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Board Approves High School Boundary Adjustments

The Board voted unanimously to approve high school boundary adjustments aimed at balancing enrollments at all Canyons District high schools, slowing future growth at Hillcrest and Corner Canyon High Schools while minimizing disruptions to students and families and maintaining as many academic programs at each high school as possible.

The Board's action followed a yearlong study by a Facilities Committee, made up of parents and principals from all parts of Canyons District, assembled to give recommendations to the Board of Education on short- and long-term school facility needs districtwide. The Board approved four of the five Facility Committee recommendations in its vote.

The new boundaries will take effect at the outset of the 2017-2018 school year, and affect incoming freshmen. The timing is aimed giving students, families and schools sufficient time to prepare. The new boundaries include the following:

• Moving a section of the District, which is roughly the area west of State Street, north of 9000 South and south of 8400 South, into the Jordan High boundary;
• Moving an area, which is south of 11400 South, west of Lone Peak Parkway and north of 12300 South, into the Alta High boundary, and;
• Moving the area roughly the area south of 12300 South, north of 14600 South and west of I-15 into the Alta High boundary.

The Board will grant an allowance for students living in the areas mentioned in the proposed boundary changes. Those students would be able to stay at the school where they are currently enrolled, and their younger siblings, who would be entering the ninth grade, would be allowed waivers to attend the same high school as their older brother or sister.

The Board has taken public comments on the proposal since it was presented to the Board Oct. 6, 2015. The vote occurred following the Board's third reading and public discussion of the proposal.

Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey said the action is fiscally responsible and provides a viable avenue for future growth in the southern area of the District. Corner Canyon, like many Utah high schools, currently has portable classrooms to accommodate students. The Board did not entertain changes to portables or the building as part of its discussion or vote.

The action followed a motion made by Board Member Chad Iverson to refer the proposal back to the Facilities Committee and School Community Councils for further examination and feedback. Board Member Robert Green seconded the motion. The motion failed on a 5-2 vote.

Dual-Language Immersion to be Placed in 5 High Schools

Following public input regarding an Oct. 20 proposal to place Dual-Language Immersion (DLI) programs in four of five CSD high schools, Instructional Supports Administrator Jesse Hennefer presented the Board with a new plan to add DLI programs to all five high schools. The new plan comes in light of public input and data showing that most students in DLI programs in Draper area schools are within the boundaries of Corner Canyon and its feeder schools. The District will move forward in implementing the plan.

DLI is different in high school than in elementary school, Hennefer noted. DLI in elementary school includes a half-day of instruction in the target language, and a half-day of learning in English. Middle school DLI includes 2.5 classes in the target language for sixth-graders; seventh- and eighth-graders take 1.5 classes in the target language.  In high school, the program, governed by the Utah State Office of Education, is referred to as Advanced Language.  Ninth-grade Advanced Language students take 1 Advanced Language class via Advanced Placement programming in the target language.  Tenth- through 12th-grade Advanced Language students take one 3000-level college course each year in the target language.

In the new plan,  Brighton would house the Chinese and French Advanced Language AP classes.  Hillcrest would house the Spanish Advanced Language AP classes.  Jordan would house the Spanish Advanced Language AP classes.  Alta would house the Chinese Advanced Language AP class, and Corner Canyon would house the French and Chinese Advanced Language AP classes.

The updated plan better supports students currently enrolled in the Dual Language Immersion program and ensures continuous flow in the feeder system, Hennefer said.

Still to be addressed are students living  outside Corner Canyon’s boundary. Students would need to receive a permit to attend the high school of choice. Corner Canyon is on moratorium due to high enrollments. Another possibility would be to add an early-morning or late-afternoon Advanced Language AP class at Corner Canyon that students could take before being transported to their boundary school.

Challenges remain with finding highly qualified staff for advanced courses, especially in Mandarin Chinese, Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said. A Mandarin Chinese teacher could be split between Corner Canyon and Alta to meet the needs of both schools.

Utah College Application Week Celebrated

All CSD high schools, including the new Diamond Ridge alternative high school, are participating in Utah College Application Week (UCAW) this week , Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Program Coordinator Torilyn Gillett said. Last year, 91 percent of CSD seniors filled out viable applications to colleges, from technical colleges to four-year universities. This year, CSD strives to ensure all high school seniors fill out a viable college application, she said.

The Canyons Education Foundation is assisting these efforts by donating up to $15,000 to cover college application fees for students in need during UCAW. Foundation representatives presented the Board with a giant check for the donated amount. CSD Community Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards noted CSD City Councils also support UCAW, and have approved resolutions to celebrate the effort to help prepare all CSD students for college and careers.

High school students shared with the Board the ways in which UCAW is helping them and their peers seek a college education. Students spoke of how UCAW is helping to focus their efforts to prepare the future, and giving them the tools they need to navigate the college application process. First-generation college students shared their stories and hopes that they will receive a college education to help empower themselves, family members, and lift communities. 

