Canyons District is bracing for the possible emotional impacts of the second season of the teen drama “13 Reasons Why.”  

The first season of “13 Reasons Why,” released last spring, caused some concern among CSD educators and teachers, who were caught by surprise at the uptick in students asking for counseling help after the teens binge-watched the Netflix series that traded heavily in such mature themes as sexual assault, drug use, and suicide.

To the end of being prepared for the show’s launch date, school counselors and school psychologists in Canyons District have been sent guidance from the National Association for School Psychologists. Tips for parents and students also are included in the information from the national organization. 

While the producers of the popular show have been tight-lipped about the show's release date, the District is striving “to get out in front of it rather than two weeks late,” said Tori Gillett, Canyons’ School Counseling Program Specialist. 

“We definitely want to encourage parents to be aware of the show and its mature themes,” Gillett said, adding that the inaugural season of the show, which is produced by pop star Selena Gomez and based on a young-adult novel of the same name, “evoked a lot of emotions, especially in the students who are most vulnerable.”

While it’s important to have conversations about the issues faced by the teenaged characters in the much-Tweeted-about episodes, Gillett said, it’s equally vital to have “appropriate safeguards” in place to support young viewers who struggle with the frank topics of the show. The second season is not expected to be any less stark, with previews showing a possible school shooting. 

To be sure, parents can decide what’s best for their own families, but mental-health professionals, including those in CSD’s student-support programs, caution against binge-watching, especially if the students are watching the show alone.

The District wants students to know there are many caring adults in their lives who want to help.  “We should have open dialogues,” Gillett said. “We want students to know there are people out there who care about them and are willing to listen.”  

Where can students or parents go if they need extra supports? School counseling centers can help both students and parents who are looking for information about this or any other issue that is prompting challenging emotions. Of course, if a student needs help immediately, they can turn to the SafeUT mobile app for all-day and all-night access to licensed clinicians from the University of Utah. 

Guide for Families
  • Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series “13 Reasons Why." While we don’t recommend that students be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
  • Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  • Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  • Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
  • Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.
Source: National Association for School Psychologists
As a precautionary measure, Canyons District is pulling all lettuce from meals served in school cafeterias until American health officials declare that an E.coli scare is over. 

The outbreak, which has sickened dozens of people in up to 11 states so far, began in mid-March and may have been caused by bagged and pre-chopped lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region and distributed to retailers across the country. 

While no Utahn is one of the 35 cases, Canyons District is erring on the side of caution. For the health and safety of students and employees, the lettuce that had been purchased for regularly schedule meals will be discarded. 

CSD’s Nutrition Services Department had ordered 32 cases of chopped lettuce and 22 cases of head lettuce for upcoming menus, said CSD Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas.

Menus containing lettuce will either be modified or lettuce will be omitted from the food item, Varas said. Students were informed today that salads will not be served. 

The majority of those who have fallen ill reported eating romaine lettuce within a week of feeling such E.coli-related sickness symptoms as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fevers. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is urging all U.S. consumers who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home to throw it away, even if it has been partially eaten and no one became ill. The CDC also says that consumers, before purchasing lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, should confirm it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma region. 

Varas says the recent egg recall over salmonella does not impact the District.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Hillcrest High Rebuild


Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt joined architects in presenting the plans for a rebuild of Hillcrest High to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in November 2017. The upgrades will be completed in phases over three years to allow students to stay in the building, and are being undertaken with safety and security foremost in mind. A priority of the new plan is to improve traffic flow, making it easier for students, employees, and visitors to safely enter and exit the campus. The Main Office will be located on the ground floor and have an unobstructed view of the building entrance. The footprint is such that administrators will have a clear line of sight of the full length of the school. Doors in the stairwells leading classroom wings can be automatically locked down to stop intruders. Large windows and skylights will be added to bring natural light into the commons area and the classroom wings. Classroom windows that open onto commons areas for group study and teacher-collaboration are designed to contribute to a culture of transparency at the school. They are configured in such a way that they will also preserve safety zones in the classrooms. The existing stadium will be preserved, but among major improvements are a new field house and performing arts facilities. There will be an Open House on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. where community members can get a closer look at the plans. Construction is expected to start this summer.

Advanced Mathematics Pathway

The Board of Education voted to approve a sixth-grade mathematics offering for advanced learners. The new offering, a mix of in-class and online instruction, would provide an opportunity for all sixth-grade students to participate without having to “test into” the program. Then, if the students successfully completed the class and scored at least an 80 percent on a final assessment, then they could take the Honors Math class with eighth-graders while still in their seventh-grade year. Presently, only students who qualify for an advanced math program can take advantage of a “zero period.” Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward was asked to report on the program in a year.

