New Elementary Schedule Adopted
Following recommendations from task force of elementary school teachers and months of discussion, the Board unanimously approved a new elementary school schedule that will restore early-out Fridays and provide teachers with the tools they need to help ensure success for every student. The schedule will be implemented in the 2015-2016 school year.
The schedule stemmed from a proposal crafted by the Elementary Schedule Task Force, which included teachers from each of CSD’s 29 elementary schools and Jordan Valley School. The Task Force has met since December to gather information, problem-solve, and receive feedback from colleagues to develop a schedule that fully supports elementary school communities and ensures students are on track to becoming college- and career-ready. The schedule is supported by 87 percent of elementary school teachers, survey data has shown.
Board member Chad Iverson praised the process as inclusive and thorough, collaborative and exciting for teachers.
The new schedule will give teachers time during the school day to collaborate to ensure each student succeeds. Trained specialists will provide curriculum-based instruction in areas such as physical education, arts or music while teachers meet to collaborate and plan their instructional strategies.
Early-out days will be held on Fridays only. School will not release early on other days during short weeks in which classes are not held on Fridays. During such times, collaboration and planning time for teachers will be adjusted as appropriate.
Second Vice President Nancy Tingey said the reduction in instructional time must be replaced with higher-quality instructional time. She also sought assurances that collaboration and planning time will be used effectively, and that specialists will provide high-quality, well planned, standards-based instruction and work closely with classroom teachers to ensure student achievement.
“This is an investment in moving forward student achievement,” Tingey said. “All of this is about helping our students to use these elementary years to lay a strong foundation for their educational experience. “
The new schedule refines elementary education improvement efforts. The 2014-2015 elementary school schedule was adjusted as part of the 2014-2015 teachers contract approved by the Canyons Education Association and ratified by the Canyons Board of Education. The schedule eliminated early-out Fridays to improve teacher planning and instruction, but it had unintended consequences for parents and teachers. The Task Force’s recommendations aimed to address issues that arose with this year’s schedule.
Alternative High School Approved
The Board approved creation of an alternative high school to provide needed services to high school students. Tingey said the school is needed to reach out to students who struggle in a traditional setting and give them a new chance to succeed.
Assistant Superintendents Dr. Robert Dowdle and Dr. Kathryn McCarrie proposed creating an alternative high school on the CTEC campus to provide needed services to high school students and secure state funding to do so. Currently, CSD students needing alternative school services must attend Entrada Adult High School, where they are enrolled as “dropouts,” or leave the district. A District committee has worked through issues of creating the alternative school. The group proposes an implementation timeline, which would begin services next school year, a possible school day schedule. They also suggested the Board consider a new name for the school.
Board Vice President Steve Wrigley said the school is a good step to truly help all students prepare for college and careers. Board Member Robert Green said the Board’s decision will change lives. “Now and in the future,” Green said, “we will see the effects of this.”
Staffing Added to Maintain Middle School Teaming
The Board unanimously voted to place additional teachers in middle schools to continue a strong middle-school teaming model, which is noted for improving student achievement among middle school students districtwide.
Middle schools have demonstrated increases in student achievement as a result of a new schedule and teaming model, but the model requires additional staffing to maintain. The Board approved 11 FTE to maintain the schedule to continue helping students achieve greater heights.
Wrigley wanted to make sure that the staffing boost would not interrupt resolution of the middle school schedule in terms of electives accessibility for students. Dr. Dowdle said the FTE being allocated will go to address concerns to ensure students have room in their schedules for performing arts, arts, world languages and other electives.
New School Leaders Appointed
The Board approved the following leaders to fill administrative roles in Canyons schools and District Offices:
Greg Leavitt, Principal of Draper Park Middle, has been selected as the new Principal at Hillcrest High. He replaces Sue Malone, who is retiring. Leavitt will be joined at Hillcrest by current Alta High Assistant Principal Justin Matagi. Matagi will replace Hillcrest Assistant Principal Kelcey Kemp, who is being transferred to Alta High.
