Friday, 07 October 2016 16:29

Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 4, 2016

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

School Upgrades Proposal

A remodel of the Main Office at Midvale Elementary, the installation of carbon monoxide detectors at all elementary schools, and roofing and HVAC repairs are among more than two-dozen small capital projects being proposed for the 2017-2018 school year. Each year, schools submit their construction wish lists, which are ranked by an administrative committee that weighs, among other things, whether the projects are a safety or security imperative, or will meet a legal requirement, said Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.  If the Board approves the proposed upgrades at its Oct. 18 meeting, the Purchasing Department will begin soliciting bids from February to March 2017 with a goal of having the projects completed the following fall, said Wilcox.

Indian Hills Renovation

The Board of Education was presented a resolution calling for Indian Hills students to attend classes at the old Crescent View Middle, 11500 S. 300 East, for the 2017-2018 academic year. From April 2017 to August 2018, crews will be working on a substantial remodel of the building, funded by the $250 million bond approved by CSD voters in 2010. The Board also was asked to temporarily change the boundaries so that 481 IHMS students would qualify for busing to the old CVMS.

Priority Schools Progress

Strides are being made toward moving two Title I schools off Improvement Status. Copperview Elementary was designated a Focus school and Midvale Elementary was designated a Turn Around school by the Utah State Office of Education during the 2014-2015 school year due to low performance on year-end scores, explained Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling. The schools have received grant dollars to support technical assistance from the Utah Education Policy Center, which completed a thorough analysis of the schools’ performance and helped develop plans for boosting student achievement. Midvale Elementary’s performance on SAGE improved by 20 points this year, bringing the school out of Utah’s bottom 3 percent—the threshold for Turn Around status. If Midvale continues to improve and maintains its performance for three years, its Turn Around designation will be lifted. Assistant Principal Chip Matt Watts says home visits and Parent-Teacher Team meetings where educators share homework tips with parents has helped build relationships with families. The school is home to a Family Learning Center where adults can brush up on their English language skills and take free parenting classes. Both Midvale and Copperview partner with the United Way of Greater Salt Lake to make social supports and public aid more easily available to families that need them, thereby removing non-academic barriers to student success. The immediate focus at Copperview has been to address behavior problems that were disrupting the learning environment, said the school’s new principal Christine Webb. Also, coaches are working with teachers to adopt strategies shown to work with English learners.  Early data show growth in SAGES is in line with the rate of growth statewide, Webb said.

Posting of the Colors, Reverence

The colors were posted by a Webelos Scout Troop made up of students from Canyon View Elementary, and Principal BJ Weller updated the Board on academic growth at the school, noting Canyon View received an A this year under Utah’s school grading system. The school has moved to a reverse lunch schedule where recess is held prior to lunch, which Weller says has helped reduce food waste. Weller thanked the Board for their investment to install a security vestibule and fund parking improvements, which have reduced drop off and pick-up times by several minutes. 

Consent Agenda 

The Board approved the consent agenda, with exception of Union Middle’s revised Land Trust Plan, which the Board would like to further discuss. Approved as part of the consent agenda were: minutes from the meeting of the Board of Education on Sept. 20, 2016; new hires and terminations; purchasing bids; proposed student overnight travel; an MOU with Alpine School District on Suncrest busing; and changes to an MOU on employee health care benefit negotiations.  

Board Mission and Vision

The Board approved a new vision and mission statement for Canyons District, which includes core tenets and beliefs and a list of indicators for measuring success. Canyons District’s mission continues to be that all students graduate college- and career-ready. This is supported by the five tenets of student achievement, community engagement, customer service, innovation and fiscal accountability. The vision statement states that “Canyons School District is a public education system dedicated to delivering a high-quality education to students, valuing and rewarding the vital contributions of employees, and helping learners of all ages be prepared for meaningful life opportunities. We value transparency and collaboration in governance. We work together with families and community partners to establish and maintain safe, supportive, and academically challenging school environments which strengthen neighborhoods and communities.” The administration will publish this information on Canyons District’s website and report back to the Board on approved indicators and efforts to implement the framework.

SALTA Testing Fees

The Board approved a new fee proposal for SALTA testing. Non-CSD-enrolled students will now be charged $50 to take the qualifying test for the advanced learner program. Those who enroll in CSD’s SALTA magnet program, however, will be eligible for a full refund. There will continue to be no charge for CSD-enrolled students unless they take repeat tests. Repeat testers will be charged $25, but will be eligible for a refund if they enroll in the SALTA program.

Policies Changes

The Board approved the policy requiring employee to provide proof of immunizations in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease. The Board also approved a revision to the policy governing a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, making it possible for the District to randomly test drivers of district vehicles for use of drugs and alcohol. The policy about the Support Staff Development Committee was revised for readability, and the Employee Release Time Regulations were revised to maintain one policy for employees.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports 

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe noted that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert visited CSD three times last week to read to third grade students at Midvalley Elementary, promote a new health sciences program, and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cottonwood Heights City Hall. Dr. Briscoe also noted that Gov. Herbert has proclaimed Oct. 17-21 Principal’s Week. The Department of School Performance and Office of Public Communications will work on a presentation to celebrate CSD’s principals at the next Board meeting.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox recognized the administrative assistants for principals at each of Canyons District’s five traditional high schools. He also expression for the teachers and their hard work to prepare for last week’s Parent-Teacher Conferences. 

Board Reports

Mr. Robert Green said he visited Midvale Middle, and lauded the middle school’s administration for their efforts. He mentioned the room at the school that holds donations, such as clothing, that can be taken by students who need the aid. 

Mrs. Amber Shill applauded the Department of Instructional Supports for bringing the SALTA fees proposal forward and looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars. She remarked on the success of the ceremony celebrating the new Cottonwood Heights City Hall. She also recognized Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards and School Performance Elementary Director Alice Peck for conducting School Community Council trainings, which have served as a model that’s being replicated throughout the state.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey congratulated Cottonwood Heights on the new City Hall and thanked Brighton High students for participating in last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. She expressed gratitude for everyone in the District responsible for all the behind-the-scenes work that seems like it goes unnoticed.

Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked that he feels the District is getting stronger and moving in the right direction. He is pleased to see a new mission and vision statement approved to guide the District in its continued success.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked the teachers for doing all they do for students and to all employees who support them.

Mr. Chad Iverson reserved comment.

President Sherril Taylor looks forward to the renovation of Indian Hills Middle.  He also thanked Kathy Hilton, Corner Canyon High’s administrative assistant, who attended the Board meeting, for her hard work at the school. He thanked the Board for being prepared for meetings, having read the materials and prepared good questions. He also remarked on the new SALTA fee policy, saying its an example of the Board caring about students. It sends a message that the District will open avenues for students to attend our schools. He also thanked the police officers for providing security at the Board meetings. 
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  http://uhsaa.org/machform/view.php?id=14359.

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. 

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