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Board Meeting Summary Sept. 2, 2014

Utah College Application Week Coming to CSD

Canyons District, in partnership with the Utah State Board of Regents, is poised to participate in Utah College Application Week, scheduled for Nov. 17-21, 2014. Dr. Hollie Pettersson, Director of Evidence-Based Learning in Secondary Schools, noted the national initiative is aimed at ensuring every high school senior applies for college — and is able to navigate the process with the help of an adult. She said the effort in CSD will include students all five high schools, including students receiving special education services in the high schools and at the Canyons Transitions Academy. College applications will be filled out during the school day in attempts to remove college access barriers. Middle and high schools will engage in awareness-building activities in the weeks prior to the event. District employees also have been posting personalized “Ask Me About College” signs in their offices. The week of the event, banners will be distributed to the high schools, students will receive an “I applied” sticker after their applications are complete. Dr. Pettersson said she has requested financial aid from the CSD Education Foundation to fund application fees for students in need.

For more information, please visit BoardDocs  and click Agenda Item 2C.

Educator Evaluation Policy Discussed

The Board discussed a policy that will revise educator evaluation programs to comply with a new state law. The law requires Utah school districts to adopt more uniform evaluation programs for teachers and licensed administrators. CSD’s evaluation systems seek to promote professional practices via professional development, goal-setting, and reflection. The evaluation systems, created with feedback from the Canyons Education Association, personnel and the public, will examine professional performance, student growth and stakeholder input. The State Office of Education has not yet determined how the components will be weighted in the overall evaluation. CSD system field tests begin this year; full implementation is scheduled for 2015-2016.

Board Vice President Steve Wrigley noted some educators have expressed apprehension about the use of student growth and parent surveys. Dimond emphasized that CSD’s goal in the state-mandated system is to encourage and develop great teachers. Dimond expressed appreciation for the feedback, and said support is being provided to employees during the field tests. The Board will discuss the policy once more before voting. To view the policy or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7B.

Legislative Update

The Board received an update from Chief of Staff Charles Evans regarding new state laws and how the District Administration is complying. The new laws include school building cost reporting; amendments on placing returning home school students in the class or grade of a parent’s choice; a law that allows districts to reallocate instructional hours for teacher prep time or professional development; Advanced Placement fee reductions for eligible students; and requirements that school comprehensive emergency response plans include procedures to notify students who are off campus for school or released-time activities.

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

Mount Jordan Property Update

Board Member Tracy Scott Cowdell said a committee, which includes Board Members and District administrators, is meeting about the possibility of creating additional modern facilities in terms of offices and possibly career and technical education on the Mount Jordan Middle School property. He said those discussions are continuing, and requested the matter be placed on a future Board meeting for discussion once more firm data is available. Board Member Kim Horiuchi asked whether the discussions included possibly relocating the nearby bus barns or creating a swimming pool. Cowdell noted the discussion has been more narrowly defined and has not included those possibilities. In a related matter, he noted that the committee is looking at the performance of a Community Development Area (CDA) that the district entered with Draper City that could provide financial benefits to the District.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.

Policy Committee Update

Second Vice President Nancy Tingey reported on the progress of the Board’s Standing Committee for Policy Review. The committee will meet twice monthly to identify policies needing revision, and bring those policies to the Board for discussion. The committee has examined the work of the Utah School Boards Association and Salt Lake City School District, which recently updated its policies, to form its approach to the task. She noted CSD has 12 policy sections 208 individual polices; by comparison, Salt Lake District has seven policy sections with 79 individual policies. To listen to the presentation, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2E.

School Boundaries Discussed for New Apartments

The Board discussed boundaries for a new apartment complex under construction at 910 E. 9000 South in Sandy, which without Board action would split residents of the new Cobblegate Apartments into two schools. Planning and Enrollment Director Ben Lems presented maps and data to the Board, and recommended the boundary be adjusted to allow all students living at Cobblegate to attend the same school: either East Sandy or Edgemont. Lems said he has contacted members of the School Community Councils of both schools. He noted there are more developments coming in the Edgemont boundary, and that the East Sandy would be able to accommodate the projected enrollments. President Sherril Taylor urged Lems to get feedback from more parents at the potentially affected schools. To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2D.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Aug. 19 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; and Student Overnight Travel for Alta Baseball and Wrestling, Corner Canyon Band/Orchestra/Choir and Cross Country, and Jordan Cross Country and Volleyball. The purchasing bid to refurbish portables was cut to $100,000 instead of $362,000 in light of upcoming facility committee discussions. To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.

