Wednesday, 07 February 2018 04:45

Board Meeting Summary, Feb. 6, 2018

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

Sixth-Grade Mathematics Curriculum 

In an effort to address a mathematics proficiency-level drop from fifth to sixth grades, the Board of Education approved a proposal by the Canyons District Instructional Supports Department to start using a new sixth-grade math curriculum. The program is called “Illustrative Mathematics” and is an open-education resource developed by leading math researchers. Student and teacher materials are available digitally for free or schools can purchase a consumable student workbook for $22.50 per student. The curriculum was selected in accordance with the District’s curriculum-adoption policy

Disciplinary Fines

In the wake of changes in state law that have made it more difficult for schools to refer children to juvenile court for truancy, drug possession, disorderly conduct and other offenses, Responsive Services Director BJ Weller is proposing a new restorative justice model for reinforcing behavioral standards at CSD’s schools. The model would entail imposing fines for various transgressions as a means of encouraging students to show up for restorative programs. For first offenses, the fines would be waived when students participate in whatever intervention program is required. The fines aren’t meant to be punitive. They’re meant to serve as an incentive, explained Weller. The idea behind restorative practices is to hold students accountable for their actions and to use their transgression as a teachable moment for making a plan to ensure the misbehavior doesn’t happen again. But without the enforcement tools previously available through the courts, there is currently no way to hold students accountable. This year, as of Jan. 31, there have been 63 students cited for substance abuse violations, and only a handful of those completed the District’s Early Intervention Program. The Board will take up the matter again at a future meeting. If approved, the fines, which, depending on the nature of the offense range from $25 to $50, would take effect with the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

CTESS Update

Canyons’ Administrator of Evaluation and Leadership Development Sandra Dahl-Houlihan briefed the Board of Education on continued progress to refine the District’s educator-evaluation system.

Digital Citizenship Week Resolution

The Board of Education approved a resolution to continue sponsoring a districtwide Digital Citizenship Week, the intent of which is to empower students to safely navigate the online world and be responsible digital citizens. This year’s Digital Citizenship Week, Feb. 5-9, is CSD’s third.

Legislative Update

External Relations Director Charles Evans updated the Board on progress with key pieces of education-related bills being weighed during the 2018 General Session of the Utah Legislature. 

Cell Tower

The Board held a second reading of a proposal for a micro cell tower at Ridgecrest Elementary. According to the proposal, the tower would generate an additional $350 a month for the school. Ridgecrest’s School Community Council has given an OK to the proposal, which must be approved by the Board of Education. The proposal, presented by Business Administrator Leon Wilcox, calls for the micro tower to be placed atop a 20-foot light pole in Ridgecrest’s parking lot.  The Board will entertain the proposal at a future meeting.

Pledge of Allegiance and Reverence

The Brookwood Elementary Cub Scout Troop 4605 led the audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and Principal Corrie Barrett gave the reverence. In updating the Board on the state of Brookwood, Barrett said she could list test scores or talk about programs, but chose instead to share the results of an informal survey of parents, teachers and students. Teachers, she said, love the school because they feel part of a focused team that is striving to make a difference in the lives of students. Parents say they chose Brookwood because of the amazing teachers, parental involvement and programs. Students say they like the activities, kind teachers and inclusive atmosphere. “This is a good school where I get a good education,” said one. “Kids are nice and class is fun.”

Consent Agenda

The Board approved the consent agenda, including minutes of the Board’s Jan. 16, 2018 meeting; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel plans; and new members of the Joint Educator Evaluation Committee.

Arts Education

The Board of Education heard a status update on the health of arts education in Canyons District. CSD Arts Specialist Sharee Jorgensen told the Board that robust arts programs are being provided to students in elementary, middle and high schools. Elementary arts programs reach 14,600 students. This includes the orchestra program, which draws 432 students at 20 locations. In middle school, 123 percent of students participate in an arts-education offering. How is this possible?  Some students take multiple arts class at once, Jorgensen told the Board. Arts courses also reach some 11,677 high school students. In addition, the District enjoys partnerships with the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, the Utah Film Center and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, among other arts organizations. Arts shows and music festivals for students at all levels are being planned for the spring months. 


