Butler Elementary Principal Named
The Canyons Board of Education approved the appointment of Christine Waddell as the new principal of Butler Elementary School. Waddell, a National Board Certified Teacher who currently serves as the assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, replaces Laura Finlinson, who resigned to accept the curriculum director position in Jordan School District.
“Face to Faith” Program Planning Approved
Canyons School District will pilot the “Face to Faith” program, run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Participants in the optional program will learn about the world’s faiths, traditions and beliefs in part by dialoguing with students in nations including India and the United Kingdom. The program aims to promote cultural literacy and respect, and to spark dialogue about global issues. The District is in program-planning stages, which will include meetings with School Community Councils at participating schools -- Brighton and Hillcrest high schools and Indian HIlls and Butler middle schools. The program is expected to be offered to students this winter.
ACT Explore, Plan Tests to Boost College- and Career-Readiness
Canyons eighth- and 10th-grade students this fall will take the ACT Explore and Plan tests, respectively, to help ensure they are on an academic path that will prepare them for college and careers. The tests will be offered to all students during the regular school day under a grant from the Utah State Office of Education. Test results are expected to help students and parents select rigorous coursework in high school.
Education Foundation Established
The Board approved articles of incorporation to legally establish the District’s education foundation. The non-profit organization will promote community engagement to support and further the education of children in Canyons schools.
Social Studies Requirements Adjusted
The Board modified the standards for the new Advanced and Honors diplomas by increasing the social studies requirement from 2.5 credits to 3.0 credits. The Board earlier this year adopted the state’s 2.5-credit requirement when it approved the new diplomas. Students at Alta, Brighton, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools were formerly required to complete 3.5 credits of social studies under Jordan School District. The action, which comes following feedback from social studies teachers, aligns with the ACT Recommended Core, and results in an extra .5 credits required for the Advanced Diploma (20.5 core credits will be required) and Honors Diploma (22.5 core credits will be required). The additional half credit would not be specified, allowing students to choose their courses. The requirement forwards Canyons’ college- and career-readiness goals and is similar to that in most Wasatch Front districts.
Canyons is implementing SharePoint, a Microsoft software platform aimed at helping departments, schools and the District Office share information and improve communication, collaboration and project management. SharePoint now contains the District’s Master Calendar; other project management tools will be phased in this fall and in the months to come.
Report Card, Professional Development Updates Issued
The District is working toward creating elementary report cards that better reflect what students are able to do. Professional development activities have continued throughout the summer for achievement coaches and Dual Immersion educators, among others.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which included the July 6 minutes, purchasing bids, student overnight travel, board hires and terminations, the June expense report, home school affidavit report, social studies requirement, volunteer report, and Waddell’s appointment.
Butler Middle School P.E. teacher Tom Kilgore wondered if the contract with the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center could be changed to expand pool availability to students.
Canyons Education Association President Tony Romanello thanked the Board for its action on social studies requirements and for dialoguing with teachers. He also praised the administration’s work to make for a great inaugural year.
Region 17 PTA Vice President Betty Shaw thanked the District and staff for supporting PTA and participating in the Post-Convention Training, where some 325 people signed up as volunteers under the District’s new registration process.
Superintendent David Doty reported the summer months have been rejuvenating for staff. He said other districts have been encouraged by Canyons’ successful passage of a $250 million bond. He also has started issuing “Summer Reading Recommendations,” including “The Other Wes Moore” by Wesley Moore, and “The Great Santini” and “The Water Is Wide” by Pat Conroy.
As part of the $250 million bond, the District is taking bids to rebuild or renovate Butler Middle School, Albion Middle School, Midvale Elementary and Sandy Elementary, and to build a new high school in Draper, CFO and General Counsel Keith Bradford said. A committee will review bids and project ideas will be presented to the Board and communities. Patrons also have received tax notices. Canyons’ rate does not require a truth-in-taxation hearing. The District worked with the Utah State Tax Commission to ensure rates and property were properly set and assessed.
Board Member Kevin Cromar said he vacationed in Texas, New York and California following the June 22 bond election. He visited family, read several books, and conducted historical research.
