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Board Meeting Summary, Aug. 16 2016

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

Board Approves Proposal to Use ACT For 11th Grade Measure 

The Board of Education voted unanimously to take advantage of the provisions of HB200, which was passed in the 2016 Legislative session. The legislation allows school districts to request a waiver on the requirement to have 11th graders participate in the end-of-year summative SAGE testing. The District now plans to use the ACT as the measurement of how well high school juniors are performing academically. The benefits of doing so include gaining valuable instructional time in other classes, particularly Advanced Placement courses. There also could be an uptick in demonstrated competency because students have incentive to do well on the ACT, a commonly accepted college-entrance exam. 

Bell-Efficiency Study

Could small changes to the start times of some of Canyons District’s schools save in transportation costs? Such was the focus of a recent bell-efficiency study presented to the Board by Assistant Superintendent Bob Dowdle. Using data to simulate the affects of consolidating, or piggybacking, bus routes, the study looked at two possible scenarios. Option No. 1 would entail moving the start times at some schools back or forward by 15 minutes, thereby giving drivers an extra 30 minutes to complete the longer routes. Doing so would remove 21 buses from daily operation and save up to $340,000 in bus driver labor and $360,000 in fuel and maintenance costs. Option No. 2 would alter bell times by 30 minutes and remove 33 buses from daily circulation for a potential savings of $1 million or more in labor, fuel and maintenance costs. Both options create efficiencies by combining bus routes. The longer bus routes could have the added benefit of helping to recruit and retain drivers, because the District would be able to hire more drivers on a full-time basis with benefits. Dowdle made no policy recommendations; there is currently no formal proposal before the Board. The discussion was for informational purposes only. Board President Sherril Taylor asked Dowdle to schedule time throughout the 2016-2017 school year to share the study’s findings with School Community Councils.

Purchase of Land for Future Elementary School

The Board of Education approved the expenditure of $6,276,596 for 13.02 acres at 11500 S. Lone Peak Parkway. It’s expected the land will be used for a future new elementary school. The sale price is equal or slightly below market value. The Board also directed Business Administrator Leon Wilcox to approve and sign all documents related to the property transaction. 


The following faculty and staff were recognized by the Board of Education:

Aaron Hadfield, Brighton High teacher, for winning the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. 

Sebasthian Varas, Canyons District’s Nutrition Services Director, for winning the President’s Award of Excellence from School Nutrition Association

Principals and Athletic Directors at Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan High schools for receiving honors in the UHSAA’s “Raise the Bar” sportsmanship program. 

Leslie Robinette, CSD English Arts Instructional Support Specialist, for her work on the National Speech and Debate Association, held this summer in Canyons District.

The Board also recognized CSD’s new Special Education Director Misty Suarez and Union Middle Assistant Principal Taylor Hansen. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including purchasing bids; July’s financial reports; student overnight travel requests; hire and termination reports; the United Way agreement for 2016-2017 and the Midvale Elementary Parent-Teacher Conference date change.

Patron Comments

Jen Buttars, president of the Canyons Education Association, addressed the new state rule, Academic Pathway to Teaching Level 1 License, which allows non-educators to teach in Utah public schools.  She thanked CSD’s Human Resource Department for their hard work, and expressed concern that non-educators without training or mentoring would be in Canyons classrooms.

Randy Olsen, a teacher at Jordan High, said that while he finds some merit to the new, alternative pathway regulation, it’s not a sustainable remedy to the teacher shortage. True reform will entail paying teachers more and scrutinizing college-level teacher training programs, he said.

Mark Bessendorfer, fifth-grade teacher in CSD, said he was disappointed in the Academic Pathways to Teaching rule. He said the rule sends the message that trained educators are not valued. He said the Instructional Supports Department does a good job with professional-development for the District’s teachers.  He said that he’s concerned about the program because non-educators will be assigned to teach children. 

Kathleen Riebe, parent and candidate for the Utah State Board of Education, said she worries about how the Academic Pathways to Teaching will be implemented, and how it will affect schools and students. She applauded the work that CSD is doing, and encouraged the Board and Administration to keep high standards when hiring men and women for classroom teaching jobs.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe said he has been pleased by back-to-school preparations as he’s visited all five traditional high schools, stopped by the new Butler Elementary, and some of the elementary and middle schools. He invited the community to the Thursday, Aug. 18 ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Business Administrator’s Report

Leon Wilcox said the water heaters and the boilers at Alta High are installed, He also gave an update on the Bell View parking lot project, which is expected to be done by Friday. New carpet has been installed at Bell View, as well. He thanked CSD’s IT department for their work on online registration. He also said there are some spots still available in CSD’s Supplemental Hours of Instruction for Kindergarten program. 

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Robert Green said he participated in the Midvale Harvest Days Parade with Mr. Steve Wrigley. He also toured the construction site of Midvale Middle. He also commented on the new APT rule. 

Mrs. Amber Shill invited the community to the Butler Elementary ribbon-cutting. She also said she’s looking forward to attending the annual lunch that Cottonwood Heights holds for the Teachers of the Year in the city’s schools and the first-day-of-activities throughout Canyons District.

Mr. Nancy Tingey addressed the Board’s vote to request the waiver from the state to not administer the SAGE test to juniors. She said she hoped the public would see that the District is not decreasing the rigor of the junior year, but instead putting emphasis on measures, such as the ACT, that would give schools a better look at the students’ preparedness for college and careers.  She also reported on her attendance at Hillcrest’s “academic boot camp.” 

Mr. Steve Wrigley, participating via telephone, said he is looking forward to the coming school year. He also said he enjoyed participating in the Midvale Harvest Days Parade. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold expressed appreciation for all administrators, teachers and staff who have worked hard to get the District prepared for the start of school

Mr. Chad Iverson also thanked employees for their hard work and dedication in preparing schools for the first day. 

President Taylor said APT is a “slippery slope” and the District needs to be careful in how we handle it. He said the employees who addressed the Board were “spot on” in their comments and urged the Administration to be cautious as the District moves forward. He also thanked the Sandy City Police Officers for attending and providing security at the Board meeting.

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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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