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Getting Involved

Board Summary, Aug. 1, 2023

Board Summary

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

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Canyons teachers, Education Support Professionals, and Administrators enjoy working for the District. According to the annual year-end surveys of the employee groups, more than 80 percent of Administrators and Education Support Professionals say they are satisfied with their jobs in Canyons. The satisfaction of teachers also is quickly bouncing back after an all-time low of 63 percent in the 2021-2022 school year. Seventy percent of teachers say they are satisfied — a seven percent jump in a one-year period. Program Evaluation Specialist Dr. Lora Tuesday-Heathfield, who analyzed the employee-survey results, said the majority of teachers — 57 percent — say they receive a fair salary and 61 percent would recommend a teaching job to a friend or a relative. In addition, Dr. Tuesday-Heathfield reported that 83 percent of teachers believe CSD provides them with sufficient opportunities for professional development, and that 62 percent say that professional collaboration is structured in a way that helps them improve their teaching practice or performance. Among the other responses: Eighty-one percent of teachers say they share a sense of trust with their colleagues. The same number said they can rely on their colleagues for support. The survey of administrators revealed that CSD principals, assistant principals, directors and coordinators overwhelmingly, at 77 percent, would recommend a job with CSD to a friend or a relative. Ninety-two percent said their job expectations are clear, 77 percent say they received meaningful feedback from their supervisor that lead to improved performance, 91 percent feel valued by administrator colleagues, and 93 percent said they share a sense of trust with their department or school co-workers. Dr. Tuesday-Heathfield noted that both contracted and hourly ESP are happy working for CSD. Eighty-four percent of contracted ESP and 86 percent of hourly ESP say they are satisfied with their jobs in Canyons. However, both contracted and hourly ESP question the fairness of their salary. Considering the survey results, Dr. Tuesday-Healthfield recommended that CSD “develop and implement specific action plans that will have the most immediate and direct impact on the identified sources of Canyons employees’ dissatisfaction, both at the District and school levels.”  She also recommended CSD establish ongoing communication on the progress of those initiatives to ensure employees are aware that their concerns have been heard and are being addressed.

High School Senior Exit Survey

Seventy-nine percent of last year’s high seniors who completed an exit survey said they were satisfied with the education provided in Canyons District, an increase of 2 percent from the previous year. Also, 74 percent said they had a positive experience in high school. Among the responses from the Class of 2023: Eighty-three percent said they were provided with the tools and resources to be successful, and 85 percent said there was at least one adult at their high school that they could count on to provide help and support.  However, according to the survey, only 53 percent said students at their school were free from bullying and intimidation, 64 percent reported feeling as if they belong at their high school, and 59 percent said the coursework was relevant and worthwhile.

Early Learning Plan

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward presented Canyons’ Early Learning Plan, which requires Utah school districts to target achievement growth in literacy and mathematics in the first through third grades. Dr. Roderick-Landward said Canyons students have met or exceeded the statewide student-achievement growth goal “every year since the goal was put into place as an accountability piece.” Statewide, the expectation is that at least 60 percent of a district’s first-through third-grade students will make typical or better growth in reading. According to results of Acadience Reading Pathways of Progress for 2022-2023, 65.1 percent of first- through third-grade students in CSD elementary schools made typical or better growth. Canyons’ goal stated that CSD will increase the percentage of kindergarten students who are scoring at or above benchmark on the early literacy skill of Correct Letter Sounds by 2 percent from the middle of the year to the end of the year. Last year, according to the year-end assessments, the students in the targeted grades showed growth, from 71.1 percent to 71.3 percent.  Canyons also sought to increase the percentage of first-grade students who are scoring at or above benchmark on the early literacy skill of Whole Words Read by 22% from beginning of the year to the end of the year. Acadience testing showed a 14.3 percent gain in growth, from 57.4 percent to 71.7 percent. Dr. Roderick-Landward said strategies to achieve literacy goals include implementing the new English Language Arts curriculum, adjusting instruction to needs of students, offering grade-level-specific professional development, and strengthening an Early Learning Teacher Leadership Academy, among other initiatives. In mathematics, 72 percent of first- through third-grade students in CSD schools showed at typical or better growth, besting the state goal of having at least 60 percent show substantial growth, according to Acadience scores. CSD also slightly increased the percentage of first-grade who are scoring at or above benchmark on the early math skill of Advanced Quantity Discrimination by 4 percent from beginning of the year to the end of the year. Roderick-Landward said the District will provide “bite-sized” professional development as well as ongoing coaching for teachers to bolster mathematics instruction. 

