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Board Meeting Summary Dec. 2, 2014

Board Honors Contributions of Horiuchi, Cowdell

The Board of Education paid tribute to the accomplishments of two inaugural Board Members, Kim Horiuchi and Tracy Scott Cowdell, at their final Board meeting on Dec. 2, 2014. Cowdell, who represents District 4 patrons of Sandy, and Horiuchi, who represents District 2 patrons of Cottonwood Heights, were elected to serve their communities in the former Jordan School District in 2006, and stood at the helm of Canyon’s creation following the 2007 vote.

Cowdell served as Board President and Horiuchi as a Board Member during Canyons’ first days of operation as Utah’s first new school district in a century, and saw the District through to its crowning achievements of today. In that time, the Board of seven elected officials crafted an ambitious college- and career-ready academic plan; reconfigured grades to place ninth-graders in high schools and sixth-graders in middle school; earned voter approval of a $250 million building bond used to build a brand new high school and add to, renovate and rebuild seven schools to date; and awarded CSD college- and career-ready diplomas to high school graduates — a first in the state of Utah. The Board also kept tax rates stable, preserved jobs and protected employee benefits during times of deep economic recession.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have served alongside you in this great and historic endeavor,” Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey said.

The Board and Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe presented Cowdell and Horiuchi with gifts including framed photographs and a slideshow; CSD-logo jackets; and a plaque honoring them for their service. They also relayed personal stories and memories of working with Cowdell and Horiuchi.

Read more and view photos on the Canyons District website. Or, to listen to the tribute, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 5.

Permit Moratorium Called for Draper Park Middle School

The Board voted to place Draper Park Middle School on moratorium status due to high enrollments, meaning that the school cannot accept Standard Open Enrollment Applications for the 2015-2016 school year. Draper Park enrolls more than 1,500 students. The school currently enrolls about 35 students on out-of-boundary permits; those students’ permits will be honored in the upcoming academic years according to District policy.

To listen to the discussion, please visit  BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 9D.

Optional Diploma to Assist At-Risk Students

The Board gave permission for work to move forward on creating an optional diploma, which would require students to meet all state graduation requirements and would be extended only to high school seniors who are at-risk for dropping out. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Dowdle presented the optional diplomas as a way to allow students who are at risk of not completing high school in their senior year to earn an optional diploma by completing the state-required 24 credits, which includes four credits of English, three credits each of math and science, and three credits of social studies, among other requirements. Canyons requires students to earn 27 credits, three of which are additional electives, to graduate with a traditional CSD diploma. Students would be extended the optional diploma only in their senior year and only after meeting specific requirements. Cowdell praised the proposal as a start of a larger discussion on helping at-risk students. Dr. Dowdle agreed.

For details, please visit  BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 1B.

College Application Week Results

During the Nov. 17-21 College Application Week, 82 Percent of Canyons seniors filled out viable college applications, said Dr. Hollie Pettersson, Director of Evidence-Based Learning in Secondary Schools. School numbers ranged from 73 percent to 96 percent of seniors filling out applications. Students (22 percent) most frequently applied to the University of Utah, followed by Salt Lake Community College. The Canyons Education Foundation had donated up to $25,000 for students needing help with fees; one-fifth of that amount was spent, Dr. Pettersson said. Principals and counselors are following up with students who did not apply so they can assist them in the process. She also said next steps include helping students fill out the FAFSA for financial aid.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 9A.

New 2016-2017 School Calendar Proposed

Following a public survey and a reconvening of the District Calendar Committee, the Board entertained a proposal to start school Aug. 24 in Fall 2016, end the school year June 8, 2017, and adjust Winter Break to include Jan. 2, which is a federal holiday. The Board received two new proposals from the District Calendar committee, crafted using public input on the calendar that would have started school one week earlier in fall 2016. The Board agreed it prefers Calendar Option 2. The Board is to vote on the proposed 2016-2017 academic calendar in the next meeting.

To view the proposals or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 1D.

CAFR Discussed

CFO Leon Wilcox presented the Board with the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which measures the financial health of the district though a series of audits and examinations by the State Office of Education and Legislative Fiscal Analyst. Horiuchi noted the auditors said the District’s health was excellent. Steve Wrigley said the CAFR showed the district is fiscally responsible.
To view the CAFR, or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and Click Agenda Item 1A.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Nov. 11, 2014 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Land Trust Amendment; November Hires and Terminations; and the CAFR and State and Federal Required Audit reports. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta Boys Tennis and Jordan Dance Company and AVID.

