Board Summary , Sept. 6, 2022

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

Life-skills Curriculum

A proposed life-skills curriculum, developed by Canyons District in-house specialists with the aim of building positive school climates, encouraging students to develop positive character traits, and complementing lessons being taught by parents in the home, will be field tested in January. Student Services Director Dr. Brian McGill said it would be a school’s choice to participate in field tests — the feedback from which will influence a fine-tuning of the curriculum. The Board of Education approved a timeline that establishes spring 2023 as when the curriculum would start to be considered as part of the official approval process. According to the plan, a decision on whether a school will participate in the field testing will be made after consulting with the school’s School Community Council and Building Leadership Teams. All the draft lessons would be provided, teachers would review lesson plans prior to instruction, teachers would send the lessons to parents prior to instruction, and parents would be able to request and be provided an opt-out form. Feedback would be collected throughout the process, he said. Board members noted that, absent a Board-approved curriculum, teachers may be using myriad unstructured lessons to address the emergent concerning student behaviors being seen in schools after the uncertainty of the pandemic. McGill said the curriculum will align to developmental targets and be age-appropriate. The lessons, which could be done in 10 minutes or less every day, also would be supported by standards of evidence and free of biases and stereotypes related to sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, among other benchmarks. The lessons also will guide students toward characteristics identified in Utah’s Portrait of a Graduate and line up with Canyons District’s strategic plan. CSD’s proposed lessons emphasize the importance of respectfully resolving conflicts, making responsible decisions, establishing achievable goals, serving the community, and fortifying personal resiliency. As part of the process, the Canyons Administration has formed an Advisory Review Council to conduct internal reviews and the content of the grade-level lessons. Parents from all five CSD high school feeder areas have been asked to be a part of the council.

Opening of Peruvian Park Elementary

The new Peruvian Park Elementary is expected to open by Thanksgiving Recess. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said temporary occupancy may be granted by Monday, Oct. 31. That is when new furniture will be delivered and items moved from the old Crescent View Middle building, 11150 Vista Way, to the new building, constructed at the site of the old Peruvian Park school, 1545 E. 8425 South. The Peruvian Park school community has been housed at the old middle school facility during the new school’s construction. It’s hoped that last-minute work at the new school will advance to the point that teachers will be given access to their rooms after school hours the week of Nov. 7, and on Monday Nov. 14, the students will take a field trip to tour the new school. According to a proposed timeline, which the Board will consider on Sept. 20, this also would be the final day that students attend class in the Crescent View building. At that point, it’s proposed that teachers provide two days of remote learning opportunities for students Nov. 15-16. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Nov. 16, Wilcox said, and school would start officially at the new building on Nov. 17. The Board continues to review the proposal to offer two days of remote learning while the school community moves into the new building.

Districtwide Bus Route Study

Two studies are being proposed to evaluate Canyons’ transportation services. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said the suggested studies, if approved by the Board and then undertaken by the Administration, would take several months to complete and would be done with the aim of optimizing transportation services with multiple runs on each route. Results could be reviewed at the outset of 2023, he said. The reviews, which may cost $50,000, could take into consideration start and end times of elementary and secondary schools, the time needed to accommodate athletic and activities practice and competitions, whether pushing school later in the afternoon would negatively affect high school students with after-school jobs, and family needs for older students to care for younger siblings while parents are at work, among other topics. The Administration will prepare additional information about a possible study for the Board to consider.

