Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items
Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum
The Board of Education opted to seek a new social-emotional learning curriculum to replace “Second Step” at both the elementary and secondary levels. The majority of the Board voted to permanently suspend use of the program, which had been placed on pause since concerns were expressed about a link to a third-party website found in the middle-school curriculum. The Board also voted to allow middle schools to proceed as they currently are for social-emotional learning for the rest of the school year. Results of a survey conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 5 in elementary school communities where the “Second Step” curriculum had been used were reviewed, as well. Of the 15.3 percent of the parents and guardians who responded to the online survey, 41.26 percent said they “believed the social-emotional learning program has positive outcomes in my child’s school.” Some 15.3 percent said they do not believe it has contributed to positive outcomes in their students or at their child’s school. Roughly 10 percent said they don’t think the SEL program had either a negative or positive affect on their child or the school. Nearly 35 percent said they did not have enough information to make an opinion. About 54 percent said they wanted their children to participate if the program were to continue, and 16.43 percent said they would “opt out” of participation if it were available. Nearly 30 percent said they had not decided. Of employees, 81.58 percent of the 1,527 respondents said the “Second Step” had contributed positively to the school environment, and 3.42 percent said they did not think it had a positive impact. Some 6.58 percent say it has neither positively nor negatively impacted, and 8.4 percent say they do not have enough information to provide an opinion. Some 75.57 percent say they prefer that “Second Step” be used for the remainder of the year, and 12.34 percent prefer that the program not be reinstated for the remainder of the school year. Twelve percent said they did not have an opinion. The Board intends to work with the Administration through the strategic planning process to review options for possible options for social-emotional learning in Canyons schools.
Emergency Closure Days
The Board of Education heard options for how to make up lost instructional time in the event of an emergency school closure due to such circumstances as severe weather. Under Utah law, any lost instructional time must be made up before the close of the school year, and under Canyons District’s approved calendar, the Board has three options: schedule a make-up day on President’s Day, extend the school year by a day, or pivot to a remote-learning day. Pilot tested last year during a heavy snowstorm on Feb. 17, 2021, the remote-learning option proved to be an effective way to keep students on track with their learning, says School Performance Director Alice Peck. Student attendance that day — as measured by students logging on to CSD’s online learning platform, contacting their teachers, and completing required classwork — improved or remained the same at 35 CSD schools. Make-up days, on the other hand, have had historically poor student attendance with absence rates as high as 30 to 50 percent. The Board will take up the matter again at the next Board meeting.
Education Elements Senior Design Principal Drew Schantz discussed the next steps in the strategic-planning purpose. Committees that have been formed will meet in November and December to discuss such topics as “Access to High Quality Learning,” “Access to Post-Secondary Pathways,” “High Quality Teaching Staff,” “Distribution of Resources,” “Governance,” and “Internal Communications,” among several others.
Canyons Education Foundation Update
The Canyons Education Foundation brought in more than $1.3 million in cash donations and $322,065 in in-kind donations in the past two school years, said Development Officer Denise Haycock, who also added that the Foundation receives approximately $23,000 in advertising and partnerships every year. The top fundraising event is the golf tournament, which has garnered $200,000 in the past two years, and helps fund such initiatives as Foundation Innovation Grants, Teacher of the Year celebration gifts baskets and cash awards for winners, and the Utah College Application Week. For UCAW, the Foundation provides up to $10,000 to help low-income students pay college-application fees. Students in need, both physically and with mental health supports, also are given help through the Foundation, Haycock said. In addition, the Foundation facilitates $47,000 in scholarships, plus the “Rising Star” and “Bright Star” scholarships, and the Fairbourn Scholarship Endowment at Jordan High for $119,279. Haycock also noted the my529 College Savings Account for seventh-grade students.
School Fees Policy Review
State law requires Canyons District to adopt a coming-school-year fee schedule, which includes the maximum fee amount that each student would be asked to pay, by April 1. The District also must abide by rules regarding waivers and donations to schools for activities. In the 2020-2021 school year, said Business Administrator Leon Wilcox, the District collected $5,167,220 in general, curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular fees. Some $434,739 was waived, according to law and policy. Wilcox said the proposed 2022-2023 fee schedule will be presented to the Board in February.
Bell View Elementary Principal Tamra Baker, who will serve as the final principal of the school before it merges with Edgemont to become the Glacier Hills Elementary school community, thanked parents and guardians for entrusting the school with their children for 180 days of the year. To give the Board a glimpse of the viewpoint of Bell View students, Baker asked students a few questions: “What is the best thing that has happened to you this year?” “What is the hardest thing that you have done this year?” and “When was a time when you were a good friend?” Children said they made friends, met goals, won a class party, and had great birthdays. They also toiled on multiplication tables, learned rules of new games, and overcame literacy challenges. And, she said, they said they helped friends who fell, included those who were left out, and read books with a younger student. Baker said Bell View Elementary’s teachers and staff work tirelessly to model such characteristics as kindness, empathy, and hope. They also seek every day to make an educational difference in the lives of the students and believe it’s a “sacred trust” to guide the learning and development of the students.
Proposed Redistricting Maps
Proposed maps delineating possible precincts of the members of the Board of Education, which were done as part of the redistricting process, were approved by the Board of Education. The maps, which attempt to equalize the number of patrons in each precinct, will now be forwarded to Salt Lake County for consideration.
The Board of Education approved a school calendar for 2022-2023 academic year and gave tentative approval to the proposed calendars for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years.
Patrons addressed the Board of Education during the Patron Comment portion of the Business meeting. Recordings of the remarks can be accessed on BoardDocs.
The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including minutes of the Oct. 19, 2021 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; October financial reports; the relocation of Diamond Ridge and Entrada high schools to the Bell View Elementary building for the 2022-2023 school year; LAND Trust and TSSP Amendments for Sandy Elementary; affirmation of the five remaining Remote-Learning Days for the 2021-2022 school year; a Memorandum of Understanding with the ESP Association regarding personal leave days on Remote-Learning Fridays; approval of LEA-specific licenses; and Memorandum of Understanding between CSD and Alpine District regarding Suncrest busing.
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins thanked the Board for its thorough deliberation of the social-emotional learning curriculum in Canyons. He asked the community for unity, kindness, and civility when addressing issues facing our schools. He thanked the Education Support Professionals for their hard work, especially in today’s labor shortage. National ESP Appreciation Day is Nov. 17.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted the end of the Open Enrollment period for health insurance, the completion of Alta’s gymnasium and Brighton’s parking lot. Hillcrest’s auditorium also is scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks. Wilcox also thanked ESP for their work and dedication.
Board Member Reports
Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on attending musical performances and thanked teachers and advisers of the upcoming fall musicals. She also urged the Administration to move forward with a survey on the arts needs and wants in CSD schools.
Mrs. Holly Neibaur stated she has her tickets for “Newsies” at Corner Canyon High, noted how glad she is to hear the parking lot and gymnasium are completed at Brighton and Alta, and thanked Board members for their robust conversation about social-emotional learning. She also asked for a future agenda item on how the District an support teachers with the LETRS training.
Mrs. Clareen Arnold urged the community to consider working as Education Support Professionals.
In this month of Thanksgiving, President Nancy Tingey expressed her gratitude for CSD’s administration, school leaders, teachers and ESP, as well as parents and students, for their roles in the District.