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Wednesday, 16 November 2016 23:57

Board Meeting Summary, Nov. 15, 2016

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


Board Honors Union Middle Faculty, Staff for Quick Actions

The Canyons Board of Education recognized seven educators who played an instrumental role in de-escalating a traumatic incident that occurred at Union Middle on Oct. 25, 2016.  The Board of Education honored Union Middle teachers and staff who, without thought to their own safety, intervened to protect students and mitigate a critical situation that could have been much worse without their action. “You’ve all done so much, not only for the students of Union Middle, but for the entire community,” Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor said in a statement. “If anyone ever wonders if their children are safe in our schools, they need to look no further than your examples. You disarmed the armed, provided aid to the injured, and prevented others from hurting themselves.” Taylor recognized Union Middle Principal Kelly Tauteloi and her staff, including Erin Hemingway, Genny Poll, Ginger Perry, Lynn Nelson, Michelle Erb, Brooke Rauzon and Taylor Hansen.

Principals Gives Update on Plans to Renovate Indian Hills Middle

Principal Doug Graham updated the Board on the upcoming remodel of Indian Hills Middle. At its last meeting, the Board of Education voted to relocate Indian Hills Middle, 1180 E. Sanders Road, to the former Crescent View Middle building, 11150 Green Ridge Dr., during construction. The renovation of the middle school is being funded by a $250 million bond issuance approved by voters in 2010. This will be final project to be completed with proceeds from the bond. Construction should start in spring 2017 and the school is slated to re-open in August 2018. Improvements include a redesign of the parking lot and bus lanes and two major additions to the building. For safety purposes, the administrative area will be moved to the front of the building and a security vestibule, which will require visitors to check in at the Main Office, will be installed. A student commons area will create more open space and allow for more natural sunlight. Among other planned amenities: more windows; a weight room adjacent the gym; a meeting room; updated library; a centralized music area with optimized acoustics; enlarged art classrooms and high-tech, fully functional CTE classrooms.

Review of Data Related to Hillcrest Summer Academic Bootcamp

Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt unveiled data supporting Hillcrest’s Summer Bootcamp program. The 47 students who completed all requirements of the intensive program conducted over the summer months showed progress in the first quarter of the school year. The average grade-point average of those who finished the Unit 1 standards in English arts, mathematics, biology and geography during the summer was 2.57. Those who were invited but didn’t complete the program finished the quarter with an average GPA of 1.84.  For the first quarter, the average GPA for Hillcrest’s freshman class was 2.79.  Seventy-seven percent earned a 2.0 GPA or better.  Last year at this time, 66 percent of Husky ninth-graders earned a 2.0 or better.  Leavitt said parents reported that the Summer Bootcamp was a valuable experience for their children, regardless of whether they completed the program.  Students also reported feeling more confident as they started high school.  In all, bootcamp participants earned an average of 1.75 credits, which means most are on track to graduate. As an incentive to encourage students to give up their free summer time, the United Way paid them stipends for participation. Many of the students used the money to purchase groceries for their family or help pay household bills.

CSD Seeks State Technology Grant Money

Canyons is well underway with a technology pitch that’s required as part of HB277, a multimillion-dollar state grant that can be used to pay for Digital Teaching and Learning.  Dr. Darren Draper, Canyons’ Director of Education Technology, said the District’s most recent 68-page application for three years of grant funding, which would help support the District’s education-technology efforts, was submitted on Nov. 11.  The Utah State Board of Education will review the applications Dec. 1-2 and will award grants on Dec. 31. Draper said CSD, which is seeking about $700,000, aims to improve Canvas, CSDDocs, and Nearpod use in the District; build teacher capacity in their knowledge of technology-facilitated pedagogy; maintain high levels of technology-related professional development. The District also wants to improve technology access and improve its academic use by students and maintain the infrastructure necessary to meet the technology-related needs. Anticipated grant-money spending includes stipends for teachers to earn CSD-specific certifications and convert classes to Canvas; funding for a teacher specialist for summer professional development; and new Chromebook labs in elementary and secondary schools. They also will be eligible for university credit.

