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Board Meeting Summary Aug. 5, 2014

Butler Elementary Construction Timeline Expedited

The Board voted to expedite the Butler Elementary construction timeline and bond issuance by one year. Design work and community collaboration will begin immediately. Construction is to begin in spring 2015, and the school is to open on the current Butler Elementary campus in August 2016. The action aims to ensure that the bond debt rate would remain at the current level amid fluctuating assessed valuation, and that the District can take advantage of lower construction costs, which are rapidly rising. The Board also was asked to advance the timeline of the White City school rebuild by one year, for an August 2017 opening. The Board will continue those discussions in a future meeting.

Board Member Kim Horiuchi said the projects are needed sooner than later, and praised the Board’s action.

For details or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

New Leaders Announced

The following leaders have accepted new administrative roles in Canyons schools and District Offices:

  • Tamra Baker was named Director of Student Support Services. She has been serving as a Director of School Performance since 2009.
  • Albion Middle Principal JoAnne Ackerman and East Midvale Principal Alice Peck have been named School Performance Directors. In their new administrative posts, they will supervise the District’s 29 elementary schools.
  • Mike Sirois, who has been a School Performance Director since 2009, will oversee Canyons middle schools and the elementary school directors. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Dowdle will oversee high schools as part of his duties.
  • The selection of Ackerman and Peck as District-based administrators created positions at both Albion and East Midvale. Darrell Jensen, who is serving as Assistant Principal at Jordan High, will become the new leader at Albion Middle. Justin Pitcher, an Assistant Principal at Brighton High, will replace Peck at East Midvale Elementary.
  • Jana Crist, who has been working as an administrative intern at Alta High, replaces Jensen at Jordan High, and Matthew Schelble, who has been an administrative intern at Brighton High, will replace Pitcher at Brighton High.
  • Also, Shawn Walker, who has been the Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, has been assigned to Copperview Elementary, replacing Jethro Jones, who resigned this summer to accept a principal job in Kodiak, Alaska.
  • Jessica Vidal, who has been the Achievement Coach at Oak Hollow Elementary, will assume the Assistant Principal role at Midvale Elementary.
  • Todd Bird, who has been serving as CSD’s Coordinator of Student Support Services, has been appointed as the District’s new Juvenile and Adult Corrections Education Administrator. In this role, among other duties, he will serve as principal at South Park Academy, the District’s high school at the Utah State Prison. He replaces Dr. Lory Curtis, who retired last spring.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie announced the new appointees. She noted that the openings attracted a number of outstanding candidates, which speaks well of the Board and the administrative team.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, who took the helm of Canyons District July 1, acknowledged the personnel changes came close to the opening of the new school year. However, he said that it was in the District’s best interest to take the time to ensure key roles were filled in the best manner possible to improve communication channels, keep the district moving in a good direction, and ensure all Canyons students are college- and career-ready.

BHS Soccer Field Construction Bid Approved

The Board approved construction bid for the new Brighton High dedicated soccer field, located in front of Butler Middle School. The new soccer field will be completed by Hughes Construction. The District since last spring has solicited input on the project from many people in the community, including Brighton Principal Charisse Hilton, the Brighton School Community Council and the high school’s soccer coaches. The extensive effort to obtain community comment delayed construction, but was worth it to ensure the project meets the needs and wants of the community, Board Members said.

The Board discussed the costs of excavation and retaining walls. CFO Leon Wilcox noted cutting back costs of the project would make it so the project would not meet the needs as identified by the Brighton community. Board Member Robert Green said the field is great for the school and community. Board Member Tracy Cowdell noted the Board asked the community to weigh in on the design, and said the topography of the area was challenging but worth the work. Horiuchi noted the Brighton community had long advocated for the field and has been approved, and appreciates the SCC and community input on the field. She said the process delayed the construction slightly but was well worth it. She said she hopes the filed will serve community need and serve as an excellent home for Brighton Soccer.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs  and click Agenda Item 6.

Bond Project Update

The Board received an update on current bond projects, which include:

– Mount Jordan Middle rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2015
– Butler Elementary rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2016
– Midvale Middle rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2017
– A White City elementary rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2017
– Indian Hills renovation, scheduled for completion in fall 2018

President Sherril Taylor noted the Board has worked hard to keep its word on the bond projects. Wilcox said the District is examining the condition of the families in follow-up to the 2009 report indicating CSD had $650 million in building needs. The examination will help determine how many of those needs have been addressed, and how many remain. It is expected to continue over the next several months. The Board also looked at a facility condition report of the three White City schools: Edgemont, Bell View and Alta View to inform discussions about the bond project.

For details or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs  and click Agenda Item 2A and 7A.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June 10 and July 8 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Foreign Exchange Students for the 2014-2015 School Year; Administrative Appointments; and Student Overnight Travel for Alta Choir, FCCLA and Journalism; Brighton Cross Country; and Jordan Girls Tennis.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.

The Board determined Taylor will represent the Board with the Draper City Community that Cares program, with Cowdell serving as an alternate.

Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey and Board Member Chad Iverson will serve on a new Standing Committee for Policy Review, as will Green as his schedule allows. The committee also will include Dr. Briscoe, Acting General Counsel Dan Harper, Policy Coordinator Jeff Christensen, and Chief of Staff Charles Evans. The committee will look at Utah recommended policy and Canyons District policy, and recommend updates. Tingey noted Canyons has been using the old Jordan District policies and that a review is needed.