Nutrition Services Update

Canyons’ Nutrition Services Department continues to look for 40 employees to be fully staffed in school kitchens and the central office, Director Sebasthian Varas told the Board of Education. A pay increase approved by the Board for cafeteria workers has attracted more applicants to the positions, he said, considering that last year the department was down about 60 workers to provide breakfasts and lunches to students. In addition to the dearth of labor, Varas said, other challenges for his department include shortages of food, paper, and cleaning supplies. During the pandemic, the meals were provided free to all students through a waiver issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The waiver has been lifted, however, and families have been asked to start paying for meals online unless they qualify under socio-economic guidelines for free and reduced-price meals. This year, Varas said, 5.53 percent of CSD students qualify under poverty guidelines for reduced-price meals, and 23.07 percent qualify for free meals. Based on the number of student who qualify for free meals, and whose families receive support through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Copperview, Midvale, East Midvale, Midvalley, and Midvale Middle offer food for free to the entire student body under the Community Eligibility Program. Popular lunch items include orange chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, and a pizza that meets dietary guidelines established by the federal government. Cinnamon rolls, pancakes and breakfast pizza are among the favorite items for breakfast, which is served in all but one CSD school. State law mandates breakfast alternative models for schools with more than 50 percent free and reduced-price eligibility. East Midvale, Midvalley, Copperview, and Sandy elementary schools provide breakfast in the classroom to students, and Midvale Elementary offers second chance breakfast instead of in the classroom per principal’s request. For the summer meal program, in 2021-2022, CSD provided 2,980,463 lunches to children 18 years and younger. Some 782,607 breakfasts were served during that same time period, Varas said. The Nutrition Services Department also provides fresh fruit and vegetables to schools, as well lessons about the importance of good nutrition. Meals in CSD cafeterias remain affordable. Elementary students pay $1 for breakfast and $2 for lunch. Secondary students pay $1.25 for breakfast and $2.25 for lunch.  Adults who eat in CSD school cafeterias pay $3 for breakfast and $5 for lunch.

School Community Council Training Update

Per tradition, Canyons has planned in-depth training for School Community Council members. Six training sessions will be held in September so SCC members are aware of their responsibilities and opportunities to influence the success of schools as the school year begins, Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards said. Morning and evening trainings will be Sept. 7, Sept. 15 and Sept. 27 in the Canyons Center of the central office. All schools in Utah must have an SCC, which is made up of parents, staff, and the principal. SCCs in CSD review school data, identify school needs, establish school goals, and allocate funds toward accomplishing those goals. They play a major role in creating a school’s LAND Trust Plan, Teacher Student Success Plan, a Digital Citizenship Plan, a School Safety Plan, and a Positive Behavior and Attendance Plan. SCC members also advise on an electronic device plan and safe walking routes.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the minutes of the Board meeting on Aug. 17, 2022; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; and a policy governing school unpaid meal charges.

USBA Update

Mr. Mont Millerberg updated the Board on upcoming events and activities of the Utah School Boards Association.

Recognitions

The following were recognized for their achievements:

  • Draper Park science teacher Jennifer Muir, who was chosen to attend a prestigious NASA-affiliated teacher-training program that includes a flight to the stratosphere. She leaves Sept. 12 for the trip to Palmdale, Calif.
  • Canyons School District for being named No. 16 on Forbes’ list of Utah’s best employers

Also noted was the Aug. 25 visit of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox to Alta High and Canyons District’s 14th annual Kindergarten College-Ready Day.

School Highlights

Eastmont Principal Stacy Kurthals said the school served more than 600 hot dogs at its “Hot Dog Hello,” a back-to-school event for families in the community — a fantastic response to the school’s efforts to promote more parent engagement. Another program that’s been started at Eastmont, she said, is the Patriot-Parent Partnership in which parents are provided information on how to help their children make the most out of their middle school experience. Eastmont is an AVID school, embraces arts education, and is home to middle school debate champions.

Patron Comment

The following patrons addressed the Board during Patron Comment. Recordings of their remarks can be accessed on BoardDocs.

  • Stacie Petersen

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports.

Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins clarified that lessons questioned during Patron Comment by a parent are from a Salt Lake Community College concurrent enrollment course.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted the pre-delegate Utah School Board Association meetings to discuss legislative issues facing public education.

Board of Education Member Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg noted the energy and excitement surrounding Kindergarten College-Ready Day and reported on attending back-to-school nights at Midvale-area schools.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold remarked on the importance of giving teachers the tools and leeway to inspire their classrooms.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks noted the USBA pre-delegate meeting and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s historic visit to Alta High.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending Alta View and Willow Canyon elementary Kindergarten College-Ready Day events and Gov. Cox’s visit to Alta High.

Mrs. Holly Neibaur thanked President Tingey for arranging for a substitute for her at the USBA meeting and the CSD team for developing the proposed life-skills curriculum.  She also mentioned discussions she’s had with constituents about property taxes.

Mrs. Amber Shill also thanked Drs. McGill and Roderick-Landward for leading the group developing the life-skills curriculum, and the staff members who provided assistance on the USBA meeting.

President Nancy Tingey thanked Superintendent Robins for hosting luncheons for PTA presidents and SCC members, mentioned last week’s induction ceremony of the 2022-2023 Peer Court, and reminded the community about the six upcoming SCC trainings, plus the Canyoneering Academy at Alta High on Thursday.

 

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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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