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Board Meeting Summary

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.

Air-Conditioning Update

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.

Board Action

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.

Patron Comments

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.

Board Reports

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.

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