Eastmont Middle Pedestrian Bridge Proposed

The Board heard Sandy City’s proposal to build a pedestrian bridge that would improve safety for Eastmont Middle students who walk near 1300 East and Buttercup. The Board was asked to donate to the project the use of District land needed to build the pedestrian bridge.  The easements to the land are valued at approximately $23,500. Construction would begin in spring, with a possible fall 2016 completion. City representatives  praised the District’s and county’s support of the project, and said the city also is looking at ways to improve wheelchair accessibility in the area.

Eighth-Grade Lagoon Day Moves to May

School Performance Director Mike Sirois informed the Board of efforts to move eighth-grade Lagoon Day to a day that no longer will conflict with high school graduation. Middle school principals have worked with Lagoon executives to move Lagoon Day to May 25, 2016. Future Lagoon days would take place to the week before school ends to prevent conflicts with high school graduation events. Board members supported the move.

2017 Small Capital Projects Presented

CFO Leon Wilcox presented $10.2 million small capital projects aimed at improving  building code compliance,  student safety and learning and working environments. The projects list, crafted with  input from Facilities Department leaders and school principals,  includes $300,000 to place  hardwired carbon monoxide detectors in all schools by 2020 in accordance with state law; playground surface upgrades, carpet replacements, and accessibility measures;  replacing athletic turf at Alta and Jordan high schools; and adding concessions and restroom facilities at Hillcrest High, security cameras at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools, and a cosmetology lab at the Canyons Technical Education Center, among others. The projects would be completed by the start of 2016-2017 school year. The cost is similar to those approved in past years. Board Member Robert Green suggested CTEC could look into a partnership with Boeing for engineering job training. Wilcox requested Board action on the proposal Dec. 1.

Board Approves Partnership Intent for Aquatics Facilities

The Board approved a Letter of Intent to partner with Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation and Draper City for a Draper Recreation Center Pool to be open for Corner Canyon High swim team use. The LOI includes a one-time $1.3 million District contribution, which will be used to provide for bleachers, additional deck space and other enhancements for competitive swimming, as well as a $6,000 a year contribution to help with operation costs. The District will have use of the facility for 35 years. Draper City is applying for ZAP tax revenues to fund the project, and the LOI will be included with their application.  If approved, the facility will be operated by the County.  The Board also voted to work with the county, and provide a comparable contribution, to secure other facilities suitable for high school swim teams. Wilcox said the District is discussing with Midvale City such options at the Copperview Recreation Center. Board Member Robert Green wanted assurances that the facility would be equitable to that built in Draper for the benefit of Hillcrest and possibly Jordan High swim teams. 

Calendars Proposed

Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud presented the Calendar Committee’s recommendations to adopt a single calendar to ensure all schools have common breaks, with the exception of Brighton High, which is on a trimester system. The proposal would take effect in the 2016-2017 school year. School start and end dates — Aug. 24 and June 7, respectively — would not change. Dr. Stensrud received the Board’s permission to survey teachers, PTAs and SCCs regarding parent-teacher conference placement and the concept of elementary early-out days taking place on days other than Fridays on parent-teacher conference weeks. Dr. Stensrud also presented the proposed calendar for the 2017-2018 school year.

Elementary Math Upgrade Proposed

The Board received a proposal to upgrade the elementary math program, EnVision Math, to EnVision Math 2.0. The new version is better aligned with the Utah Core standards, which the State Board of Education adopted after CSD began using EnVision math, and includes more robust supports for students and teachers, Hennefer said. The vendor, Pearson, is offering a 10 percent discount for the six-year subscription, which is $14.33 per student per year, for a total investment of $1.2 million, Wilcox said.

Board Recognizes Student, Employee Accomplishments

The Board honored the following employees and students for outstanding accomplishments:
  • Leon Wilcox,Canyons CFO, Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Government Finance Officers Association;
  • Willow Canyon Elementary, Utah’s First Digital Citizenship Certified School; 
  • Alta High, FIVE STAR sportsmanship award, Utah High School Activities Association;
  • Junhao Wang, Hillcrest freshman, Bronze medalist, 2015 Seattle International Piano Competition; and First Place, Musical Teachers National Association Utah State Level Piano Solo Competition.
Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes Oct. 20 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Hire and Termination Reports; October Financial Reports; Administrative Appointments; and LAND Trust Amendments. The Board also approved Student Overnight Travel for Alta Cheer and Softball; Brighton Baseball; Corner Canyon Softball; Hillcrest Drill Team; and Jordan Girls Basketball, Drill Team and Choir Band Orchestra.

The Board held its second reading on proposed updates to the Resignation of Employees and Drug-Free Workplace policy. Second Vice President Tingey also noted the Board’s Policy Committee is reviewing CSD’s policy on open enrollment, and will prepare language for Board consideration in the near future.

Patron Comments

Kellie Simmons, Alta View DLI parent, said she is frustrated with upper-level DLI programs. She said she understands the desire to continue in feeder schools, but said that presents challenges in securing qualified instructors for all schools.

