Midvale Middle School Receives New Assistant Principal
The Board approved the appointment of Kelly Tauteoli as the new assistant principal of Midvale Middle School. Ms. Tauteoli, who has been working as an assistant principal at Joel P. Jensen Middle School in Jordan District, is fluent in Spanish and is a former youth-in-custody teacher. She replaces Christine Waddell, who was appointed principal of Butler Elementary School earlier this month.
Board Expands Public, In-Depth Study Sessions
The Board will boost the time it spends studying policy matters as a way to improve education for Canyons students. The Board generally wants to reserve the first Tuesday of the month for study sessions, beginning at 5 p.m., and schedule study sessions and business meetings the third Tuesday of the month. The Board noted it would, however, schedule business meetings the first Tuesday of the month as needed. Study sessions and business meetings are open to the public. Study sessions typically include more in-depth discussions, while business meetings include discussion and official action.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, including the Aug. 3 minutes, purchasing bids, home school affidavit report, July financial reports, and an administrative appointment. It also approved student overnight travel for the Canyons School District FCCLA.
Superintendent David Doty said he is concerned about the affect of road construction on traffic during the first few weeks of school, and wants to get the word out to parents to expect delays and leave early to get to school on time. He reported on the employee forums offered earlier in the day to welcome back school staff and unify employees around career- and college-ready goals. He noted a committee is poised to present the Utah High School Activities Association with recommendations on reclassification and region realignment; Board Vice President Sherril Taylor said he believes the recommendations come in part due to issues brought to the fore by Hillcrest High School and Dr. Doty.
CFO and General Counsel Keith Bradford said he would like architects who are bidding on five school projects under the recently passed $250 million bond to present to the Board next month.
Ellen Wallace thanked the Administration for its employee forum earlier in the day.
Kim Horiuchi reported on the Utah School Boards Association Delegate Assembly, where the group ratified priorities for the 2011 Legislative Session. She said USBA’s platform has moved toward bolstering the state’s Capital Outlay Foundation Program rather than capital equalization between districts. She also urged the Governor and Legislature to accept the $101 million from the federal government to help public schoolteachers keep their jobs. She said the money could save up to 1,500 school jobs at a time of nearly 10 percent unemployment in Utah and prevent a jump in class size. She also said that the sum, to which Utahns contributed, would benefit another state if Utah turns it down. She suggested the Board take a formal position on accepting the funds.
Kevin Cromar is impressed with the District Arts Consortium’s efforts to expand orchestra programs. He praised the employee forum, and compared Dr. Doty to Horace Mann, founder of the common school, and was reminded of the importance of treating each other with respect as conveyed in the Broadway play “Wicked,” which he viewed in New York this summer. He described Canyons’ first year as well executed and miraculous. He praised the fact Canyons eighth-, 10th- and 11th-graders will take the ACT Explore, Plan and college entrance tests, respectively, this school year. He also talked about bond voting trends by Board precinct.
Study, Closed Session
The Board was briefed on first day of school activities, including implementation of a customer-service call center, “Red Carpet” events at Title I schools, and administrators offering support at schools. Amber Roderick-Landward, Executive Director of Evidence-Based Learning Instruction and Innovation in Elementary Schools, said some schools’ math books are on back order, but resources needed to begin teaching were found online and made available to teachers. Facilities Director Rick Conger briefed the Board on ongoing construction projects and his employees’ focus on school grounds. The Board also met in closed session to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
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.”
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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.