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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Summary Feb. 3, 2015

Note: Mp3s and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Draper Park Moratorium Lifted

The Board voted unanimously to lift the moratorium on Draper Park Middle School, where enrollments are expected to be around 1,450, or 100 students less than originally thought, in the 2015-2016 school year. The action allows for out-of-boundary permits for parents wishing to enroll their children in the school. The action also allows for students in the Dual-Language Immersion Mandarin Chinese-English and French-English programs, now offered at Draper and Oak Hollow elementaries, respectively, to continue their language immersion programs at the middle school should they not already live in the Draper Park boundaries. The action is supported by Principal Greg Leavitt.

School Performance Director Mike Sirois said the action will allow the some 20 families who desire to attend Draper Park to do so. He said people had applied prior to moratorium status, and that their applications remain time stamped. Future applications also will be time stamped and approved on a first-come, first-served basis, according to protocols.

The Open Enrollment window is open through Feb. 20, 2015 in accordance with state law. Applications can be accessed at any district school and should be submitted directly to the school the applicant desires to attend next school year. Parents will be notified by March 1 whether their applications have been accepted. Details on open enrollment can be found on the Canyons District website.

College- and Career-Ready: Alta High, U. Partnership Proposed

CSD and Alta High are exploring a partnership with the University of Utah to better prepare students for high-wage, high-demand careers of the future and pave a way for them to earn college degrees. The proposal follows months of community and faculty meetings, as well as a December meeting with the U. Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and College of Education Research Associate. Evidence-Based Learning-Secondary Director Dr. Hollie Pettersson reported that the U. is interested in creating a conduit for Alta students accomplish the following:

1. Engage in meaningful partnerships with U. mentors
2. Learn about college culture and ways to increase success in higher education
3. Join small cohorts for a forthcoming three-year baccalaureate degree program at the U.

CSD also is interested in partnering with the College of Education to identify students interested in a career in education and match them with mentoring supports at the U., Pettersson said. She said the process is in its early stages, but looks promising. She said she would like the program to be available to any student in the district. Possible costs may include student transportation to the U. or funding for university professors to teach classes at Alta.

Board President Sherril Taylor said the efforts would attract additional students to Alta High School, and that the Board supports the proposal. Vice President Steve Wrigley called the proposal innovative, and said it works well with other innovations at Alta. Pettersson said the partnership also would forward the U.’s goal to help students feel part of the university to assist with retention.

Old Valley High Property Sold for $4.7 Million

The Board voted unanimously to sell the old Valley High property to Miller Family Real Estate L.L.C. for $4.74 million, less commissions. The buyer intends to purchase the 5.6 acre property at 11100 South State, adjacent 3.8-acre parcel to the west of the property and ground lease a 3.5-acre parcel to the south for a future car dealership. If all parties agree to the terms of the sale, construction will begin in the next few months. Sales proceeds could be used to fund future needed capital projects.

Early Notification Incentives Approved

The Board approved giving licensed employees and administrators incentives of up to $500 for early notification of upcoming resignation or retirement to aid in the District’s recruitment efforts. The Board also approved up to $1,000 in relocation incentives, depending on distance, for licensed and administrative employees who move more than 100 miles to work in CSD. The incentive would require a District investment of $60,000 for the early notification, and $50,000 for relocation costs. Human Resources Director Steve Dimond said CSD hires about 180 teachers each year due to an attrition rate of about 8- to 9 percent. He said many teachers leave to take care of families, and that the highest turnover is in elementary school, as experienced by districts statewide.

Final $42 Million in Bonds to be Issued

The Board adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of $42 million in general obligations bonds. The bonds are the last of the $250 million in bonds authorized by voters in the 2010 election. Bond proceeds will fund the final bond projects, including the rebuild of Alta View and Butler elementary schools, the rebuild of Midvale Middle School, and renovations to Indian Hills Middle School. Preston Kirk, Senior Vice President of the District’s financial advisory firm, George K. Baum & Co., noted some of the debt issued by the former Jordan School District was refinanced a year ago, which saved the district $4.5 million.

This is the first step in the bond sale process, which will allow CSD to capitalize on lower construction costs and borrow funds at low interest rates, which currently are around 2.6 percent. The District has lived up to its promises on the bond, including keeping tax rates neutral, Wilcox said.