Mary Anderson, who is serving as Principal at Union Middle, will serve as Principal at Draper Park Middle. She replaces Leavitt, who will go to Hillcrest.
Kelly Tauteoli, now the Principal of Park Lane Elementary, will become the Principal of Union Middle. She replaces Anderson, who will lead Draper Park.
Justin Jeffery, now an Assistant Principal in the Humble Independent School District in Texas, will be the new Principal at Park Lane Elementary. He replaces Tauteoli, who is going to Union Middle.
Wendy Dau, now Assistant Principal at Jordan High, will become Principal at Midvale Middle. She replaces Frank Schofield, who was recently appointed Superintendent of the Logan City School District. Kerry Shroeppel, now an Assistant Principal at Draper Park, and Kip Carlson, who has served this year as an Administrative Intern at Brighton High, also will become administrators at Midvale Middle in 2015-2016.
Doug Graham, now Assistant Principal at Butler Middle, will become Principal at Indian Hills Middle. He replaces Dr. Floyd Stensrud, who is the new Director of the Canyons District Office of Planning and Enrollment. Jody Wihongi, now an Assistant Principal at Indian Hills, will replace Graham at Butler Middle. Joining Graham at Indian Hills will be Halley Nelson, currently the Achievement Coach at Hillcrest High.
Benjamin (BJ) Weller, who is now serving as an Assistant Principal at Midvale Middle, will become Principal of Canyon View Elementary. He replaces Brent Shaw, who has asked to return to the classroom as a teacher.
Denzil “Chip” Watts, the Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, will become the Principal at Midvale Elementary. He replaces Shad DeMill, who will become the new principal at Quail Hollow Elementary. DeMill replaces Denis Lyon who is retiring. The new Assistant Principals at Midvale Elementary will be Matt Watts, now Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle, and Jeri Rigby, an external coach for several CSD schools.
John Hellwig, now Assistant Principal at Eastmont Middle, will replace Matt Watts at Mount Jordan, and Brandon Moore, an Administrative Intern at Granger High in the Granite District, will assume the role as an Assistant Principal at Eastmont Middle.
Mindy Robison, who is now the middle-school mathematics team lead in the Canyons Evidence-Based Learning Department, will become the Principal of Crescent Elementary. She replaces Debbie Shumard, who is retiring.
Julie Winfree, now the Standards-Based Grading Team Lead and a member of the Dual Immersion Team in the CSD Evidence-Based Learning Department, has been selected as Principal of Ridgecrest Elementary. She replaces Teri Mattson, who is retiring.
Julie Mootz, now the Principal of Brookwood Elementary, will become the Principal at Oak Hollow Elementary. She replaces Principal Corrie Barrett, who will become Principal at Brookwood.
McKay Robinson, who is currently Principal at Lone Peak Elementary, will become Principal at Sandy Elementary. He replaces Sandra Dahl-Houlihan, who is the new District Administrator of Evaluation and Leadership.
Tracy Stacy, an elementary principal in the Eagle County School District in Colorado, will become the Principal of Lone Peak Elementary, replacing Robinson, who is headed to Sandy Elementary.
Two new assistant principals will serve at Copperview and East Midvale elementary schools, two of CSD’s Title I schools. Deidre Walbeck, a specialist in the CSD Special Education Department, has been selected as a new Assistant Principal at Copperview. She will work with Principal Chanci Loran and Assistant Principal Shawn Walker. At East Midvale, Laurie Steed, a Granite District educator, will join Principal Justin Pitcher.
Legislative Session Recap
Government Relations Director Charlie Evans and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards provided an overview of bills of interest to CSD and action taken in the 2015 General Session of the Utah Legislature. The team tracked 185 bills this session, and hosted 550 students and 180 adults on the Hill, from students and city youth councils to Brighton 5A State Girls Basketball Champions, teachers and the PTA.
