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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Summary, Feb 4, 2020

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

Make-Up Day

The Board of Education approved a plan for making up the instructional time lost due to Monday’s snow day. The Board directed Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe to seek permission from the Utah State Board of Education to forgo a make-up day, as allowed under state rule and as other Utah school districts have indicated they intend to do. The permission would need to be granted in writing by mid-day, Friday, Feb. 7, in time to adequately inform families. Otherwise, declared the Board, the make-up day will be held on Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, as designated by the District’s 2019-2020 calendar. Under state rule, public schools in Utah are required to hold a minimum of 990 hours over 180 instructional days and recover any days lost due to inclement weather. School districts, however, can seek a waiver from the rule for extraordinary circumstances. Decisions to cancel school are never made lightly, but Monday’s early morning call for a snow day was well-received by the community, reported Canyons Communications Director Jeff Haney. In comments on social media and emails, parents and employees expressed relief at not having to brave dangerous roads and were grateful for the early notification, which was dispatched by about 5:15 a.m. Canyons was among several school districts, private and charter schools, colleges and governmental agencies to suspend operations due to hazardous weather conditions on Monday, Feb. 3. 

Superintendent Search

The Board of Education approved a plan to launch a national search for a Superintendent to succeed Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, who recently announced his June 30, 2020 retirement date. In order to take advantage of peak hiring season, and with the goal of having someone in place by July 1, 2020, the Board has set the application window to start Monday Feb. 10 and run through March 13, 2020. Ads promoting the search are being purchased to run in national trade publications, and a webpage advertising the search will go live on the District’s site on Friday, Feb. 7. All applications will be processed and screened by a third-party, Richard C. Stowell, Executive Director of the Utah School Boards Association. In addition, the District will sponsor three Town Halls, Feb. 25-27 to seek input to inform the Board’s deliberations. Prior to these events, CSD employees, including administrators, and parents will be surveyed about the desired characteristics of a successful candidate. The surveys will launch on Monday, Feb. 10 at 8 a.m. and close on Friday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. The results will be shared at the Town Halls. 

Administrative Appointments

New leadership appointments were approved by the Board of Education. The appointments, effective for the 2020-2021 school year, are: 

  • Ryan Durrant, currently the Assistant Principal at Jordan High, transferred to be Assistant Principal at Brighton High.
  • Dina Kohler, now an Intern Assistant Principal at Jordan High, promoted to Assistant Principal at Jordan High.
  • Chip Watts, currently serving as Principal of Midvale Elementary, transferred to be Principal at Draper Park Middle
  • Doug Hallenbeck, currently the Assistant Principal at Butler Middle, transferred to be Assistant Principal at Canyons Technical Education Center
  • Dan Ashbridge, now a teacher specialist in the ISD department, promoted to Assistant Principal at Butler Middle
  • Sierra Segura, an Intern Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle, promoted to Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle
  • Connie Simons, an Intern Assistant Principal at Midvale Middle, promoted to Assistant Principal at Midvale Middle
  • Lori Reynolds, currently serving as principal of Sprucewood Elementary, transferred to be Principal at Midvale Elementary
  • Cathy Schino, now the Principal at Edgemont Elementary, transferred to be Principal at Sprucewood Elementary
  • Michelle Snarr, now serving as a roaming principal for administrators on vacation or leave, transferred to Interim Principal at Edgemont Elementary
  • Shawn Walker, now the Assistant Principal at Copperview Elementary, promoted to Principal at Sandy Elementary
  • Cassie Kapes, a teacher specialist in CSD’s Instructional Support, promoted to Assistant Principal of Copperview Elementary
  • Janet Goble, Canyons District’s Director of Career and Technical Education, will continue the role of Principal at CTEC
  • Amy Boettger, Principal of Diamond Ridge, also is named Principal at Canyons Virtual High School
  • Kim Baker, a longtime public-school administrator, to be the Secondary Human Resources Administrator.

Teacher Licensure

Canyons District’s Human Resource Department provided information to the Board of Education regarding the Utah State Board of Education’s new Educator Licensing Structure. Canyons’ Human Resources Secondary Administrator Jo Jolley told the Board that, in addition to a professional educator license that is granted by an accredited college or university, districts may work with prospective educators to obtain an Associate Educator License or an LEA-specific Educator License. In effect, state rules now require local Boards of Education to approve an LEA-specific Educator Licensing Policy. Every year, the Board would approve the licenses of those educators who have gone through a non-traditional route to become a teacher. Those teachers could include Dual Language Immersion, international teachers, educators waiting for their university recommendation, or teachers working on an additional endorsement. Canyons Human Resources Elementary Administrator also reviewed the educational-attainment requirements to be considered for an LEA-specific license, and timeline to guide the LEA-specific licensed teachers through the process to earn a professional educator license. The District, which will be required to notify on school websites how many teachers at a school are on an LEA-specific license, also will provide substantial mentoring and professional development for these employees. The Board will consider a new policy that would govern the LEA-specific licenses in Canyons District.