The Board of Education honored the following students, teachers and staff for their achievements:
  • Albion Middle’s Sandy LeCheminant, Utah Assistant Principal of the Year
  • Eastmont teacher Louis Phillipe Vanier and Jordan Valley Achievement Coach Anne Clyde, who have earned National Board Certified Teacher status. 
  • CTEC Principal Ken Spurlock and teacher Gary Snow, Diesel Technology Program Certification
  • The following CSD Academic All-State student athletes
5A Drill Team
Alexis Kilgore, Corner Canyon

5A Girls Swimming
Olivia Huntzinger, Brighton  
Michaela Page, Brighton  
Ashley Pickford, Corner Canyon 

5A Boys Swimming
Stephen Hood, Alta  
Kevin Metcalf, Jordan

6A Wrestling
Scott Abbott, Hillcrest 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked Jorgensen for her hard work and passion for the arts in Canyons District. He also reported on the Job Shadow Day luncheon, featuring keynote Gail Miller. Dr. Briscoe also thanked the CTE coordinators for working so hard to successfully execute the school-to-careers event.  

Mr. Wilcox attended the recent CTEC Open House, held annually to inform the community about the programs offered at the technical-education center. He also commented on the change in health-insurance providers this year, and said the District would be providing additional information to employees.

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the announcement of LeCheminant as the Utah Assistant Principal of the Year. The ceremony was held in St. George. He also thanked Jorgensen for her work as the coordinator of arts programs in Canyons District

Mr.  Steve Wrigley also expressed appreciation for Jorgensen’s work.  He reported on visiting schools with Utah legislators and attending the CTEC Open House and the Job Shadow Day luncheon at Gardner Village.

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Utah High School Activities Association’s State Drill Team Championships.  She congratulated all the teams that competed and mentioned the second-place overall finish in 5A by the Brighton High Accadians. She also said she would be hosting a Town Hall with 1st Vice President Nancy Tingey at Butler Middle. 

Mrs. Tingey reported on attending a conference in Washington, D.C. She said she met with Utah’s elected representatives to discuss education-related issues.  She thanked teachers, students and staff for their wonderful work.  She said she’s looking forward to attending Albion Middle’s musical production. Tingey also will hold a 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 15 Town Hall meeting at Jordan High with Mr. Wrigley.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked Jorgensen for her passion and dedication. 

President Taylor thanked everyone who works hard in CSD to help students achieve — from teachers and custodians to bus drivers to nutrition-service workers. He gave a special shout-out to the secretaries and administrative assistants in offices all across the District. He predicted Canyons District would soon be known as a world-class school district.
Canyons District students are learning how to safely blaze a digital trail. 

Starting today, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, all schools in Canyons District will begin the 3rd annual Digital Citizenship Week, which was started to help students stay safe as they navigate the online world. Special lessons will be taught in classes and morning announcements will feature tips on cyberbullying, online privacy and safety. 

Yes, the Internet is a valuable tool for learning. Every day, 92 percent of teenagers across the United States go online to complete homework assignments, conduct research, and watch tutorials in preparation for exams. But, overwhelmingly, it’s also teens go to make and keep social connections. From Snapchat to Instagram, teens are heavy users of social media. So how can parents make sure their use is responsible? And how can parents guide a pre-teen’s entry into social media? 

Digital Citizenship Week 2018“One of the most important things you can do is sit down with your children before they even begin using social media and set clear ground rules and expectations — and even consequences if those rules are broken,” says Janae Hunt, a Canyons District Education Technology Specialist.

Hunt, who appeared on ABC4 to talk about Digital Citizenship Week, encouraged parents to talk often with their children about the pitfalls of oversharing, teasing and posting too-personal information on social media sites.  Also, think twice before hitting “send” or “enter,” she says.   

“Digital footprints are permanent. A lot of time today, even college admissions boards and employers are looking at your digital trail to see what kind of person you are,” she told ABC4 anchor Emily Clark. “It is important that we are teaching our children to put their best foot forward online.” 

