about the previous years’ voluntarism in CSD schools; and an annual Superintendent’s back-to-school appreciation lunch for PTA and SCC volunteer leaders. 

Vision, Mission Statements Still in Works by Sub-Committee

A subcommittee of the Board that has been charged with developing a mission and vision for the Board and District presented information for the board as a whole to consider. The ideas revolved around the Board’s current mission of preparing every child to be college- or career-ready at the time of graduation and the District’s guiding principals of student achievement, innovation, community engagement and customer service.  The Board also mulled establishing indicators that would tell the public how well the District is performing.

Patron Comment

Karen Pedersen, a member of the Canyons Education Association Executive Board and a teacher at Willow Canyon Elementary, spoke in favor of Playworks, which provides the physical education curriculum and services in CSD elementary schools.   

Students look forward to going, she said, and enjoy the activities that have been taught. Pedersen said students are taught to be inclusive and friendly. 

Debbie McDonald, also a member of the CEA Board, said Playworks helps students remain positive and gain sportsmanship skills. She said the whole school is involved with the activities on the playground. She said the Playworks program is fun and reduces the feeling of fierce competition. It helps students who aren’t naturally inclined at athletics feel like they can contribute to their teams. 

Jen Buttars, president of the CEA, reminded Mr. Wrigley that he commented at a recent meeting that he wondered what teachers thought about Playworks. She said that in two years no negative reports have been made to CEA about Playworks.  Teachers, she said, say that recess has been transformed. Students are actively engaged, have fun, and learn problem-solving skills. Junior coaches also are taught important leadership skills. Some teachers say they would like the program to be expanded.  She also said she thinks there would be support to expand the program.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda, including the approval of amended minutes from the July 19, 2016 Board meeting, student overnight travel; hire and termination reports; and a Diamond Ridge Bell Schedule for 2016-2017.

Approval of Agreements with Sandy City to Spur Development

The Board of Education voted to adopt a tax-increment financing district to spark redevelopment of the Civic Center North area. The city also approved the Interlocal Agreements with the RDA of Sandy for a mixed-use, transit-oriented development on 1,100 acres between TRAX and I-15 and 9000 South and 10600 South.

Board OK’s Purchase of Home Near Draper Park

The Board of Education approved a $225,000 expenditure to purchase a home adjacent to Draper Park Middle. The sale price is within the appraised value.  The Board also directed Business Administrator Leon Wilcox to approve and sign all documents related to the transaction property of this owner. 

Updates to Parent School Support Association/Organization Policy

The Board of Education approved updates to the Parent School Support Association/Organization Policy. The modifications call for the verification of a petition for a new or alternative parent school support group once in a five-year period; that the District will only accept a notice of intent and application prior to Oct. 1 in the current school year; and that school employees interested in receiving communications regarding a parents school support association must express this interest in writing to the Superintendent or designee. In addition, the changes state that once the group receives notice of approval and verification, the organization is given 30 calendar days to file a petition for election. The newly approved policy also calls for the District to facilitate a community meeting during which both groups can present information to the community and prohibits either side from actively campaigning on District property during school hours or during school functions. District equipment, suppliers or other District resources can be used to campaign.

Board Approves Policies

The Board of Education voted to approve an update to the District’s Student Discipline Policy that governs emergency safety interventions; updates to the District’s 504 policy; and clarifications to evaluation policies for instructional and administrative staff.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe congratulated the Human Resources Department on a successful Critical Policies Training on Monday, Aug. 1.  He also thanked the Region 17 PTA President Betty Shaw for serving five years as the organization’s leader. He also is looking forward to celebrating the achievements of the students who participated in the Hillcrest Feeder Support Programs this summer. 

Business Administrator’s Report

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox encouraged the Board to attend the first home gridiron games of the season at Jordan and Alta high schools so they could see the new turf fields at the schools.  Crews also are nearing the end of a two-year renovation project at Jordan Valley, CSD’s school for students with severe disabilities. Work on the parking lot at Bell View should be done in time for the start of school, and when students return on Aug. 24, the security vestibules will have been installed at all our elementary schools. Leon also thanked the Payroll Department for its hard work in implementing the semi-monthly pay schedule. 

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson says he is excited for school to start; there’s always a special spirit in CSD communities when the first day arrives. Athletic and extracurricular activities are starting to start in earnest, and he expressed thanks to the coaches, teachers, students and parents who give so much to the programs. He thanked the administration for ensuring the completion of the security vestibules. 

Ms. Clareen Arnold expressed thanks to staff members who worked throughout the summer, especially those who toiled on the CTESS evaluation system.  She said she enjoyed attending the CTESS training with administrators, and could tell that the changes made to the tool was welcomed and appreciated. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley said that he, too, looks forward to the start of school.  He thanked Mr. Wilcox for a recent tour of Butler Elementary and Midvale Middle, two schools that are under construction.  He also said the new Alta View Elementary is progressing nicely. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey expressed appreciation for the staff who worked hard over the summer.  She also thanked the team of administrators who worked on CTESS changes and improvements.  She said it was a pleasure to attend the CTESS training, and could see the excitement for the changes that came after a lot of discussion and solicitation of input.  The first day of school is always full of excitement, and this year is no different, she said. 

Mrs. Amber Shill also said she appreciated the CTESS training and said the administrators seemed happy with the recent changes to the evaluation tool.  She also invited the community to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Open House for the new Butler Elementary.  A reception starts at 5:30 p.m and the ribbon-cutting starts at 6 p.m.  

Mr. Robert Green said he looks forward to being in Midvale’s Harvest Days Parade.. He’s excited for another school year to start. 

Mr. Sherril Taylor thanked CSD employees who worked over the summer to help ramp up for the school year.  When students arrive, it’s as if the buildings come alive, he said. He thanked the Board members for their dedication to their constituents.