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Board Meeting Summary
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs and by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Extra Bus Stops Discussed for Midvale Middle

During the reconstruction of Midvale Middle School, students who had previously walked to school are being bused to the school’s temporary location at the old Crescent View Middle School, 11150 S. 300 East, School Performance Director Mike Sirois reported. The idea is to ease the transition for students and families. Midvale City Park on the corner of Center and Chapel streets was selected as the bus site, which allows for concentrated supervision by administrators, volunteers, crossing guards, and police officers. However, numbers of anticipated riders may be as high as 420, who would require seven buses, likely resulting in congestion. Additionally, some patrons have expressed concerns regarding student safety in walking to the site.

Sirois presented several additional sites that may be used in the coming weeks. Parents also received information at Back-to-School Night, via direct mail and Skylert, Midvale Middle Principal Wendy Dau said.

New Administrators Introduced

The Board introduced the following new administrators, appointed last spring to lead in Canyons schools:

-          Justin Jeffrey is the new Principal at Park Lane Elementary. He most recently worked as an Assistant Principal in the Humble Independent School District in Texas.  He replaces Kelly Tauteoli, the new Principal of Union Middle.  

-          Roger Moody, is an Assistant Principal at Butler Middle School. He had been working as an Achievement Coach at Corner Canyon High. He replaces Jesse Hennefer, who is now an Administrator in the Canyons District Instructional Supports Department. 

-          Rachel Hill, is a new Assistant Principal at Hillcrest High. She had been working as an administrative intern at Alta High. She also has served in the CSD Instructional Supports Department and speaks fluent Spanish.

Revisions to Proposed Parent Support Organization Policy Discussed; Action Postponed

The Board discussed revisions to a proposed parent-support organization policy that would create a process by which parents could form a parent-support organization that is different than the one currently recognized in the school. The Board also voted to postpone action on the proposal for two weeks. Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey said PTA leaders and other parents it would be less disruptive to schools to give direction as soon as possible to school administrators.

The proposed policy first was discussed by the Board July 14. The Board discussed possible revisions Aug. 4, and received additional feedback to craft the following adjustments to the proposed policy:
  • Based on advice from legal counsel, only current registered parents or legal guardians and employees could vote on a proposal.    
  • Parent e-mail addresses are not considered Directory Information and would not be distributed to either party.
  • During the petition period, each group would receive an opportunity to distribute one electronic flyer as facilitated and approved by the local school. Groups would not be allowed to campaign during school hours, nor would they be able to campaign 30 minutes before or after school hours. The Board approved a motion to amend the verbiage to bar campaigning on District property or during District functions or with the use of district resources.
  • The Superintendent is subject to Board policy and procedures in resolving situations and disputes.      
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said a process is needed to ensure fairness and consistency, and that the proposal has been crafted thoughtfully and with parent engagement. Board Vice President Steve Wrigley said that he hoped that disruption to the educational environment will be minimized and the process remain civil. Board Member Robert Green said the policy allows the District to remain neutral.

E-Rate brings $2.5 million to CSD

Canyons School District to date has received $2.5 million from E-Rate, theSchools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, Information Technology Director Scot McCombs reported. The program focuses on expanding funding for Wi-Fi networks in elementary and secondary schools that meet certain criteria to be dubbed “Category 2.”  CSD is aggressive in its approach to E-Rate, and became one of the first in the nation to secure funding for a hosted VOIP system, pioneered automated sibling match, and secured nearly $400,000 in Category 2 funding this year. CSD expects to receive nearly $560,000 in E-Rate funding this year for VOIP, cellular, Alta High’s network cable upgrade, and switches and Wi-Fi access points for Mount Jordan Middle and Alta and Hillcrest high schools.  McCombs and IT Assistant Liz Healy presented the Board with a giant check for the nearly $560,000 the district received from the E-Rate program this year.

