Wednesday, 18 May 2016 23:00

Board Summary, May 17 2016

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

Sandy City Redevelopment Proposal

Sandy City seeks permission from the Canyons Board of Education to adopt a tax-increment financing district to spur redevelopment of the core of downtown. The city also seeks to extend by 10 years increment financing on an existing project. Both projects are needed to support a rapidly growing and changing population, said Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan. “We want more high-tech jobs so people can live here, work here and play here.” The city plans to develop an upscale, transit-oriented community on 1,100 acres between TRAX and I-15 and 9000 South and 10600 South. The mixed-use area would include retail, entertainment and office space and easily-accessible amenities. Much of the housing will be apartments and condominiums geared for millennials and empty-nesters, and should not have a huge impact on schools. To help finance the project over 20 years, the District would forgo $23.2 million, but receive back an increment payment of $7.2 million. After 20 years, the District would collect taxes on the full value of the property, which should have increased substantially in value. On the extension, the District would forgo $19 million over 10 years, but receive an increment payment of $7.6 million. The Board will take up the issue again at a future Board meeting.

Portable Classroom Transfers

The Board approved the transfer of portable classrooms to accommodate growth and new programming at Lone Peak Elementary. In lieu of moving portables to Butler and Draper Park middle schools, the Board asks principals to maximize use of existing space and traveling teachers. Recognizing that this poses an inconvenience, the Board approved $2,000 stipends for traveling teachers and a $250 stipend for teachers who will have to share classrooms. Stipends also will be made available in the 2016-2017 school year for Corner Canyon High teachers who share classrooms and travel to their teaching spaces.  

Supplemental Kindergarten

The Board approved the launch of a pilot to offer Supplemental Instructional Hours for Kindergarten students provided that all Canyons District patrons, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay, have an opportunity to apply to enroll. Extended kindergarten will be piloted at six schools in the 2016-17 school year: Altara, Bella Vista, Brookwood, East Sandy, Edgemont and Oakdale. Students will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis and an effort will be made to match students with the school closest to their home. Tuition will be charged — $2,900 per year — but can be paid in monthly installments. Some slots will be reserved for children who meet requirements for fee waivers. The administration is to report back to the Board on student progress and the financial viability of the program three times throughout the year.

Thursday, 28 April 2016 16:12

Board Meeting Summary, April 27, 2016

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

Changes to Programming for Students at Midvale’s Homeless Shelter

With passage of SB169, the Midvale overflow shelter of The Road Home will remain open year-round, instead of serving solely as an overflow shelter in winter. As a result, Canyons schools will be able to more seamlessly serve students who reside at the shelter, explained Director of Student Access and Advocacy Karen Sterling. The District is working with the Utah Department of Workforce Services to apply for federal assistance funds to cover the costs of providing summer programming for these children. There are restrictions on how this money can be used, and the Department of Workforce Services hasn’t yet determined how the application process will work. But while the District awaits further information, Sterling’s team is moving ahead with a short- and long-term plan to support these students. During the summer, Canyons will continue its partnership with the Boys and Girls Club to provide summer programming for students at the shelter.

Mill Hollow Summer Camp Discussion

The Board of Education was updated on Mill Hollow, an environmental learning center owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The camp was previously operated by Granite District, which stopped running trips to the camp due to budget constraints. It’s now being operated by the non-profit Team Mill Hollow, which subleases the property through Granite District and is now taking reservations for summer programs said Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. Canyons will advertise the camp to families as it does for other extra-curricular learning opportunities. The District also will send a memo to schools to advertise job openings at the school for teachers in need of summer employment.

Consent Agenda

The Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda: hires and terminations; financial reports; purchasing bids; Granite Elementary easement improvements; Land Trust amendments; and an amendment to the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center Inter-Local Agreement. The Board also approved student travel requests, with the exception of a request submitted by Corner Canyon High’s Yearbook staff, which is being sent back to the school for revisions to safeguard student safety. In addition, all Land Trust spending plans carrying two Board member signatures were approved. The rest require further review.

Teacher of the Year Reception and Recognitions

After a short break, the Board reconvened for a special community celebration to recognize Teacher of the Year nominees and announce the overall winner for District Teacher of the Year. Peruvian Park Elementary SALTA teacher Gretchen Murray was chosen from a field of 48 teachers nominated by each of Canyons’ schools, including the academy at the Utah State Prison, and for the first time, Canyons Virtual High and Canyons’ new alternative high school, Diamond Ridge. She received prizes and a $1,000 check from the Canyons District Foundation and she will represent the District in the Utah Teacher of the Year contest. Also recognized on Tuesday were the school nominees, semifinalists and two finalists for District Teacher of the Year: Quintana Glover from Draper Elementary and Linda Tognoni from Park Lane Elementary. Board President Sherril Taylor and Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked teachers for their passion and tireless dedication.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 20:42