Ron Bird, Isabelle Horrocks, and Nadine Taylor, French DLI parents, asked that an exception be made to allow students outside the Corner Canyon boundary to attend DLI there with their peers to prevent hardship on families and children.

Chad Heyborne, member of the Facilities Committee and Alta High parent, asked the Board to alleviate overcrowding at Corner Canyon and balance enrollments according to the recommendations proposed by the committee, not by the Board’s current proposal, and that proposals go back to School Community Councils to be vetted.

Mont Millerberg, former board member and Midvale resident, said proposed boundary changes are discriminatory, irresponsible and do not promote high quality education districtwide. He urged the Board to table the proposal, study the matter further and honor the work of the Facilities Committee.

Troy Tait, Jordan patron, said taking kids from Jordan High boundaries doesn’t help Corner Canyon’s overcrowding issue.

Brian Jones asked the board to use resources and make decisions to benefit students with special needs and not focus only on Corner Canyon patron needs and wants.

Laurel Bennett, Jordan High parent, said if the school were to lose 170 students in a boundary change she fears Advanced Placement classes and programs would follow.

Ladd Johnson, a French DLI  parent, asked the Board to ensure Dual Immersion program is offered at Corner Canyon.

Jessica Clegg, a French DLI parent, thanked the Board for listening to parent input and ideas in previous matters, and said that she would like Dual Immersion to be placed at Corner Canyon.

Andrea Pelley, Mount Jordan DLI parent and Draper residents, said middle school DLI raises issues with electives and that improvements are needed.

Kelly Christensen,  member of the CSD boundary committee that met in 2010 and 2011, said the Board has an opportunity to postpone action and to engage the Facilities Committee and SCCs in the process.

Zack Walker, who said he represents a group of 150 Draper Park DLI students, thanked Dr. Briscoe for collaborating with the group and coming up with DLI solutions. He said he is optimistic that remaining issues will be addressed in a similar fashion. He also said that including area 12 in a boundary change didn’t make sense to the Board on Oct. 6, and  doesn’t make sense now.

Leslie Johnson, Draper resident, said the boundaries need further study, and enrollments need to be balanced responsibly.

Jason Overbaugh, Draper resident, said the current boundary proposal is a thoughtful approach to balancing enrollments, and that the majority of the Facilities Committee’s recommendations are included in the current proposal.

Stephanie Yorgason, Jordan parent, urged the Board not to make mistakes with boundaries, and said the current proposal is not fair and equitable to all.

Anna Pulley, a Corner Canyon student, said she’s moved a lot as a child and was looking forward to, with her siblings, completing her high school years there. She urged the Board not to move her boundary school.

Keith Homer, a Midvalley Elementary parent, said the school has great needs and resources shouldn’t be spent on new schools to address crowding that could be addressed with an effective boundary change.

Dave Davis, former Facilities Committee member, who resigned the position after the October meeting, said the committee worked hard to come up with good recommendations, and urged the Board to vote no on the current proposal honor the committee’s original proposal.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe thanked the Board for its work on the boundaries and recommended regular examination of enrollment and projections. He thanked Draper Elementary’s staff, Principal Piper Riddle, Edwards and the CSD Information Technology team for facilitating DLI Teleconference with peers in China. He thanked Edgemont Elementary teachers eating the waffles he made for them this morning. He put in a plug for high school musicals, and praised Brighton students’ performance of “Seussical the Musical” and Corner Canyon’s production of “Shrek the Musical.” He said he planned to attend the other high school musicals. He also mentioned the state’s education summit is coming up.

CFO’s Report

Wilcox thanked the District Insurance Department for their work on Open Enrollment for employees.

Board Reports

Vice President Steve Wrigley and Board Member Iverson said they would refrain from commentary in the interest of time.

Board Member Clareen Arnold noted the Board Audit Committee recently met, and will meet again in the coming weeks. She said she will provide an update at a later Board Meeting.

Second Vice President Tingey thanked the Utah College Application Week (UCAW) team for their efforts. She said UCAW is changing lives of young people, and that she was inspired by students who testified tonight. She attended the District’s TEDxYouth event, and said she was looking forward to viewing the outstanding speeches on the TEDxYouth website.  She thanked the Canyons Education Foundation for providing $115,000 in Teacher Innovation Grants earlier this month. She attended the Google Foundation event at Park Lane Elementary, where the company announced it would fund teachers’ projects focusing on special education student needs.

Board Member Amber Shill attended the Brighton SCC meeting, praised Brighton’s production of Seussical the Musical and the Ridgecrest Elementary Veterans Day assembly. She thanked fellow Board members for their efforts regarding the boundary proposal, and said she respects and admires them, Dr. Briscoe and Mr. Wilcox.

Board Member Green expressed appreciation for approving the Letter of Intent for aquatics facilities. He said that he was striving to come to the best boundary solution that would benefit the most people.

Board President Sherril Taylor thanked Board members and staff for their work.

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