Board Forwards Bond Projects, Authorizes Negotiations With Architects
The Board authorized the Administration to enter into contract negotiations with the following architects so that work can begin on the first five projects of the $250 million bond voters approved last June:
Midvale Elementary School Replacement NJRA Architects
Sandy Elementary School Seismic Upgrade MHTN Architects
Albion Middle School Renovation FFKR Architects
Butler Middle School Replacement VCBO Architects
New High School in Draper Sandstrom Associates
In all, 23 architectural firms responded to Canyons’ request for Statement of Interest and Qualifications posted on BidSync. An Architect Review Committee, established at the Board’s direction, carefully examined firms’ proposals and toured 14 schools before bringing recommendations to the Board for approval. After contracts are negotiated the Board plans to hold community meetings to learn what the public would like to see in their new schools.
Boundary Steering Committee Gets Underway
The Canyons Board of Education has approved a Boundary Steering Committee to examine school boundaries districtwide and address issues outlined by the 2009 Enrollment and Facilities Task Force. The steering committee will recommend potential boundary changes to the Board for implementation in the 2013-2014 school year. Its meetings begin Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010, and are open to the public.
The Steering Committee comes as part of the Board’s commitment to community engagement, and forwards the grade reconfiguration portion of its career- and college-ready Academic Plan. The Academic Plan includes reconfiguring grades to create grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 schools; upgrading facilities and building a new high school in Draper with a $250 million voter-approved bond; and optional career- and college-ready diplomas.
The 26-member Boundary Steering Committee is broadly representative of the district, and includes 16 parents, two school secretaries, three teachers, three principals, District Transportation Director Ken Spurlock and District Facilities Director Rick Conger. It also includes four, non-voting support staff members from the District Office.
“We appreciate the community members’ willingness to sit on this committee and their commitment to the work that lies ahead,” Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell said. “I look forward to seeing the results of their hard work.”
The steering committee follows the work of the parent-led Enrollment and Facilities Task Force, and will address a number of issues, including: elimination of pocket busing, or the practice of busing students from crowded schools in the south to less full schools outside of their neighborhoods; delineation of high school feeder systems; maximization of existing school facilities; and restoration of balance to middle school enrollments.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Aug. 17 minutes; purchasing bids; the home school affidavit report; August financial reports; and Board hires and terminations. The Board also approved overnight travel for Brighton Swimming, Boys Basketball and Cross Country; Hillcrest Baseball, Cross Country, Concert and Jazz Band; Jordan Cross Country and Volleyball; and Canyons District Skills USA, DECA, FBLA and HOSA participants. It also approved a 504 Policy, which sets guidelines for providing necessary health care services and other accommodations for students with special needs and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in accordance with state and federal law.
Suzanna Briggs of East Sandy Elementary thanked the Board for new computers in the computer lab, but questioned why the old computers were surplused when they could be better used in the classroom. Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell said the District Administration would look into the matter.
Jeff Williams, parent of a Butler Middle School student, asked what the process would be for rebuilding the school, and whether he could participate in a committee to examine proposals. President Cowdell said the Board has every intention to seek and obtain parent and stakeholder feedback.
Jodie Crowder, East Sandy Elementary teacher, expressed concerns about instructional time devoted to the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Dr. Doty reminded the Board of the Sept. 30 Utah School Boards Association regional meeting. He forwarded Utah High School Activities Association data on extracurricular activities participation in Utah and the UHSAA’s timeline to implement a new realignment process. He also informed the Board about recommendations developed by the Governor’s Education Commission and Commission to Optimize State Government. He also has been frequently visiting schools, and working with bond counsel to plan for the issuance of the first series of bonds.
CFO Keith Bradford reported on touring schools of bidding architectural firms, and read the architects authorized to begin negotiations with the District. He said the next step is to negotiate a contract according to state rules and schedule community meetings to receive input on the proposals.
Mont Millerberg thanked the community for its overwhelming support of the Inaugural Golf Tournament, set for Thursday, Sept. 30 at Wasatch Mountain State Park. The tournament has sold out. He also praised Midvale Middle School’s Constitution Day activities and students’ understanding of the Constitution.
Paul McCarty relayed research contained in a Washington Post article printed in the Deseret News that noted the key in education – to borrow from the real estate adage of location, location, location – is motivation, motivation, motivation. He praised the work of District public relations, Dr. Doty’s leadership, and communication of Board tenets of student achievement, customer service, innovation and community engagement to illustrate Canyons is following practices backed by research.