Policy Updates

Assistant General Counsel Jeff Christensen updated the Board on proposed changes to District policy. The policies, if approved, would govern professional staff vacations; substitute staff employment; school volunteers; and an early retirement incentive for administrators. Christensen also presented information about a proposed policy regarding phased-in retirement, which the District is required to have and is designed to help address the state’s teacher shortage. Under the proposed policy, which defines phased-in retirement as defined in statute, newly retired employees would be able to continue working for the District on a half-time basis. The retiree would receive a reduced retirement allowance and 50 percent of the retiree’s monthly salary. The Board will continue discussing the proposed policy. During the business meeting, the Board gave approval to changes in policies regarding the Local Professional Improvement Committee; criminal background checks, nondiscrimination; and employee conduct and professionalism. 

Bell Schedule Update

The Office of School Performance has been meeting with School Community Councils to receive feedback on proposed changes to CSD’s bell schedule. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle summarized their feedback. Parents generally appreciated how changing school start and stop times would save money and help the District recruit and retain bus drivers. Piggybacking bus routes would make it possible to offer more fulltime, benefitted positions, and one school — Copperview Elementary — stood out as favoring the idea. But many parents voiced concern about earlier starts for high school students when research suggests teens would benefit from later start times. Some worried about how the changes would affect before- and after-school programs. And some teachers expressed concern about later end-times negatively affecting younger grades due to their limited attention spans. The general consensus of the Board was to not move forward at this time, but urged the Administration to continue to look for other fiscally responsible remedies to the bus-driver shortage.  

Student Advisory Council Empaneled

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle introduced this year’s Student Advisory Council, a panel of high school students who are asked to give feedback to the Board throughout the year. The 10 members are from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools. They plan to meet in January, February, March and April. 

Patron Comments

Patron Dan Hayes, whose son attends Union Middle, thanked the school’s teachers and staff for their quick thinking and rapid response during the traumatic event on Oct. 25.  Mr. Hayes said his son attends Union Middle. He also expressed concern about student safety at school and asked the Board for information about the District’s security plans.  He also asked questions about the District’s position on the state’s gun laws.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent calendar, including approval of the minutes of the meeting on Oct. 18, 2016; the hiring and termination reports; requests for student overnight travel; October’s financial reports; 18 small-capital facility projects; the start of the Code to Success program; changes to LAND Trust plans at Brookwood Elementary and Jordan High; and the appointment of Hillcrest Assistant Principal Rachel Hill as the new United Way Partnership Facilitator.  Sara Newberry, an administrative intern, will replace Hill in the administration at Hillcrest. 

Proposed Calendars for Future Years

Dr. Floyd Stensrud, the Director of the Office of Planning and Enrollment, presented options for the 2017-2018 academic calendars, per discussions by the District’s Calendar Committee. Option No. 1 is the calendar that was tentatively approved by the Board of Education in 2015.  On this calendar, the first day of school would be Aug. 23, 2017.  The school year would end June 7, 2018.  An eight-day Winter Recess would start Dec. 21, 2017 and extend to Jan. 1, 2018.  Option No. 2 is the Calendar Committee’s preferred calendar.  On this calendar, the first day of school would be Aug. 16, 2017.  The last day of school would be June 1, 2018.  An 11-day Winter Recess would start Dec. 18, 2017 and extend to Jan. 1, 2018.  The Board also discussed the calendar guidelines that are now being reviewed by a policy committee.  The Board also was presented with tentative calendars for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school year. The Board did not take action on those calendars. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Union Middle faculty and staff for coalescing during a crisis. He commended all principals, teachers and staff across the District for their efforts to provide safe and welcoming environments for students. He also asked the entire CSD community to be vigilant in the endeavor to maintain safe schools. Dr. Briscoe reported on attending the 4A semi-final football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. He congratulated the Alta Hawks, which lost a tough game to Springville High, on a stellar season.  He congratulated all the CSD teams who made the playoffs in fall sports.  He also congratulated the students who participate in fine arts.  Jordan High’s fall musical, “Once Upon a Mattress,” he said, was good, and he’s looking forward to attending Alta’s musical, as well. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox discussed the phased-in retirement policy that was presented during the Board’s study session.  He also expressed appreciation for the Insurance Department’s oversight of the annual mandatory health insurance Open Enrollment process.  In all, 2,800 employees were enrolled during a two-week period.  He also said the District is closing on 13 acres in west Draper.  The land, per a Board decision in August, may be the site of a future elementary school. 

