Board Summary, Jan. 4, 2022

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

 

Strategic Plan

Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins said a draft of a strategic plan has been sent to the Board of Education for its review and evaluation. The growth-blueprint proposal, which has been in development since fall 2021, will help guide the District in the coming decade and beyond. Robins told the Board of Education that the plan will set the tone and direction of Canyons as it grows. Robins noted the guiding tenets of the District that have been in place since the first days of the District: student achievement, innovation, customer services, community engagement, and fiscal accountability. The vision and mission, he said, also have aided the progression of the District, the first new school district to be created in Utah in nearly a century. The focus on the ensuring the college- and career-readiness of students has resulted in rising graduation rates; top-tier academic, artistic and athletic awards; and the ongoing plan to improve and upgrade schools. Now is an opportune time, Dr. Robins said, to put into place a plan, especially as demographics start to shift and technology improves and advances. Robins also noted that the draft plan takes into account the shifting economic, social, and political landscapes, the re-examination of what it means for our students to be college- and career-ready, and an evaluation of the use of resources to meet needs and create opportunities for students. To create the proposed plan, CSD surveyed the community, held focus groups, met with student leaders, conducted a Superintendent’s Listening Tour, instituted “Popcorn Fridays,” began discussions about providing equitable educational opportunities and maintaining welcoming and inclusive environments, and launched an online public-input portal. The Board of Education, which has the final vote on the plan, scheduled a “strategic plan workshop” for the Feb. 1 Board Meeting.

Policy Updates

The Board of Education approved policies governing curriculum adoption and school library media selection and review.

The newly revised “Curriculum Adoption” policy will be retitled “Instructional Materials.”  The new policy also includes a new Board policy statement and a comprehensive instructional material adoption criteria.  It also includes definitions of the following:

  • Utah Core Standards
    Districtwide Primary Curriculum Materials
    • Print and Digital Resources
    • Course Level Primary Curriculum Materials
    • Supplemental Materials
    • Intervention Materials
    • Teacher-Selected Materials

The District’s school library policy has been revised to update:

  • An additional definition (i.e., District Administrator) was added to clarify procedures.
    Following a School Level Review, if the title remains in the school library, a parent/legal
    guardian may initiate a School-Level Challenge.
    • Following a School-Level Challenge, a de-selected title from a school library will be subject
    to a District Challenge.
    • The Policy Committee reviewed the School-Level Challenge and District-Level Challenge
    Committee membership and determined to maintain the current configuration of
    employees and parent representatives. However, one employee was removed from the District-Level Challenge committee to have an odd number of individuals.
    • Additional changes were made for clarity, consistency and readability. The Board also inserted a statement on age-appropriateness, which mirrors the definition in the curriculum-adoption policy, and a general timeline for a response from a school administrator if a review or challenge of a title is requested.

Curriculum Proposals

The annual public review of proposed new curriculum has started. Per Canyons practice, parents are invited to read and provide input on “Wonders,” “95 Core Program and Multisyllable Routine Cards,” “Chemistry Dimensions,” and “Inspire Physics” — the proposed English language arts programs for elementary grades and chemistry and physics curriculum for high schools. Digital copies can be accessed via links on the CSD website. Hard copies are available at schools or the District Office. Input can be submitted to ISD via an online tool.

Sunlight Works

A senior partner in a group that’s been contracted by Canyons to consult on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts presented information to the Board of Education. Kevin Giddins said Sunlight Works seeks to support both individual school needs and districtwide diversity and inclusion efforts and professional development, while adhering to state board rules. The object, Giddins said, is to create and maintain a culture across CSD that is steeped in psychological safety, equitable opportunities, and a sense of belonging. Canyons has been working since September with Sunlight Works, and Giddins said the firm’s work will dovetail with the requirements of the strategic plan.

Administrative Appointments

The Canyons Board of Education and Administration are pleased to announce the following administrative appointments for the current school year.

  • Steve Bailey, an Assistant Principal at Alta High, will take a position as Assistant Principal at Corner Canyon High. He replaces Ken Rowley, who was recently appointed Principal of Alta High.
  • Succeeding Bailey at Alta High will be Melissa Sirinwho comes to Canyons District by way of Logan City School District where she served as an Assistant Principal at Logan High.