The Board received a pictorial presentation about the first few days of school from Communications Directors Jennifer Toomer-Cook and Jeff Haney. The presentation included the Back-to-School Call Center, which, in its sixth year, received 1,547 calls from the public Aug. 18-27; Superintendent Briscoe’s appearance on Good Morning Utah; Red Carpet Events at elementary and middle schools to welcome students and underscore the importance of education; the #IamCanyons social media campaign; and Kindergarten College-Ready Day events. To view the presentation, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7A.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said he was pleased with the District Administration debriefing of the first day of school, and praised the Transportation Department’s work to ensure on time routes. He attributed the smooth start of the school year to the past five years of hard work. He praised Tingey’s Capitol Hill testimony about the importance of highly effective principals and building school leadership. He said CSD is doing well in preparing principals for leadership, and noted the District is hiring more internal candidates as principals. He noted Mount Jordan Middle School is piloting a 1:1 classroom technology, and has asked a CSD team to examine costs of expanding the initiative districtwide. He noted the facility committee begins its work on Sept. 10 and said the committee would have short-term recommendations for the Board to consider in November.

CFO’s Report

Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox noted he experienced a smooth first day of school while visiting Draper Park Middle School. He said District officials will meet next week with State Risk Management about school safety updates that may be needed. He noted the District’s contract with a pharmaceutical benefits provider is up for review, and noted the District is looking at options that could save money and provide a seamless transition for employees. He said an update on the matter likely would be available next Board meeting.

Board Reports

Chad Iverson said he is looking forward to the policy committee and the facilities committee beginning their work.

Wrigley said he had a chance to visit three schools on the first day of classes. He visited Willow Canyon, where he thanked teachers for choosing to work there, and noted their appreciation for Dr. Briscoe for reaching out to meet employees and community members. He also thanked Dr. Briscoe for his work. He noted Thursday is the last Meet the Superintendent town hall meeting, which will be at Silver Mesa Elementary at 7 p.m. He said he will be meeting with White City leaders and school communities about the rebuilding of an elementary school there.

Tingey thanked Dr. Pettersson, Director of Evidence-Based Learning in Elementary Schools Amber Roderick-Landward, and Dr. Kathryn McCarrie for helping her prepare for her Capitol Hill testimony, and Dr. Briscoe for accompanying her. She attended first day of school activities at Albion Middle and Brookwood and Park Lane elementaries, and said she could feel the excitement in the air. She attended Kindergarten College-Ready Day, and enjoyed watching the students and teachers interact about all the great things they can become. She started to imagine what the world will be like in 2027 when the kindergartners graduate high school, and noted her gratitude for the thousands of people who have dedicated their careers to help CSD students prepare for the future. She said students are the reason CSD employees and leaders are passionate about their work, and the she knows students can be successful.

Horiuchi attended as a CSD representative the meeting of the Utah High School Activities Association Board of Trustees, where they discussed a complicated formula for football that would account for win-loss records and enrollment. A public hearing was held last week, in which Timpview, Provo and Duchesne school representatives spoke against the proposal, and the Trustees subsequently abandoned the formula. However, she said the Trustees will allow flexibility for schools that are on the bubble to use other factors in terms of determining their classification. She called that a good first step. She said the Trustees will consider a classification realignment proposal Nov. 20, hold a public hearing Dec. 3, and meet Dec. 4 to discuss the input. She attended the meeting with VCBO and Butler principal Christine Waddell about plans to rebuild the school, and noted the architects said they will try to implement largest classrooms possible by using space use innovations. She said construction is expected to start in June. She also mentioned her visit to Ridgecrest on the first day of school, and thanked Facilities Director Rick Conger, Wilcox, and the facilities team for completing projects at the school.

Robert Green reported on his attendance at the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Meeting. There, they discussed adjustments to the fee schedule and the budget. He noted the county is moving forward with renting an accessible pool that the Granite District used to use.

Taylor thanked Dr. Briscoe and his staff for putting together a facilities and planning committee, which is important for examining how to keep moving forward into the future. He said he wants Canyons to be the best school district in the nation, and that quality facilities for students is an important piece of that goal. He also thanked the teachers, staff and employees in schools and the central office for a great first day, and noted all the planning that went into making that happen.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.

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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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