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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014

Board Votes To Save Taxpayers $2.4 Million in Jordan Bond Refinance

The Board approved a resolution to save taxpayers $2.4 million in interest payments by entering an interlocal agreement with the Jordan School District. The agreement allows both districts to refinance the Old Jordan Debt, which resulted from the bond that former Jordan School District voters passed in 2003, prior to Canyons’ creation. The Jordan Board is expected to meet later this month to vote on the proposed agreement. In approving the agreement, Cowdell called on Jordan District to stop supporting legislation aimed at taking more money from CSD taxpayers when CSD taxpayers already are repaying 58 percent of the old bond without realizing its benefits.

To view the resolution or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7B.

Brighton Soccer Field Proposed

The Board discussed the possibility of creating a soccer for Brighton High School in place of a planned extra parking lot next to Butler Middle School. The field would provide the city of Cottonwood Heights with precious open space, said Board Member Kim Horiuchi. She also noted the new Butler Middle has more parking than the old school had. Facilities Director Rick Conger said the proposed field would cost $750,000, and that the District would receive a $55,000 credit by halting parking lot plans. Several Board members said the field and green space is needed. Vice President Steve Wrigley noted parking is an issue at Butler. The Board asked to see drawings of the proposed field in the next meeting. Conger also provided the Board with a draft of how Butler Elementary and a White City elementary school might be rebuilt with bond money on their current campuses. He also reviewed state bidding procedures for architects. He noted CSD building design phases include extensive input by school employees, leaders, and parents.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.

Students Achieve Under New Middle School Schedule

Middle school reading scores have skyrocketed this fall, following an emphasis on reading and interdisciplinary teaming in the new middle school model. Winter SRI results were 250 Lexile points above previous years’ performance. Last fall, CSD sixth-graders moved into the middle schools, which also implemented a schedule that extended time in English Language Arts and Math instruction based on data indicating that students needed help in those subjects. The schedule provides regularly scheduled intervention and enrichment time for all students, collaborative work groups for educators, and allows students to make choices about electives. Schools also have implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to assist academic achievement efforts.

Mike Sirois, Director of School Performance, thanked the Board for its leadership in creating the middle school model. He noted that while the model is not yet perfected — challenges include mixed reviews from elective teachers regarding the AB schedule and scheduling reading and math labs — there are many benefits, including hour-long class periods, district supports, and teacher teaming to improve student achievement. He noted the model is garnering attention statewide.

Board Members praised the smooth transition, student achievement results, and improved middle school atmosphere. Wrigley also praised the transition, but questioned whether honors courses were losing rigor and teachers needed more prep time. Green said he hopes the new model encourage more female students to enter STEM fields.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

New SAGE State Tests Demonstrated

Dr. Hal Sanderson, Director of Research and Assessment, demonstrated the state’s new SAGE test, which Utah students will take for the first time in April and May. The State test is needed to assess students’ understanding of Utah’s new standards in math and English language arts. SAGE is a test customized to Utah standards by researchers and Utah parents and teachers. The unique, computerized adaptive test includes multiple choice, writing, and graphing questions, whose difficulty adjusts based on student answers. The test is designed to measure the full range of students’ grade-level knowledge and skills, assess all students equally, and give teachers data needed to improve instruction. Dr. Sanderson said his office is preparing trainings for educators and information to go to parents about the state test.

SAGE results will provide a new baseline for test performance. SAGE Results cannot be compared to old CRT test results.

To view the presentation or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7D.

Superintendent Search Update

The Board directed the Superintendent Search Consultants to advertise a salary range for the new superintendent that reflects salaries paid to other Wasatch Front school district superintendents. The salary range of $175,000-$225,000 will be included in job advertisements; actual salary will be negotiated with the successful candidate. Board members noted the range is well within the market rate and is necessary to hiring a strong leader, which is critical when the education of children is at stake.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2C.

