Board Approves Censure Resolution
The Board approved on a 6-1 vote a resolution titled, “The Board of Education of the Canyons School District Censure of Board Member Kevin C. Cromar.” The resolution and a recording of the proceeding can be found at http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public, under Agenda item 6A.
Technology Policies Presented
Canyons School District receives “E-Rate” telecommunications discounts through the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, and is applying for more than $600,000 in cost reimbursements. As part of its participation in the program, Canyons must achieve certification under the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The certification process includes demonstrating and publicly disseminating an Internet safety policy that includes protection measures and enforcement, and monitoring of student online activities.
Canyons' Acceptable Use Policy and Agreement complies with the Act’s requirements, and includes rules for student online interactions, Information Technology Director Scot McCombs said. Parents and students must sign an acceptable use agreement annually. The Board accepted the report and reiterated its support for the policy.
CEA President Ross Rogers thanked the Board and District leaders for working with the CEA on the negotiated agreement earlier this month. Cowdell thanked Rogers for CEA’s work, and said the Board looks forward to continuing a positive working relationship with the association.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Sept. 6 minutes; purchasing bids; August financial reports; home school affidavit; August hires and terminations; policy changes directed by legislation; the Cottonwood Heights/Mountview Interlocal Agreement with corrected legal description; the foreign student report; the sale of a student-built home; and the 2010-2011 volunteer report, which states nearly 200,000 volunteer hours valued at more than $1.8 million were logged in Canyons schools last school year. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta Baseball and Wrestling; Hillcrest Cheer and AP/IB; and Jordan Choir, Band and Orchestra, ASL, Academic Decathlon, and Volleyball.
Board Member Mont Millerberg reported on the second annual Canyons School District Education Foundation Golf Tournament fund-raiser held Monday at Wasatch Mountain State Park. He praised Chief Development Officer Allison Spencer’s work to organize the tournament, the prizes and hospitality she and the Foundation Board extended to guests, and the generous community support. He said initial reports indicate proceeds increased by about $10,000 this year, and that he believes the Foundation has unlimited potential.
The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
ACT Performance Reported
Canyons District is working to boost the number of students achieving College-Readiness Benchmarks on the ACT EXPLORE, PLAN and college-entrance tests, administered to all Canyons eighth-, 10th- and 11th-graders, respectively.
Student performance on the ACT indicates whether children are on track for success in college and career. ACT research shows that students who achieve College-Readiness Benchmark scores on the exams have a higher likelihood of success in college than those who do not. The ACT benchmarks are: English: 18; Social Sciences: 21; College Algebra: 22; and Biology: 24.
Canyons students in the 2010-2011 school year, the first the ACT testing package was implemented, consistently outperformed state averages. However, the numbers of students achieving benchmark scores is lower than the District desires. For example, on the ACT, 60 percent of students achieved the English benchmark, but just 53 percent reached the benchmark in reading. In math, just 38 percent achieved the benchmark score, and in science, 28 percent achieved the benchmark score. Twenty-two percent of 11th-graders achieved all four benchmarks, and 31 percent – a group that includes 61 percent of low-income students and 59 percent of Hispanics -- achieved none.
Similar trends are shown in ACT EXPLORE and PLAN test results, Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson said.
Superintendent David Doty said he was most concerned most that barely half of 11th-graders have met benchmarks in reading, which has to be influencing the outcomes in all other content areas of the exam. He also expressed concern about achievement gaps.
Dr. Doty and Dr. Sanderson believe that adopting the Common Core State Standards, designed to prepare all students for college and career, along with revamped professional development and continued emphasis on college- and career-preparation and rigorous course-taking, can lift student performance.
For more information, visit http://www.canyonsdistrict.org/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=487 and http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public, and select item 6A.
