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Board Meeting Summary, Jan. 21, 2020

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

Superintendent Search

The Board of Education discussed how to organize and conduct a national search for a new Superintendent to replace Dr. Jim Briscoe who announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2020. In order to take advantage of peak hiring season, and with the goal of having someone in place by July 1, the Board hopes to begin advertising the position in early February. The search will involve seeking input from the community and possibly contracting with a consultant to perform the initial screening of applications. The Board also discussed the possibility of forming a subcommittee to conduct interviews.

Census 2020

Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud and Associate Communications Director Kirsten Stewart updated the Board on the District’s plans to encourage participation in the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census will shape how billions in federal funding is distributed to communities each year. An inaccurate Census count could deprive students and teachers of needed resources. Last year, alone, Canyons District schools received $16.7 million in federal Title I aid, National School Lunch Program funding, and special education grants. The Board was presented with communication and community outreach plans, especially in under-represented, minority and low-income neighborhoods.

Curriculum Adoption and MasteryConnect Proposal

The Board of Education approved a new elementary science curriculum, health-instruction materials for secondary schools, and biology and earth science curriculum.  Parents had been given a chance to review the curriculum, ask questions, or even meet with a specialist to obtain more information, since Nov. 22.  An overview of the proposed curricula could be access online at the District’s website. Hard copies were available for review at the Front Desks of the Canyons Administration Building.  The public comment period ended Dec. 22.  The Board of Education also voted 4-3 to decline to buy MasteryConnect, a software supporting an online gradebook for elementary standards-based grading.

Legislative Update

Canyons’ External Relations Director Charles Evans updated the Board on progress with proposed changes to Utah’s tax laws. The External Relations team makes it easy to keep tabs on the bills of interest to Canyons District’s employees, patrons and taxpayers. Anyone interested in keeping informed of the progress of these pieces of legislation can sign up to receive daily updates through CSD’s Legislative RSS Feed.

Gifted Programs

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward provided the Board with an overview of the District’s advanced learner programs. Most people know SALTA, or Supporting Advanced Learners Toward Achievement, as a magnet program that students in grades 1-8 test into. But SALTA also is an umbrella to describe in-school and after-school enrichment offered at all CSD schools, Roderick-Landward said. All CSD curricula come with extensions to support students who require a deeper dive into subject areas that they quickly master. Teachers also use project-based learning and small-group instruction to support a range of skills in their classrooms. Districtwide programs, ranging from debate, science fairs and math competitions to CSD’s annual Film Festival, provide students with extra-curricular avenues to stretch academically. At the secondary level, students can also access Honors, Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment courses, an accelerated math program, and International Baccalaureate program at Hillcrest High. 

Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by students from Draper Elementary.  Draper Principal Christy Waddell talked about how the school focuses on listening to form strong personal connections.  Waddell said the 710-student elementary is a proud home of the Mandarin Chinese-English Dual Language Immersion programs. The school’s RISE scores went up between 3 percent and 5 percent.  She said the faculty has formed strong bonds through activities and collaborative teaching.  Waddell said she loves her job and the school.   

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were honored by the Board of Education for their achievements: 

  • The Alta High Marching Band for being featured performers in the finale of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” 
  • Francesca Hall, sixth-grade teacher, Midvale Middle, for winning the 2020 Sontag Award for Urban Education, which has a $3,000 honorarium and provides her an opportunity to attend professional development at Harvard University.
  • Corner Canyon High’s football team for winning the 6A state championship trophy.  Seniors Van Fillinger and Cole Hagen also were recognized.  Fillinger was chosen as one of the 100 high school players selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.  Hagen was the Deseret News 6A Most Valuable Player and was named the 2020 Utah Football Gatorade Player of the Year. 
  • The Canyons Board of Education for earning the Master Board Award. January also is National School Board Appreciation Month, and Draper, Cottonwood Heights, Sandy and Midvale all recently passed resolutions thanking the Canyons Board of Education for their work in providing a top-notch education to the community’s children.

Consent Agenda

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes of the Board of Education meeting on Dec. 17 and Jan. 7; hire and termination reports; approval of purchasing bids; student-overnight travel requests; purchasing bids; and December Financial Reports.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

The Superintendent thanked the Board for the robust conversations regarding the MasteryConnect proposal.  He reported on attending parent and faculty meetings at Bell View, Edgemont and Peruvian Park elementary schools to receive feedback and provide information. Work on new schools for those communities will start in 2021. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted the announcement of Dr. Briscoe’s retirement at the end of the school year.  He reported on attending the Utah School Boards Association conference. 

Board Member Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson attended an Alta High girls basketball game and a Conversation with an Elected Official event at Indian Hills Middle. He also commented on Dr. Briscoe’s retirement. He said he was shocked to receive his resignation letter, but thanked him for the work he’s done over the past six years.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold declined to speak. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley said he enjoyed the USBA conference and remarked on attending the Legislative Luncheon with the local legislative delegation, among other events, including the Arts Consortium meeting. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks expressed appreciation for Dr. Briscoe and his work as the chief executive of CSD. She attended the Joint Legislative Committee meeting, an Arts Consortium Meeting, the No-Idling Campaign press conference at Willow Springs Elementary, a Sunrise School Community Council meeting, and a Responsive Services Department parent event about the dangers of sexting. She also will send information to Board members about the upcoming legislative session.

Mr. Mont Millerberg praised the remarks of the keynote speaker at the USBA conference, and said he liked the workshop on teacher compensation. He thanked the work of Board members to receive the Master Board Award from the USBA.

President Tingey noted her attendance at the USBA conference, particularly the discussion on how school boards are making an impact on student achievement. She attended Science Nights at Park Lane and Oak Hollow, the Region 17 PTA Reflections Awards, and a Brighton High FCLAA event at Butler Middle that served as a fund-raiser for anti-human trafficking efforts.  She thanked the Board members for their work to receive the MBA Award.  She directed the Administration to follow state law in posting public notices about next week’s meeting to discuss the search for the superintendent.

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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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