Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 5, 2021

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

Virtual Learning Fridays

The Board heard a proposal to designate six Fridays as Virtual Learning days. If approved, one Friday of each month starting Nov, 5, 2021 and ending on April 29, 2022, would be set aside for independent study by students and for planning, collaboration and student-consultation by teachers. The proposal aims to provide relief for teachers and school staff who are reporting increased rates of exhaustion, stress, and burnout due to staffing shortages and student absenteeism. A nationwide labor shortage has made it difficult to find bus drivers, lunchroom workers, and classroom aides, which has stretched school staff to their limits. The District also has struggled to find enough substitutes to cover for teachers who fall ill or have to be pulled from the classroom for District-sponsored trainings. In response, the District has canceled some teacher trainings and asked District Office staff to volunteer as substitutes. But the need for substitutes is so acute that it’s requiring teachers to combine classes or fill in for one another on their preparation periods, leaving them little planning time, said Canyons Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle. In addition, high rates of student absences, due to illness or students being placed on COVID-19-related quarantine, are resulting in teachers having to take extra steps to keep students on track with their learning. The proposal wouldn’t result in any lost instructional time, because students would be expected to use the time for independent learning and access their assignments on CSD’s learning management system Canvas. Teachers would be expected to report to school for work on Virtual Learning days and use the time to collaborate with peers, create lesson plans and intervention strategies to support struggling students, and provide any needed outreach to students. This time would not be intended to be used for athletic or performing arts practices. The Board of Education will further discuss the proposal at the Board’s next meeting and list it on the agenda under a second reading for possible action.

Social-Emotional Learning

The Board will continue to discuss how the District will provide social-emotional learning in Canyons schools. A short- and long-term plan for SEL learning is being requested of the Administration to replace a curriculum called “Second Step,” which was suspended from use by Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins. Dr. Robins made the decision after it was discovered that there were links in the curriculum leading to content that violated state law. 

Student Advisory Council

Twenty-two high school-age students have been chosen to serve on the Student Advisory Council, which serves as a direct line from Canyons students to the Board of Education. The council includes students from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools, as well as the Diamond Ridge alternative high school.  This is the ninth year students have been empaneled as a council to advise the Board on issues affecting students. The following are members of this year’s council, which will meet monthly:

Alta:  Autumn Engstrom, Luke Bjerregaard, Alisha Ruiz, Mallory Goodfellow
Brighton: Hayley Wilson, Xander Nelson, Taylor Navarro, Bryce Mayer
Corner Canyon: Kimberly Montoya-Garcia, Lance Andrewsen, Creed Gardinerm, Bella Nibley
Diamond Ridge: Ava Bolen, Gabe Gutierrez
Hillcrest: Emy Arredondo, Jason Mun, Humzah Khan, Selena Yu
Jordan: Cameryn Coffey, Shelby Hadley, Emma Moreno, Isaac Brockbank

School Year Calendars

Office of Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud presented proposed calendars for the 2022-2023, 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 academic years. 

Redistricting

A redistricting effort conducted every 10 years to ensure that all parts of Canyons are appropriately represented by an elected member of the Board of Education is underway. The Salt Lake County Redistricting Commission has not yet provided the five school districts in the county specific details or a schedule, but has stated that precinct populations should be within 10 percent of the average population of a precinct. Board members also must remain in the precinct, according to the presentation by External Affairs Director Charlie Evans. Board members will work with the Administration to propose new boundaries to equalize the number of constituents in each precinct. 

School Highlights.

Alta View Elementary Principal Scott Jameson told the Board that the 542-student school, which houses such program as a Spanish-English Dual Language Immersion schools and a diagnostic kindergarten, also has started a “Citizenship Class” for students who have been referred to the office for behavioral issues. Jameson also said the school met its fundraising goal for the year, and is celebrating the announcement of parent Dr. Allyn Kau as the Apex Award winner for Volunteer of the Year. 

Recognitions

The following were recognized for their achievements:

  • Corner Canyon and Hillcrest High theater students for winning Sweepstakes honors in their respective divisions at the 45th annual Shakespeare theater competition.
  • Alta High Principal Dr. Brian McGill, the Utah High School Principal of the Year, for being honored Oct. 5 during a virtual ceremony of the country’s top principals.  The virtual ceremony was hosted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
  • The Corner Canyon High football team for tying the state record for most consecutive wins.  At 48, the Chargers have tied Duchesne for the most wins. 
  • The Canyons Education Foundation also presented a check for $10,000 to help students in need pay college-application fees. 

Patron Comment

The following patrons addressed the Board. Recordings of their comments can be found on BoardDocs:

  • Parent Lisa Bruns spoke about social-emotional learning
  • Parent Jeannine Cardenas spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Tori Gillett, CSD School Counseling Program Specialist, spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Jenn Rupp and Bethany Foster, CSD elementary social workers representing a group of 21 mental-health professionals in education, spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Ashley Anderson spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Allie Teller, elementary school counselor, spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Jessica Anderson spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Jeremiah Olsen spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Dr. Allyn Kau spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent and teacher Rebecca Jimas spoke about social-emotional learning. 
  • Parent Hillary Hewitt spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Cassie Smith spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Stacie Petersen spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Shandra Brown spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Jessica Davies spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Cheri Sadowski spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Alicia Cottle spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Brynn Whitchurch spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Parent Christine Morzelewski spoke about social-emotional learning.
  • Patron LaVar Christensen spoke about Utah education code and parent involvement in education.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes for the meeting of the Canyons Board of Education on Sept. 21, 2021; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; and LEA-specific licenses. 

Equity in Education

The Board of Education heard a presentation from Sunlight Works, which has been contracted to advise the District on diversity and inclusion practices. The company is guiding CSD on behaviors, character traits, and how different people can best work together. The company also is advising CSD on diversity awareness and understanding, inclusion and safety, and organizational systems impacting diversity and inclusion. According to a recent survey done by Sunlight Works, most administrators and staff agreed that they feel supported in efforts to learning and are treated with respect. Those who responded to the survey ranked the statements “I feel safe disagreeing with the way my team does things” and “I have the freedom to challenge the status quo” lowest. Recommendations include establishing committees to look at diversity and inclusion and whether it’s aligned to the vision and mission; employee contribution, curriculum and recognition; communication and tracking; and professional development in diversity and inclusion.

Policy Update

Policies governing student educational travel and Teacher and Student Success Act are proposed for the Board’s consideration. The Board also approved a proposed manual for Special Education for Students with Disabilities. 

Strategic Plan

Board members discussed reviewing survey data, finalizing focus areas, and increasing parent involvement in the strategic planning process.

Superintendent, Business Administrators Reports

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted that Hillcrest auditorium seats have not yet been shipped to Utah.  The school’s fall musical may be pushed back to December or January

Board Member Reports

 Mrs. Clareen Arnold noted the nationally known quality of teachers in Utah and in Canyons District.

Mr. Mont Millerberg said the Utah School Boards Association conference is Jan. 6 at Little America in Salt Lake City. He remarked on the change to the Master Board award, and the push to train school boards.  He noted his participation in the Canyons Education Foundation’s golf tournament and attendance at Hillcrest’s Homecoming celebration. 

Mrs. Amber Shill stated that a website will note the boards that have earned the Master Board award.

Mrs. Holly Neibaur thanked the teachers who worked hard to communicate with families during Parent-Teacher Conferences. She reported on attending the 12th annual Apex Awards.

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