Chief Financial Officer Keith Bradford reported on the administration’s examination of ways to improve cool air flow in schools that do not have air-conditioning. Some ideas include mounting swamp coolers in school corridors and improving air intake systems in summer 2012. He also noted average daily temperatures would be at 88 degrees by starting school after Labor Day, versus 93 degrees by starting school Aug. 22. Mr. Bradford asked for the Board’s direction on how to proceed. Superintendent Doty said the District needs to create good environments for teaching and learning, but also follow through with the Board’s well-thought-out bond plan.
Twelve of 45 Canyons schools do not have air-conditioning: Alta View, Edgemont, Midvale, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementaries; and Albion, Butler, Crescent View, Indian Hills, Midvale, Mount Jordan and Union middle schools. However, Midvale Elementary and Midvale Middle, Butler Elementary and Butler Middle, and Crescent View, Indian Hills and Mount Jordan middle schools, and one elementary in White City, are to receive air-conditioning and other improvements under the $250 million bond.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Aug. 16 and Aug. 30 minutes; purchasing bids; June and July financial reports; and the home school affidavit. The Board also approved student overnight travel for the following high school groups: Alta Theatre; Brighton Boys and Girls Swimming and Drill Team; CTE DECA, HOSA and FBLA; Hillcrest Debate and Band, Orchestra and Choir; and Jordan Cross Country.
The Board discussed how policy must change to align with a new law outlining protocols for school staff to respond to student athlete concussions. Proposed policy changes will appear on the Sept. 20 Consent Agenda. Superintendent Doty also requested a future Board discussion on policy change protocols.
The Board met in closed session to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
Five patrons complained to the Board about cell phone towers at Canyons schools, particularly one going up at Bella Vista Elementary. They cited a May 2011 World Health Organization announcement that an ongoing study classifying electromagnetic fields from cell phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans, and calling for more research on the longterm, heavy use of mobile phones. Several said they had not been informed that the cell towers would be erected at school, and suggested parents receive notice and ability to vote on the issue in the future and for now, put cell phone tower construction on hold. To hear the comments, please visit http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public, and select agenda item 4E.
Kevin Cromar talked about his visit to the World Trade Center site last weekend, and the materials he brought home regarding the 10-year commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He also talked about visiting family in New York. He noted his grandchildren attended the Midvale Elementary groundbreaking, and noted another grandchild would attend Thursday’s Butler Middle School groundbreaking.
Steve Wrigley thanked Dr. Sanderson for the ACT report, and said he hoped the test-taking experience would help his child.
Board Approves Tentative Agreement
The Canyons Board of Education unanimously approved the tentative agreement with the Canyons Education Association. The tentative agreement includes giving school-based employees a one-time 3.5 percent increase in compensation, funding for lanes on the salary schedule and 3.5 professional development days. The District and educators will equally shoulder the increased cost of health insurance premiums.
CEA members will hear details of the tentative agreement later this week and subsequently vote whether to accept it. Superintendent David Doty commended the CEA for its hard work to reach agreement and foster a positive and respectful relationship with the Board. Jordan UniServ Director Laura Black said she appreciated the Board’s efforts as well.
Kindergarteners Leap in Reading Achievement
Kindergartners showed a 21 percentage-point gain in reading achievement over the past school year, reported Amber Roderick Landward, Director of Evidence-Based Learning in Elementary Schools. In the 2009-2010 school year, 65 percent of Canyons kindergartners had learned what they need to know before moving on to first grade, AIMSWeb reading test data showed. Following 28 hours of intensive professional development and 1,964 hours of teacher coaching in the 2010-2011 school year, the number of students meeting benchmark rose to 86 percent. Park Lane Elementary teacher Susan Homer and Silver Mesa Elementary teacher Maria Bailey said the professional development on using test data and follow-up coaching enabled them to help students to achieve new heights. Park Lane and Silver Mesa achievement coach Susan Henry said the efforts have helped her to cultivate evidence-based, master teachers.
The assessment, professional development and coaching model aims to address student achievement gaps before they take hold – students in Title I schools show tremendous gains under this model – and immediately start preparing kids for college and career. This year, the efforts will be replicated in first grade classrooms. A More For 4 program also has been launched to help parents prepare children for kindergarten at home. LINK?> Board members praised the work as giving childrens keys to success. To hear the presentation, click here http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public and select agenda item 2A.