Operations Update

Construction crews face a deadline to substantially complete Union Middle by the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 21. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said the long winter, coupled with the labor-supply shortage, stalled progress on the new building funded with proceeds from the voter-approved 2017 bond measure. It is expected a substantial part of the building will be completed in time to have a ribbon-cutting on Aug. 16 and to start the school year. Still, he said, there will be parts of the building, such as the media center, kitchen, auditorium and playfields, that will be finished after the start of school. Wilcox said Other critical items include gaining occupancy with the Fire Marshal, finalizing completion of classrooms, finishing the office area, finishing the gym floor and the main hallways.  Furniture and equipment also needs to be moved into rooms and offices, he said. If the building cannot possibly open in time for the first few days of school, the Union Middle community could start school online. However, he said, the Administration is pressing the contractors to complete the building in time for students to return. “We still want to be inside the building,” Wilcox said. He also told the Board of Education the Administration continues to look for 27 high-quality teachers — 11 elementary and 16 secondary — to ensure that every CSD class has a teacher as school starts. In all, some 289 new teachers have been hired for the 2023-2024 school year. Available support-staff positions include paraeducators, assistant custodians, nutrition-service workers, transportation rovers, and instructional technicians. 

Administrative Appointments

The Canyons Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments for the 2023-2024 school year:   

  • Taylor Anderson, a championship basketball coach and the science department chairman at Corner Canyon High School, will be promoted to serve a Corner Canyon’s Assistant Principal. He replaces Steve Bailey who has retired. 
  • Joseph Olson, currently the Principal at Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School in Moab, will take a position as Assistant Principal at Indian Hills Middle School. He replaces Shelly Karren who advanced to serve as Indian Hills’ Principal. Olson previously worked for Canyons District as a teacher and administrative intern at Mt. Jordan Middle School.

Policy Update

The Board of Education continues to discuss a proposed policy addition to help guide school-level investigations of incidents that occur as a part of an extracurricular activities. According to the suggested policy, the proposed “Extra-Curricular Case Management Team” would start a review of a specific incident at the request of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, or school principal. ECMT members would include the Title IX coordinator, Canyons’ director of high schools, the Assistant Superintendent, and two assistant principals and two school-level Athletic Directors not from the school where the incident occurred. Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen said other proposed additions to Canyons’ “Extracurricular Activities and Student Participation” policy includes language to protect student religious beliefs regarding athletic uniforms in extra-curricular activities as set forth in HB163, “Protecting Student Religious and Moral Beliefs Regarding Athletic Uniform Requirements.“ In addition, the draft policy also includes language addressing eligibility requirements for private, home, online, and charter school students for participation in public school extra-curricular activities. The proposed policy codifies expectations and responsibilities for coaches and extra-curricular advisors, including language for supervision of students, acting as an exemplary role model, and prohibitions of inappropriate conduct as outlined in Utah Code. The Board reviewed proposed policy update governing language-access services and sexual harassment investigations. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes for the Board of Education meeting on July 11, 2023;  purchasing bids; hire and termination reports; and administrative appointments. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins noted this week’s Administrator Training to kick off the 2023-2024 school year. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox lauded the CSD Human Resources Department for their efforts to find great teachers for CSD classrooms and mentioned the capital facility projects that have been completed over the summer months. 

Board of Education Member Reports

Mrs. Karen Pedersen reported on participating in the Sandy Fourth of July parade and volunteering at the “Show Up For Teachers” conference.  She expressed appreciation for the custodians and landscapers who worked all summer to clean and prepare campuses for the upcoming year. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey noted the excitement that surrounds the return to school after the summer recess.  She encouraged civil and productive conversations, even about challenging issues.

Mr. Mont Millerberg attended the “Show Up For Teachers,” where Gov. Cox talked about civil discourse and its importance in strong public policy. He thanked Mrs. Amanda Oaks for hosting the summer BBQ for members of the Board and Cabinet. He also mentioned participating the fun end-of-summer BBQ organized by the Transportation Department. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks also reported on volunteering at the “Show Up for Teachers” event. She suggested a future panel that joined legislators with classroom teachers to elicit more conversation among the two groups. She also discussed how technology has created expectation challenges between schools and parents. 

Mr. Andrew Edtl urged the community to join him in publicly supporting teachers and combating “hate speech” targeting educators. Mr. Edtl noted meetings with municipal partners and administrators and said he will continue visiting schools. He thanked PTA leaders and “actively engaged” patrons in CSD. 

Mrs. Holly Neibaur welcomed Mr. Anderson to his new post as a CCHS Assistant Principal. She reflected on how education was valued in her family, and expressed the importance to create welcoming learning environments for all students. She thanked teachers for their influence, commented on the results of the bell schedule survey, and looks forward to building strong programs to guide students to the workplace or post-secondary education.  

Mrs. Amber Shill remarked on the results Employee Satisfaction Surveys and reported on attending a school-year kick-off breakfast on Monday. 

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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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