Another idea:  Keep tabs on what your children are posting — and who is part of their “Friends” and “Followers” lists. “Sit down with your kids on a regular basis. Go through those lists. It’s important they are friends with or follow people they know in real life.” 

Should you have your kids’ passwords? “Absolutely,” she says.  Start with an open-door policy and keep it that way: Children should know parents are watching and observing when they post or make comments. They also should know they can go to parents for help if they “see something that makes them uncomfortable.”

CSD’s Internet safety effort started with School Community Councils, which have been given statutory responsibilities regarding digital citizenship in their respective schools. In partnership with SCCs, CSD schools also are planning Parent Information Nights to discuss such issues as the filtering systems used by the District to stop inappropriate content to be accessed at school. Contact your child’s school to find out when and where their event will be held. 

Parents, teachers and students can join the online conversation about Digital Citizenship Week by following the hashtag #usetech4good on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The calendar may say we’re headed into the month in which we celebrate presidents and valentines, but it’s also time to start thinking about where your preschool-age kiddo could go to preschool in the fall. 

Don’t underestimate the power of play when looking for a preschool for your child, says Terri Mitchell, the Programs Administrator in Canyons District’s Early Childhood Department. “Playtime is amazingly important. It’s one of the best tools that young children have to grow and develop,” Mitchell recently told ABC4 anchor Emily Clark on “Good Morning Utah.”  

In fact, Mitchell said, research shows strong links between creative and imaginative play and language, physical, cognitive and social development. “In preschool, they are learning foundational skills. They will learn patterning, and the quantity of numbers,” Mitchell said. “They also have the opportunity to learn socially.  It may be the first time that they are away from mom and dad and grandma and grandpa.”

As is tradition in Canyons District, robust preschool programs will be provided to the community in the 2018-2019 school year. On Thursday, Feb. 1, CSD will begin accepting applications for spots at preschools at Altara, Bella Vista, Butler, Edgemont, Jordan Valley, Oakdale, Quail Hollow and Willow Springs elementary schools.  Interested? Click here to see the application.

Canyons preschools follow a curriculum that lines up with the core standards of learning at the kindergarten level. This is so that the children who leave preschool have the foundation to meet the challenges of kindergarten. Also, students will be paired in classrooms with students who require special-education services so they can serve as peers and role models in language and social skills 

Cost is $100 per month for students attending two days per week and $200 a month for students attending four days. There’s also a one-time $20 registration fee. Availability for the program in the coming academic year is based on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Morning sessions are from 8:20-10:50 a.m. Afternoon sessions are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.  

In addition, free school programs are provided at Title I schools. Students who turn 4 years old before Sept. 1, 2018, and live within the boundaries of Midvale, Copperview, Sandy and East Midvale elementary schools can apply to participate. CSD will being taking applications for spots in those preschools on March 1.
The raucous orchestra of sounds reverberating through the hallways at Albion Middle School is music to Sandy LeCheminant's ears. And she's found that a close listen to the cadence and timbre of her students' adolescent chatter can help pinpoint the real reason behind the brassiest of classroom and hallway behaviors.

"In this position, you get to see the process that students go through as they learn and grow," says LeCheminant, a music teacher turned middle school administrator. "You get to see them mature. You get to be the mediator as they work through adolescence. They may lose it the next day, but you get that chance to help the kids try to figure out life."

LeCheminant embraces the angst of middle school with a patient yet knowing smile. She's a cheerleader one minute, a rule-enforcer the next. But her trademark no-frills, steady-as-clockwork approach to aiding sixth- through eighth-grade students navigate the awkward middle school years is among the reasons why she's been lauded by her peers as one of the best administrators in Utah. On Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, LeCheminant was announced as the 2018 Utah Assistant Principal of the Year, an honor given annually by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals.

She received the award at the organization's mid-winter conference, held at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George. LeCheminant, who also has been an Assistant Principal at South Jordan, Eastmont, and Indian Hills middle schools, is one of three secondary school principals to be honored. Ben Lomond High Principal Dale Wilkinson and West Jordan Middle Principal Dixie Garrison also received recognition as the state's top school leaders for 2018.