Nutrition Services Proposal

The Board received information on the expected costs to provide school meals in the 2019-2020 school year. While costs for school meals would stay the same for 2018-2019, increased staff and food costs may require consideration of a slight increase in 2019-2020. The proposal would call for a 25-cent per meal increase for lunches and a 10-cent increase for breakfast meals at elementary schools and 15-cent increase for breakfasts at middle and high schools. This would be the first increase for school-meal prices since the District’s inception in 2009, even though Canyons’ Nutrition Services costs have consistently gone up. This year, to attract and keep workers, the District provided a salary increase for some Nutrition Services employees. While this helped, it did not solve the worker-shortage problem in school cafeterias. In 2013-2014, CSD spent $5.1 million on food. Two years later, the cost had gone up $500,000 and has gone up every year since, including this school year. 

Preschool Program Update

Early Childhood Education Administrator Terri Mitchell told the Board that 745 students are enrolled in our curriculum-based preschool programs. Some 436 of those receive Special Education services, and 107 are enrolled in the free Title I programs. The remainder are tuition-paying students.  Two new classrooms were added this year, and the program plans to add three more next year. 

Recognitions

The following students and staff were recognized for their achievements: 
  • Hillcrest student Kara Komarnitsky, Sterling Scholar, Dance Category
  • Corner Canyon High’s Cheer Squad, winners, Small Varsity Division I of the 2018 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla.
  • Corner Canyon High senior Emily Arthur, who gained competitive entrance to the Aggie Elevated program for students with disabilities
  • Hillcrest teacher Marde Brunson, the FCCLA State Advisor of the Year
  • Hillcrest teacher Emily Grass, the DECA New Advisor of the Year
  • Hillcrest Drill Team Coach Brenda Searle, 6A Drill Team Coach of the Year
Disciplinary Fines

A proposed restorative justice model may provide structure for schools to reinforce behavioral standards in Canyons District schools, especially for truancies, disorderly conduct or drug or alcohol possession violations. This entails imposing fines for various transgressions. First-time offenders could have the monetary penalties waived if they agreed to attend intervention programs. The fines range from $25 to $50. The proposal comes after widespread juvenile-justice changes, which have made it difficult for authorities to impose sanctions for on-campus infractions. 

LAND Trust Plans

The Board of Education was presented with the LAND Trust plans created by Canyons District schools. The plans, which are reviewed and approved by members of the Board, include each school's Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. The Board was asked to approve each plan by the end of April. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, which includes the minutes of the March 27, 2018 meeting of the Board; hiring and termination reports; purchasing bids; and student overnight travel requests.

Fee Schedule

Canyons District is not proposing any increases to fees for middle and high school students for the 2018-2019 school year. This information was presented to the Board by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle. 

Location of Portables

The Board of Education approved the placement of two portable classrooms at Albion Middle, one at Quail Hollow Elementary and two at the Canyons Technical Education Center. 

Patron Comment

Speaking on behalf of Midvale City, Laura Magness, the city’s communications specialist, expressed appreciation to the Board for the new Hillcrest High. She lauded the design of the building, which focuses on optimizing student learning while also having security measures. 

Betty Shaw, immediate past director of Region 17 PTA, thanked the Board and Administration for being responsive to the needs of the schools and community.

Pledge of Allegiance

Boys Scouts who attend Lone Peak Elementary posted the colors and led the audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Lone Peak Elementary Principal Tracy Stacy delivered the reverence.

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Briscoe reported on attending the Region 17 PTA Spring Training.  He thanked the patrons who serve in all capacities in the District. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox reported that Board secretary Denise Haycock is transferring to the Office of External Affairs. She has accepted the position of the Development Officer for the Canyons Education Foundation. He also recognized Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt for his hard work on the designs of the new building. He also mentioned the school’s response to provide counseling supports in the wake of the two deaths of student deaths over spring recess.

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson expressed condolences to the family and friends of the students who died in a rollover accident near Littlefield, Ariz. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey said she had the opportunity to attend the National School Boards Association Meeting where she picked up many inspiring ideas. She also attended Albion Middle’s announcement of Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Mont Millerberg said he attended the NSBA annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. He expressed condolences to the family and friends of the two Hillcrest students who were fatally injured over Spring Recess. In addition, he lauded Principal Greg Leavitt for his work on the designs of the new Hillcrest High. He also mentioned being able to attend several Teacher of the Year announcements. 

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending Butler Middle’s Teacher of the Year announcement and Talent Show, and the National School Boards Association conference.

Mr. Steve Wrigley also reflected on the NSBA conference. He reported on serving as a substitute teacher, learning about the “Leader in Me” program, and encouraged the community to attend an upcoming autism training. 

