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Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 4, 2016

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


School Upgrades Proposal

A remodel of the Main Office at Midvale Elementary, the installation of carbon monoxide detectors at all elementary schools, and roofing and HVAC repairs are among more than two-dozen small capital projects being proposed for the 2017-2018 school year. Each year, schools submit their construction wish lists, which are ranked by an administrative committee that weighs, among other things, whether the projects are a safety or security imperative, or will meet a legal requirement, said Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.  If the Board approves the proposed upgrades at its Oct. 18 meeting, the Purchasing Department will begin soliciting bids from February to March 2017 with a goal of having the projects completed the following fall, said Wilcox.

Indian Hills Renovation

The Board of Education was presented a resolution calling for Indian Hills students to attend classes at the old Crescent View Middle, 11500 S. 300 East, for the 2017-2018 academic year. From April 2017 to August 2018, crews will be working on a substantial remodel of the building, funded by the $250 million bond approved by CSD voters in 2010. The Board also was asked to temporarily change the boundaries so that 481 IHMS students would qualify for busing to the old CVMS.

Priority Schools Progress

Strides are being made toward moving two Title I schools off Improvement Status. Copperview Elementary was designated a Focus school and Midvale Elementary was designated a Turn Around school by the Utah State Office of Education during the 2014-2015 school year due to low performance on year-end scores, explained Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling. The schools have received grant dollars to support technical assistance from the Utah Education Policy Center, which completed a thorough analysis of the schools’ performance and helped develop plans for boosting student achievement. Midvale Elementary’s performance on SAGE improved by 20 points this year, bringing the school out of Utah’s bottom 3 percent—the threshold for Turn Around status. If Midvale continues to improve and maintains its performance for three years, its Turn Around designation will be lifted. Assistant Principal Chip Matt Watts says home visits and Parent-Teacher Team meetings where educators share homework tips with parents has helped build relationships with families. The school is home to a Family Learning Center where adults can brush up on their English language skills and take free parenting classes. Both Midvale and Copperview partner with the United Way of Greater Salt Lake to make social supports and public aid more easily available to families that need them, thereby removing non-academic barriers to student success. The immediate focus at Copperview has been to address behavior problems that were disrupting the learning environment, said the school’s new principal Christine Webb. Also, coaches are working with teachers to adopt strategies shown to work with English learners.  Early data show growth in SAGES is in line with the rate of growth statewide, Webb said.

Posting of the Colors, Reverence

The colors were posted by a Webelos Scout Troop made up of students from Canyon View Elementary, and Principal BJ Weller updated the Board on academic growth at the school, noting Canyon View received an A this year under Utah’s school grading system. The school has moved to a reverse lunch schedule where recess is held prior to lunch, which Weller says has helped reduce food waste. Weller thanked the Board for their investment to install a security vestibule and fund parking improvements, which have reduced drop off and pick-up times by several minutes. 

Consent Agenda 

The Board approved the consent agenda, with exception of Union Middle’s revised Land Trust Plan, which the Board would like to further discuss. Approved as part of the consent agenda were: minutes from the meeting of the Board of Education on Sept. 20, 2016; new hires and terminations; purchasing bids; proposed student overnight travel; an MOU with Alpine School District on Suncrest busing; and changes to an MOU on employee health care benefit negotiations.  

Board Mission and Vision

The Board approved a new vision and mission statement for Canyons District, which includes core tenets and beliefs and a list of indicators for measuring success. Canyons District’s mission continues to be that all students graduate college- and career-ready. This is supported by the five tenets of student achievement, community engagement, customer service, innovation and fiscal accountability. The vision statement states that “Canyons School District is a public education system dedicated to delivering a high-quality education to students, valuing and rewarding the vital contributions of employees, and helping learners of all ages be prepared for meaningful life opportunities. We value transparency and collaboration in governance. We work together with families and community partners to establish and maintain safe, supportive, and academically challenging school environments which strengthen neighborhoods and communities.” The administration will publish this information on Canyons District’s website and report back to the Board on approved indicators and efforts to implement the framework.

SALTA Testing Fees

The Board approved a new fee proposal for SALTA testing. Non-CSD-enrolled students will now be charged $50 to take the qualifying test for the advanced learner program. Those who enroll in CSD’s SALTA magnet program, however, will be eligible for a full refund. There will continue to be no charge for CSD-enrolled students unless they take repeat tests. Repeat testers will be charged $25, but will be eligible for a refund if they enroll in the SALTA program.

Policies Changes

The Board approved the policy requiring employee to provide proof of immunizations in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease. The Board also approved a revision to the policy governing a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, making it possible for the District to randomly test drivers of district vehicles for use of drugs and alcohol. The policy about the Support Staff Development Committee was revised for readability, and the Employee Release Time Regulations were revised to maintain one policy for employees.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports 

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe noted that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert visited CSD three times last week to read to third grade students at Midvalley Elementary, promote a new health sciences program, and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cottonwood Heights City Hall. Dr. Briscoe also noted that Gov. Herbert has proclaimed Oct. 17-21 Principal’s Week. The Department of School Performance and Office of Public Communications will work on a presentation to celebrate CSD’s principals at the next Board meeting.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox recognized the administrative assistants for principals at each of Canyons District’s five traditional high schools. He also expression for the teachers and their hard work to prepare for last week’s Parent-Teacher Conferences. 

Board Reports

Mr. Robert Green said he visited Midvale Middle, and lauded the middle school’s administration for their efforts. He mentioned the room at the school that holds donations, such as clothing, that can be taken by students who need the aid. 

Mrs. Amber Shill applauded the Department of Instructional Supports for bringing the SALTA fees proposal forward and looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars. She remarked on the success of the ceremony celebrating the new Cottonwood Heights City Hall. She also recognized Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards and School Performance Elementary Director Alice Peck for conducting School Community Council trainings, which have served as a model that’s being replicated throughout the state.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey congratulated Cottonwood Heights on the new City Hall and thanked Brighton High students for participating in last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. She expressed gratitude for everyone in the District responsible for all the behind-the-scenes work that seems like it goes unnoticed.

Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked that he feels the District is getting stronger and moving in the right direction. He is pleased to see a new mission and vision statement approved to guide the District in its continued success.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked the teachers for doing all they do for students and to all employees who support them.

Mr. Chad Iverson reserved comment.

President Sherril Taylor looks forward to the renovation of Indian Hills Middle.  He also thanked Kathy Hilton, Corner Canyon High’s administrative assistant, who attended the Board meeting, for her hard work at the school. He thanked the Board for being prepared for meetings, having read the materials and prepared good questions. He also remarked on the new SALTA fee policy, saying its an example of the Board caring about students. It sends a message that the District will open avenues for students to attend our schools. He also thanked the police officers for providing security at the Board meetings.