Assistant Principals Named for Copperview, Midvale Elementaries
Jethro Jones, an education technology specialist in the Canyons Office of Evidence-Based Learning, was named assistant principal of Copperview Elementary. Jones replaces Chanci Loran, who is now principal of Copperview Elementary. Additionally, Justin Pitcher, an intern assistant principal at Jordan High School, was named assistant principal of Midvale Elementary. He replaces Julie Mootz, who is now working as principal of Brookwood Elementary. Both will assume their new assignments within the next week.
Hazardous Busing to Continue; Other Study Session Items Postponed
The Board received information that hazardous busing will continue for the next two school years to children in a Crescent Elementary neighborhood due to extensive TRAX construction and yet-to-be completed sidewalk and other improvements for pedestrians.
The Board postponed a presentation on ACT scores and discussion on the Jordan Resource Center Building, potential air conditioning and cooling projects for spring 2012, the District drug policy revision process, and Board planning.
The Board met in closed session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
Royce Shelley, a Crescent View Middle School teacher, said heat became an issue in schools when the school year started extending further into August. He asked the Board to consider addressing the issue at no cost by moving the start of school to September, and removing one week of winter break and days off of spring break.
Patron Steve Van Maren commended the Board for making District information available to the public on the Web.
Mont Millerberg attended the Midvale Elementary groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month, and was touched by the cheers students gave principal Shad DeMill. He noted the District had its first Safety Committee meeting, and will meet again Sept. 27. He attended the Copperview Town Hall meeting on the search for the new principal. He thanked Jordan Principal Tom Sherwood for organizing the Administrative Conference’s Healthy Lifestyles Day golf event and securing so many donations to cover the costs. He also noted the close relationship Canyons has with the Midvale Boys and Girls Club. He noted the Canyons School District Education Foundation golf tournament is Sept. 19 at Wasatch Mountain State Park, and invited Board members to join him.
Paul McCarty commended the kindergarten report, and suggested forwarding it to the State Office of Education to show the benefits AIMSWeb data is having in Canyons.
Sherril Taylor attended the UHSAA meeting, in which concussions management in high school sports was discussed, and said further discussion would be forthcoming.
Tracy Cowdell commended the start of the new school year, and praised the District’s back-to-school call center and red carpet events for students. He praised construction projects’ progress over the summer. He noted the next Board meetings are Sept. 6 and 20, and that the District’s Apex Awards event is Sept. 13.
Kim Horiuchi represented Canyons at the National Civic League event in Kansas City. The National Civic League nominated Cottonwood Heights as one of America’s best cities, and she presented information about the efforts to launch the new school district. She also participated in the Butlerville Days parade, enjoyed the students’ participation in the Midvale Elementary groundbreaking, and noted the Butler Middle School groundbreaking is Sept. 8 at 5 p.m.
Steve Wrigley was impressed with the Canyons Virtual High School launch; thanked the CEA for its involvement on advisory boards to assist the school district in policymaking; and praised Dr. Doty’s Facebook postings.
Copperview, Brookwood Principals, Associate Director of Special Education Welcomed
The Board approved Chanci Loran, currently the Assistant Principal at Copperview Elementary, as the new Principal of Copperview Elementary, to replace Michelle Clark, who retired effective Aug. 1. The Board also welcomed Julie Mootz, assistant principal at Midvale Elementary, as the new principal of Brookwood Elementary, replacing Sharon Okumura, who retired effective Aug. 15. They also congratulated Robin Collett as the new Director of Special Education. She replaces Dr. Kathryn McCarrie, who was named Assistant Superintendent and Chief Performance Officer.
Board Receives Academics, Facilities and Budget Updates
Facilities Director Rick Conger updated the Board on the first five projects begun under the $250 million bond voters approved in 2010.
