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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Summary, August 4, 2020

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

First Day of School Postponed One Week

This fall’s first day of school in Canyons District has been pushed back one week. By making a change to the academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year, members of the Board voted to start school on Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 17. This will give teachers, whose contracts begin Aug. 10, two full work weeks to prepare for the school year. Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins recommended to delay the start of school as part of an update on the Back-to-School Action Plan. Robins said the extra days will provide time to plan and implement COVID-19-related health and wellness precautions. Robins thanked members of the Administration for their hard work on the implementation of the plan, which calls for required face coverings, physical distancing and extensive cleaning. In fact, CSD will spend nearly $1 million on cleaning, sanitization, and Personal Protection Equipment, including face shields and face coverings. CARES Act funding will be used to pay for more part-time custodians to aid in the daily cleaning of the buildings. The plan also provides maximum flexibility for parents to decide what is best for the education of their children. During Online Registration, which started on July 27, parents could choose between in-person learning, online learning and at-home, parent-guided, CSD-supported learning. As of 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 76.9 percent of CSD parents have chosen to enroll their children in in-person learning. Twenty-one percent chose online learning, and about 2 percent are doing the at-home, parent-guided option. However, about 4,000 students who previously attended CSD schools have not yet registered. It may well be that parents have not decided how to move forward, even after seeing the school-specific return-to-school plans, which were posted on CSD websites on Aug. 1 after being developed by principals, School Community Councils and Building Leadership Teams. Teachers are on both SCCs and BLTs. The recent waiver of the state-required hours-in-school attendance requirement also presents parents with even more options to decide when their children learn from home via Canvas or from their school, Robins said. The Board also heard a presentation and asked questions of Dr. Brandon Webb, from the Division of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Epidemiology at Intermountain Healthcare. From the standpoint of the compliance of the CDC and principles of transmission, he said, CSD’s return-to-school plan is sound. He also said that no one single mitigation strategy will work on its own. A thorough cleaning regimen, the wearing of face-coverings, and consistent physical distancing work in tandem to mitigate risk, he said. Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson presented information about the confirmed cases in the cities that make up Canyons District. Overall, since a peak in July, the rates of cases have fallen in every ZIP code in Canyons District. Responsive Services Department Director BJ Weller told the Board the District is in constant communication with the health department to receive guidance on how to respond to positive cases and possible exposures. Weller reviewed the process, which is posted on the District’s website, and noted that guidance from health authorities can change and CSD staff members will do their best to stay on top of the changes and communicate the changes appropriately. He also noted that many students see schools are more than places they learn. It’s also a place they get counseling and nutrition services, as well as social emotional supports. When schools are closed to in-person instruction, disparities in educational outcomes could become wider, he said, especially for the quarter of CSD students who qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches under the poverty index. For the school year, some 177 teachers and other licensed personnel have been hired. Six licensed positions remain open, according to CSD’s HR Department. Fifteen Education Support Professionals have been hired. Thirteen positions remain open. Canyons’ HR department also is recruiting for substitute teachers. HR Director Steve Dimond said 252 teachers applied for online-teaching positions. Of those, 85 were high-risk according to the categories established by the CDC. This week, they will use enrollment data to work with principals to determine class and course offerings, as well as teaching assignments. All employees also have been given information about leave that is available to them, Dimond said. 

New White Valley-area School

Proposed names and mascots for the new White City-area school were presented to the Board of Education. Construction on the school, which will consolidate the Bell View and Edgemont school communities, will begin in 2021. Proposed names for the school include Bear Park Elementary and Glacier Hills Elementary.

Policy Updates

The Board of Education is considering updates to policies governing sexual harassment, student attendance, employee conduct and professionalism, and School Community Councils.

USBA Delegate Assembly Items

The Board of Education and Administration discussed possible legislative items. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from the Board of Education meeting on July 14, 2020;  hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; purchase of two separate properties; a special warranty deed and right-of-way donation with Cottonwood Heights City for the roundabout on Bengal Boulevard, and the transfer of one portable classroom to Altara Elementary. 

Patron Comment

  • Parent and teacher Maddie Melini commented on the Back-to-School Action Plan. She asked for more options for parents. 
  • Teacher Julie Morano remarked on CSD’s plan to return to school and encouraged more options, including a virtual classroom. 
  • Canyons Education Association President Erika Bradshaw asked the Board to revisit the Back-to-School Plan to provide a postponed start or a hybrid model. 
  • Parent Natalie Hood expressed concern about the “modified quarantine” as explained by Utah state and local health officials at a recent press conference by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
  • Teacher Dawn Gonzalez stated her safety concerns about Canyons’ return-to-school plan.
  • Teacher Debra Delliskave encouraged the Board to consider a hybrid model for a return to school. 

Roundtable Discussion

The Board of Education postponed the roundtable discussion.

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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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