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Board Meeting Summary Oct. 21, 2014

Student Achievement Rising

Student achievement is on the rise in Canyons. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie reported rising test performance data in elementary, middle and high schools, and invited several teachers and teaching teams to explain the improvements. She said that Canyons student achievement is indicative of how hard teachers are working. It also demonstrates the effects of the Board’s academic initiatives, including the use of evidence-based research to guide decision-making; high academic standards and a strong curriculum; and grade reconfiguration, the state’s first college-ready diplomas, and middle school schedule changes.

  • ACT achievement is rising in all tested subjects and outpacing state averages, with significant gains in English Language Arts. Corner Canyon High School English Language Arts teacher Michelle Ritter attributed the gains to teacher flexibility and collaboration and a comprehensive core curriculum. She said that in her 21 years of teaching, she’s never felt such a strong sense of community with colleagues.
  • Rising numbers of high school seniors are earning CSD Advanced and Honors diplomas by taking more challenging courses and, for the Honors Diploma, achieving college-readiness benchmark scores on the ACT. The number of students achieving Advanced and Honors diplomas has risen from 60 percent of the Class of 2011 to 71 percent of the Class of 2014. Numbers of graduates achieving the more challenging Honors Diplomas has risen from 27 percent of the class of 2011 to 35 percent of the class of 2014
  • Middle School SRI scores have shown tremendous gains. The percentage of students achieving at advanced levels has increased four fold, and the number of students scoring at below basic has dropped by more than 60 percent. Dr. McCarrie attributed the gains to ensuring eighth-graders are on track for college-readiness and cross-curricular teaching teams. Butler Middle School sixth-grade teachers said teaming allows customization in core classes; use of student achievement data to help students; and feedback and collaboration among teachers. They said it also gives students a sense of belonging.
  • In Elementary Schools, Reading CBM test performance has gone from 56 percent proficiency in fall 2009 to 69 percent proficiency at the start of this school year, with a goal of 80 percent proficiency by year’s end. Math trend are simliar, with proficiency rising from 56 percent in fall 2010 to 75 percent now. Sandy Elementary teacher Bethany Smith said that students are making real-world connections and more fully understanding math

Board Vice President Wrigley thanked Dr. McCarrie for the presentation, and said teachers’ work toward academic improvements has represented a monumental task. He said that testing is needed to ensure that students are not left behind and that teachers have tools to help students achieve.

To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8E.

Board Votes to Rebuild Alta View Elementary

The Board unanimously voted to rebuild Alta View Elementary with proceeds from the $250 million bond voters approved in June 2010. The action followed months of public input from White City township officials, parents, and the principals and School Community Councils at Alta View and neighboring Bell View and Edgemont elementary schools. The bond proposal in 2010 stated that a yet-to-be-determined school in the White City area would be rebuilt with bond proceeds. Alta View was identified for rebuilding largely because of its advanced age and condition. Several parents also encouraged the Board to rebuild the school during the meeting’s public comment period. The rebuilt Alta View Elementary is slated to open in 2017.

To listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8B.

College Application Week Coming to Canyons

The Board unanimously approved a proclamation for all CSD high schools to participate in Utah College Application Week Nov. 17-21. During that time, all CSD high school students will complete a college application during the regular school day with the help of counselors, faculty, support professionals and parent volunteers. Utah College Application Week, sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education’s StepUp to Higher Education campaign, complements the Board’s mission to ensure that all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate high school.

The Board’s action followed endorsements from student leaders from all five CSD high schools, who came to the Board Meeting decked in letter sweaters and T-shirts emblazoned with logos of their favorite colleges and universities. The students said College Application Week will help them, as well as students who may not have thought they could apply to college, start forging plans for the future.

“It sets everyone on an equal playing field … and lets them take their education to the next level,” Jordan High Student Body Officer Bronson Battaglia said of College Application Week. “That’s what college is all about.”

College Application Week is part of the American College Application Campaign, a national initiative that aims to remove barriers to higher education and increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who pursue a postsecondary education.

“I was the first person in my family to go to college — on either side of my family. I didn’t think I had what it takes,” said Board Member Tracy Cowdell, who since has earned two undergraduate degrees and a law degree. “Education opened doors, and literally changed my life and my family’s life,” he said. “I’m glad we’re making this a priority. It’s what we’re all about.”