The District’s facility upgrade program will continue each summer and include five to six schools annually.
Board President Tracy Cowdell said district facilities have never received so much attention, and praised Conger for his efforts. Vice President Sherril Taylor said the children will enjoy the upgrades for years to come.
Secondary schools are implementing the Common Core State Standards in the 2011-2012 school year. Teachers and the Evidence-Based Learning Office have worked together to select materials, provide training and support to teachers, and create an honors core for seventh- and eighth-grade math. The academic team would like to adjust the math Common Core to implement both grades 10 and 11 standards in 2013 instead of waiting until 2014 to implement grade 11 standards.
The academic team, following a community survey and principal input, also has set four priorities to improve middle schools: Spend more time on English language arts and math; build intervention and enrichment time into the school day; give kids more elective choices; and continue subject- and grade-level collaboration among teachers.
Midvale Middle School teacher Mindy Robison praised the help the District has provided to teachers to implement the new Common Core State Standards, including a math camp and collaboration opportunities.
Board members praised Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode and her staff for their work in implementing these innovations and creating synergy with teachers.
Budget and Finances
The budget book detailing District spending and goals has been issued. Also, as part of the nation’s credit downgrade, bond rating agencies are examining the Aaa ratings of districts in areas with high federal contracts or employment nationwide. Salt Lake is a targeted area. The bond rating agency Moody’s plans to review Canyons’ Aaa rating, but not due to District financial issues.
Jenny Kallen spoke on behalf of concerned parents in her Crescent Elementary neighborhood regarding bus service to be provided until the District and community can create acceptable walking routes. She asked the District to be sure to provide busing until construction is completed on TRAX or until the boundaries change.
Jill Neilsen of Draper she is concerned about the new high school’s boundaries. She wants to make sure the new boundary keeps students together as they move from elementary to high school to prevent divisions within the community, and asked if the Board would examine putting her neighborhood in the new high school’s boundary rather than in the Jordan High boundary.
Tami Price presented a petition signed by more than 150 people in Draper’s Galena Hills subdivision. The petition asks the Board to include the neighborhood in the new high school’s boundary to remain with their peers from elementary school through high school.
Kelly Ballard, whose children attend Willow Springs, said her family is active in the community and a passionate supporter of the $250 million bond last year. However, she said she felt west Draper was underrepresented on the Boundary Steering Committee, and wants to see discussion of that matter.
Steve Van Maren, a Sandy resident, said he is concerned about the process and record-keeping of playground equipment purchases, and said those things led to confusion about how much money actually was spent.
Tracy Bennett, Alta High parent and chair of the 2009 Facilities and Enrollment Committee, relayed concerns she said she has heard from some of the members of that committee who also served on the Boundary Steering Committee. She said some are concerned the boundary committee didn’t account for some findings of the Enrollment and Facilities Committee, such as coming closer to a true school feeder system. After running out of time, she said she would submit other concerns in writing.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes purchasing bids; Board
Hires and terminations; June and July financial reports; Foundation Board members; the Cottonwood Heights/Mountview interlocal agreement; the home school affidavit; administrative appointments, and student overnight travel for CTC FCCLA. It also approved the 2011-2012 tentative Board meeting schedule, which includes a meeting on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6. The Board also granted a student appeal subject to the conditions set by the Board in closed session.
The Board met in closed session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; pending or reasonably imminent litigation; collective bargaining; and the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property.
Dr. Doty praised the work of the academic team. He noted seven schools – Midvale, East Midvale, Sandy, Copperview, Brookwood, Canyon View and Jordan Valley – will hold events on the first day of school Monday in which they will literally roll out the red carpet for students. He said high school football games start Friday, and noted the Butler Middle School groundbreaking is Sept. 8; the District’s Apex Awards ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 13; the Canyons School District Education Foundation’s Golf Tournament fund-raiser is Sept. 19. He also extended sympathy to an employee whose son died in an accident this summer and to the family of a Jordan High student killed in a car accident last week.