Board of Education Reports

Ms. Clareen Arnold reported on attending a committee meeting regarding the District’s fine arts programs. She reflected on a conversation she had with her students, who told her they considered their parents to be heroes.  Her heroes, she said, include her fellow Board members and the educators who are in the classroom every day, working with students. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley said he’s grateful for arts programs in the District. By the end of the fall musical season, he said, he will have seen five productions, including Brighton’s “The Little Mermaid.”  He invited patrons to a Town Hall meeting.  He also mentioned the ongoing construction at Alta View Elementary and Jordan High’s new Medical Innovations Pathways Program. 

Ms. Nancy Tingey also commended student thespians for their work on the fall musicals. She’s attended two and looks forward to seeing others this weekend.  She also welcomed the members of the Student Advisory Council to their roles, and reported on attending the Veterans Day event at Canyon View Elementary.

Ms. Amber Shill reported on attending a visit to Draper Elementary by a delegation from China. She also participated in a visit to Butler Elementary by a French Minister of Education.  Shill, who also attended Brighton High’s production of “The Little Mermaid,” congratulated Canyons District for again being named to the AP Honor Roll, and mentioned Brighton High for finishing in the state’s top 10 for its AP success rate.  As the Board’s representatives on the Utah High School Activities Association, she mentioned the progress of Rule 277409, which addresses student-athlete transfers, among other issues. 

Mr. Robert Green thanked the Union Middle faculty and staff for their response to the Oct. 25 incident on campus. Parents, like himself, are grateful for their actions. He also reported on speaking to students at Peruvian Park Elementary. He also mentioned the Veterans Day events held throughout the District and thanked U.S. soldiers for their service. 

Mr. Taylor thanked Board members for their remarks. He said Canyons District is like a family, and the familial feeling is part of the District’s culture. He thanked all teachers, staff, administrators and parents for their hard work.
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. 
Canyons Distict is expanding its high-tech arsenal in the fight to keep children safe.

Elementary schools are rolling out information to their communities about access to the SafeUT app and website, which is an immediate, direct link to licensed counselors at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. Starting Wednesday, Aug. 31, all CSD elementary school communities will have access to SafeUT's services. 

Canyons' secondary schools were among the first in Utah to roll out access to the service last year. The response was instantly positive, and students across the District were using it a a resource to receive real-time and confidential responses from a highy trained clinician. 

The app and website, developed as part of a partnership between UNI and the Utah State Office of Education with funds allocated by the Utah Legislature, serves as confidential tip line about such safety issues as suicide, bullying and threats of violence.

"Twenty-four/seven,whether it's summer break, whether it's over Winter Recess, on the weekends, (students) can immediately get access to somebody that can help them," Tamra Baker, Director of Canyons District's Student Support Services, told ABC4 during a recent interview about the roll-out across the District.

Multiple languages are available. This intervention and emotional support also provides follow-up and responses through user-password protection. Users can submit a tip with a picture and/or video, and a user can communicate online or call by phone.

For the community's ease, here are links to places students and parents can dowload the app: Click here for Google Play and click here to find the app in iTunes. 