Elementary Schedule Adjustment Discussed

The Board discussed on the first of three readings a proposal to revise the elementary schedule to provide adequate teacher collaboration and planning time, and investments in the middle school schedule to improve educational outcomes and safeguard teacher teaming, planning and collaboration. The Board first was presented with schedule issues and proposed resolutions in a special Jan. 28 Study Session. A task force representing all elementary schools recommends the Board adopt the schedule contained in Option 2, which his supported by 87 percent of elementary teachers to bet meet needs of students and teachers. The option would help free up teachers during the day for collaboration time, and restore early-out Fridays. It calls for trained specialists to provide curriculum-based instruction in such areas as physical education, arts and music while teachers meet to plan and collaborate. The option would cost an estimated $865,000.

Former East Midvale Elementary Principal Sally Sansom and Draper Elementary principal Piper Riddle testified to the benefits of allowing collaboration time within the elementary schedule. Riddle noted that it helped teachers look at data, focus on priorities, and have opportunities to observe other teachers. School Performance Director Joanne Ackerman said the proposal would strengthen specials courses, such as music and computers, because aides would be trained. Sansom and Ackerman said weekly collaboration is preferred by teachers, and provides for consistent progress. The proposal would allow for flexibility and customization as to when collaboration time would take place, Ackerman said.

New Administrators Introduced

Brooke Rauzon, the new Assistant Principal at Union Middle School, and Chip Watts, the new Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, were introduced to the Board.

Rauzon, who has been working at East Sandy Elementary as a CSD achievement coach, is an educator of 10 years. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Utah and a Master’s Degree in Administration from the University of Phoenix. Rauzon, who also has a reading endorsement, has taught first, fourth and sixth grades at Brookwood Elementary. Rauzon replaces Chip Watts at Union.

Watts, who has worked the past four and a half years as Assistant Principal at Union Middle School, earned his undergraduate degree in Technology Teacher Education and his graduate degree in Educational Leadership and Foundations from Brigham Young University. A former Murray District as a junior high CTE and wood shop teacher of seven years, Watts worked as Assistant Principal at Crescent View Middle School (now Draper Park Middle) for four years. Watts replaces Jessica Vidal, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.

Board Receives CTE Update to Kick Off CTE Month

Albert Cui is a Career and Technical Education success story. The Hillcrest graduate was a regional Future Business Leaders of America President, went on to graduate from Harvard in engineering sciences and economics, and now works as a markets analyst at Deutsche Bank in New York City. Cui relayed his experiences in CTE to the Board of Education via video, saying that CTE helped prepare him for the future.

Cui is one of many student success stories coming out of CSD’s programs in CTE, which U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan dubs the “career” piece of college- and career-readiness, CTE Director Janet Goble told the Board. Goble, who recently was elected Administration Division Vice President on the governing board of the Association for Career and Technical Education, provided an overview of the successes CSD students are experiencing in CTE disciplines, including computer programming, health science, information technology, business, family and consumer sciences. She said CSD students who concentrate on CTE exceed state graduation rates. CSD also is partnering in many areas with Salt Lake Community College, and that students participate in a number of organizations, including Skills USA and Future Business Leaders of America, and excel at state competitions. CSD is adding five new courses in the information technology discipline to meet the needs of a workforce demanding highly-skilled employees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In Technology and Engineering, CSD received an $87,000 grant for 3D printers; involves business partner Merit Medical in ensuring health-science lessons are targeted at building a strong workforce; includes robotics instruction. Alta High is focusing on engineering technology and science.

Wrigley said may students in CTE programs not only seek job certification, but strive to reach higher to own their own businesses. He said CTE is something his children look forward to during the school day. Board Member Robert Green agreed, and said CTE allows students to apply what they’ve learned.

Proposed Building Projects Discussed

The Board continued its discussion of a number of small capital and large facility projects presented by Wilcox, that would total $8.535 million in the upcoming budget year. The total proposed Capital Outlay Budget would be $55.9 million. Expenditures would be covered with bond proceeds, the District fund balance and current revenues.

Board Discusses Parameters for Facilities Committee

The Board discussed a proposal to reconvene the Facilities Committee of community members and school leaders to review large capital projects that may be included in the upcoming budget. Leon said the committee last fall examined a great deal of data in a short period of time, mainly focusing on issues at Corner Canyon and Midvale, where many portables have been placed to accommodate high enrollments. Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe suggested the committee hear from Facilities Director Rick Conger about building needs and start to discuss priorities. Wilcox suggested the Facilities Committee could discuss proposed building projects and school boundaries in high enrollment areas. Dr. Briscoe said the committee needs parameters from the Board. The Board directed Dr. Briscoe to identify and present to the Board possible issues for the committee to discuss. Several Board members favored adding representatives to the committee to better represent the Cottonwood Heights area. Wrigley said he would like to see a long-term facilities plan come from this process.

