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Board Meeting Summary, Oct 6, 2020

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

Mascot for New White City-area School

The name of the new elementary school for the White City area is Glacier Hills Elementary. The Board of Education unanimously voted for the new name, as well as the mascot, the Yeti. The colors will be blue and white. The name of the school and the selection of the mascot and colors came after a four-month process to engage the community in an effort to provide possible names and mascots for the school which will house the Edgemont and Bell View elementary school communities.  The school is being built with bond funds. “I want to be the first to say:  It’s a great day to be a Yeti,” said Principal Julie Winfree.  The Office of Public Communications will now create designs for the new school’s logo and mascot.  

Online Learning

Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins proposed a centralized online-learning site for Canyons District. Dr. Robins presented the idea to begin the conversation about a possible online department for the District, and was asked by the Board to bring additional information for further review and discussion. The Board also was presented information about online learning in Canyons schools. In a survey, most parents agreed or strongly agreed that Online Learning has been a positive experience for their students. Asked to describe their ideal online experience, a majority of parents at the elementary level expressed satisfaction with the existing program. At the middle and high school levels, families expressed a desire for more live instruction and meeting time between teachers and students. Secondary students also noted how much they appreciate live instruction, but said they prefer pre-recorded lessons, which give them flexibility to tune in when it fits with their schedule. Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward also described how the District defines synchronous versus asynchronous learning and explained that CSD’s Online Learning program calls upon teachers to provide both. Synchronous learning is live instruction that happens at a specific time and place. Asynchronous learning happens before and after these live lessons. This could be an after-lecture writing practice, or introductory video. The best practice is to offer a mix of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. CSD’s Online teachers are currently expected to provide at least one hour of daily synchronous instruction at the elementary level and one session per week at the secondary level. For the secondary schools on quarantine, teachers are expected to provide 15 to 30 minutes of live daily instruction. Dr. Roderick-Landward also presented information about live-stream instruction. 

Registration-Changes Update

As the end of the first grading period nears, Canyons District has identified ways that families can change the learning option they chose during Online Registration, during which students could register for in-person, online, or at-home, parent-guided, District-supported instruction. The change-request window for elementary is Nov. 1-8 and the new Learning Option would begin Nov. 23. The middle school change-request window is Oct. 1-12. The new Learning Option would begin Oct. 26, the first day of the new quarter. High schools will continue as usual.  If a student wants a change, she or he is encouraged to contact their counselor. 

Annual Technology Plan

Some 800 WiFi hotspots and 550 Chromebooks were deployed to aid Canyons students who needed the   devices and connectivity to engage in learning during the spring “soft closure” of Utah schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Scott McCombs, CSD’s Information Technology Director. In addition, McCombs said in a presentation detailing the District’s technology plan, the IT department in partnership with the Canyons Education Foundation is working to connect 1,200 students to the Internet with the help of Internet providers. Currently, six secondary and five elementary schools are 1:1, and 19,057 Chromebooks are checked out to students in need. McCombs said the District is awaiting a shipment of about 3,000 Chromebooks which have been purchased to aid students while they are accessing course content from remote locations. McCombs also presented information about network and connectivity projects that could be funded with CARES Act funds. Challenges facing CSD’s IT department include a support model that has expanded to include technical assistant to parents, the slow-down in the supply chain to devices, and turnover in the department due to retirements, internal promotions, and employees who pursued more lucrative positions in the private sector. The Board of Education thanked McCombs for his department’s efforts as the District’s pivoted to remote learning last spring and this fall. 

School Calendars

The Board of Education reviewed calendars for the 2021-2022, 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years. A policy-change proposal would give the Board an alternative option, such as a digital learning day, to replace instructional time lost due to emergency school closure.