DLI Recommendation

CSD Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward presented a recommendation to expand the Dual Language Immersion Program, signaling Canyons’ long-term commitment to the DLI program. The proposal calls for two new elementary Spanish-English co-horts to start in the coming school year at Altara and Midvalley elementary schools. The Board asked for Town Hall meetings at the schools to obtain parent input from the communities. If approved, in March, in addition to hiring the teacher a lottery would be conducted, and families if they were granted a spot on the class rosters. There is demand for an expansion of the program. Currently, there are 114 students on a wait-list to get into a DLI program, Dr. Roderick-Landward said.

Policy Update

A new state policy requires Utah school districts to develop a policy regarding private school student participation in statewide public school assessments and a policy regarding home school student participation in those year-end exams. Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen presented a proposed policy that would satisfy the new rule. The Board took the proposal under advisement.

Legislative Update

External Affairs Director Charlie Evans updated the Board of Education on education-related bills wending through the chambers of the legislature. Canyons District has representatives at Capitol Hill every day of the 45-session to monitor proposed bills and emphasize to lawmakers the Board of Education’s legislative priorities. Evans said there may be “ripple effects” for public education now that legislators have repealed the previously approved tax-reform measures and are working on a state budget for the coming year and possible tax reform in other years.

Grants Update

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board on grant money received by the District to help support ongoing programs and initiatives.

Pledge of Allegiance, Posting of the Colors

The American and state flags were posted by students from Draper Park Middle.  Draper Park Middle Assistant Randal Seltz told the Board that Principal Mary Anderson, who is retiring at the end of this school year, has positively impacted the school with her leadership. She often tells staff this phrase: “It’s a small thing in a big world,” which gives employees perspective on the issues faced by school staff on a day-to-day basis. Anderson says the school, known as one of the top middle schools in the state according to test results, started the year with 1,640 students. Draper is noted for its global language and core-class instruction, and strong music, debate and art programs. She also noted Draper Park’s after-school Thursday extracurricular activities, and the stellar faculty who are invested in their students’ achievements.  She also expressed her gratitude for her 42 years working in education, 11 of which were in Canyons District. She said she will miss the students, colleagues, friends and parents in Canyons District.


Butler Middle Principal Paula Logan was honored by the Board of Education for being named the Utah Middle School Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals. She received the honor at a UASSP conference in St. George. 

Public Comment

  • Teacher Krista Pippin expressed thanks to Mary Anderson for her vision and mission as principal of Draper Park Middle.
  • Butler Middle and Ridgecrest parent Denise White commented on the trimester schedule at Brighton High.
  • Parent Dan Midas, whose children attend Butler and Butler Middle, commented on recent recommendations by a committee that spent a year studying the Dual Language Immersion program. 
  • DLI parent Richard Medina also commented on the recommendations for the DLI program

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the Board of Education on Jan. 21, 2020; employee hire and terminations; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; administrative appointments; and a third-party facilitator for the national search for the next superintendent.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Transportation Department for traveling the roads early on Monday morning to report whether they were safe to traverse. Dr. Briscoe reiterated Canyons’ commitment to student safety, especially on inclement-weather days.  He also reported on attending a Career Day for Career and Technical Education.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked the staff and faculty who aided in providing information leading to the decision to cancel school for the day because of the winter weather. He reported on a scheduled sale of bonds from the $283 million total issuance approved by voters in November 2017. The District has a AAA bond rating, according to a rating by Moody’s. The funds will pay for construction projects. 

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson thanked the Board for the discussion surrounding the make-up day for Monday’s “Snow Day,” and reported on attending an Alta High girls basketball game.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reported on attending the District’s Emergency Management Team meeting. She also commented on the impact a grant writer has on the District.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending the Arts Consortium meeting, the Policy Committee, Emergency Management Committee, CTEC Open House, and a job-shadow event.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on attending Chinese New Year celebrations at Dual Language Immersion programs. She also said she’s spent a considerable amount of time discussing the DLI recommendations with parents. She urged the Board to start an education campaign about the process the Board follows to receive input, discuss topics, and make decisions. She also commented on how schools could additionally support Beverley Taylor Sorenson arts teachers. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg commented on a Deseret News story that noted that Canyons is one of the few school districts that tests for radon gas. He reported on participating in Reality Town at Union Middle and attending School Community Council meetings at Midvale-area schools.  He also was able to attend the ceremony during which Logan received her statewide principal award.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey reported on attending Albion Middle’s production of “Aladdin Jr.”  She attended the Brighton High feeder school lunch during which the Brighton SCC invites the PTA presidents and SCC chairs from Brighton feeder schools to a lunchtime social and networking event. Tingey also attended the CTEC Open House.

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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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