Tracked bills included education funding; a bill to give incentives to create improvement in low-performing schools; and charter school replacement money that will require CSD pay another $577,000 at implementation. Another bill allows school districts to continue their 2016 tax rates without truth in taxation when the Jordan District equalization bill sunsets. Another bill requires dividing school districts to share the same tax base footprint in perpetuity.
Students will be required to pass a form of the U.S. Citizenship Test prior to graduation, and meet a graduation requirement for math competency, as determined by the State Board of Education. Another bill will require dropout recovery services if the district graduation rate dips below the state average.
Legislators also clarified a parent’s right to opt out of state and federal testing; will allow an individual with outstanding qualifications who doesn’t have an administrative license to be a school administrator; and require SCCs to oversee Internet filtering. Several topics were recommended for interim study, including education funding formulas.
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said he is impressed by the relationships Evans and Edwards have formed on the Hill and the good work they do. The Board thanked the team for their great work.
Bond Projects Update
CFO Leon Wilcox and Facilities Director Rick Conger updated the Board on bond projects underway now, thanks to the $250 million bond voters approved in 2010.
Conger noted Mount Jordan’s substantial completion date is July 1, and an open house is scheduled for before the start of school. He showed drawings of the commons, and exterior. The school opens in the fall.
Designs, created with architects, students and community members, are nearly complete for Midvale Middle, and demolition will begin in June. The school will relocate to Crescent View for the next two years while the school is rebuilt.
Butler Elementary students will remain on site during their school’s construction, to take place on the same campus, adjacent to the current structure. He noted the mayor, community members, and students have been involved in the school’s design.
The Alta View Elementary community in the coming weeks will be invited to provide feedback on designs for the school’s rebuild. Construction will begin in March 2016, and be complete in complete June 2017. Naylor Wentworth architects were selected to design the building, and construction contracts will be determined soon.
The Indian Hills Middle School facility committee meeting will be held at the school on March 25, and a contractor will be selected in the coming months for renovation design and planning. Renovation will begin in June 2017. Conger also noted the school may receive additional classrooms, and that the school’s foundation has been determined to be solid.
Wilcox noted that CSD last week received a AAA bond rating – the highest possible—from Fitch Ratings, with a stable outlook on the sale of the final $42 million in bonds approved by voters in the $250 million bond election of 2010. CSD also has a Aaa rating from Moody’s Investor services.
Foundation to Host Gala
The Canyons Education Foundation Board Chairman Brad Snow and Development Officer Scott Harper invited the Board to the April 30 Gala at the Living Planet Aquarium. Snow said the Foundation will present at the gala five scholarships of $1,000 each to one student from each high school and Entrada Adult High School. The goal is to increase the scholarship amount and numbers of scholarships awarded in the coming years, he said. The gala, which gets underway at 6:30 p.m., will be emceed by ABC4 news anchor and morning personality Emily Clark and feature keynote Sealver Siliga, a Utah native who plays for the New England Patriots, the 2015 Super Bowl Champions.