Mont Millerberg asked for data on savings from the District’s four-day summer work week.
Official Election Results: Canyons’ $250 Million Bond Passes
It’s official: Voters in Canyons School District on June 22, 2010 approved the District’s $250 million bond proposal. In all, 13,517 votes were cast in favor of the bond, and 13,163 votes against the bond, according to results made official Tuesday evening by Salt Lake County and subsequently, the Canyons Board of Education in its legal role as the Board of Canvassers. The bond passed with 50.66 percent of the vote. Voter turnout was 24.9 percent.
“We are grateful that voters have given us their permission to start addressing $650 million in renovation needs in Canyons School District with this bond,” Canyons Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell said. “We look forward to getting started turning dirt in all corners of the school district as quickly as possible.”
Click here for more information.
New Ridgecrest Elementary Principal Named
The Board approved the appointment of Teri Mattson as the new principal of Ridgecrest Elementary School. Mattson, who currently serves as a Jordan School District Curriculum Consultant for gifted and talented student instruction and staff development, replaces Catherine Stoneman, who retired this summer.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June 15 meeting minutes, purchasing bids, and a lease agreement with the Cottonwood Heights Park and Recreation Service Area.
The Board met in closed session to discuss the sale of real property and the character, professional competence or mental health of an individual.
Board Approves $198 Million FY11 Budget
Following months of deliberation, the Canyons Board of Education approved a $198 million operating budget for 2010-2011. The budget includes cost-saving measures, including five furlough days in which the entire district, including schools, will shut down, due to a $13 million revenue shortfall. It also funds steps and lanes on the salary schedule.
The Board also approved a $20.6 million capital budget. The overall budget, which includes restricted federal expenditures, totals $295 million.
The District faced a $13 million revenue shortfall due to several factors, including decreased state funding and assessed valuation, and a reduction in one-time, federal stimulus money. Increased costs included a 13.4 percent hike in required state retirement contributions.
The Board took several measures to balance the budget, including furlough days, which will save $3.5 million, and transferring to the operations budget $2 million in capital outlay funds and $4.5 million from the 10 Percent of Basic Levy. The Legislature has authorized school districts to transfer building money to their operations budgets for FY11 and FY12 in light of the economic recession.
“This was a very difficult budget year for all school districts, and also a very difficult one for us,” Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell said.
CFO and General Counsel Keith Bradford projects the District could face another $12 million revenue shortfall in the 2011-2012 budget year.
Patron Steve Van Maren asked the Board several questions about the budget, including ARRA, or federal stimulus funds and the transfer of building money to operating budgets. Board members thanked Mr. Van Maren for addressing the Board and taking the time to understand the budget.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June 1 minutes; purchasing bids; May expense reports; Board hires and terminations; the Mt. Jordan Middle School bell schedule change proposal; Fund Balance commitments; and student overnight travel for Jordan High Boys’ Basketball and Alta High’s Volleyball, Madrigals, Softball, Boys’ Basketball, Debate, and AP Art History students.
Superintendent David Doty said the Administration completed its 63rd bond information presentation earlier in the day. He said he was encouraged by a new Dan Jones & Associates tracking survey that found 73 percent of Canyons District voters said they probably or definitely would vote for the $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond on June 22 (the survey of 200 voters was conducted June 10-12, 2010; the error margin is plus- or minus 7.5 percent). He thanked mayors and city councils for their support of the District and bond.
Ellen Wallace thanked Mr. Bradford for his work on the budget, and lauded the Jordan Valley and Jordan High commencement.
Kim Horiuchi praised District staff’s work to disseminate information about the Bond. She attended the Principal Search Town Meeting at Ridgecrest Elementary, and noted several parents praised Canyons’ willingness to communicate and engage in dialogue.
Kevin Cromar commended Alta High Debate Team’s advancement to national competition and reported on the District Art Consortium’s June 10 meeting.
President Cowdell noted the District’s upcoming 1-year anniversary on July 1, and thanked the staff for their work throughout the past year. He encouraged voters to study the issues and vote on Election Day June 22.