President Sherril Taylor commended central office staff and administrators, and remarked on the transformation that is taking hold as schools are rebuilt and upgraded.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Administrative Appointments


The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year: 
  • Scott Jameson, currently assistant principal at Albion Middle School, promoted to principal of Alta View Elementary, replacing Karen Medlin who is retiring at the end of the school year.
  • Justin Matagi, currently assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, reassigned as assistant principal at Albion Middle School, replacing Jameson.
  • Matt Schelble, currently assistant principal at Brighton High School, reassigned as assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, replacing Matagi.
  • Justin Pitcher, currently principal at East Midvale Elementary School, reassigned as assistant principal at Brighton High School, replacing Schelble.
  • Matt Nelson, currently principal of Viewmont Elementary School in Murray District, hired as principal of East Midvale Elementary School, replacing Pitcher.
  • Kip Carlsen, currently assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, reassigned as assistant principal at Butler Middle School, replacing Jody Wihongi, who is resigning at the end of the school year.
  • Matt Watts, currently assistant principal at Midvale Elementary School, reassigned as assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, replacing Carlsen.
  • Ashley McKinney, currently MTSS Specialist in Canyons District Responsive Services, reassigned as assistant principal at Midvale Elementary School, replacing Watts.
  • David Briggs, currently a school psychologist at Laramie County School District No. 1 in Cheyenne, Wyo., is a new Special Education Program Administrator, replacing Stacy Kurtzhals, who was reassigned as the Elementary Support Administrator.

Advanced Mathematics Pathway

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward provided information about a proposed sixth-grade mathematics offering for advanced learners. According to a survey, 67 percent of parents of current fifth-grade students would prefer a summer condensed course, with in-class and online components, over the compacted “zero period” course that is now offered. However, the majority of parents of current sixth-graders like the program with the zero period. Right now, only the fifth-graders who meet established criteria are invited to “test into” the compacted course that is taught during the school year and eventually qualifies participating sixth-grade students to take eighth-grade Honors Math as seventh-graders. Under the new proposal, the option for advanced learning would be available to all sixth-grade students who say they want to participate. If those students can successfully complete the class and score at least an 80 percent on a final examination, they would be able to take the Honors Math class with the eighth graders.  The Board decided to bring the proposal back for a third reading. 

Legislative Update

External Relations Director Charles Evans, Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards, and External Affairs assistant Kendrik Gibson explained highlights from 2018 General Session of the Utah Legislature. Lawmakers approved a 2.5 percent increase in the weighted pupil unit plus funding for growth. Lawmakers also approved a stipend for certain special education teachers, $9 million for at-risk students, $10 million for digital teaching and learning initiatives, and more funding for elementary school counselors. Debate continued over how to bridge funding disparities between school districts, and lawmakers settled on a bill that would generate new funding, instead of re-directing existing streams of property tax revenue. HB239 raises money by freezing the statewide property tax rate, which currently adjusts downward as property values increase. The bill would offset some of the increase with an income tax rollback, and it would shield homeowners on fixed incomes by putting into place a circuit breaker. It also includes a non-binding resolution to increase the gas tax, some of which would be used to fund higher education, thereby reducing the amount of funding they take from the General Education Fund and making more money available for public schools. Evans commended the Board of Education for holding to its policy stance of opposing any equalization bill that would produce winners and losers and take money from CSD classrooms. He also thanked House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, for their continued support of CSD over the years.

Alta High Renovation

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and Alta High Principal Brian McGill joined architects in presenting the plans for a major renovation of Alta High to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2017. The upgrades will be completed in phases over two years to allow students to stay in the building. Major improvements include the addition of a field house and performing arts center. Large windows and skylights will be added to bring natural light into the commons area, and a security vestibule will be installed to require visitors to enter the school through the Main Office. Parking will see improvements, with more lighting for safety and 10 additional stalls. Special attention was paid to controlling costs while building the structure to last. There will be an Open House on April 25 at 6 p.m. where community members can get a closer look at the plans. Construction is expected to start this summer.

Recognitions

The following students and employees were recognized by the Board of their achievements:

  • Brighton High teacher Jim Hodges, 20-year award from the National High School Model United Nations Association
  • Brighton High senior Sofia Rahaniotis, Sterling Scholar winner, Speech, Theater Arts and Forensics
  • Alta High senior Addie Wray, Sterling Scholar winner, Vocal Performance
Student Advisory Council

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle thanked the members of the Student Advisory Council for their service. The group is empaneled every year to give students an opportunity to learn leadership skills, instill camaraderie between schools, and provide input on District policies that impact Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high school campuses. Two representatives from all CSD traditional high schools are chosen to participate. Students said they learned about how the District operates and appreciated having a voice on policies. 