Board Recognitions — Feb. 16, 2016

Canyons Board of Education honored two individual students, a drill team and an esteemed guidance counselor at a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. Check out the amazing things Canyons' students and employees are up to:
  • Corner Canyon student Camden Seeborg earned a perfect 36 on the ACT
    • Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor and representative Chad Iverson congratulate Seeborg
  • The Hillcrest Drill Team won the state drill competition, becoming 4A champions
    • Canyons Board of Education representative Robert Green congratulates the team
  • Corner Canyon student Cassadi Christensen was chosen as a Grand Prize winner of the video category of the Utah State Office of Education's Martin Luther King Jr. contest
    • Watch her video entry here
    • Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor and representative Chad Iverson congratulate Christensen
  • Midvale Middle school guidance counselor Jared Buhanan-Decker received the Carl Perkins Counseling Award from the UACTE guidance division
    • Canyons Board of Education representative Robert Green recognizes Buhanan-Decker's accomplishment
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 20:43

Board Meeting Summary, Feb. 2, 2016

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

University of Utah Partnership

The Board of Education told the Administration to begin work on a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Utah that would allow Alta High to launch an early-college high school program in 2017. If realized, it would be the first partnership of its kind between the U. and a Utah public school district. Students chosen through a competitive application process would start taking classes from Utah professors at the U.’s Sandy Campus the summer before their senior years. Then, in the summer months after high school graduation, students in the co-hort would take enough general-education coursework to complete another semester. By participating, Alta students could expect to save $8,000 to $10,000 in tuition, fees, books and other associated college costs. The proposal calls for a pilot co-hort of 30-35 students.

Middle School Schedule

School Performance Director Mike Sirois updated the Board on the middle school schedule. When Canyons transitioned to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school format, CSD received a variance from the Utah State Office of Education to offer a CTE college- and careers-focused class every other day instead of every day. Now that the variance has expired, CSD administrators are brainstorming new schedule options that would accommodate all required courses and popular programs, such as dual-language-immersion, while also providing time for a spate of electives. Board member Clareen Arnold suggested expanding from a six- to seven-period day. Sirois said administrators and principals would look at all such options while developing a new schedule. The Board gave approval for administrators to study the issue.

Hillcrest Feeder Proposal

The Board of Education heard a proposal that would provide a concentrated and aligned effort to strengthen the schools in the Hillcrest High feeder system. Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt said the aim of the $461,000 proposed initiative is to provide a systematic method for tracking and transitioning Midvale-area students from one school to the next. The issue is highlighted by data showing that 33 percent of Hillcrest students are not on track to graduate, and 45 percent of Midvale students entering Hillcrest in 2016-2017 are below grade level in reading and mathematics. Systemically, the District faces myriad challenges in all levels of education in Midvale, where three of CSD’s four Title schools are located. At Midvale, East Midvale and Copperview elementary schools and Midvale Middle, principals struggle with high teacher-turnover rates and low numbers of veteran teachers willing to stay in schools that must handle social and academic issues simultaneously. The schools also report low parent engagement, chronic absenteeism and high numbers of students who transfer schools several times throughout the year. To the end of addressing these challenges, the administration is asking the Board to approve funding for an additional administrative intern at Hillcrest High, one additional Achievement Coach at each Midvale elementary school and Midvale Middle, and funding for an intensive summer school program for Hillcrest’s incoming ninth-grade students. The Board advanced the proposal for a second reading, per protocol. 

PTA Vote at Silver Mesa Elementary

The Board unanimously ratified the parent vote recognizing the PTA as the official parent organization of Silver Mesa Elementary. The ballots were tallied by Canyons Superintendent Jim Briscoe and his staff on Friday, Jan. 22, in the presence of representatives from the petitioning Parent Teacher Organization and the Silver Mesa PTA. The school’s recognized parent group, the Silver Mesa PTA, won the election by a vote count of 232 to 105.  The Canyons Board of Education earlier this year established a policy to allow communities to have a role in deciding which parent support group should represent their school. All schools in Canyons have PTA/PTSA as the recognized parent-support group.

Sale of Property

The Board voted to approve the sale of the former Valley High at 10000 S. State Street for $4.7 million. The 5.62 acres will be sold to Wadsworth Development Group.

High School Graduation Speaking Assignments

Assignments were made to attend and speak at specific graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2016. The five traditional Canyons high schools will hold commencement exercises on Thursday, June 2, 2016. 

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from the Jan. 19, 2016 Board meeting; student overnight travel; hire and termination reports; approval of School Resource Agreement with Sandy City; approval of specialist and CTE coordinator salary schedules; and the approval of an administrative appointment.  The Board also approved the Memorandum of Understanding for JEEC membership. 

Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Week

School Performance Director Alice Peck and Information Technology Director Scot McCombs updated the Board on the efforts to comply with HB213. The bill requires School Community Councils to engage in discussions about how technology is used in classrooms and the efforts of school administrators to safeguard youth from inappropriate and harmful online content. The Board of Education also adopted a resolution supporting Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Week, Feb. 1-5, 2016.  

Patron Comments

Tiffany Kasteler, a parent at Butler Middle, expressed a concern that student learning is measured only by assessments. She said students aren’t being taught responsibility when they aren’t required to turn in homework assignments for credit. 

Steve VanMaren encouraged the Board to minimize school activities on March 22 for political caucuses. 