LeCheminant, who began her career as an educator in Prescott, Wisconsin, will represent Utah in the national Assistant Principal of the Year contest. Garrison will represent the state for the U.S. secondary principal award. LeCheminant joins a prestigious roster of previous winners from Canyons District, including the 2016 High School Principal of the Year Mary Bailey, 2014 Assistant Principal of the Year Doug Hallenbeck, 2013 Middle School Principal of the Year Mary Anderson, and 2011 Assistant Principal of the Year Dr. Paul Kirby.

Mike Sirois, Canyons District's Director of School Performance, has high praise for LeCheminant's contribution to Albion Middle and beyond. "She is an extremely dedicated administrator," he said. "Her work ethic is exceptional, as is her knowledge of research-based curriculum and instructional practice." For her part, LeCheminant acknowledges that "so much of our jobs" as assistant principals is based on student behavior. What's changed over the years, she said, is the role of an assistant principal. The APs of the past focused on meting out discipline to ruffians and rule-breakers. Now, she says, a good assistant principal will say, "'OK, this is happening. But why is it happening in the first place?' ... Then, 'What can we do to address the skill deficits so it doesn't happen again.'"

LeCheminant also enjoys working with teachers and parents to find ways to inspire learning in even the most reluctant and hard-to-reach student. "What do I do every day? I do a thousand different things. You have to be a jack-of-all-trades," she said, adding that she's often doing lunchroom duty one minute, then outside for bus duty the next. "I come to work every day, and I am still interested. I am still learning. And I still love what I do."
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 03:58

Board Meeting Summary, Jan. 16, 2018

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

Purchase of Property for Hillcrest High Rebuild

The Board of Education approved the purchase of property at 7230 S. 900 East to increase the parking capacity at Hillcrest High during the scheduled rebuild funded by the voter-approved $283 million bond. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board the redesign of the campus will improve the traffic flow for the entire campus, but especially to the football stadium and gymnasium. The sale price of the 1.76 acres is $1.5 million, which is less than the appraised value. Board member Mont Millerberg advocated for the purchase of the land to enhance the safety of the access points to the high school. 

County Boundary Change

Salt Lake and Utah counties have agreed to a change in their boundaries that will impact student enrollment in Canyons District. The change was necessary to remedy a jurisdictional problem created by the fact that the county line previously cut through several Draper-area properties. Under the redrawn line, Salt Lake County will exchange some vacant land for a residentially-zoned area that has been slated for development. Because Canyons District’s boundaries are contiguous with Salt Lake County’s boundaries, the District expects to eventually inherit about 175 new homes. 

Sixth-Grade Math Curriculum

To boost student achievement, a curriculum committee of math teachers is recommending that Canyons adopt a new sixth-grade math curriculum: Illustrative Mathematics. An open source educational resource developed by leading researchers, Illustrative Mathematics is available digitally for free, with exception to student workbooks that can be purchased for $22.50 apiece. This particular platform is more rigorous and aligns with state standards and evidenced-based instructional practices, explained Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward. The Board will vote on the proposal at a future meeting. If approved, the new curriculum would be implemented in time for the 2018-2019 school year.

Cell Tower

The Board held a first reading of a proposal for a micro cell tower at Ridgecrest Elementary that would generate $350 per month in annual revenues for the school.  The tower was unanimously approved by the school’s School Community Council, which recommended it be approved by the Board. It would be placed atop a 20-foot light pole in Ridgecrest’s parking lot in compliance with Cottonwood Heights City ordinances. The Board will vote on the matter at a future meeting.

Graduation Rates

More CSD students are taking and passing Advanced Placement exams through which they can earn early college credit. In 2017, 2,737 of CSD’s high school seniors took AP exams, a 56 percent increase from 2010. Pass rates, or the number of students to earn a score of 3,4, or 5 on the exam, rose to 70 percent in 2017. That compares to average pass rates of 67 percent in Utah and 68 percent nationally. Canyons District’s graduation rate also continues to improve. Eighty-six percent of all high school seniors received a diploma in the spring of 2017. That’s up from 85 percent in 2016 and 83 percent in 2014, explained Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson. CSD’s graduation rate tracks the state’s, but such a comparison is complicated by the fact that Canyons has strict graduation requirements. CSD has a 28-credit diploma whereas most districts require 27 credits. Most districts, including CSD, also offer a reduced, 24-credit diploma option.