The Board approved the middle school health text. Dr. Pettersson noted 22 patrons provided written input during the public input window, and that their input was 100 percent positive. She said there were suggestions to include more information about disability awareness and mental health in future text selections.

Proposed Revised Policies will come back to the Board for discussion and action in January.

Board Recognizes Student, Employee Achievements

The Board recognized the following CSD students and employees for their achievements:

– Nico Torina, Alta View Elementary, Winner, Utah National Guard/Utah PTA Veterans Essay Contest
– Emily Erickson, Indian Hills, Winner, Utah National Guard/Utah PTA Veterans Essay Contest
– Alta Marching Band, State Champions
– Barbara Hopkins, CSD Library Media Specialist, climbed to Mount Everest Base Camp to raise money for global literacy
– Crescent Elementary/Principal Debbie Shumard, first CSD school to receive the Energy Star Award
– Chris Eppler, CSD Energy Specialist, Leader of Energy Efficiency Initiative
– Austin Kafentzis, Jordan Football Quarterback, 15 state football records
– Alana Liu, Midvale Middle student, Winner, UESP “Make Your Mark” Bookmark Contest

Patron Comments

Alta teacher Dan Rozanas expressed concerns about balancing A and B days in the block schedule in the proposed calendar.

Human Resources Administrator-ESP Everett Perry detailed District actions taken in 2013 in the matter of the Jordan Valley School emergency supplies room.

CEA President Ross Rogers and Vice President Jen Jacobs thanked the Board for including teachers in the elementary schedule task force, and thanked and Cowdell and Horiuchi for their service.

To listen to the comments, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe noted his participation in the Foundation’s Innovation Grants surprise awards today, and enjoyed surprising teachers with the great news.

CFO Report

Wilcox thanked Horiuchi and Cowdell for their service. He thanked everyone for thier hard work. He said this has been one of the best starts of the school year and facilities improvements have been outstanding. He thanked Dr. Briscoe for his work, and noted he has received a Utah driver’s license, and quipped that this may be the time to introduce him to the Utah staple of green Jell-O.

Board Reports

Chad Iverson attended the Foundation Board meeting last month, and said it was good to have a new audit finance committee to examine Foundation financials. He thanked Horiuchi and Cowdell for their service.

Wrigley attended the unveiling of the Sacred Images mural at Hillcrest High, and said he is 1/16 Sioux and was touched by the students’ work. He attended musicals at Hillcrest, Corner Canyon, Brighton and Jordan, and his wife attended Alta’s musical, and said all were of amazing quality. He participated on the audit committee, and is glad to help lead a district that is fiscally sound.

Tingey attended all high school musicals, and was touched by the student participants. She said performing arts brings a priceless experience to students. She thanked the District, teachers, parents, and the community for their support and commitment to the arts.

Cowdell congratulated incoming Board Members Amber Shill and Clareen Arnold. He recalled the old board room that was red and stadium seating, and work to improve it. He recalled the early days of the District, and relayed a story about the time he visited the Capitol with Horiuchi and Taylor while the school district creation bill was in play, and Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Toomer-Cook was a reporter. He thanked the staff and superintendents he has worked with, and acknowledged former Superintendent Dr. David Doty’s presence at tonight’s meeting. He said there have been highs and lows, the highs being working with great people. He thanked Dr. Dowdle and School Performance Director Mike Sirois and Human Resources Director Steve Dimond for having the courage to come from Jordan District. He said he knows there was a political a price to pay, but added that not a day has gone by when he hasn’t done what he thinks is right, and to the best of his abilities. He said he’s looking forward to spending time in other things outside of board service, is optimistic about the District’s future, and says it is being left in capable hands.

Horiuchi also remembered the Capitol Hill story. She also remembers going over to the old Cottonwood Heights Elementary, where the District Offices were located in the District’s early days, and found employees zipping by on scooters and a sign that said the West Wing and having fun time while working hard. She said that’s when she realized CSD was the right thing. She said it was a huge undertaking for the staff and not done it without any single individual. She thanked all who were involved in the district startup. She said she attended the Hillcrest musical, and said the school lives up its outstanding performing arts reputation. She attended the Butler Middle School Veterans Wall tribute. She noted there is a public hearing on the Utah High School Activities Association proposed realignment, and said Alta, Jordan and Hillcrest may become 4A schools, but that Jordan can petition to remain 5A.

Taylor thanked Cowdell and Horiuchi for their dedicated service, and said they will not be forgotten.

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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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