Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.
Board Honors Union Middle Faculty, Staff for Quick Actions
The Canyons Board of Education recognized seven educators who played an instrumental role in de-escalating a traumatic incident that occurred at Union Middle on Oct. 25, 2016. The Board of Education honored Union Middle teachers and staff who, without thought to their own safety, intervened to protect students and mitigate a critical situation that could have been much worse without their action. “You’ve all done so much, not only for the students of Union Middle, but for the entire community,” Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor said in a statement. “If anyone ever wonders if their children are safe in our schools, they need to look no further than your examples. You disarmed the armed, provided aid to the injured, and prevented others from hurting themselves.” Taylor recognized Union Middle Principal Kelly Tauteloi and her staff, including Erin Hemingway, Genny Poll, Ginger Perry, Lynn Nelson, Michelle Erb, Brooke Rauzon and Taylor Hansen.
Principals Gives Update on Plans to Renovate Indian Hills Middle
Principal Doug Graham updated the Board on the upcoming remodel of Indian Hills Middle. At its last meeting, the Board of Education voted to relocate Indian Hills Middle, 1180 E. Sanders Road, to the former Crescent View Middle building, 11150 Green Ridge Dr., during construction. The renovation of the middle school is being funded by a $250 million bond issuance approved by voters in 2010. This will be final project to be completed with proceeds from the bond. Construction should start in spring 2017 and the school is slated to re-open in August 2018. Improvements include a redesign of the parking lot and bus lanes and two major additions to the building. For safety purposes, the administrative area will be moved to the front of the building and a security vestibule, which will require visitors to check in at the Main Office, will be installed. A student commons area will create more open space and allow for more natural sunlight. Among other planned amenities: more windows; a weight room adjacent the gym; a meeting room; updated library; a centralized music area with optimized acoustics; enlarged art classrooms and high-tech, fully functional CTE classrooms.
Review of Data Related to Hillcrest Summer Academic Bootcamp
Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt unveiled data supporting Hillcrest’s Summer Bootcamp program. The 47 students who completed all requirements of the intensive program conducted over the summer months showed progress in the first quarter of the school year. The average grade-point average of those who finished the Unit 1 standards in English arts, mathematics, biology and geography during the summer was 2.57. Those who were invited but didn’t complete the program finished the quarter with an average GPA of 1.84. For the first quarter, the average GPA for Hillcrest’s freshman class was 2.79. Seventy-seven percent earned a 2.0 GPA or better. Last year at this time, 66 percent of Husky ninth-graders earned a 2.0 or better. Leavitt said parents reported that the Summer Bootcamp was a valuable experience for their children, regardless of whether they completed the program. Students also reported feeling more confident as they started high school. In all, bootcamp participants earned an average of 1.75 credits, which means most are on track to graduate. As an incentive to encourage students to give up their free summer time, the United Way paid them stipends for participation. Many of the students used the money to purchase groceries for their family or help pay household bills.
CSD Seeks State Technology Grant Money
Canyons is well underway with a technology pitch that’s required as part of HB277, a multimillion-dollar state grant that can be used to pay for Digital Teaching and Learning. Dr. Darren Draper, Canyons’ Director of Education Technology, said the District’s most recent 68-page application for three years of grant funding, which would help support the District’s education-technology efforts, was submitted on Nov. 11. The Utah State Board of Education will review the applications Dec. 1-2 and will award grants on Dec. 31. Draper said CSD, which is seeking about $700,000, aims to improve Canvas, CSDDocs, and Nearpod use in the District; build teacher capacity in their knowledge of technology-facilitated pedagogy; maintain high levels of technology-related professional development. The District also wants to improve technology access and improve its academic use by students and maintain the infrastructure necessary to meet the technology-related needs. Anticipated grant-money spending includes stipends for teachers to earn CSD-specific certifications and convert classes to Canvas; funding for a teacher specialist for summer professional development; and new Chromebook labs in elementary and secondary schools. They also will be eligible for university credit.
Assistant General Counsel Jeff Christensen updated the Board on proposed changes to District policy. The policies, if approved, would govern professional staff vacations; substitute staff employment; school volunteers; and an early retirement incentive for administrators. Christensen also presented information about a proposed policy regarding phased-in retirement, which the District is required to have and is designed to help address the state’s teacher shortage. Under the proposed policy, which defines phased-in retirement as defined in statute, newly retired employees would be able to continue working for the District on a half-time basis. The retiree would receive a reduced retirement allowance and 50 percent of the retiree’s monthly salary. The Board will continue discussing the proposed policy. During the business meeting, the Board gave approval to changes in policies regarding the Local Professional Improvement Committee; criminal background checks, nondiscrimination; and employee conduct and professionalism.
Bell Schedule Update
The Office of School Performance has been meeting with School Community Councils to receive feedback on proposed changes to CSD’s bell schedule. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle summarized their feedback. Parents generally appreciated how changing school start and stop times would save money and help the District recruit and retain bus drivers. Piggybacking bus routes would make it possible to offer more fulltime, benefitted positions, and one school — Copperview Elementary — stood out as favoring the idea. But many parents voiced concern about earlier starts for high school students when research suggests teens would benefit from later start times. Some worried about how the changes would affect before- and after-school programs. And some teachers expressed concern about later end-times negatively affecting younger grades due to their limited attention spans. The general consensus of the Board was to not move forward at this time, but urged the Administration to continue to look for other fiscally responsible remedies to the bus-driver shortage.
