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Board Summary, Feb. 15 2022

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

Administrative Appointments

The Canyons Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments on Tuesday, Feb 15, 2022. The appointments are:

  • Nate Edvalson, currently Special Education Program Administrator, next year will take the helm of the Special Education Department as Director. He will succeed Misty Suarez who is retiring. Prior to joining the District Office, Edvalson served as an assistant principal at Eastmont Middle and a counselor at Union Middle.
  • Kelly Tauteoli, currently Union Middle School’s Principal, next year will take a position as Human Resources Administrator. She will succeed Kim Baker who is retiring, and will be responsible for the recruitment of secondary teachers.
  • Sara Allen, currently the Assistant Principal at Ridgecrest Elementary, will advance to serve as Ridgecrest’s Principal. She will succeed Julie Winfree who will be the Principal of the new Glacier Hills Elementary. Prior to taking her administrative post at Ridgecrest, Allen was an assistant principal at Butler Middle School. This appointment is effective immediately.

COVID-19 Update

The stressors placed on Canyons District’s operational capacity at the onset of the omicron spike have dissipated. In the month since omicron’s surge, CSD has returned to pre-omicron levels for student and employee attendance, the number of positive cases, the demand for testing, and requests for substitutes to cover for ill employees, Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins said. Reiterating that there has been a steep and steady decline in COVID-19 cases in Canyons communities, Dr. Robins said all schools are holding steady in the lowest-level “green zone” on the Salt Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 data dashboard. Fewer students and employees are requesting rapid-antigen tests at the District drive-thru testing clinic, he said, and fewer of those who do get tested are testing positive for the virus. According to District records, student absences have declined 184 percent since the height of the omicron surge on Jan. 13. However, there’s still a substantial demand for substitute teachers, partly because state-required professional-development trainings have resumed. Teachers also still are overwhelmed with the demands of instructing during a pandemic. Dr. Robins told the Board of Education that Remote-Learning Days were put into place to address the demands presented by COVID-19-related issues, including absenteeism, wellness concerns, and the dearth of personnel to do the work of keeping schools open and operating. The Remote-Learning Days provide teachers “breathing room” and time to plan, collaborate with colleagues, and communicate with parents and students. In the wake of omicron, Robins said, the morale issues persist among our educators and staff. To support teachers, the Board of Education opted to keep the calendar intact with the remaining Remote-Learning Days.

Canyons Online Report

Nearly 400 students in kindergarten through the eighth grades are expected to enroll in Canyons Online for the final term of the 2021-2022 academic year. In a report to the Board of Education, Canyons Online Principal Michelle Shimmin said the District’s new remote-learning program was not meant to be a COVID-19 response. However, it has served as that function for many families who do not yet feel comfortable sending their children back to in-person instruction. It also has been a program of choice for students who thrive in an online-learning environment, she said. Parents of children enrolled in Canyons Online, now operating in its pilot year, also enjoy the flexibility of remote learning, Shimmin said, even with the scheduled daily whole- and small-group synchronous instruction. Among the next steps, the program’s administrators are working on clear and concise engagement and learning expectations for students enrolled in the online learning program. Consistency in rigor, as well as increased personalization and student supports, will be more evident in future high school online courses, which have attracted more than 2,000 students, she said. With lessons learned from the pilot year, she said, Canyons Online will create and maintain a more sustainable work flow. Board member Steve Wrigley encouraged an advertising and marketing campaign to attract even more students to Canyons Online in the coming years.

Bond Refunding Transaction

The Board of Education is considering two proposals on the repayment of refunded bonds.  The repayment package would result in millions of savings for taxpayers, said Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. The Board on March 1 will vote on a resolution giving approval for the 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes of the Board’s workshop session on Feb. 1, 2022; minutes from the Business Meeting on Feb. 1, 2022; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids, student-overnight travel; January financial reports; LEA-specific licenses; administrative appointments; TSSP and LAND Trust Amendments for Alta View, Butler, Canyon View and Oakdale; TSSP and LAND Trust final report.

Patron Comment

Six patrons addressed the Board as part of the Patron Comment portion of the meeting. Recordings of the remarks can be accessed at BoardDocs.

The Board was addressed by:

  • Parent Vanessa Boyer
  • Student Noah Boyer
  • Parent Nancy Nichols
  • CEA President Krista Pippin
  • Student Logan Slaughter
  • Parent Kristine Smith

Legislative Update

A bill that would funnel money from public schools to parents who want to spend the money on private schools or homeschooling passed out of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on a 6-5 vote. External Relations Director Charlie Evans, who oversees the District’s government relations, discussed the potential for passage of HB331, which is one of the major education-related bills being discussed during the 45-day session of the 2022 Utah Legislature. Evans also updated the Board on other bills wending through the legislative process, including SB211, which would change the name of the Education Fund to the Income Tax Fund; SB193, which would fund all-day kindergarten; and HB211, addressing school fees. Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards also reviewed bills that focus on school curriculum and other education issues.

School Highlights

Canyon View Elementary Principal Kierstin Draper lauded her school’s focus on helping students thrive, both academically and emotionally. From kindergarten to fifth grade, Canyon View’s 482 students participate in such activities as 3-D printing, Friendship Month, fiction and poetry writing, science experiments, and film-making. Principal Draper also thanked an active PTA for sponsoring meals for teachers on Remote-Learning Days and Parent-Teacher Conferences, and planning an upcoming Random Act of Kindness Day.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Robins thanked the high school volleyball players for expressing their views during Patron Comment. He also thanked the leadership of CEA for maintaining a strong relationship with the District.

Wilcox thanked the legislative team for their work during the 2022 General Session of the Utah Legislature. He also noted the CEA’s leadership and their hard work and dedication.

Board Member Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg said he welcomes the idea of all-day kindergarten, especially after looking at the improved performance of Midvalley students participating in the classes. He requested an agenda item on the bell schedules, and provided an update on Utah School Boards Association issues. He spoke against HB331, which he called “the voucher bill.” He also encouraged Board members to attend the “Day on the Hill” on March 22.  He noted the changed dates to register to run for a Board seat.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks congratulated Sharee Jorgensen, the District’s arts specialist, for being named the Outstanding Music Educator of the Year for Region 7.  She also thanked the volleyball players for the manner in which they are advocating for their sport to become sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association. She remarked on the political difficulties on Capitol Hill regarding the bills related to education issues, and thanked educators for their diligence during the pandemic. Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked teachers for “hanging in there” and having the attitude that things will get better.

Mrs. Holly Neibaur appreciates the teachers who communicated with Board members about the importance of Remote-Learning Days and the challenges of teaching in during the COVID-19 pandemic. She looks forward to discussion on bell schedules.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked all employees for contributing to the operation of Canyons schools.

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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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