Sherril Taylor praised Mr. Bradford and his staff for the budget presentation, and congratulated Alta High’s more than 800 graduates.
Paul McCarty noted Canyons’ upcoming 1-year anniversary, and praised the District’s Communications Department for its work and Voter Information Guide.
Mont Millerberg noted that while budget cutbacks impact in the classroom, he feels better knowing there is no fat in the budget. He lauded the Hillcrest High School commencement ceremony and graduating class.
The Board met in closed session for the purposes of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
The Board of Education unanimously approved reducing the school year by five days in the 2010-2011 school year to help address a $13 million shortfall that is largely the result of the economic downturn. The five-day furlough is a one-time strategy to preserve jobs and maintain class sizes for the coming year. Superintendent David Doty noted that, upon talking with superintendent and school attorney colleagues throughout the country, he learned that school districts across the United States are reducing instructional days next year where authorized by the state. The furlough will affect all District employees (including the Superintendent and staff) and result in one-time savings of approximately $700,000 a day, or $3.5 million total for fiscal year 2010-2011. The eliminated school days, recommended by the District Calendar Committee of parents, teachers and administrators, will shutter all schools and District offices on the following dates: Sept. 13; Nov. 22 and 23; Feb. 14; and March 18. The days were chosen because they would be the least disruptive to student learning and could be spread throughout the year. The furlough is one of several cost-cutting strategies in the District’s $198 million budget, and is included in tentative contract agreements with the employee associations representing teachers and support personnel. The State Board of Education has authorized school districts to reduce the number of school days from 180 to 175 in the 2010-2011 school year to help balance their budgets, as long as the districts meet a required 963.5 hours of yearly instruction. Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell called the furlough an extraordinary remedy for an extraordinary circumstance. More detailed communication about the furlough days, to be distributed to parents and employees, is forthcoming.
New Midvalley Elementary Principal Named
Superintendent Doty announced Jeff Nalwalker as the new principal of Midvalley Elementary School. Mr. Nalwalker is currently Assistant Principal at Copperview Elementary, also in Canyons School District.
Student Achievement Plan Unveiled
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode, along with Evidence-Based Learning, school achievement, state and federal programs, and career and technical education directors, presented Canyons’ Student Achievement Plan to the Board in Study Session. The plan addresses how the District will focus administrators, teachers, parents and students on ensuring all students are ready for college and careers by the time they graduate from Canyons high schools. Plans include aligning instruction, curriculum and assessment; teacher recruitment, support and retention strategies; and engaging communities and underrepresented groups. The five-year plan will be detailed further this summer.
Preschool Expansion Proposed
Karen Sterling, Director of State and Federal Programs; Dr. Kathryn McCarrie, Director of Special Education; and Early Childhood Education Coordinator Terri Mitchell explained a proposal to expand the preschool program in Title I schools. They said the proposed program would be funded by federal money targeted at disadvantaged populations and children who qualify for special education services.
Bond Public Hearing
Canyons voters will go to the polls June 22 to determine a $250 million, tax-rate-neutral bond proposal to modernize Canyons facilities, maximize building use and tax dollars, and invest in the future and academic innovations. Proposed projects would include rebuilding and renovating Butler, Midvale, and Sandy elementaries, as well as Albion, Butler, Crescent View, Indian Hills, Midvale and Mount Jordan middle schools; building a new high school in Draper; preparing Brighton and Hillcrest high schools to accommodate ninth-graders under the Board’s academic and grade-realignment plan; and refurbishing an elementary school in the White City area. The District has nearly $650 million in renovation needs, according to an MHTN Architects’ report. The bond would not require a tax rate increase. Canyons would keep steady the tax rate needed to repay the old Jordan District debt. As payments from the old Jordan District’s 2003 bond start to drop off, Canyons District’s new bond payments would ramp up.