United Way Agreement Approved

The Board approved the agreement with the United Way of Salt Lake in efforts to boost student success in the Midvale area. The agreement provides targeted student interventions and promotes wrap-around services, engaging community partners in a collaborative model. It provides a grant of $190,000 per year to pay for half of the costs of a Community School Facilitator at each of the Title I schools.  It also includes success measurement using aggregate data. Individual student data will be shared only after parents sign a specific waiver.

Director of Student Advocacy and Access Karen Sterling said she’s excited to see the common agenda with community partners to improve the lives of students and families. Scott McLeod, Vice President of United Way of Salt Lake’s Collective Impact, said the partnership brings together school and community supports, and distributes accountability for student success to the community.

Summer Professional Development Reaches Thousands

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie praised the 4,225 CSD professionals, teachers, and administrators who participated in CSD professional development offerings to boost their skills and prepare for the new school year. CSD offered about 100 professional development sessions over the summer. Dr. McCarrie said the high numbers of offerings and participants illustrate employees’ commitment to student success. Board members said they were impressed by teachers’ efforts to improve student achievement.

Staffing Report Presented

CSD's efforts to recruit and hire quality educators continues amid a national teacher shortage, Human Resources Director Steve Dimond said. Hiring efforts have been helped by Board support, policies and procedures, including an early notification incentive of up to $500 and relocation stipend of up to $1,000 and recruitment at national teacher job fairs, state colleges and universities and on teacher-teachers.com. This year, CSD hired 230 new teachers, 63 of whom relocated more than 400 miles to take jobs in CSD schools, Dimond said.  About one-third of the new teachers are first-year educators. Additionally, 180 teacher substitutes have been recruited in the past week, and the training they’ll receive will ensure a stronger substitute pool than ever before, Dimond said. To improve future recruitment efforts, Dimond proposed stipends for teacher experience, and stipends for longevity and growth in student achievement for teachers in Title I schools.

CSD continues its search for four elementary teachers, a part-time Spanish teacher, a CNA clinical instructor, and 2.5 school psychologists. The District has deployed qualified substitutes — including retired and licensed teachers and substitutes who have associate’s degrees who have received substitute teacher training through Utah State University — to teach students until a full-time teacher is hired for those positions. CSD also is working to hire nutrition services workers, custodians, instructional assistants and administrative assistant positions.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Aug. 4, 2015 Minutes, Purchasing Bids, July Hire and Termination Reports, and Student Overnight Travel for Alta Drill Team and CSD FCCLA.

The Board approved changes to four policies. The School Access Policy was updated to include three policies — Access to Buildings, Community Use of School Buildings, and School Trespass. The Facilities Construction, Renovation, and Maintenance policy was updated to formalize the Board’s philosophy regarding District facilities. The School Wellness Policy was updated to meet federal requirements for local agencies participating in the National School Lunch Program, and addresses nutrition guidelines and instruction, physical education and activity. The Copyright policy was updated to provide help and clarification to instructors.  

The Board approved a proposal by Verizon Wireless to place a cell tower at Crescent Elementary School on the campus’s northeast side where an existing cell tower is located. The proposal was approved by the School Community Council. CFO Leon Wilcox said the District’s has a new practice for cell tower proposals. He said proposals are sent to the city planner’s office to ensure it complies with city codes. He said the Crescent monopine’s tower mostly is in compliance, but received a variance because the 60-foot monopine’s branches extend an additional 7 feet.

The Board received a proposal by Verizon Wireless to place a cell tower at Jordan High. The proposed monopine tower complies with Sandy City code and would be placed in the southeast section of the school property near the driving range. The Board will discuss the proposal in a future meeting.

Patron Comments

Patron Carrie Tuttle said she represents a group, and thanked the Board for allowing input and discussion about the proposed parent-support organization policy. She wanted to clarify points about flier approval and other steps that her group would like to see in the policy. She asked why electronic signatures wouldn’t be allowed in the petition process. She said the policy-creation process has benefited her school and encouraged parent engagement. She said she hopes parents would come together for the benefit of kids.