Region 17 PTA President Betty Shaw expressed appreciation for the Board’s willingness to address difficult issues, especially the District’s new parent-organization policy. She said the Board showed great leadership in creating a fair and balanced policy. 

Candace Johnson, Silver Mesa PTA President-elect, thanked the Board for the parent-organization that was in place before the vote to continue having PTA as the parent organization.

Board and Administration Comments

Superintendent Jim Briscoe said it was a pleasure to attend the opening of the 2016 Utah Legislature. Utah Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, asked the Board to attend and be recognized for having a positive relationship with lawmakers. He also was proud to represent CSD at the Tuesday, Feb. 2 public announcement of a new diesel technician-training initiative. Dr. Briscoe was on a list of speakers that included Gov. Gary Herbert. He also congratulated CTE Director Janet Goble and her staff on the Job Shadow Day held throughout CSD on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board of the Alta View Elementary reconstruction. He also thanked Canyons teachers for their hard work and dedication as they meet with parents to discuss student achievement levels.

Chad Iverson congratulated Mary Bailey for being named the Utah High School Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Administrators. He also thanked the Administration for bringing the Hillcrest feeder proposal to the Board for study and consideration.

Board 1st Vice President Steve Wrigley thanked Alta High for extending an invitation to attend the Saturday, Jan. 30 presentation by Elizabeth Fenn, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History. Fenn’s presentation was part of a series of lectures in the Social Studies Colloquium created by Alta’s administration and history teacher Rique Ochoa. Wrigley also congratulated administrators and teachers at the Canyons Technical Education Center for holding a successful Open House on Jan. 28. 

Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey spoke about the Board’s appearance at Speaker Hughes’ opening-day remarks at the Utah Legislature. She said Utah lawmakers are important partners in delivering high-quality education to the state’s schoolchildren.  She also appreciates the legislature’s respect of local governance of neighborhood schools.  She also commended the students, teachers and parents who helped produce Albion Middle’s production of “Oklahoma,” which she attended. She also appreciates the Administration’s Internet safety and digital citizenship initiatives. 

Amber Shill thanked Alta High Principal Brian McGill and Assistant Superintendent Bob Dowdle for working with the U. on the “StepUp2theU” early-college program proposal. A Board member of the Utah High School Activities Association, Shill invited patrons to a public hearing on a proposed realignment. The meeting is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 at the UHSAA offices, 199 E. 7200 South. The public also can give input online at

Robert Green thanked the Administration for the Hillcrest feeder proposal. He also said the Speaker’s recognition of the Board at the outset of the 2016 was a wonderful experience. Green believes the District is advancing in the right direction. 

Sherril Taylor expressed appreciation for Canyons’ teachers and Education Support Professionals who put in so much time and effort on behalf of the District’s children. Taylor especially thanked those who work with children whose families are homeless or struggling financially. 

The Canyons Board of Education decided on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 to narrow the focus of its efforts to balance the future enrollments at Corner Canyon and Alta high schools.
The Board of Education approved a motion made by Board Vice President Steve Wrigley during a regularly scheduled meeting at the Canyons Administration Building, 9361 S. 300 East. The purpose of Wrigley’s motion is to “slow the growth at Corner Canyon, with as little disruption of students and families currently living within the Corner Canyon boundaries as possible.”   
Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor also noted that Alta High’s enrollment has increased this year. Taylor credited the enrollment growth to Alta’s high-quality programs, including a proposed partnership with the University of Utah, and marching band, which is offered in Canyons District only at Alta High.
The Board’s action followed Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe’s in-depth report of the five recommendations made by a Facilities Committee. The committee, made up of parents and principals from all parts of Canyons District, was assembled to give recommendations to the Board of Education on short- and long-term school facility needs districtwide.
Wrigley’s motion, approved 6-1, instructs the Canyons administration to draft a multi-tiered proposal that includes four of the five Facility Committee recommendations. The proposal would be drafted for the Board to consider on second reading, with possible final adoption, at a Tuesday, Oct. 20 meeting. If adopted by the Board of Education, the new boundaries would take effect at the outset of the 2017-2018 school year, giving students, families and schools two full years to prepare. Wrigley’s motion includes the following:
•   Moving a section of the District, which is roughly the area west of State Street, north of 9000 South and south of 8400 South, into the Jordan High boundary;
•   Moving an area, which is south of 11400 South, west of Lone Peak Parkway and north of 12300 South, into the Alta High boundary, and;
•   Moving the area roughly the area south of 12300 South, north of 14600 South and west of I-15 into the Alta High boundary.
Under the approved motion, only these three boundaries would change if the proposal is adopted by the Board. According to Wrigley's motion, in this proposal, no other areas of the District would be considered for school boundary changes.
The motion also calls for the District to require the District Policy Committee to draft, for the Board’s consideration, a policy that would require schools on moratorium status to verify the residence of its students at the time of registration. The motion, if it gains final approval, also would grant an allowance for students living in the areas mentioned in the proposed boundary changes. Those students would be able to stay at the school where they are currently enrolled, and their younger siblings, who would be entering the ninth-grade, would be granted waivers to attend the same high school as their older brother or sister.
Corner Canyon High is currently the only high school in Canyons District on moratorium status.
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