The Board recognized the following students and employees for their outstanding achievements:
• Phaidra Atkinson, Corner Canyon High, Regional Speech, Debate & Theater Award, National Federation of High Schools
• Lee Mitchell, Alta High, Boys Soccer Coach of the Year, National Federation of State High School Associations
• Kyra John, Hillcrest High, Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs Outstanding Student Award
• Claudia Gonzalez, Corner Canyon, President’s Volunteer Service Award
• Kyla Hoster, Albion Middle, Finalist, National PTA #shareawesome Contest
• Hillcrest Chinese Program Students Harry Han, Joe Pope, Dale Shlachter, Alex Sun, and Teacher Dori Huang, First Place, 2015 Video Contest Utah Foreign Language Association
• Academic All-State Honorees:
• Drill Team: Kathryn Ann Metcalf, Jordan High; and Alixandra Peterson, Brighton
• Girls Swimming: Erica Lynn Bennett and Kristi Vielstich, Hillcrest; and Mylei Hong and Hanna Potter, Brighton
• Girls Basketball: Alyssa Hirschi and McCall Christensen, Brighton
• Wrestling: Zamantha Sariah Mulder, Hillcrest; and Zane Edward Rasmussen, Corner Canyon
• Boys Basketball: Nicholas Beard, Alta
• Riley Ogden, Corner Canyon, Academic All-State, Boys Basketball; and Scholar Athlete Award from the national Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame
• Tayler Johnson, Jordan, 5A state Wrestling Champ, 152-Pound Division
• Greg Lamb, Corner Canyon, 4A State Wrestling Champ, 138-Pound Division
• Brighton Boys Swim 200-yard Medley Relay Team Brock Harries, Jack Binder, Parker Wiest and Brian O’Neal, 5A State Champions
• Brock Harries, Brighton, 5A State Swim Champion, 50-Yard Freestyle, 100-Yard Freestyle and 200-yard Medley Relay
• Osa Masina, Brighton, U.S. Army All-American Bowl and five-star national football recruit
• Brighton Girls Basketball, 5A State Champions
• Amelia Slama-Catron, Midvale Middle, Prudential Spirit of Community Award and President’s Volunteer Service Award
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the March 3 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; February Financial Reports; March Hires and Terminations; Hazardous Bus Routes; LAND Trust Amendments; and Administrative Appointments (above). The Board also approved Student Overnight Travel for CSD DECA.
The Board approved adjustments to School Community Council and Financial policies as part of a process to update all district policies. The adjustments bring the policies up to date with Utah law regarding SCC training and updates language regarding School Improvement Plans. Financial Policy Series changes include updates to the Board Audit Committee, Fiscal Accountability, Accounting, and Investment Management policies.
Madaline Chilcutt, a veteran teacher at Bell View Elementary, said this year’s schedule has limited her planning time, and made her job of preparing students for college and careers far more challenging. She thanked the Administration and Board for seeing a need to address the schedule and welcoming teacher voices in the process. She said more planning and collaboration time is needed, and that the option before the Board is overwhelmingly considered the best option.
Stacy Packard, third grade teacher at Bell View Elementary, thanked the Board for its time and thoroughness in considering the elementary school schedule to ensure it will serve students well.
Bell View Elementary Principal Christine Webb said she feels passionately that the new schedule will give teachers the planning time they need. She said she and her faculty believe it will give them the time they need to look at data, problem-solve, and implement the things that are best for the kids.
Shelley Phillips, special education teacher at Park Lane Elementary, praised the process to create the proposed elementary schedule. She said all teachers were able to give input to the task force, which considered their voices in crafting the proposal. She said Option 2 protects collaboration for teachers to help students achieve.
The Eastmont Middle School sixth-grade team said they are happy with their late-start Fridays to give them time to collaborate, and hoped the Board would continue to fund the middle school teams that help students succeed. They said the teaming and collaboration is beneficial to students, because teachers can work together to support students and provide them with more one-on-one attention.
Jessica Sanders, seventh-grade teacher at Eastmont Middle School, supported the sixth-grade team’s sentiments. She said it’s also been valuable to identify student needs and intervention strategies to address them, and include parents in team meetings to brainstorm ways to help students succeed.
Alli Weaver, teacher at Sandy Elementary, said she is looking forward to small group interventions, progress monitoring, and teacher specialists who can give students a new view of curriculum under the new elementary schedule, supported by 90 percent of teachers at her school.
Rachel Bingham, supported the proposed schedule as providing more time for teachers to collaborate and prepare and help students succeed and provide them with meaningful, engaging lessons.
Granite Elementary teacher Tiffany Smith thanked the sixth-grade team for noting the value of collaboration time and said elementary teachers want what they have to also provide high-quality instruction.
