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Getting Involved

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Board Reiterates ‘Full and Unequivocal Support’ of Superintendent Doty

The Board of Education issued a statement reiterating its “full and unequivocal support of Superintendent David Doty.” The statement, read by Board Member Paul McCarty, continues:

“The Canyons Board of Education would like to reiterate its full and unequivocal support of Superintendent David Doty. We are his direct supervisors, and for four years have worked closely with him as he has led our District. We believed he was the right person to lead this District when we hired him four years ago. And we are even more convinced now that he is the right person to lead Canyons School District.

“Furthermore, we find the recent KSL-TV news story about him to be completely baseless and the product of shoddy, unethical and intentionally biased journalism. Additionally, the District has on three separate occasions provided KSL-TV with written statements outlining our position on the issues they claim to be covering. In each case they have ignored our statements. Unfortunately, we have become familiar with treatment from KSL-TV. Last year, they aired a story on the Canyons School District K-3 testing program, which was also biased and filled with errors. Even though KSL-TV has been made aware of the factual inaccuracies in their story, more than a year later they continue to promote the story on their Web site.

“It now appears that certain members of our community would like to use this malicious reporting to further their own political agenda. KSL-TV is poised and ready to assist them to that end. It is disappointing that an institution such as KSL-TV, which enjoys a prominent position in our community, cannot be more careful, ethical and objective in their reporting.

“With regard to the employee transfers that have come into question, the Board obviously cannot and will not comment in public about personnel matters. However, we would like to state on the record that we were briefed on the transfers and the reasons for them before they were made. We unanimously supported them. After the transfers were made approximately eight months ago, about the same time KSL-TV conducted the interviews, we became aware of these allegations. As a Board, we re-examined the transfers and the way they were handled and found that they were correctly and appropriately handled.

“For the last three years, each year we have been in operation, we have had budget cuts totaling more than $10 million. Our No. 1 priority for dealing with these budget shortfalls has been to make sure that they have the least possible impact on the classroom. At the same time we are trying to prepare our students for the increasingly competitive demands of a global marketplace. For these and other reasons we have been forced to make sure all of our resources are maximized. Part of this process has been to reduce Central Office costs, and required administrative transfers. We are glad that we have been able to adapt to the significant challenges without layoffs of any kind.

“By comparison, KSL-TV’s news media partner recently decided to shift its organization to a ‘more competitive model’ and in doing so laid off over half its work force. We wonder if their employees, rather than being laid-off, would have appreciated the opportunity to transfer to a different position where they could still make important and valuable contributions. While they were not given that choice, Canyons District has gone to great lengths to protect employees from this kind of treatment.

“The Canyons School District is home to the best students, teachers and administrators to be found anywhere. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to our teachers and administrators for joining with us in making sure our students receive the best possible education and are college- and career-ready when leaving our schools. You have our heartfelt admiration and appreciation. Thank you.”

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, including the March 27 minutes; purchasing bids; March financial reports; Board hire and termination reports; home school affidavit; Hillcrest and Brighton upgrades for grade reconfiguration; and student overnight travel for Alta Drill; Brighton Cheer, Dance, Drama and Drill; CTE FCCLA, HOSA, TSA and Skills USA; Hillcrest Drill and Girls Soccer; I-SWEEP Finalists; and Intel ISEF Finalists.

The Board postponed a decision on the proposed Employee Insurance Benefit Package (click Agenda Item 8A) to further study the matter.

Board Honors Outstanding Employees, Students

The Board recognized the following employee and student achievements:

Camille Cole, UCET Outstanding Young Educator

Brighton Basketball Coach Jeff Gardner, 5A Coach of the Year

Matt Watts, Mount Jordan Middle School Assistant Principal, Utah PTA’s Outstanding Administrator of the Year

Alta teacher Cheryl Hughes, Utah PTA Golden Apple Award Winner

Ulises Fernandez, Midvale Middle School PTSA President, Recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Voluntarism

Anthony Cheng, three-time Utah National Geographic Bee Champion

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theater’s High School Musical Theater Award winners:
Hillcrest High, “Aida,” Best Musical
Malia Morley, Hillcrest, Best Actress
Peter Lambert, Alta, Best Actor
Brock Damjanovich, Alta, Best Supporting Actor

Salt Lake Valley Regional Science and Engineering Fair honorees:
Andrea Evans, Hillcrest, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Grand Champion
Brandon Cui and Bovey Rao, Midvale Middle, invited to compete at the 2012 International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project (I-SWEEEP) Olympiad
Samuel Hollinger, Midvale Middle, Broadcom MASTERS Grand Award
Jared Beck, Silver Mesa Elementary, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Honoree
Hollan Schweitz, Ridgecrest Elementary, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Honoree

Sterling Scholars:
Sean Whalen, Brighton, Computer Technology
Sam Olesen, Jordan, Visual Arts
Megan Dolle, Hillcrest, Douglas F. Bates Community Service Award
Ryan Baker, Hillcrest Philo T. Farnsworth/Governor’s Award

Patron Comments
Twenty patrons addressed the Board about a petition, school reforms, District leadership, the proposed elementary school schedule, and the Region 17 PTA Cultural Celebration. Click here to watch a video of the comments, or access mp3s (click Agenda Item 6B).

Board Reports

Kevin Cromar welcomed Scheels retailer to the community, and noted it is hiring for 425 new positions. He also noted a Salt Lake Tribune article mentioning Brighton soccer star Matthew Coffey and other friends and neighbors of his, and praised Brighton’s win over Jordan. He said the District is home to many fine athletes.

Dr. McCarty praised the Region 17 PTA’s Cultural Celebration as a beautiful festival of culture and diversity. He especially enjoyed the inclusion of the Civil Rights photo exhibit, which has been on display at The Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City. He said diversity is the one thing we all have in common, and we need to celebrate it every day. He encouraged the PTA to continue their excellent efforts in this regard.

Vice President Sherril Taylor asked to receive an update on Corner Canyon High School’s application with the Utah High School Activities Association.

Mont Millerberg attended the Active Shooter School Safety Drill assembly at Hillcrest High School, and said students were enthralled with a presentation by Tami Diaz, who survived the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. He said feedback from students has been positive. He also thanked teachers and community members who contacted him regarding the proposed elementary school schedule, and appreciated delaying the vote to allow for additional consideration. He also noted the construction progress of the new Midvale Elementary School.

Steve Wrigley attended Parents Day at Eastmont Middle School. He said he is impressed with teachers and programs there, and is seeing kids learn what he and other adults learned in high school. He also noted people should feel free to meet with Board Members on concerns and issues.

President Tracy Cowdell said the job of Board Members, administrators, teachers and other school employees is becoming increasingly difficult due to budget cuts, competition, and animosity. He said some viewed the new district as a way to answer concerns, but the perimeters for operations, such as state laws, have not changed. He said that while transparency and communication has increased in the new district, ironically, so has criticism and scrutiny. But, he said, innovators often are scrutinized. Canyons is committed to working to become better, and is working to make decisions to improve education based on science and data. Education reform is scary for a lot of people, who may misinterpret the changes to mean Canyons is not listening, when the opposite is true. He said Canyons must move forward and modernize; a failure to do so would be irresponsible. He said he would remain loyal to the District and superintendent, particularly during times of strife.

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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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