Policy Update

The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing termination of employment-ESP; reporting child abuse; and release-time classes for religious instruction.  The Board will continue to discuss a proposed policy regarding employees in public office.

Trail System Expansion

The Board of Education granted an easement to Salt Lake County that would be used to complete a ZAP-tax-funded pedestrian trail system through Sandy and White City. This easement would run along the west side of Edgemont’s property line.

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

Students at Jordan Valley School, Canyons’ school for students with severe disabilities, helped with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by former Region 17 PTA Director Betty Shaw. Principal Mark Donnelly updated the Board on the progress of the students at the school on their academics; communication, functional and life skills; and manners. Students stay at Jordan Valley from kindergarten until age 22, at which point they transition to life in the community. He also spoke about two major Jordan Valley events: In December, Jordan Valley holds a Homecoming dance for graduates and current students. Each spring the school performs a musical adapted to the special abilities of the students. This year, the production is “Peter Pan.” 

Patron Comment

Bell View teacher Madaline Chilcutt expressed concern about students who exhibit extreme behaviors at school.  She said special education students, as well as general education students, would benefit from changes in the way the ABS units are overseen.

Bell View teacher Marie Berg addressed the Board about providing supports to students in both general-education and ABS units.

Dwayne Madray spoke about disbanded middle school clubs, especially those for children of color. He encouraged the Board to reconsider the clubs at the middle school level that could help students who may feel disenfranchised. 

Mike Smith spoke to the Board about the student walkouts. Smith disagreed with the District’s decision to provide the students a place to safely demonstrate on March 14. He also expressed disappointment that he received the notification about the demonstration the day before. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the minutes from the meeting of the Canyons Board of Education on March 6, 2018; purchasing bids; and the Board meeting schedule for 2018-2019.  In separate motions, the Board approved hire and termination reports; student overnight travel requests; and approval of financial reports for February. 


Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reported on attending the Utah School Boards Association regional meeting at which the education-related bills were reviewed. He congratulated all of the school Teachers of the Year.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked the legislators for providing funding for Utah schools. He also said he appreciated the attendance at the meeting of Jordan Valley and Student Advisory Council students.

Board of Education Member Reports  

Mr. Chad Iverson thanked the Board for delaying a vote on the proposed mathematics program. Iverson indicated he is grateful the Board can have critical conversations about important issues. He thanked the administration and law-enforcement for their hard work in investigating the social-media post that caused emergency protocols to be enacted at Indian Hills Middle last week

Mrs. Nancy Tingey thanked fellow Board members for attending the USBA dinner. She congratulated the students and staff at Jordan Valley on a successful production of “Peter Pan.”

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting. The Draper pool groundbreaking will be July 31 at 10 a.m., she said.  She also said the Utah High School Activities Association Board approved lacrosse for boys and girls in 2020 and reminded the Board that CSD needs to approve its teams. Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood also was elected to a UHSAA board position, she said.

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the Teacher of the Year announcements at schools in the Midvale area. He stated he is pleased that, in five years, all Canyons high schools will be modern, welcoming, and safe.  He lauded the contributions of the Student Advisory Council.   

Mrs. Clareen Arnold and Mr. Steve Wrigley declined to comment. 

President Taylor thanked the Board for robust conversations about vital issues.
The Board of Education on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 approved the following administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year: 
  • Scott Jameson, currently assistant principal at Albion Middle School, promoted to principal of Alta View Elementary, replacing Karen Medlin who is retiring at the end of the school year.
  • Justin Matagi, currently assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, has been reassigned as assistant principal at Albion Middle School, replacing Jameson.
  • Matt Schelble, currently assistant principal at Brighton High School, has been reassigned as assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, replacing Matagi.
  • Justin Pitcher, currently principal at East Midvale Elementary School, has been reassigned as assistant principal at Brighton High School, replacing Schelble.
  • Matt Nelson, currently principal of Viewmont Elementary School in Murray District, is hired as principal of East Midvale Elementary School, replacing Pitcher.
  • Kip Carlsen, currently assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, reassigned as assistant principal at Butler Middle School, replacing Jody Wihongi who is resigning at the end of the school year.
  • Matt Watts, currently assistant principal at Midvale Elementary School, reassigned as assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, replacing Kip Carlsen.
  • Ashley McKinney, currently MTSS Specialist in Canyons District Responsive Services, reassigned as assistant principal at Midvale Elementary School, replacing Matt Watts.
SPECIAL EDUCATION APPOINTMENT
  • David Briggs, currently a school psychologist at Laramie County School District No. 1 in Cheyenne, Wyo., hired as a Special Education Program Administrator, replacing Stacy Kurtzhals, who was reassigned as the Elementary Support Administrator.
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