Stacey Oppermann, a parent of two Canyons students, said the schedule will restore needed stability to student schedules and improve learning. She said she thinks it’s important to listen to teachers who recommended the new schedule. She said the lack of consistency in this year’s schedule has been frustrating, and is pleased this schedule will provide consistency for students and families.
Elcena Davenport, teacher at Oakdale Elementary, said the schedule was crafted beautifully and that with additional collaboration time, her team will be able to do amazing things, from preventions and interventions, enrichments for advance learners and opportunities to help struggling learners. She said research on collaboration time is overwhelming and abundant. She said the collaboration time for teachers will assist them in creating higher quality instructional time.
Dr. Briscoe thanked the Board for completing so much work tonight. He also thanked District administrators for facilitating discussions about schedules, practices for instruction, data analysis. He said the most important thing that happened tonight is everyone worked together for a common vision. He said Board members have made a huge impact on student achievement and graduation rates, and the people who are coming to work in CSD now can feel a lot better about what they’re doing.
Wilcox thanked the Board for its hard work to discuss, debate and study issues before them. He thanked Edwards and Tingey for their work at the Legislature, and legislators for the increase provided to education funding. He also congratulated new leaders appointed tonight, and congratulated Midvale Middle principal Frank Schofield for his appointment as superintendent of Logan School District.
Iverson said he was excited that the Board could work together tonight and thanked the Administration for the hard work in preparing recommendations for the Board. He and President Sherril Taylor have a constituency meeting tomorrow night.
Clareen Arnold said she spent time this past week visiting schools, and said it was a great experience to see what schools are doing for at-risk students at all levels, and the love and care people for have them. She said Board action means a wonderful change for students who need not only the “college-ready,” but the “career-ready,” and said that arts and dance fit into the latter. She thanked meeting attendees for the process and time spent in task forces and Board meetings, especially after a hard day’s work.
Wrigley thanked the Administration for their work and tenacity through Board debate. He said that by asking a lot of questions, the Board can feel comfortable in voting, and said it’s helped him to feel really good about key issues. He thanked Dr. Briscoe for spearheading the processes on new ideas coming to the Board. He said he’s excited about special education, and is going in his second day of touring. He’s visited Brighton, Silver Mesa and Union special education classrooms, and said that in two weeks he will visit vocational programs.
Tingey noted she is hosting a Town Hall Thursday at 7 p.m. at Eastmont Middle. She said the legislative session energy, engagement and passion for education. While not everyone agrees on the same approach, the goal is there to have high-quality education. She thanked the Administration, teachers, parents and community of CSD to put forth the effort to ensure that we do have high-quality education, and noted CSD has never shied away from high expectations. She also noted that the Regional Science Fair has 106 CSD entrants, up from 23 five years ago, which is a great indicator of growth and engagement.
Amber Shill, who spoke via conference call, said she feels good about the Board’s votes tonight and the District’s direction. She said she enjoyed reading at Bella Vista for Read Across America, and was pleased to be there with the Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore, and other dignitaries, and especially the dedicated teachers.
Green said he’s excited for the initiatives approved by the Board this evening. He visited Hillcrest on Friday, and noted a student injured in an auto-pedestrian accident is in his thoughts and prayers, as are his family and friends. He said cares for the students of CSD as his own. He also congratulated Frank Schofield for being selected as Logan School District Superintendent. He said he’s been excited by Schofield’s vision at Midvale, and said CSD has hired and appointed outstanding principals for the coming year.
Taylor thanked the teachers and parents who addressed the Board, and invited them to continue dialoguing with the Board. He thanked Jennifer Toomer-Cook and Jeff Haney for preparing the recognitions for students and employees. He thanked Evans, Edwards and their team for their dedicated service during the legislative session, and the Administration for meeting with the Board in the past few weeks to share information and ideas with the Board. He thanked Dr. Briscoe and Wilcox for their work, and Board Secretary Gaylene Halvorsen for her work. He said he feels blessed to serve on the Board and hoped to do good things for students.
The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining and the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.