Parent Sonja Ames praised CSD teachers for helping her children to become successful. She said she has been involved in the Silver Mesa Elementary parent-organization effort there. She said she would appreciate the chance to vote on the student organization and was pleased for the opportunity to become aware of a possible alternative. She said the process has been enlightening as to how she might be more engaged in her school.

Karen Conder, who is a parent of Silver Mesa students, a substitute teacher, and a member of the Silver Mesa PTA Board, said the school always has been welcoming and a place where parents and teachers were working together. She asked Board to delay final vote on the parent-support organization policy for another two weeks to allow parents to become more aware of the deliberations once school starts. She said there already have been disruptions and misunderstandings, and the extra time would help clear those issues.

CFO’s Report

CFO and Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked education technology specialists Julie Newin and Eric Osborn to assist the Board with audio-visual efforts. He said there are issues with the Park Lane cell tower and they are trying to reach resolution. He provided a facilities update, and encouraged Board Members to see the commons area at Jordan High. He said a new weight room is in process at the school. Smaller projects to place new carpet in schools also are in place for school to start.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe thanked Diamond and Dr. McCarrie for their presentations about recruitment, professional development and training, and said the efforts are better than he’s seen anywhere else. He noted CTESS training also is ongoing to help simplify the process for teachers. He noted it’s challenging to recruit teachers from out of state, and that the Board’s recruitment efforts are outstanding. He is looking forward to the first day of school and will be on hand to thank the Transportation Department and visit schools. He toured South Park Academy at the Utah State Prison, and saw a woman teaching an inmate who was wearing shackles. Dr. Briscoe and said the inmate told him that his teacher was outstanding. He said he’s impressed by the teachers who help adults improve their lives through education.

Board Reports

Board Member Green said he’s excited to start the new school year.

Board Member Amber Shill attended the visual arts and music booster training, and was excited to see all the technicians there ready to get started in elementary schools. She attended the Brighton soccer field ribbon-cutting ceremony, and thanked the Board, Facilities Director Rick Conger and Wilcox for their work. She is looking forward to the Friday ribbon-cutting at 5:30 p.m. at the Brighton turf.

Board Second Vice President Tingey enjoyed the soccer field ribbon-cutting ceremony and thanked the Board and Administration for their work there. She and Dr. Briscoe attended a Cottonwood Heights City luncheon where CSD Teachers of the Year were recognized. She attended the Utah School Boards Association Delegate Assembly, where the process for identifying legislative priorities began. She thanked other Board members for attending as well, and noted the urgency for attracting and retaining quality teachers. She appreciates the work to complete the United Way partnership and the thoughtful review that helped to resolve initial concerns. She said United Way is committed to high-quality education programs for students and is excited for the agency to see what CSD has and to provide additional resources to help CSD expand those services. She wished everyone a happy first day of school on Wednesday, and plans to attend red carpet events. She also attended meet and greets at schools. She thanked teachers for their hard work to prepare for the first day of school.

Vice President Wrigley said he’s excited for the coming school year and the good things that have been happening. He noted the Board’s strategic planning and goals will help set the direction for the school year. He said the USBA Delegate Assembly was exciting, and noted the conversations he encountered centered on UVU’s work regarding students with autism. He praised Mount Jordan’s new building and the auditorium built in partnership with Sandy City, which the community will be able to use in the years to come.

Board Member Clareen Arnold said it was marvelous to go to Mount Jordan Middle, which was amazing in its thoughtful design focused on instruction and engagement. She noted the cafeteria is a grid to allow students to play human checkers or human chess. She said there were many people instrumental in crafting the building and while not all of them can be named, the Board appreciates what they did.

Board Member Chad Iverson said he has a sixth-grader starting middle school Wednesday. He’s excited for the freshman-sophomore soccer league launching this year in Canyons and involving three Granite District schools. He’s looking forward to resuming Facilities Committee meetings on Aug. 26, and said that a recommendation is expected to come to the Board this fall.

Board President Sherril Taylor thanked everyone in the Administration and Central Offices for their work getting ready for the school year.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purposes of discussing the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property and the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.  

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