Alta High's Step2theU Program
Last summer, Alta High enrolled its first cohort of juniors in Step2theU, a program that allows students to earn two years of college credit at the University of Utah while still in high school. Forty-six students applied and the program was able accept 36, said Alta High Principal Brian McGill. Grades, academic awards and extracurricular achievements all factored into the review of the applications by an admissions committee. The committee also took into consideration the applicants’ participation in Honors, Advanced Placement or concurrent enrollment courses. The committee also looked for an ability to contribute to and benefit from a culturally and intellectually diverse learning community. So far, 100 percent of the students who started the program last summer have stuck with it, McGill said. “Not one student has dropped out of the program, to date, which is pretty remarkable,” he said. Those who complete the program will graduate with the equivalent of an associate degree for a fraction of what they would pay in college tuition. It’s a life-changer for some of these kids, McGill said.
Brain Boosters Update
Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board of Education on the “Brain Boosters” part of the elementary-school schedule. Two years ago, the Board of Education approved an elementary schedule that sets aside time for students to participate in the arts, physical-education, engineering, technology and media library classes. At the time the schedule was OK’d, the Board directed the Administration to streamline the Brain Boosters curriculum, increase the productivity of IPLC teacher collaboration, and ensure a high level of quality in the Brain Booster classes. Dr. Roderick-Landward said her department has focused on extending grade-level standards with the courses, and, because the classes are mostly led by paraprofessionals, developing 30- to 60-minute interactive lessons with structured instructional sequences. Roderick-Landward said ISD provides professional development on a monthly basis for the instructors who teach the arts, library media, and physical-education classes, and three times annually for engineering and technology. At the school level, she said, Brain Booster teachers and technicians have the support of the building administrator, the Achievement Coach, the Building Leadership Team liaison, and the lead technician. At the District level, there are specialists for arts, library media, Playworks, engineering and technology, as well as a District-based coach. Board members reported hearing positive feedback about the Brain Booster program.
The Board adopted a Special Education policy as required by state and federal law. Following a thorough review of CSD’s Section 504 Policies and Procedures, the District Administration and the Board of Education’s Policy Committee determined no substantive changes are needed.
Pledge of Allegiance and Reverence
Boy Scout Troop 788 and Cub Scout Pack 3788 posted the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The reverence was given by Alta View Principal Karen Medlin. The 600 students enrolled at the school hail mostly from White City but also live in other Sandy neighborhoods. The school has a Spanish-English Dual-Language Immersion program, and 28 licensed staff, including teachers from Spain and Mexico, and enjoys a supportive and active community of parents. Medlin thanked the Board and community for her new school building, which was the 12th major construction project completed with proceeds from the $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010.
Student Advisory Council
The 2017-2018 members of the Student Advisory Council were officially introduced. The members are Alta High’s Sydney Pexton and Taylor Wood; Brighton High’s Bradley Sullivan and Sophie Yates; Corner Canyon High’s Hope Broman and Logan Orr; Hillcrest High’s Boston Iacobazzi and Sierra Metzger; and Jordan High’s Conner Tait and Gabby Marz. Members of the council, selected after an application process, meet regularly to advise the Board on proposed policies that could impact students. The first meeting of the council, to be led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle, is Wednesday at Jordan High.
The Board of Education recognized the following students and staff for their accomplishments:
- Katie Blunt, Education Technology Specialist, who was chosen to be featured on a nationally broadcasted segment for American Graduate Champion Day on Oct. 14.
- The 14 Canyons high school seniors who are semifinalists in the National Merit Scholar competition. The students are Alta High’s Nathan L. Brown; Brighton High’s Joshua Brodbeck: Corner Canyon High’s August Burton and Aaron Jackson; Hillcrest High’s Richard Abbott, Bryson Armstrong, Mohammed Khan, Chu Un Kim, Kara Komarnitsky, Madeline Martin, Joshuan Raty, Alexander Sun and Vivek Vankayalapati; and Jordan High’s Daniel Ross.
- The Board also recognized the CSD Office of Public Communications, which received the Best Communications in a Major Incident Award from the Utah Public Information Officers Association. The award stemmed from Canyons’ efforts to communicate with the Brookwood community after a fatal shooting in June.
Draper Park Middle Kelli Davey spoke to the Board about the six-period schedule at the school.
The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the approval of minutes from the Sept. 19 meeting of the Board of Education; the hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; and a Memorandum of Understanding with Cottonwood Height’s Summer Theater Program.
Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe spoke about the public and personal impact of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. He said he knew people who were the event, and expressed gratitude they were able escape unharmed. However, he also noted the ways in which people pull together in times of a crisis and the many examples of good works, not only in our District but across the nation and world. For an example, he noted a Midvale Middle teacher who applied for a grant to help non-English speakers at the school. He also pointed out the anti-bullying effort that Alta and Corner Canyon high school students will hold before the upcoming rivalry game.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board that a voter information pamphlet about the bond proposal will be delivered to homes later this week. He also congratulated East Midvale Elementary for raising to from a D to a B in the state’s school-grading program. He also thanked teachers for working so hard to prepare for Parent Teacher Conferences.
Mr. Mont Millerberg also remarked on the press event to announce this year’s round of Chevron “Fuel Your School” teacher grants. The event was held at Midvale Middle where English-language development teacher Shelley Allen demonstrated tablets she was awarded that are able to translate classroom lectures for students in languages ranging from Swahili to Arabic and Chinese. Mr. Millerberg also commended the citizens group of grassroots supporters who have volunteered to help spread word about CSD’s proposed school-improvement bond.
Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked on the growing lack of civility and social pressures facing school children and the teachers who are working hard to help them achieve. He said he would like the Board to discuss the role of schools in promoting behavioral health and emotional wellness.
Mrs. Amber Shill attended her Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation meeting and provided them with an update on CSD’s proposed bond. Parks and Recreation has just come off a successful bond election, which is reaping dividends throughout the community, she said. Mrs. Shill also accompanied Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe to a recent Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting during which they discussed the bond measure. She said the council is supportive and eager to see Brighton High rebuilt.
Mrs. Nancy Tingey encouraged School Community Council members to take advantage of the many trainings being offered by the District. She also attended the Cottonwood Heights City Council where Dr. Briscoe presented information on the proposed bond. She also commended the District for providing resources to support the emotional well-being of its students and employees.
Clareen Arnold was excused from the meeting.
Mr. Chad Iverson attended a National Honors Society induction ceremony, as well as sporting events. He added that he’s excited about the bond proposal and the support that is building across the Canyons community.
Mr. Sherril Taylor thanked Canyons District patrons for all their support over the years. The District wouldn’t be anywhere without the supportive residents, he said.