Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.
The blended-learning model that calls for four days of in-person learning and Fridays reserved for student independent study and teacher preparation will remain in place for the rest of the school year. This model was implemented in October to aid schools in this era of COVID-19. The schedule served as a “release valve” for teachers who were being required to instruct in multiple modalities to meet the needs of students in class and those in quarantine or isolation. For CSD students, Fridays also can be spent receiving targeted help from teachers for interventions or accelerations — not just for remote learning. Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins presented three other options for the Board of Education to consider, including offering targeted interventions on Fridays; returning elementary schools to a five-day schedule; and instituting an across-the-District early-out Fridays schedule. As part of his presentation, Dr. Robins also announced plans for a robust summer program and academy to target literacy and math slides experienced as a result of the pandemic. Transportation and nutrition services would be provided, he said. He added that mental-health and social-emotional learning supports also will be ramped up in CSD communities. The summer-month programs will be provided through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds given to Canyons District. A five-day in-person learning schedule is expected to be in place in fall 2021.
Employee COVID-19 Bonuses
The Canyons Board of Education approved a proposal to cover bonuses for non-school-based personnel who forewent summer vacations and have put in long hours developing and adjusting the District’s multi-faceted COVID-19 response. This bonus will be paid concurrently with bonuses that were funded by the 2021 Utah legislature, which set aside $121 million for public school teachers and school-based staff. The money from the legislature, granted in appreciation of the work done in schools throughout the pandemic, could not be used to give bonuses to employees who are not school based. Both full- and part-time employees are eligible for the bonuses provided they have worked for the District since Dec. 1, 2020. The money — $1,500 for licensed educators and $1,000 for support staff and District-level employees — counts as taxable income and will be pro-rated based on the number of hours each employee works. The bonuses will be reflected on CSD employees’ March 31 paychecks. Board of Education Vice President Steve Wrigley said the bonus is a token of appreciation for all employees in a year unlike any other.
Plans are moving forward to launch Canyons Online, the District’s effort to provide high-quality online learning even after the health protocols of the COVID-19 pandemic start to wane. The proposed program is not a comprehensive school but will provide third- to 12th-grades students some choice in the pace and place of their learning in a non-traditional learning environment. Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward emphasized that Canyons Online programs, if approved, would be rigorous and aligned to the state core. They also would be designed for independent learning on a flexible schedule, she said. The class would not be the exact same instruction and curriculum as in-person instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, Dr. Roderick-Landward said. If plans are realized, the program for high school students would result in original credit and credit recovery with a letter grade. The District also must finalize high school course offerings and service delivery models for special education, 504, and multilanguage learners; hire teachers; adopt curriculum; and design curriculum and professional development for teachers. Canyons Online teachers would be licensed teachers and provided advanced training in best practices in digital teaching and learning. A timeline for application would be solidified after the proposal is approved by the Board of Education.
External Affairs Director Charlie Evans and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards presented information on the education-related bills that gained passage during Utah’s 45-day legislative session. Among the topics discussed with the Board of Education: The base budget, overall education funding, the one-time bonus for educators for the 2020-2021 school year, truancy enforcement and mental-health days for students. Bills focusing on COVID-19 bills also were discussed. The Board clarified that HB294, which lifts the statewide mask mandate on April 10, carves out an exemption for K-12 schools. A mask mandate will be in effect in schools until the current health order is lifted.
The Board of Education approved the proposed elementary, middle, and high school fee schedules for the 2021-2022 school year. The vote was made after multiple weeks of providing information to the community and soliciting feedback from parents and students.
A bell schedule for the 2021-2022 school year was approved by the Board of Education. A change is the start time for East Midvale Elementary, which was moved to 8:15 a.m. instead of 8:20 a.m. Hillcrest also will start at 7:30 a.m. and the end time would move from 2:25 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.
The Board of Educated approved an update to a policy governing employees who are serving in public office. The Board also voted to make obsolete policies regarding School Community Councils and Special Programs, and kindergarten programs.
- Alta High student Merrin Maughan presented information about the four-day schedule.
- Erika Bradshaw, President of the Canyons Education Association, urged the Board of Education to keep the four day in-person learning schedule with Fridays set aside for student independent learning and teacher preparation.
- Kurt Kelckner urged the Board to return to a five-day in-learning schedule now that teachers are immunized and the state’s COVID-19 recovery plan is in motion.
- Ashton Pelley urged the Board to keep the current schedule in place until the end of the school year. She said the four-day schedule helps the mental health of students.
- Students Abigail Simmons encouraged the Board to retain the four-day in-person learning schedule. She said she and her peers to spend Fridays working on homework and scholarship applications.
- Bob Martin, speaking on behalf of the CSD Education Support Professionals Association, thanked the Board of Education for funding a bonus for non-school-based staff.
- Students Ara Messerian said a survey of Corner Canyon High students indicated support for the four-day schedule with Fridays reserved for independent learning and teacher planning.
The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from the March 2, 2021 meeting of the Board; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; February financial reports; the transfer of a portable classroom from Peruvian Park to Altara elementary school; COVID-19 bonuses for District-level employees; LEA-specific licenses; TSSP amendments for Draper Elementary and Brighton High.
The Board of Education honored faculty, staff and students for their achievements:
- HR Director Steve Dimond, Director of Technology Development Jeff Murry, HR Administrator Everett Perry and others who helped plan and execute CSD’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics. The final clinic was Thursday, March 11 — the year anniversary of pandemic. In all, 73 percent of all eligible employees were vaccinated by CSD for the novel coronavirus.
- Twenty-two student-athletes from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools for earning Academic All-State honors for winter sports. A complete list of names can be found at canyonsdistrict.org.
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Robins thanked the Office of Public Communications for its efforts to spread the word about the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted the COVID-19 school-year bonus for all employees. The bonuses were funded by the Utah legislature and the Canyons Board of Education.
Board of Education Member Reports
Mrs. Clareen Arnold said it’s a “wish list” for Dr. Robins and Mr. Wilcox to be able to sit on the rostrum with the Board of Education again. COVID-19 restrictions led to a change in the seating arrangement.
Mrs. Holly Neibaur thanked the CSD staff for “working around the clock helping us through this unusual COVID-19 year.” She noted the bonus that will go to all employees. She also expressed appreciation for parents and teachers who provide input on important issues.
Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked parents for their input on the blended-learning model, He also said the Board often engages in lengthy conversations to ensure that all topics are thoroughly examined on the public’s behalf.
Mrs. Amber Shill expressed appreciation for employee work in the COVID-19 year. She thanked Utah lawmakers for funding the bonus for school-based employees and the District for paying for the stiped for the non-school staff. Mrs. Shill also congratulated Brighton High’s boys hoops team for making it to the quarterfinals in the 5A UHSAA tourney.
Mr. Mont MIllerberg said he is grateful for all employees who do their job with fidelity every day.
President Tingey noted appreciation for employees and said she attended the semifinal 6A boys basketball game. Corner Canyon High narrowly lost in overtime. She said the activity, being supported by family and friends, lifted her spirits and was symbolic of the changes that are coming now the pandemic is waning.