The Board’s vote was punctuated by a spontaneous group photo, where dozens of students joined Board members in cheering for their favorite college or university while mugging for cameras.

To view the proclamation or listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8D.

Calendar Proposal Discussed, Public Feedback Sought

The Board wants to receive public input on a proposed change to the tentative 2016-2017 academic calendar. The proposed calendar change will be placed this week on the District website, www.canyonsdistrict.org for public feedback as directed by the Board. The proposal was forwarded by a CSD Calendar Committee of 23 parents, teachers and school employees who took into account the following: state law that students attend 180 days and 990 hours of school each academic year; an aim to end school the week of Memorial Day; and desire to provide periodic professional development time for teachers and breaks for families. The Board is expected to discuss the public input in its Nov. 11 meeting.

Planning and Enrollment Director Ben Lems presented the proposed calendars to the Board. He also reported that the 2015-2016 calendar approved by the Board in fall of 2013 needs no further action, unless the Board decides to modify the elementary calendar to mirror this year’s calendar by adding two Professional Development days in lieu of instruction, as allowed this year by the Utah Legislature.

To view the proposed calendars or listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2C.

Butler Elementary Reconstruction Progressing

Plans to rebuild Butler Elementary as part of the $250 million voter-approved bond are well in the works. Architect VCBO is working on site plan concepts at the new school, which would be built on the same campus adjacent to the current footprint.

Site concepts include “kitchen tables” outside the classrooms for student collaboration and window seats in classrooms. Classroom wings would include a support room for coaching, testing and other support; restrooms; and secure exterior doors to a courtyard area for additional learning. The building will include a secure vestibule entry. The school would be built on a smaller footprint, but have more space than the current school because it would have two levels and be built to hold 800 students — about 200 more than currently attend the school. The idea is to lure some students back to CSD who are attending out-of-district schools on special permits, Canyons CFO Leon Wilcox said.

To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2D.

JumpRope Pilot Update

The JumpRope gradebook system is being piloted at East Midvale, Midvalley, Silver Mesa and Sunrise elementary schools. Dr. Darren Draper, CSD Education Technology Director, reported that JumpRope is a more user-friendly tool and is able to produce more detailed, easy-to-understand reports about learning standards and student progress. These progress reports will be communicated to parents in I-CANyons Student Reports. CSD’s current Skyward Student Information System technology is not as detailed in its grade-book reporting functions.

To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

Board Recognizes 11 for Outstanding Achievements

The Board recognized seven educators, one student, one volunteer, one school nurse and one paraeducator for their achievements. They are:

• Lori Jones, Principal, Sprucewood Elementary: Utah Technology Council Educator of the Year
• Carla Handy: Utah PTA Golden Apple Volunteer Award
• Quinn Linde, Corner Canyon High: Utah PTA Golden Apple, Outstanding Educator
• Robin Collett, Canyons Special Education Director: Utah Parent Center Administrator of the Year
• Laurie Hofstetter, Eastmont Middle: Utah Parent Center Paraeducator of the Year
• Teresa Scheidler-Hildebrand, Canyons District School Nurse: Mary Ito Award
• Chad Fife, Jordan High: American Baseball Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year
• Rebecca Crowley, Butler Middle: 2014 Sorenson Legacy Award, Excellence in Dance
• Sue Malone, Principal, Hillcrest High: National Merit Scholar Advisory Panel
• JoAnn Plant, Hillcrest High: 2014 Family Links Educator of the Year
• Peter Conder, Hillcrest High: 2014 Family Links Student of the Year

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Oct. 7 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; September Financial Reports, Hires and Terminations; the Sandy Elementary Easement; a Cell Tower at Corner Canyon High School; and the Utah Consolidated Application. The Board also approved overnight student travel for Alta Girls Basketball and Softball; Brighton Baseball and Swimming; Corner Canyon AP Art History; Hillcrest Drill Team; and Jordan Band/Choir.

The Board discussed the temporary relocation of Midvale Middle School to the old Crescent View Elementary during its reconstruction with bond funding. Cowdell noted city leaders are supportive of the temporary move during reconstruction. Board President Sherril Taylor said the transportation Office has been working out plans to safely transport Midvale Middle students to the old Crescent View during that time. The Board is expected to vote in the next meeting.