Student Advisory Council Empaneled
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle introduced this year’s Student Advisory Council, a panel of high school students who are asked to give feedback to the Board throughout the year. The 10 members are from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools. They plan to meet in January, February, March and April.
Patron Dan Hayes, whose son attends Union Middle, thanked the school’s teachers and staff for their quick thinking and rapid response during the traumatic event on Oct. 25. Mr. Hayes said his son attends Union Middle. He also expressed concern about student safety at school and asked the Board for information about the District’s security plans. He also asked questions about the District’s position on the state’s gun laws.
The Board of Education approved the consent calendar, including approval of the minutes of the meeting on Oct. 18, 2016; the hiring and termination reports; requests for student overnight travel; October’s financial reports; 18 small-capital facility projects; the start of the Code to Success program; changes to LAND Trust plans at Brookwood Elementary and Jordan High; and the appointment of Hillcrest Assistant Principal Rachel Hill as the new United Way Partnership Facilitator. Sara Newberry, an administrative intern, will replace Hill in the administration at Hillcrest.
Proposed Calendars for Future Years
Dr. Floyd Stensrud, the Director of the Office of Planning and Enrollment, presented options for the 2017-2018 academic calendars, per discussions by the District’s Calendar Committee. Option No. 1 is the calendar that was tentatively approved by the Board of Education in 2015. On this calendar, the first day of school would be Aug. 23, 2017. The school year would end June 7, 2018. An eight-day Winter Recess would start Dec. 21, 2017 and extend to Jan. 1, 2018. Option No. 2 is the Calendar Committee’s preferred calendar. On this calendar, the first day of school would be Aug. 16, 2017. The last day of school would be June 1, 2018. An 11-day Winter Recess would start Dec. 18, 2017 and extend to Jan. 1, 2018. The Board also discussed the calendar guidelines that are now being reviewed by a policy committee. The Board also was presented with tentative calendars for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school year. The Board did not take action on those calendars.
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Union Middle faculty and staff for coalescing during a crisis. He commended all principals, teachers and staff across the District for their efforts to provide safe and welcoming environments for students. He also asked the entire CSD community to be vigilant in the endeavor to maintain safe schools. Dr. Briscoe reported on attending the 4A semi-final football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. He congratulated the Alta Hawks, which lost a tough game to Springville High, on a stellar season. He congratulated all the CSD teams who made the playoffs in fall sports. He also congratulated the students who participate in fine arts. Jordan High’s fall musical, “Once Upon a Mattress,” he said, was good, and he’s looking forward to attending Alta’s musical, as well.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox discussed the phased-in retirement policy that was presented during the Board’s study session. He also expressed appreciation for the Insurance Department’s oversight of the annual mandatory health insurance Open Enrollment process. In all, 2,800 employees were enrolled during a two-week period. He also said the District is closing on 13 acres in west Draper. The land, per a Board decision in August, may be the site of a future elementary school.
Board of Education Reports
Ms. Clareen Arnold reported on attending a committee meeting regarding the District’s fine arts programs. She reflected on a conversation she had with her students, who told her they considered their parents to be heroes. Her heroes, she said, include her fellow Board members and the educators who are in the classroom every day, working with students.
Mr. Steve Wrigley said he’s grateful for arts programs in the District. By the end of the fall musical season, he said, he will have seen five productions, including Brighton’s “The Little Mermaid.” He invited patrons to a Town Hall meeting. He also mentioned the ongoing construction at Alta View Elementary and Jordan High’s new Medical Innovations Pathways Program.
Ms. Nancy Tingey also commended student thespians for their work on the fall musicals. She’s attended two and looks forward to seeing others this weekend. She also welcomed the members of the Student Advisory Council to their roles, and reported on attending the Veterans Day event at Canyon View Elementary.
Ms. Amber Shill reported on attending a visit to Draper Elementary by a delegation from China. She also participated in a visit to Butler Elementary by a French Minister of Education. Shill, who also attended Brighton High’s production of “The Little Mermaid,” congratulated Canyons District for again being named to the AP Honor Roll, and mentioned Brighton High for finishing in the state’s top 10 for its AP success rate. As the Board’s representatives on the Utah High School Activities Association, she mentioned the progress of Rule 277409, which addresses student-athlete transfers, among other issues.
Mr. Robert Green thanked the Union Middle faculty and staff for their response to the Oct. 25 incident on campus. Parents, like himself, are grateful for their actions. He also reported on speaking to students at Peruvian Park Elementary. He also mentioned the Veterans Day events held throughout the District and thanked U.S. soldiers for their service.
Mr. Taylor thanked Board members for their remarks. He said Canyons District is like a family, and the familial feeling is part of the District’s culture. He thanked all teachers, staff, administrators and parents for their hard work.