Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.
The Board of Education approved the appointment of Tom Sherwood as Director of Canyons District High Schools. Information about the Administration’s plans for the post now held by Sherwood, currently principal of Brighton High, will be made available in the coming days. Sherwood, a former science teacher, previously served as principal and assistant principal at Jordan High and in leadership capacities in the Utah High School Activities Association. This will help him in the new role, which also calls for him to serve as the District’s Athletic Director. In addition, the Board of Education approved the appointment of Michelle Snarr as a new Assistant Principal of Copperview Elementary. The appointment will be for the remainder of the 2022-2023 to provide additional support for Copperview as the school enters Comprehensive Support and Improvement status.
Canyons Strong Employee Recognitions
The Board of Education launched a “Canyons Strong” employee recognition program to laud big and small efforts of employees. Every other Board meeting will be reserve to exclusively honor employees. Those recognized were nominated by their supervisors and peers. They include:
- Gayle Christensen, Canyons buyer, 2023 Outstanding Public Buyer of the Year.
- CSD educators Anne Clyde, Jacinda Meranda, Bethany Smith for re-newing status as National Board Certified Teachers.
- All 40 school social workers in CSD schools for School Social Work Week.
- Sprucewood library technician Sara Lee for organizing a “book tasting” in the library to help students find the genre they like the most.
- Brookwood’s Joan Kidd for collecting the school’s soda cans for recycling.
- Willow Springs Assistant Facility Manager Richard Moore for the way he greets students with “virtual football kicks.”
- Willow Springs Accommodated Core Class teachers Megan Hunt and Jen Archuleta for giving first aid to a peer who suffered a seizure in the classroom.
- Bus drivers Bill Shober and Chase Vasquez for volunteering to drive DECA students to their state competition in the midst of a major snow storm.
External Relations Director Charlie Evans and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards gave a presentation on the outcome of the 2023 General Session of the Utah Legislature. Although Utah lawmakers approved the “Utah Fits All Scholarship,” which allows residents to use taxpayer money to pay for private-school tuition, there were some positive outcomes for Utah public schools districts. In all, Edwards said, legislators introduced 933 total bills Some 575 bills, including the voucher-program bill that also gave each Utah teacher a $4,200 salary increase, were eventually approved during the session, and 211 bills impact the operations of Canyons School District. However, Utah public schools were provided a 6 percent increase to the Weighted Pupil Unit, the funding mechanism used by the state for every public-school student. Also passed were bills that fund all-day kindergarten across the state and SJR10, which proposes to loosen restrictions on how lawmakers spend income tax. Currently, the state constitution outlines that income tax revenue can only be used to fund public and higher education, along with a few other services. Edwards said legislators allocated $75 million for school safety. Information also was provided about HB465, “Public School Library Transparency Amendments,” and HB427, “Individual Freedom in Public Education,” among other bills.
Full-Day Kindergarten for Special Education
Special Education Director Nate Edvalson presented plans to increase full-day kindergarten offerings for students in Accommodated Core Classes based on their instructional needs. Edvalson said the plan to provide additional full-day ACC kindergarten would require shifting some classes from their current locations to other schools for staffing and space reasons. He noted his department aims to keep the majority of Accommodated Core Class students in a school that is close to their homes and reduce the school-to-school transitions as they advance through the grades and programs. Furthermore, based on numbers and needs, also proposed is to dissolve an ACC at Indian Hills Middle and create a new one at Butler Middle After this change, Edvalson said, an even larger percentage of ACC students will be participating at their boundary or a closer-to-home school.
The Class of 2023 at CSD’s five traditional and comprehensive high schools will receive their diplomas at commencement exercises on May 25. Alta and Corner Canyon will hold rites at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Center. Brighton, Hillcrest and Jordan will hold their ceremonies at the Maverik Center. Diamond Ridge, Canyons’ alternative high school, will hold its rites at Mount Jordan Middle on May 24. Entrada, CSD’s adult high school, will celebrate its graduates on June 22. Jordan Valley and Canyons Transition Academy will hold their completion ceremonies at the District Office on May 19 and May 24, respectively. Members of the Board of Education and Administration were given speaking assignments, as well.
The following patrons addressed the Board during Patron Comment. Recordings of their remarks can be accessed on BoardDocs.
- Megan Jay
- Anna McNamer
- Bridget Rees
- Natalie Metcalf
- Juliet Bryant
- Andy Markus
- Michael Wilde
- Melissa Wilde
- Lisa Niederhauser
- Courney Vamianakis
Minor updates to the policy governing the development of the school-year calendar are proposed for consideration by the Canyons Board of Education.
The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including approval of minutes from the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 21, 2023; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student-overnight travel requests; administrative appointments; and School Community Council updates.