Student Advisory Council

The Board of Education empaneled the 2020-2021 Student Advisory Council, which for the first time includes representatives from Canyons’ alternative high school, Diamond Ridge. The group, made up of students from all CSD high schools, advises the board on policy development and to provide feedback on important issues facing our school district. As a part of the District’s emphasis on equity and inclusivity, additional minority and historically under-represented students have been invited to join the council.  Ther following are members of this year’s council, which will meet monthly: 

  • Alta: Aiyanna Ford, Sadler Jones Jorja Smith Saskia Paepke-Chile
  • Brighton: Logan Oviatt, Celeste Dorantes, Israel Moeai, Esterline Wunderli
  • Corner Canyon:  Parker Pogue, Jake Orr, Danna Benitez, Lauren Carn
  • Diamond Ridge: Martha Lopez, Riley Gillespie
  • Hillcrest:  Max Lepore, Maddy Nava Ayers, Henry Salinas, Laura Bush
  • Jordan: Neema Delphine, Maile Afoa, Alberto Tapia, Elijah Martin

Invitation to Join Stakeholder Group

Board member Amanda Oaks will be Canyons’ representative on a working group that operates as part of The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority Board. The group has extended an invite for Canyons District, which will be impacted by the development of 700 acres when the Utah State Prison is moved west of Salt Lake City, to participate. Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards said the post will provide needed public-education advocacy on the panel. 

Policy Update

The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;  vision screening; and budget principles.

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were honored for their achievements:

  • Eastmont Middle’s Emma Moss, Canyons’ 2020 Teacher of the Year, for being named a runner-up in this year’s Utah Teacher of the Year selection process
  • Alta High student Brooklyn Dowdell and Raquel Passey, for winning second place in first doubles at the 5A Utah High School Activities Association girls tennis tournament.
  • Marching bands at Alta and Brighton high schools for finishing No. 4 and No. 2 in their respective divisions at the Bridgerland Band Invitational.  

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from Sept. 15, 2020, meeting of the Canyons Board of education; minutes from the Sept. 18, 2020, meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; minutes from the Sept. 22, 2020, meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; LEA-specific licenses; Early Literacy Plan; and a TSSP Amendment for Eastmont Middle. 

Patron Comment

Patron Stacy Arens and Holly Neibaur and Corner Canyon High teacher Milo Maughan addressed the Board of Education. Recordings of their comments can be accessed on BoardDocs. 

Pledge of Allegiance, School Highlights

A focus on high-quality instruction, coupled with strong parent support, are among the reasons that Willow Canyon Elementary achievement is on the rise, said Principal Marilyn Williams. She noted that, after an intense focus on the content by the faculty, English Language Arts scores went up 10 percentage points over four years on standardized tests. Math scores also went up 15 percentage points over the same time period. The school also provides such activities as Battle of the Books, debate, and chess club.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Robins reported he’s coordinating a meeting with Salt Lake County health officials and other Salt Lake County school districts.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked Dr. Roderick-Landward and McCombs for their work in their reports. He noted the successful Canyons Education Foundation Golf Tournament and the custodians for National Custodian Appreciation Day. He thanked the teacher for their hard work for Parent-Teacher Conferences. 

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg asked Board members for direction on USBA assignments. He noted the success of the Canyons Education Foundation’s Golf Tournament and thanked sponsors for supporting CSD. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on attending a regional cross-country meet, and said such extracurricular activities bolster students’ physical fitness and social-emotional wellness. She commented on possible upcoming discussions with the Salt Lake County Health Department, and said she’s trying to make good decisions based on input from the public and recommendations from health authorities.

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked custodians for their hard work, CSD Foundation Development Officer Denise Haycock and the team that organized the golf tournament, and the parents and teachers who have emailed the Board, which reads all messages that are sent. She congratulated the Brighton High Marching Band, which placed second place at a competition last weekend. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked the administration and the teachers for “giving 120 percent” over the past seven months. He also thanked parents for their patience and understanding through last spring’s “soft closure” of Utah schools and this fall’s start of school during a pandemic.  He also thanked Dr. Robins for his work to coordinate the meeting with health and education authorities.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold said she hopes there will soon be an end to the pandemic so families can gather and student can have a relatively normal experience at their schools.

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending soccer games and band performances, and said he’s grateful for activities and extra-curriculars. He also looks forward to discussions with health and education authorities. 

President Tingey expressed appreciation for District and school employees, parents and students while the community faces the pandemic issues together. 

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