Student Advisory Council Work Underway

Members of the Board’s Student Advisory Council thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve and hoped for additional opportunities to interact with and provide feedback to Board members. They said the council gives them opportunities to receive feedback from fellow students on how to improve education and share ideas for student fundraising and activities among council members. Addressing the Board were chairwoman and founder Katrina Jones of Alta; Richard Wright of Brighton; Shelby Brey of Hillcrest; and Kaitlyn Larsen of Alta.

To listen to the report, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7C.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Jan. 21, 2014 minutes; Purchasing Bids and the Home School Affidavit. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Brighton Fine Arts and Alta Debate, Girls Golf and Track and Field teams.

The Board approved the fiscal accountability policy, as required by law. The policy provides transparency on how money is raised and spent in the District, and gives schools autonomy in making key decisions while providing support from the District and Canyons School District Education Foundation. The Foundation is expected to vote this week on a memorandum of understanding with the District in regards to the policy.

For more information, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.

Patron Comments

Alta View patron Heather Rasmussen said she was drawn into Eastmont Middle School Boundaries, which makes getting to Dual Immersion Spanish at Mount Jordan a challenge. She said she and her neighbors felt slighted the program was not placed at their feeder school. She asked that a bus be provided for her neighborhood to attend the program at Mount Jordan. She estimated 30 Dual Immersion students would take the bus.

Interim Superintendent’s Report

Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode and Assistant Superintendent Kathryn McCarrie attended the PTA Reflections contest awards ceremony at Midvale Middle School last week for both elementary and secondary arts categories. She said the students have been very creative in their efforts, be they in visual arts or music, and she wished the winners well in the state contest.

Interim CFO Report

Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox thanked the Board for approving the fiscal accountability policy. He said the State Auditor’s Office has indicated it would like to look at all districts’ policies statewide. He said he appreciated the Board approving the refinancing of the old Jordan debt, and noted interest rates are moving in the District’s favor. He said while it’s been a rough few days for Broncos fans, he was pleased to see Hillcrest’s Zane Beadles play in the Super Bowl, and noted Beadles graduated with a 3.92 GPA from Hillcrest and earned an engineering degree from the University of Utah.

Board Reports

Board Member Chad Iverson thanked the Student Advisory Council for addressing the Board, and said he hopes the Board can receive council feedback more regularly.

Wrigley attended the CTEC open house and was very impressed by the student hosts and faculty. He noted the students’ excitement about their projects. He praised the quality of the seventh-grade science fair projects he viewed at Draper Park Middle. He visited Oakdale Elementary’s grant-funded arts program and Quail Hollow Elementary. He thanked CSD students and principals for their outstanding work.

Tingey is representing CSD on the Utah School Boards Association’s Joint Legislative Committee, and noted half of the bills before the Legislature are education-related. She said she’ll continue work to add CSD’s voice to the discussion. She thanked staff for the presentations they prepared for the Board meeting. She said she took the SAGE training tests, joked that she now knows she is not smarter than a fifth-grader, and encouraged other parents to take the SAGE as well. She thanked the Student Advisory Council members for their work, and looks forward to working with them in the future.

Horiuchi attended the Hillcrest school play, “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” by Charles Dickens. She said the six-hour play, performed in two parts, was a remarkable showcase of Hillcrest talent. She attended the Utah High School Activities Association meeting, and noted classifications realignment is coming up. The realignment process will include a March 26 public meeting regarding the proposed format and procedures for defining the realignment, which would include an examination of population and trends. Another public hearing will be scheduled for fall on the classifications themselves.

Green attended the Lego League state championships at the U., and enjoyed judging robotics design. He was proud that an all-female team won second place at the competition. He recalled how much he enjoyed thermodynamics classes. He also said he hoped to have Beadles visit Hillcrest as an inspirational speaker.

Taylor thanked the Student Advisory Council for their dedication and willingness to serve, and urged everyone to be careful traveling home. He also noted this is National School Counseling Week, and expressed his appreciation for CSD counselors.

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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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