Prior to working in Logan, Sirin worked as the coordinator of a Steps to Success program for at-risk students at Brookline High in Brookline, Mass. She got her start in education as a social studies teacher for 11 years at Miramar High School in Miramar, Fla.  She has a master’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University and a bachelor of science degree from Florida State University. Bailey’s and Sirin’s appointments are both effective Jan. 14, 2022.

Legislative Priorities

Education and equity in funding, safeguarding district autonomy in approving curriculum, school safety, and wellness supports are among CSD’s legislative priorities as lawmakers prepare for the 2022 General Session of the 64th Legislature. External Relations Director Charlie Evans, who leads CSD’s legislative relations, answered questions about the political temperature surrounding the upcoming session, budget discussions, and expected bill proposals. The Utah legislature will meet in general session from Jan. 18 to March 4.

Bond Refunding

The Canyons Board of Education is reviewing a proposal to refund $64.7 million in general-obligation bonds that were issued as part of the $250 million measure approved by voters in 2010. If the Board approves the resolution, the bond-repayment timeframe would be reduced from 10 to seven years, which in turn could save taxpayers up to $9.4 million. The Board will be asked to approve the plan on Jan. 18.  If the plan is approved, bond-rating agencies will then evaluate the measure, and a bond sale would be held in mid-February, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said.

Cell Phone Tower

Atlas Tower has requested to place a 60-foot cell phone tower at Alta View Elementary. The structure would generate $1,000 for Alta View and additional funds for the cell-tower allocation pool. The Board will continue to review the proposal.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes of the meeting of the Board on Dec. 14, 2021; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student-overnight travel requests; an interlocal agreement for School Resource Officers with Sandy City.

School Highlights

Park Lane Elementary Principal Justin Jeffery recounted the team effort to fix leaking pipes at his school as students returned from Winter Recess. Faced with no water or heat or working toilets — or the ability to make lunch — Jeffery said various CSD departments jumped in to help address all of the issues related to the pipe project, from the repairs to meal preparation to communicating with the public. “It demonstrated how we can pull together in crazy times,” he said. Park Lane Elementary is a gem of a school that enjoys strong community support, he said.

Patron Comment

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

Recognitions

The following students and employees were recognize for their achievements:

  • East Midvale Elementary Principal Matt Nelson, one of 27 Major League Soccer “Community MVPs.”
  • East Midvale Elementary second-grade teacher Rachel Teasley, honored by Utah Jazz and Instructure as a “Most Valuable Educator.”
  • Corner Canyon High student-athletes Cody Hagen and Devin Brown, the Deseret News’ 2022 “Mr. Football” and 6A Player of the Year, respectively.
  • Brown and Brighton High student-athlete Lander Barton, who will play on Saturdayin the 22nd annual All-American Bowl, which will be televised live on NBC.
  • Alta High soccer player Mallory Goodfellow, the Deseret News’ 5A girls soccer Humanitarian of the Year.
  • Alta High girls golf coach Gary Schneiter, the Utah Girls Golf Coach of the Year as named by the  National Federation of State High School Associations.

 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Robins noted Salt Lake County Health Department’s new COVID-19 guidance for schools. CSD plans to continue updating its Dashboard so that parents are aware of the case counts in school communities, he said. Canyons District will continue to cover up to five days of leave for employees who are “updated” on their vaccines, which means they have recently received the latest in the recommended series of shots. Robins said the District will continue to dialogue with the health department on pressing issues related to the health and wellness of students.

Wilcox said that, as of the night of the Board meeting, some 25 employees have tested positive with “breakthrough” cases.  Very few of those were fully vaccinated plus had the booster shot, he said.  He noted the upcoming Midvale-area Boundary Study meetings.

Board Member Reports

 Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending Sandy City’s Oath of Office.  He also commented videos of Canyons District teachers and parents that were shown during Sandy’s ceremony.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks thanked Dr. Robins for meeting with employees during his listening tour, thanked students for serving on advisory councils, and reported on attending Oaths of Office ceremonies for Sandy and Draper cities. She expressed appreciation to employees and her fellow Board members for their dedication.

Mrs. Amber Shill attended the Oath of Office for Cottonwood Heights City. She thanked the policy committee for their work on the policies approved today, and lauded CSD’s teacher-librarians.

Mr. Mont Millerberg noted the Midvale-area boundary study and the robust discussion about policy updates.

President Tingey reported on attending Hillcrest and Brighton high school musicals and recognized the newly elected city officials who took oaths of office this week. Tingey also said she is looking forward to attending the conference of the Utah School Boards Association.

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