Superintendent Jim Briscoe introduced an agreement to enter a “Promise Partnership” with United Way to help students in Midvale schools. Dr. Briscoe said he was looking forward to the partnership which, if approved by the Board, likely would be in place by next fall, and may require fundraising. Board Member Robert Green thanked General Counsel Dan Harper and Dr. Briscoe for drafting the proposed agreement. The discussion will continue in the next Board Meeting.

Wilcox presented a proposal to ensure Canyons is in line with a new law regarding internal audits. The law requires the District audit committee to monitor internal audit functions and hire an internal audit director, which Wilcox recommends be a contractor who would be secured following an RFP. The committee will audit financial statements with CSD’s external auditor, Squire & Company, then present statements to the full Board in December.

Patron Comments

Region 17 PTA President Betty Shaw praised the Board for support of the PTA and for recognizing student and employee achievements in CSD.

Four patrons supported rebuilding Alta View Elementary with bond money because of issues with building codes, safety, nad traffic concerns. They are PTA President Kellie Simmons; Paulina Flint of the White City Township Community Council; Alta View School Community Council Chairwoman Kelly Collinson; and parent Jason Williams.

To listen to the comments, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6A.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Briscoe praised McCarrie’s academic achievement presentation and the Board and Administration for setting initiatives and bringing about positives change with school leaders and educators. He said the Board has a standard for high expectations, and the data show the results of those expectations and initiatives. He said while there are areas of concern, much progress is being made. He said he would like to have such presentations in each meeting to show progress and what work is left to be done.

CFO’s Report

Wilcox reported that the official Oct. 1 headcount showed CSD’s enrollment continues to hover around 33,676. He noted highest enrollments by school level: 2,263 students at Hillcrest High, 1,504 students at Draper Park Middle, and 764 students at Willow Springs Elementary. He noted the exciting progress at Mount Jordan Middle rebuilding. With this being college-colors day, he said he wanted to note the score of 35-20 for Utah State, referencing the Brigham Young University football team’s loss to the Aggies.

Board Reports

Chad Iverson quipped that he wished the Board Meeting involved wearing college insignia three weeks ago when some thought BYU would beat USU. He said he was excited to see the academic data, and the student presentations showing their excitement about going to college. He said he too has very personal experiences about the importance of education.

Cowdell said it was exciting to see the staff dressed in college-insignia shirts this evening. He thanked the people of Canyons and the Board for the kindness they’ve shown in the wake of his family member’s death last week.

Wrigley said he had the opportunity to visit Peruvian Park Elementary and discuss the importance of School Community Councils. He said a lot of good things are happening with parent involvement, and wants to encourage more SCC presidents to reach out to parents and encourage their participation. He also thanked the Region 17 PTA for hosting its “Meet the Candidates Night.”

Second Vice President Nancy Tingey thanked the Administration for providing SCC trainings, and noted the second training is Wednesday evening. She said that meaningful parent, teacher and community engagement plays a part and reflects well in CSD student achievement. She said Gov. Gary Herbert addressed the Utah School Boards Association Board of Directors on which she serves. She said Gov. Herbert discussed the importance of building relationships and communicating with community members, and mentioned a new report card will replace the UCAS state accountability system. She congratulated Brighton Girls Soccer for their outstanding play at the 5A State Semifinals today, where Davis scored in the second overtime to advance to the championships, and noted the team’s outstanding record. She also noted the epic football game between Brighton and Jordan last week that Brighton won in triple overtime, and wished all high school teams well.

Kim Horiuchi said made a presentation to the Cottonwood Heights City Council, and noted that architects VCBO had been recognized for work on Butler Middle School as one of the top new schools in the country. She said building design is critical to learning, and that new buildings raise up an entire community. She said she was pleased to tackle many of the building needs with the bond, and hopes the District can address remaining needs. She said it was exciting to see building progress at Butler Elementary and thanked the Board for moving up the construction schedule there. She thanked CSD Arts Consortium Chair Sharee Jorgensen for her work in helping students participate at the state choir concert at Temple Square last week, which involved 630 students statewide and participants from all CSD high schools.

Robert Green said he was looking forward to presenting at Corner Canyon High School’s Career Day Wednesday.

President Sherril Taylor said he enjoyed the presentations from Dr. McCarrie and teachers, and noted their enthusiasm for their classroom. He said teachers and support staff in the schools and District offices are appreciated for all their work and cannot be thanked enough.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purposes of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; reasonably imminent litigation; and discussing the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property.

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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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