Patron Comment

Lone Peak parent Nicole Ellis thanked the Board for working quickly to address the cooling system at the elementary school.  In November, she urged the Board to consider fixing the chiller because of the heat in classrooms.

Patron Steve Van Maren asked whether Canyons allowed political signage on its property. He also inquired about the potential purchase of land to accommodate the Hillcrest High rebuild. He urged the Board to make the school’s footprint smaller and reconsider work on the athletic fields. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the majority of the items on the consent agenda, including the minutes of the Board’s Dec. 5, 2017 meeting of the Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; November Financial Reports; December Financial Reports and a LAND Trust Amendment for Oak Hollow Elementary. After some questions, in a separate motion, the Board approved proposed student travel and a proposed minimal tuition increase for preschool students.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reported on attending farewell receptions for Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini, Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan, and Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore. All three were instrumental in the creation of the District.  He also recognized 1st Board Vice President Nancy Tingey, who has served for the past year as the Utah School Boards Association President.  He said. USBA’s recent conference was a success, thanks to her leadership. 

Wilcox congratulated Mrs. Tingey on her successful year as the USBA President and noted that Mrs. Amber Shill, 2nd Vice President, has earned another leadership position in the Utah High School Activities Association.  He thanked Dr. Hal Sanderson for his presentation on graduation rates and AP take- and pass-rates. He said the first $49 million in bond issuances will be sold tomorrow.  The Board will be updated as soon as the District knows the terms of the sale. 

Board of Education Member Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson thanked Dr. Sanderson for his presentation. He also reported on attending a holiday concert at Indian Hills Middle, which is now housed at the old Crescent View building, and reflected on how nice it will be next year to be in the renovated Indian Hills Middle.  The new IHMS opens in the fall. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reported on attending the most recent District incident-command meetings. Arnold remarked on the plans being put in place to prevent a hepatitis A outbreak. She also commented on discussions about how to improve communication in an emergency. She also expressed appreciation for Dr. Sanderson’s study-session presentation. Mrs. Arnold also thanked Mrs. Tingey and Mrs. Shill for representing the district on various boards and committees. 

Mrs. Tingey thanked her fellow Board members for the support she’s been extended during her time as USBA president. She reported on attending Brighton, Park Lane and Brookwood School Community Council meetings. She also reported on attending farewell receptions for outgoing mayors. Tingey also congratulated schools on successful completion of emergency drills. 

Mrs. Shill reported on attending the Brighton High SCC meeting at which architects presented preliminary plans for the new school. She invited the public to Open Houses when plans for the new campus are formalized. She congratulated on Tingey on a successful year as the USBA leader.  In addition, she congratulated the CSD schools that were in the top 20 in the state school-grading system.

Mr. Steve Wrigley said he attended Jordan High’s SCC meeting, as well as a speech at Alta High by a Pulitzer Prize winner.  He also discussed the efforts the District is making to provide supports to special-education classrooms.  Wrigley also reported on attending classes at the Utah School Boards Association Conference.

Mr. Mont Millerberg praised the quality of classes and organization of the USBA conference. He expressed appreciation to Hillcrest High Greg Leavitt for his work on the designs for the new high school. He also reported on attending the holiday performing event at Copperview Elementary, the District’s incident-command meetings, and the Student Advisory Council meetings. 

President Sherril Taylor thanked Principal Brian McGill for his dedication to the suicide-prevention efforts at the high school. He congratulated Mrs. Tingey for her successful year as the president of USBA. Taylor said she made USBA better.  He congratulated Mrs. Shill on her position in the Utah High School Activities Association. He expressed appreciation to Board members for their hard work.  He said Canyons is achieving its goal of being a world-class district.
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