Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items
Paula Logan is Canyons District’s new Director of Federal and State Programs. Logan succeeds Wendy Dau, who earlier this month was appointed the new Superintendent of the Provo City School District. Currently the Principal at Butler Middle School, Logan, who was appointed by the Board of Education, previously was Principal of Midvale Middle and Assistant Principal of Hillcrest High, two communities in Canyons District that are greatly impacted by socio-economic factors. A former Utah Middle School Principal of the Year, Logan is described by colleagues as detail-oriented, determined, and dedicated. As she starts work in her new post this summer, she plans to emphasize the importance of building bridges for families who may face barriers to accessing education and providing supports to schools so they are functioning at their highest capacity to help all students succeed. Canyons’ Office of Federal and State Programs is responsible for preschool through 12th-grade student support programs funded through the U.S. Department of Education and the Utah State Office of Education.
The following also were appointed to new positions:
- Otis J. “OJ” Gulley is hired as an Alta High Assistant Principal. He’s currently Principal at Evergreen Middle in Oregon.
- Bryan Rudes will become Principal of Butler Middle. He has previously had been announced as the new Principal at Bella Vista Elementary.
- Scott Dwyer is promoted to Assistant Principal at Butler Middle. He has been working as an Adaptive Physical Education Teacher in the Special Education Department.
- Angi Holden is promoted to Principal at Bella Vista Elementary. She has been serving as Assistant Principal at Glacier Hills to Bella Vista Elementary
- Halley Nelson will become Assistant Principal at Glacier Hills. She now is an AP at Butler Middle.
Mastery Connect Update
The Board of Education approved the purchase of Mastery Connect, a web-based common assessment tool designed to help schools quickly know what standards a student knows and doesn’t know. Canyons high schools and middle schools would be offered a chance to join a first-phase rollout of Mastery Connect, said Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward. She noted that teachers, teams, or schools would initially be able to opt into the use of the platform, which also can serve as a repository for teacher-created formative assessments. Dr. Roderick-Landward said the roll-out plan calls for across-the-District benchmarks to be created during the 2023-2024 school year and loaded into the Mastery Connect for districtwide implementation in the 2024-2025 school year.
Declining enrollment, skyrocketing inflation, and flagging enrollment in the expensive Dual Language Immersion programs were identified as major challenges for the tentative 2023-2024 school year budget. Expenditures are expected to reach $370 million, a 4.08 percent increase from the previous budget year, largely because of the 44 percent inflationary upswing in costs for natural gas, diesel fuel, water and sewer, maintenance, and snow removal. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted that 60 percent of General Fund expenditures are related to the instruction of students. An increase in the assessed valuation of Canyons-area homes means the certified tax rate will likely decrease for CSD residents. A legally required budget hearing is scheduled for June 6. The tentative budget is posted on CSD’s website for public review.
Latinos in Action
All five of Canyons’ comprehensive traditional high schools, plus two CSD middle schools, have Latinos in Action Programs, which focus on closing the graduation gap for Latino students and empower Latino youth to honor their culture, engage in service, and develop leadership skills. More than 200 Canyons students are enrolled in the classes, and some 475 hours of service have been completed by LIA students throughout the school year. Service projects included collecting cereal boxes to gift to Title I-school students for the holidays, organizing Hispanic Heritage Month activities, sponsoring multicultural assemblies, and sending food and supply kits to Ukrainian citizens in their wartime crisis. A group of LIA students presented the information to the Board of Education.
Superintendent’s Listening Tour
Employee burnout due to workload was the main concern of employees expressed during the Superintendent Listening Tour in the past six months, according to a computer-facilitated word-frequency analysis of the notes taken during the meetings. The analysis covered the tour stops from November to April at 18 schools and with nine employee groups. Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins said the rise in escalated student behaviors, including dress-code violations and cell phone distractions, and sluggish student-attendance rates also were topics of great concern. In response to all of the feedback, Robins said, the District has changed the elementary calendars, safeguarded teacher prep time, put into place a Board-approved teacher-planning day in March, negotiated pay increases for teachers and Education Support Professionals, expanded maternity-leave benefits, started a field test of CSD-created Thrive Time life-skills education program, streamlined LETRS training, and opened up middle school gyms for employee use. Dr. Robins also sends “Friday Message” to all employees. The open rate for the Superintendent’s recorded message is more than 40 percent, a higher rate than most company newsletters at organizations across the country.
Sandy Elementary Principal Shawn Walker said there’s a tradition of encouraging excellence among students at the Title I school. In fact, Walker said, 70 percent of Sandy Sharks are at benchmark or showing significant progress on recent reading assessments. Walker also noted Sandy’s strong parent and community support as indicated by the thousands that attended Monday’s year-end carnival, which is planned by the School Community Council.
The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the May 9, 2023 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; April financial reports; administrative appointments; and a TSSP amendment for Oak Hollow Elementary.
Student Services Director Dr. Brian McGill provided an update on initiatives in the “Human Centered Support” focus area of the Strategic Plan. McGill discussed progress made on the CSD-created Thrive Time life-skills education curriculum, student wellness and civility programs, employee health and wellness efforts, and behavioral-support improvements.
The Board of Education is reviewing proposed updates to policies governing Board governance; reporting student safety and School Resource Officer agreements; student conduct and disciplinary process; student attendance; graduation attire modifications; and instructional materials.
The following patrons addressed the Board during Patron Comment. Recordings of their remarks can be accessed on BoardDocs.
- Rebecca Rees
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted the annual Lagoon Day for middle school eighth-grade students. The Tuesday, May 23 activity was a big lift for the Transportation Department. He thanked the Latinos in Action students for presenting to the Board and congratulated the Class of 2023 for their achievements.
Board of Education Member Reports
Mrs. Karen Pedersen thanked the Communications Department for providing information to the Board. She reported on attending Hillcrest’s IB graduation ceremony.
Mrs. Nancy Tingey reported on attending Brighton High’s Senior Awards Night. She acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Bob Dowdle, Canyons’ Assistant Superintendent, who is retiring at the end of the school year. The meeting was Dr. Dowdle’s last as a CSD administrator.
Mr. Mont Millerberg thanked Dr. Dowdle for his 15 years of service to Canyons District. He reported on attending several year-end activities, including the LIA banquet, Utah High School Musical Theater Awards, Midvale Middle’s Portrait of a Scholar Night, and Hillcrest’s IB graduation, among others.
Mrs. Amanda Oaks noted a Sandy arts event that featured CSD students and reported on attending the ceremony announcing the Alta High “Doodle for Google” statewide winner. She also attended the Jordan Valley School completion ceremony.
Mr. Andrew Edtl visited Canyons schools with boundaries that overlap his area and reported on riding a route on a CSD bus. He is looking forward to the coming school year and visiting more employees and students.
Ms. Holly Neibaur thanked Dr. Dowdle for his service and congratulated the Charger boys tennis and track teams for winning the state 6A championship trophies. She attended the Hope of America program at Willow Springs Elementary.
President Shill thanked Dr. Dowdle for his service and contributions to Canyons District since its founding years and reported on attending several year-end activities, including Butler Elementary’s World Night.