Utah ranks 5th in the nation for suicide deaths among 10- to 17-year-olds, and bullying is a risk factor, according to the Utah Suicide Prevention Coaltion. Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. In honor of Suicide Awareness Week, September 5-11, here are some tips for talking about bullying courtesy of stopbullying.gov.




Parenting doesn’t come with a book of instructions on how to help families deal with challenging issues like autism, ADHD, and divorce — but the Canyons Family Center can help.

The Canyons Family Center, 8449 S. 150 West, provides help to parents and families in Canyons District by offering counseling, support groups and education classes. All of the Center’s services are offered at no charge.

Starting in January, the center will launch a six-week series of specialty classes aimed at helping parents and children tackle life’s challenges and relieve stress.

The following specialty classes will take place starting Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.:
  • Superheroes children’s group: A class for students in third- through sixth-grades who are diagnosed with high-functioning autism or autism spectrum disorders. Each session provides practice of one social skill through group activities.
  • Relax and manage your stress: A class designed to teach specific and helpful strategies to manage stress and practice mindfulness.
  • Effective parenting: A class for parents and caregivers, designed to give parents positive parenting strategies that have been proven to be successful.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder parenting supports: This support group will give parents strategies to deal with a child diagnosed with high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, or pervasive developmental disorder.
The following 6:30-8:30 p.m. specialty classes will take place starting Wednesday, Jan. 20:
  • Banana Splits, adivorce class for kids: A class for students in third- through sixth-grades to help aid students in coping with the changes that come from divorce.
  • Parenting the ADHD child: A class for families struggling with parenting children with ADHD.

More information on specialty classes, as well as regularly scheduled 3-week classes regarding anger management, truancy and early development, can be found on the Canyons Family Center web page. To register for a class, please call 801-826-8190.

Without Gary Hansen and the Purchasing Services Department, there would not be any crayons for coloring, computers in the classroom or toilet paper in the bathrooms. In fact, there wouldn’t be any school buildings at all.

Those are just some of the things the Purchasing Services Department obtains for the District — but, really, there isn’t anything in all of Canyons’ schools and buildings that doesn’t include the Purchasing Services Department.

Hansen recently received the 2014 Professional Public Manager of the Year Award for Outstanding Public Service from the Utah Chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. Also, in honor of National Procurement Month, which takes place in March every year, Gov. Gary Herbert declared March 16-22 as Purchasing Recognition Week.

“I’ve been in procurement now for 25 years, with only the last nine years being in school districts,” Hansen says as he talks about his award. “But the most important thing I like about my job is I get the opportunity on a weekly basis to see that my team and I have made a difference.”

Hansen isn’t one to toot his own horn, but he acknowledges the enormity of overseeing all of the District’s purchases, and making sure that transactions are conducted legally and transparently. For Hansen, that means working all day and many nights and weekends. The stakes are high — not only for the needs of the students and professionals in Canyons District, but for the legal requirements that change frequently and have stiff consequences, including jail time, if they are broken.

“The law tells us exactly what we can do, and it’s different than what we would do in our own personal purchases,” Hansen says. The purpose of the strict laws is to give everyone an opportunity to do business with a government entity that operates on public funds, Hansen says. The process is sometimes lengthy — purchases over $2,000 require an open process that allows vendors to compete for the District’s business.

From July 2014, to March, Hansen’s department has purchased 144,000 crayons, 25,308 rolls of toilet paper and 239,102,070 sheets of paper. The purchasing staff members have helped 1,775 students with travel arrangements, audited $3.3 million in purchasing card transactions and executed over $20 million in construction contracts — all while saving more than $5 million. In the last several years the department has purchased some 26,000 iPads, Chrome books, Apple and PC computers.

“We are here to answer questions and we’re here to support the mission of the District,” Hansen says. “We will get you the right product at the right price at the right time. … Students need to have what students need to have. We can’t be without computers and we can’t be without toilet paper. We make those things happen with transparency.”

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