Land Trust and TSSP Reports
School Performance Director Alice Peck told the Board of Education that, for LAND Trust plans completed last May, six CSD schools carried over more than 10 percent of the funds. Peck said 14 CSD schools carried over more than 10 percent of funds provided for the Teacher Student Success Plans. Most Canyons schools met goals established in their plans — but not all of them, she said. Each final report will be made public on the school’s website.
Sunrise Elementary Principal Dr. Angela Wilkinson says that every student at the school — which in 2021 was ranked as Utah’s No. 1 elementary by U.S. News and World Report — is encouraged to be a problem-solver. Sunrise Elementary, she said, is home to CSD’s magnet program for advanced learners, called SALTA, or Supporting Advanced Learners Toward Achievement. Of the 608 students at the school, one-fourth are SALTA students. Wilkinson also noted the high rate of parent involvement at Sunrise, which has built a reputation as a friendly and welcoming school for visitors. Some 2,398 volunteer hours have been given at the school so far this year.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented an update on the work of the subcommittee working on tasks related to the “Operations” focus of the Strategic Plan. This includes the start of a length-of-service pin program for employees, marketing messages on buses employee recruitment and retention efforts, and a survey to gauge public input on flip-flopping start and end times of high schools and elementary schools so that high schools start later in the day. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle also presented the five core competencies of CSD’s “Portrait of a Scholar,” which was approved by the Board of Education as part of the work being done in the “High-Quality Learning” focus of the plan.
District Case Management Team
Four additional full-time equivalent employees are being requested to fully staff the continuum of services for students who need a restricted placement because of Safe School Act violations or other behavioral issues. This would be for the District Case Management Team, led by Federal and State Programs Director Wendy Dau. DCMT problem-solves and finds placement solutions for students who need to remain in learning environments even though they have broken laws or school or rules.
Proposed Fee Schedule
The proposed fee schedule for CSD schools was released for public comment on March 1. Input is now being collected by the Canyons Administration. Final action is being requested at the March 21 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education. For the coming year, the high school aggregate of fees is proposed to remain at $5,000 and the middle school aggregate would remain at $500. No CSD students has been assessed fees in excess of those amounts in FY23.
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins expressed his appreciation for CSD’s Education Support Professionals, especially during the winter months.
Business Administrators Leon Wilcox clarified that about $1 million is proposed to update libraries in elementary schools. This would be through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds.
He also thanked teachers for their work preparing for Parent-Teacher Conferences.
Board Member Reports
Mrs. Karen Pedersen is heartened by the positive messages CSD is receiving about employees, especially the Education Support Professionals. She reported on attending the Unified Special Olympics Team and Bengal varsity-squad hoops scrimmage at Brighton High, and the Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at the Maverik Center. Alta High was awarded the top engineering award, which qualifies them to compete in nationals in Houston in April.
Mrs. Nancy Tingey thanked the Canyons District legislative affairs team for its work during the 2023 General Session of the Utah Legislature. She reported on attending School Community Council meetings and the Unified Special Olympics basketball game at Brighton High, among other events.
Mr. Mont Millerberg remarked on the teachers who braved the wintry roads on Monday to work at schools for the Remote-Learning Day, even when the Administration told them they could work from home if the roads were too dangerous to drive. He also remarked on the proposed ACC plan presented by the Special Education Department, the additional FTE requested for the DCMT-related services, the proposed school-fee schedule, and the other funding challenges the District faces for the needs of schools. He said “it’s amazing” how much CSD schools can do with the amount of funding received from the state. He lauded the work of educators, Education Support Professionals, and administrators in CSD.
Mr. Andrew Edtl thanked those who spoke out in favor of continued library funding. He reported on attending Peer Court and visiting several schools and departments, including the Central Warehouse. He congratulated the winners of Region 17 PTA Reflections and expressed appreciation for parents volunteers. Taking care of employees should be a priority of the District, he said.
Mrs. Holly Neibaur looks forward to additional full-day kindergarten, thanks to legislative funding. She reported on attending the Unified Special Olympics scrimmage at Brighton High, and congratulated the Alta and Corner Canyon high school hoops teams for winning the 5A and 6A trophies. She noted the service project done by the team in advance of the state championships. She also toured CTE programs with CTE Director Janet Goble, and met with District administrators about expanding advanced courses.
President Shill also noted the inspiring Unified Special Olympics’ team scrimmage against the Bengals varsity hoops team. The event was organized by a student at Brighton High, she said. She visited Oakdale, Ridgecrest and Butler elementary schools with Superintendent Robins. She also thanked Mrs. Tingey and Mrs. Oaks for their work representing CSD during the legislative session.