Patron Comments

Parent Kristi Ellis welcomed Dr. Briscoe, and asked the Board to rethink the elementary mastery-based grading process and report cards, which she opposes. To listen to her comments, please visit BoardDocs  and click Agenda Item 5.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe said he has been working to learn as much as possible about the Canyons community in a short period of time. He said he has had many discussions with parents and administrators in the past few weeks, and has learned that the Canyons culture has evolved in the past five years, and has been moving at a fast pace and accomplished many innovations. He said that he feels confident that the new District appointments will boost morale with teachers and principals and clean up communication channels. In referring to the new appointees, he said the right people were selected for the right positions, and that he is excited about the new leaders and the upcoming school year. He thanked Board Members for their patience and feedback to date. He said he enjoyed meeting students from Corner Canyon High School, and meeting a Hillcrest parent whose recent graduate was serving an LDS mission on the south side of Chicago where he once lived. He also said he was able to observe a Brighton High football practice, and said he gets a lot of energy from such visits with parents and students. He thanked everyone for their support.

CFO’s Report

Wilcox gave the Board copies of the budget book, which is posted at www.canyonsdistrict.org to ensure budgetary transparency. He updated the Board about remodeling projects, including newly painted interiors and carpeting at Jordan Valley; classroom millwork and office upgrades at Draper Elementary; blacktop and vents nearing completion at Sandy Elementary; 11 of 12 portables in place at Corner Canyon High; exterior and playground upgrades at Ridgecrest Elementary; and Alta High improvements, which include tennis courts and converting the auto shop to classrooms and a robotics lab. He said that while new Alta classrooms may not be completed in time for school to start, Principal Brian McGill was working to make accommodations. He also noted cleanup and repairs were going well at Eastmont Middle School, whose lower level was damaged by flood from a sprinkler line break last week. He said damaged carpet and wood flooring was removed, and noted that because school custodians had waxed the tile, none of the tile flooring requires replacement. He also said the Eastmont classrooms are ready for school to begin. Cowdell said he would be interested in scheduling a Board field trip to visit the projects during a regularly scheduled meeting.

Board Reports

Green welcomed principals Walker and Pitcher to Midvale schools, and thanked their families for their graciousness and sacrifices. He relayed a story about meeting a ceramics teacher and he noted the arts bridge many subjects. He noted the standards-based report card may not be perfect, and can always be refined.

Horiuchi said she is looking forward to a great school year. She enjoyed representing the Board in the Butlerville Days parade, and appreciated the community support there. She attended the “Fiddler on the Roof” community play held at Butler Middle School, whose auditorium seats 1,000 people due to a partnership with the Board and Cottonwood Heights City. She thanked Conger’s team for adjusting seating and sound as needed by the production. She attended a Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting, where she reported on the District’s fifth anniversary, including the following milestones: the Board’s 2010 approval of the academic plan; 2010 voter-approved $250 million bond; 2011 debut of the district’s Advanced and Honors diplomas; the 2011 Advanced Placement National Honor Roll award; Mountview Park, created in partnership with Cottonwood Heights City; a national Sunny Award for one of the most transparent government websites in the nation; naming Briscoe superintendent following a national search and extensive community input process; the $24.6 million in scholarships offered to the Class of 2014; and the District’s AAA bond ratings. She said she is proud of that amazing work, and hopes to continue to move Canyons forward as an education leader in the state.

Tingey said she appreciated being able to participate in the meeting electronically. She also attended “Fiddler on the Roof,” which she said was amazing. She congratulated the new administrative appointees and thanked them for their service and for sharing their talents with the CSD community. She also thanked Ackerman for her service to the Albion community, and welcomed Jensen as the new principal of the school. She thanked Dr. Briscoe for his work to meet the community over the summer.

Vice President Steve Wrigley praised the standards-based guarding workshop for parents, offered last week by national grading expert Ken O’Connor. He recommended the Board view the videotape of the workshop, and that it be placed on the Web site. He noted the Board’s discussions to expedite the White City elementary school rebuilding project, and said he was looking forward to discussing the bond project in that area. He also noted he is looking forward to the Sept. 4 meeting at Silver Mesa Elementary, where the community can meet Dr. Briscoe.

Cowdell welcomed Dr. Briscoe to Canyons, and to Pac 12 territory and home of the University of Utah. He joked that he was a little nervous that one of the new appointments approved that evening. How, he asked, will Jensen be able to do one of his popular “selfies” with the Jordan graduates next year? He wished Jensen well and said he would do a great job at Albion, and thanked the other appointees for their work. He praised the employees who have worked throughout the summer to work to prepare campuses for school to start. He welcomed the teachers returning to their classrooms to prepare for the academic year. He said he’s more optimistic than he’s ever been for the start of the school year.

Iverson joked with Cowdell about the U. football team not being ranked in the Pac 12, and indicated he is a Brigham Young University fan. He said he’s excited about the future, Dr. Briscoe’s leadership, the direction of Canyons and the start of the school year, and noted we have a lot of good things going. He said he will introduce Dr. Briscoe to Draper residents Wednesday evening. He said he agrees with the patron’s comments about the standards-based report card, and noted that he is excited about the changes coming this school year to the report card, as presented in the June Board Meeting. He said the Board will need to have serious discussions about standards-based report cards in middle schools before making any decisions.

Taylor noted he is hosting a Meet the Superintendent Meeting at Indian Hills Middle School on Aug. 13. He welcomed Dr. Briscoe to his first full Board meeting, and said Dr. Briscoe already has done more than he imagined possible, including meeting so many people in the community. He said he is excited to have the new superintendent here and for the school year, and congratulated the new appointees. He praised teachers, and said he was excited to welcome them back to school and thanked them for the good work that they do to put students first.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual and pending or reasonably imminent litigation.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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