Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items
To the end of slowing spread of COVID-19 while also maintaining an in-person learning schedule, all Canyons District schools, regardless of their positive case count, will operate in the District’s already-established Tier III response for coronavirus cases, said Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins. The following prevention measures will immediately apply to CSD schools:
- Until further notice, CSD schools will postpone assemblies, field trips, and visits by school volunteers.
- Custodians will use hospital-grade detergents as they scour the building throughout the day and into the evening hours.
- Increased ventilation using Merv-13 filters will continue at night, on weekends, and remote-learning days, when school buildings aren’t fully occupied.
Schools may communicate additional information to parents about decisions regarding the co-horting of students and before- and after-school programs, changes to the schedule, or postponed events or activities. Per the direction of the Board, the Superintendent and the administrative staff will evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether schools can continue with or postpone plans for non-Utah High School Activities Association programs and events.
UHSAA activities will continue as scheduled.
The five-day break — facilitated by Friday’s end-of-semester Grading Day, Saturday, Sunday, Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and Tuesday’s Remote-Learning Day — has allowed time for students and teachers to complete their five-day isolation and quarantine period. Also, as students return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 19, the Salt Lake County Health Department has re-set to zero the numbers of cases counted in each school community, Robins said.
Currently, some 1,202 students have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, Robins said. In addition, some 200 teachers, administrators, and Education Support Professionals have tested positive in the past two weeks, which has proven challenging for schools to have a teacher for every classroom, operate buses, clean schools, and serve meals.
The Tier III actions for all schools also is a mitigation effort in response to the elimination of the Test to Stay events, as announced last week by state executive, legislative, and education leaders.
The Board of Education approved a resolution allowing the refunding of no more than $70 million in general-obligation bonds. As a result, the bond-repayment timeframe will be slashed from 10 to seven years and the interest rate reduced, which in turn could save taxpayers up to $9.4 million. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said a bond sale is planned for mid-February. Wilcox also noted that this is the final year that CSD taxpayers will be forced to pay for debt accumulated by the old Jordan District.
The Board of Education voted to approve the implementation of new curriculum for fall 2022. After a lengthy and robust public-input process, the Board approved “Wonders,” “95 Core Program and Multisyllable Routine Cards,” “Chemistry Dimensions,” and “Inspire Physics.” Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward said “Wonders” and “95 Core Program and Multisyllable Routine Cards” will be the curriculum for elementary-level English language arts. The others are for high school science courses. The approval is the culmination of a 24-step process to adopt the curriculum. The process includes a parent review of the materials. Digital access and hard copy versions were made available to parents to read, and the public was invited to provide input through an online tool.
More than 50 work hours have been put so far into the creation of the draft of a strategic plan that, when approved, will guide the District’s direction for the coming decade and beyond. The Board of Education now will work with consultants Education Elements to refine the growth blueprint and align it with the aims of the District. Education Elements Senior Design Principal Drew Schantz reminded Board members that the plan is meant to guide Canyons, not create a “to-do” list of items. He also encouraged the Board to remember that not everyone will be 100 percent happy with the plan. Schantz asked Board members to provide thoughts on what may be missing from the plan, what could be edited, and what it would take to get the plan to an “85 percent satisfaction rate” from Board members. The Board will continue to review the proposed plan in upcoming workshops.
Legislative Session Update
External Relations Director Charlie Evans updated the Board of Education on the first day of the 2022 General Session of the Utah Legislature. A resolution to overturn all mask mandates statewide has approved the Utah Senate on a 22-5 vote on Tuesday, Jan. 18, Evans said, and is expected to be approved in the Utah House on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Another proposed bill would change the required actions of districts when a school’s COVID-19 cases reach a certain threshold. Board members expressed a concern about language in the proposed bill that would require teachers to provide synchronous learning opportunities for students.
Supply-chain issues — the dearth of available steel, in particular — has waylaid progress at the construction site of the new Peruvian Park Elementary. As a result, according to Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox, the new school will not be ready for use until Sept. 30. Peruvian Park classes will move into the new school when the District has been granted occupancy after its completion. Costs at the new Peruvian Park remain within budget, Wilcox said. However, due to the increase in steel and other metal prices, the cost for the new Glacier Hills Elementary, which is expected to open in fall 2022, is going up $550,000. Wilcox said the new Union Middle is scheduled to be done for the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the approval for the minutes of Board of Education meetings for Jan. 4 and Jan. 11, 2022; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; students overnight travel requests; December financial reports; the Alta View cell phone tower proposal.
Peruvian Park Elementary was named as one of the top three elementary schools in the state, according to the U.S. News and World Report. That prestigious ranking came in the midst of a pandemic and a move to a temporary building while the new Peruvian Park is being built, noted Principal Leslie Jewkes. Peruvian Park Elementary teachers, parents, staff and students maintained a positive attitude, and innovated new approaches to learning and operations, during the school year, Jewkes said. The most resilient in the face of change, she said, proved to be the students. She considers the designation by U.S. News and World Report is a reflection of the work and dedication of the entire school community.
The following students, faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements:
- Sunrise and Peruvian Park elementary schools and Draper Park Middle for being named to U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top five public elementary and middle schools in Utah.
- Mindy Robison, Principal of Midvale Middle, for being named the Utah Middle School Principal of the Year.
The following patron addressed the Board of Education. Recordings of their remarks can be accessed on BoardDocs.
- Jennifer Nazzaro
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Robins expressed appreciation to the ISD team for their work in finding, vetting, and proposing new curriculum. Dr. Robins commended CSD’s commitment to increasing literacy rates. He also thanked the entire Canyons community — administrators, teachers, Education Support Professionals, parents and students — for banding together to help operate schools as COVID-19 counts tick upward in the majority of CSD school communities.
Mr. Wilcox noted the challenge to operate schools in an era of increased COVID-19 counts among employees and students. He congratulated Mrs. Amber Shill for a successful Utah School Boards Association presidency.
Board of Education Member Reports
Mrs. Holly Neibaur thanked employees, parents, and students for pressing forward as school communities wrestle with increased COVID-19 counts.
Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending the meeting of the Student Advisory Council and work he’s done as a substitute in CSD schools. He noted how quickly employees volunteer to cover for their ill colleagues. He thanked parents for their understanding and as school schedules changed and schools responded to COVID-19 case counts.
Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on attending CSD school events, the Utah School Boards Association Conference and the Arts Consortium meeting. She recognized the “quiet heroes” who are working behind the scenes to make lives better for students and teachers.
Mrs. Amber Shill attended Canyons’ Legislative Luncheon and the Student Advisory Council meeting. She thanked fellow Board members for attending the USBA conference and CSD parents, employees and students for working hard in the midst of a challenging COVID-19 situation.
Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the USBA conference, noted the Canyons Board’s achievement of the Master Board designation, and congratulated Midvale Middle Principal Mindy Robison for being named the Utah Middle School Principal of the Year.
President Nancy Tingey reported on attending the Economic Outlook Summit and expressed appreciation for her fellow Board members and CSD educators and Education Support Professionals.