Vice President Sherril Taylor thanked the UHSAA for its realignment work.
President Cowdell lauded Board Room sound system improvements and the IT staff. He thanked the Administration for reaching out to Jordan School District during the fire in Herriman. He congratulated retiring Jordan Superintendent Barry Newbold, with whom he worked as a former Jordan Board of Education member. President Cowdell praised Dr. Newbold as a good superintendent and person, recognized his role in Canyons successes, and said he would be missed.
Kevin Cromar thanked Vice President Taylor and Mr. Millerberg for their work in the UHSAA realignment action. He attended the beet-topping ceremony at Jordan High, and the Face to Faith program introduction and school community council meeting at Brighton High, which he toured and then praised for posting Utah’s third-highest pass rate on Advanced Placement exams. He attended former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s luncheon address sponsored by Parents for Choice in Education, and disagreed with some of the presentation and the proposal to grade schools in Utah. He praised Canyons’ inclusivity of immigrant and Spanish-speaking students, and said altering the 14th Amendment would be unwise.
Kim Horiuchi attended Mr. Bush’s luncheon address where she said she found several good ideas, including extending scholarships to first-generation college students. She also wished Dr. Newbold well in his retirement. She said she was grateful for the chance to work with Dr. Newbold as a former Jordan Board of Education member, and praised him for his impact on Utah children.
Ellen Wallace, who was president of the Jordan Board of Education when Dr. Newbold was hired as superintendent, also praised Dr. Newbold for his service to Jordan School District. She said he set a new direction for the District, and served with great enthusiasm. She called his retirement a loss for Jordan District, and noted it was a pleasure to serve with him.
Study, Closed Session
The Board discussed the process surrounding the distribution of federal education jobs money, which Superintendent Doty, in response to Legislative leaders, suggested using to avoid class-size increases in light of a projected $15 million budget shortfall. Board Member Kevin Cromar suggested reversing furlough days this year; others said the furloughs were well thought out and good policy. The Board will discuss and solidify its plans for the money once it comes through. The Board also received a report on the Inaugural Golf Tournament discussed an inaugural Board of Education awards banquet to honor community contributions to Canyons School District, and future study sessions and meetings. The Board met in closed session to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
Canyons to Create Boundary Steering Committee
The Board gave the green light to create a Boundary Steering Committee. The committee will examine school boundaries and address issues outlined by the 2009 Enrollment and Facilities Task Force. The committee will recommend potential boundary changes to the Board for implementation in the 2013-2014 school year.
The 26-member Boundary Steering Committee will include broad community representation and examine school boundaries districtwide. It will consist of 16 parents, four from each of the four high school areas (two from elementary schools and one each from middle and high schools); two school secretaries, three teachers and three principals representing elementary and secondary schools; and District Transportation Director Ken Spurlock and Facilities Director Rick Conger. The committee will be supported by four, non-voting District administrators.
The steering committee will follow up on the work of the Enrollment and Facilities Task Force, which met from April to September 2009. The task force, which consisted of parents representing every Canyons school, recommended school boundaries be examined districtwide to address a number of issues, including ending pocket busing (busing students from crowded schools in the south to less full schools outside of their neighborhoods); cleaning up high school feeder systems; maximizing current building use; and balancing middle school enrollments.
The Steering Committee comes as part of the Board’s commitment to community engagement, and forwards its career- and college-ready Academic Plan. The Academic Plan includes optional career- and college-ready diplomas; reconfiguring grades to create k-5, 6-8 and 9-12 schools; and upgrading facilities and building a new high school in Draper with a $250 million voter-approved bond to support students in their preparation for college and the workforce.
The Board is expected to vote to officially create the committee, and give the committee additional guiding principles, on Sept. 21.
Facility Upgrade Bids Dubbed ‘Exciting’
Architectural firms are submitting “innovative” and “exciting” bids on the first five projects of the $250 million bond voters approved last June, CFO Keith Bradford said. A District committee will do site visits before forwarding its recommendations, possibly as early as Sept. 21.
Customer Service Call Center Deemed Successful
Superintendent David Doty reported the District’s temporary customer service call center took more than 2,000 inquiries from the community in the first two weeks of school. He commended Communications Associate Director Jeff Haney and Staff Assistant Laura Minson for their leadership.
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.