Community Education Options Presented

The Board received a report and recommendation on the future of CSD Community Education. Offerings currently include evening classes, summer camps, and before- and after-school programs in disciplines including business, computer technology, arts, fitness and languages. Courses enroll more than 5,700 people, just under half of whom are enrolled in after-school programs, Community Education Director Karen Sterling reported. “We are firm believers in lifelong education,” she said.

Still, the District is subsidizing the program at a time when demand for school dollars is at a premium. This year, Sterling estimates CSD will receive about $200,000 in program revenues, and spend $170,000 to cover costs. Wilcox noted the district subsidy roughly equals the salaries of two teachers. Sterling noted class options are available to community members outside of CSD’s programs, including online sources. She suggested the Board examine options including continuing the program with future evaluation, partnering with cities or the county to administer the program through recreation centers, or eliminating the program.

Community Education Coordinator Amy Boettger helped Sterling answer questions from the Board. Board Member Amber Shill suggested the Board consider keeping after-school programs to serve the public. Superintendent Dr. Briscoe suggested approaching parks and recreation about a partnership for offering youth programs and reporting back to the Board.

Middle School SALTA Testing Discussed

The Board asked questions about a proposal to require an admissions test for middle school SALTA gifted-education services, much like students are required to do for elementary SALTA programs, and received new proposals aimed at improving the continuum of gifted and accelerated student services in CSD middle schools.

The testing requirement would begin in March for students who will be in sixth grade in fall 2015. Students enrolled in an elementary SALTA program would be exempt. Additionally, Individualized Learning Plans would be implemented for elementary SALTA students who choose not to attend the magnet program at Midvale Middle School. This is aimed at better meeting the needs of the some 40 students each year who choose not to continue gifted education services at Midvale Middle’s magnet program. Also, a committee would be created to address ways to improve the honors curriculum in CSD middle schools to for students of high academic ability. She noted parents served on a committee for many years to help improve elementary SALTA services. Wrigley and Second Vice President Nancy Tingey suggested parents need help to connect the dots on accelerated and gifted offerings available in CSD.

Dr. Pettersson noted the tests are not like the SAGE or other standardized tests, but present students with puzzles designed to examine giftedness. The changes are recommended by School Performance Director Mike Sirois, Midvale Middle Principal Frank Schofield, and Dr. Pettersson. Midvale Middle teacher Vandal Ford explained how he provides depth of understanding gifted learners need. His colleagues Dan Ashbridge and Sara Allen also were on hand to answer questions.

Update: Legislative Session

Government Relations Director Charlie Evans updated the Board on the first week of the 45-day legislative session. Evans summarized budget discussions, including a request to cut 2 percent from current budgets to present options to the appropriations committees; charter funding issues; legislation addressing school district divisions, including one that would allow Jordan District to adjust its certified rate to that used before Canyons’ creation, and another that would have a dividing district share the same tax base for perpetuity; a citizenship test required for high school graduation; and statewide equalization efforts. Second Vice President Nancy Tingey thanked Evans, Community Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards, and their team for their work, which she called vital to CSD’s mission.

Evaluation Leadership Position Further Discussed

The Board further discussed a new position to help implement the new state-required educator evaluation systems. Based on feedback from the Board, the administrative position would be created this spring and continue through the next two years. The position will be reviewed after one year, with a report provided to the Board. CSD is field testing the Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS) and crafting several other evaluation tools for other licensed professionals, support personnel and administrators. The evaluation systems require time commitments difficult to manage with existing resources. The goal is to fill the position with the person who really can do this job, Human Resources Director Steve Dimond said. Dimond will update the board on the evaluation systems in a special Study Session Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Board Updated on Gradebook RFP

The District has been piloting in four schools the JumpRope system to assist teacher efforts to understand and report student progress towards mastery of content standards. JumpRope was selected for the pilot in an RFP process in May 2014. Evidence-Based Learning-Elementary Director Amber Roderick-Landward and Education Technology Director Darren Draper have posted another RFP to allow for a more widespread adoption of technology to assist teachers, and hope to have a final product selected by early April. Board members said they hoped to find a program that can streamline the data process.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Jan. 20 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; and Student Overnight Travel for Jordan High Academic Decathlon. Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects will design the Alta View Elementary rebuild.

Patron Comments

David Skorut, Hillcrest High SBO and Swim Team Captain, encouraged the Board to rebuild the swimming pool used by the school and Midvale community at Midvale Middle School. He said plans for the rebuilding of Midvale Middle don’t include a pool. He said traveling further away from the school to access a pool will discourage students from participating in competitive swimming. He presented a petition to the Board seeking a rebuilt swimming pool.