In the public hearing, the bond received support from the Canyons Education Association Executive Board; the Region 17 PTA Board; Sandy City Mayor Dolan; Steve Hopkins, president of Beckstrand & Associates; Kim Steenblik of the Bella Vista Elementary School Community Council, and Amber Shill of the Butler Middle School Community Council. A few parents said they support the bond, and wondered whether Butler Middle School would be rebuilt on site or on adjacent green space, or whether students would be bused elsewhere during construction; another wondered whether a reconstructed Midvale Middle School would have a swimming pool. Two patrons questioned why Peruvian Park and Midvalley elementaries, which have several needs, are not on the project list. One resident was concerned the project list lacked specificity, and another did not like grade reconfiguration or Draper area high school plans. Two patrons were concerned about the process, stating that the election should be held in November instead of June, and a Wasatch County resident urged Canyons taxpayers to read a state audit regarding the lack of state oversight of school construction.
Student, Community Achievement Spotlighted
The Board recognized Utah State Geography Bee winner Anthony Cheng, a sixth-grader at Peruvian Park Elementary, who goes to the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. May 25-26, and his teacher, Marti Davis. It also spotlighted High School Art Show winners Rebecca Simmons, Hillcrest High, “Seaweed Avant I”; Felicity Nielson, Hillcrest High, “Madame Raine”; Sarah Wofman, Alta High, “On His Way From Humanity”; Denae Blosser, Jordan High, untitled metamorphosis piece; and Alexandria Varas, Alta High, “Sweet September.” Also spotlighted were Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalists Ellie Vawdrey (Environmental Science), Ryan Baker (Earth and Planetary Science), and Albert Cui (Engineering) – all of Hillcrest High School.
Steve Carpenter, executive director of the Utah Recreation and Parks Association, presented the 2010 Outstanding Program Award to former Butler Elementary School principal Edy McGee and Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center Director Mike Peterson for their “FitKids” program.
The Board approved revisions to the Canyons’ Hazing and Bullying policy and Support Staff Development Committee policy.
New Administrators Introduced
Superintendent David Doty introduced Midvale Elementary Principal Shad DeMill, a former Midvale Elementary teacher and Jordan District school administrator; incoming Albion Middle School Principal Joanne Ackerman, a longtime Jordan District employee and the 2009 Utah Middle School Principal of the Year; and Oakdale Elementary Principal Alice C. Meridith, former Assistant Principal of Highland Village Elementary in Lewisville, Texas.
Board Action: The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes: April 20 minutes; purchasing bids; UBSCT appeals; Crescent View Middle School’s Revised LAND Trust Plan; home-school applications; FY11 Perkins Local Plan; and administrative reassignments. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta High Boys and Girls Soccer and Football; Brighton High Cheerleaders; Hillcrest High Drill Team and Student Government; CTE CTSO Leadership Training, HOSA, and Skills USA. The Board met in closed session to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual and collective bargaining. Information items on LAND Trust Plans and the Canyons Student Achievement plan were postponed to the next board meeting.
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Doty noted bond information presentations – 60 to 70 will be given before Election Day – are going well. He also noted the WestEd community forum on Pathways to College would be held on Wednesday, May 5, and encouraged Board members to mark their calendars for the May 18 Retirees Banquet. He reported on the success of the May 1 Canyons District night at the Real Salt Lake game, where teachers, employees and a volunteer of the year were honored.
CFO Report: CFO and General Counsel Keith Bradford noted tonight’s bond information presentation is the 31st the District has given in the past week and a half, generally receiving positive feedback. While there are other building needs districtwide, not all could be addressed immediately due to limited resources. The District will try to address as many as possible with ongoing capital funds.
Board Reports: Ellen Wallace attended the May 1 Canyons District Night at the Real Salt Lake game. She noted this is the third bond she has been involved in in her school board tenure, and suggested also working with private donors to build schools.
Kim Horiuchi attended arts events at Midvale Middle School.
Tracy Cowdell said he was pleased with support expressed for the bond. He also hoped for a speedy recovery for Sherril Taylor, who underwent surgery this week.
Paul McCarty attended two bond presentations in Draper, and thanked Draper City and communities for their support and positive response to the proposal.
Mont Millerberg said the bond information presentation was well received by the Midvale City Council, and added Mayor Seghini hoped Salt Lake County would make Midvale City Hall an early-voting location. He also was able to spend the past week with newborn grandson.