Teacher Pat Denning, third grade teacher at Altara Elementary, is a member of the elementary school schedule task force. She thanked the task force for its work to forward wonderful solutions to benefit students. She said the Option 2 schedule would allow teachers to utilize resources to support teacher and student learning, and maximize time to collaborate, implement new research and be creative in their pursuits. She urged the Board to seriously consider Option 2.

Susan Mathis, first-grade teacher at Brookwood Elementary, thanked the Board for the ability to offer input on possible elementary schedule changes via the task force. She said she needs the Friday short day to study and prepare, and asked the Board to consider early dismissal on Thursdays on the weeks that Fridays are not in session.

Parent Gwyneth Kenner applauded the Board’s efforts to raise bar and prepare students for college and career. But she said those same high expectations are not being extended to students receiving special education services. Mastery should matter for all students to ensure all can plot their course in life.

Ross Rogers, President of the Canyons Education Association, thanked the Board for the opportunity to examine more closely the elementary schedule, which was created last year following teacher contract negotiations. He read a statement, and said that CEA believes the task force has addressed solutions to issues that arose this year in the schedule, and favors Option 2 because it has the greatest support of teachers and allows flexibilities for site-based decisions. He noted issues the CEA wants to address this year in negotiations, including bus supervision, report card preparation and the hours at work policy.

Jen Jacobs, CEA Vice President and Bell View Elementary teacher, expressed thanks for being able to participate in the task force and the collaboration with the District. She said the options are a result of countless hours of work done by teacher members of the task force, district administrators and many others. She said it has been an exciting turning point in perception of the District, which has gone from “us vs. them” to a feeling that we’re all in this together.

Julie Wright, fourth grade teacher at Oak Hollow, thanked the District for the collaborative process to find solutions to the elementary schedule, seeking teacher voices, and leading by example. She said it is clear that teachers think Option 2 is the best solution for effective planning time and optimizing instruction. She said it allows time for teachers to focus on data-driven instruction, and gives students an enriched experience with specialists in the classroom.

Natalie Parker of Region 17 PTA, who has a daughter at Lone Peak Mandarin Chinese-English Dual Language Immersion, is looking forward to the middle school program but was dismayed her daughter could not attend the program at Draper Park due to moratorium. She urged the board to lift the moratorium.

Dawn Mellor, Brookwood Elementary teacher, SSC and schedule task force member, said the teachers in her school look forward to having the early-out Fridays to allow adequate time to prepare for the week under the options before the Board. She said the community also would be pleased to have students again be able to participate in Friday ski programs with early-out Fridays. She said her SCC supports the proposal.

Superintendent Report

Dr. Briscoe gave a shout out to CTE teachers, coordinators, and supporters. He said that when he sees CTE students engaged with teachers, they connect to world and get excited about opportunities that await them.

CFO Report

Wilcox said he is in the process of securing pool space at the Gene Fullmer facility in West Jordan to help the Hillcrest Swim Team in the short term. He said he’s looking forward to reconvening the facilities committee.

Board Reports

Clareen Arnold visited East Sandy and Sandy elementaries and Mount Jordan Middle School. She toured the Mount Jordan construction site and was appreciative of the tour and the opportunity to sit in on the meeting with the contractors. She attended Region 17 PTA Reflections Contest awards night, which she said was awesome. She also visited with Jim Hoffman from Jordan Credit Union, a business partner of CSD.

Wrigley thanked the CTE program for the tour of offerings, and gave a shout out to CSD counselors during School Counseling Week. He said he visited his daughter’s middle school counselor, who he appreciates, and reported on a study that showed counselors increase quality of education and are twice as effective as class-size reduction on student success. He said counselors are key to ensuring students are ready for college and careers after high school.

Tingey attended the Reflections awards night, and delighted in the creativity and the excitement of the children. She thanked the PTA for the invitation. She thanked staff who helped at Granite Elementary when the water pipe burst last week for their willingness to jump in and help and keep school going. She said the Board’s Policy Committee planned to bring forth policies for discussion in the next meeting.

Shill attended her first meeting of the Utah High School Activities Association, which she said felt long at five hours, but ended up being shorter than this meeting. She said she was in the majority in voting against changing the realignment adopted by the UHSAA in December, and that the final vote was 12-11. She attended the Brighton High mock election for the American Problems class; Region Drill; and the Brighton Boys Basketball game. She attended the Reflections awards night, and was appreciative of the talent displayed there and the audience.

Green attended Suessical Jr. Union Middle School, which he said was enjoyable for him and for his family.

Taylor gave a shout out to the CSD Information Technology department, and thanked director Scot McCombs and his team for their hard work. He thanked the audience for staying throughout the 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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