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Getting Involved

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

Smooth Transition to Grade Reconfiguration

Following three years of behind-the-scenes work, Canyons freshmen on Monday made a smooth transition to their first day of school in a high school building, and sixth-graders smoothly began their first academic year in a middle school . Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode reported a smooth transition to both Grade Reconfiguration and districtwide boundary changes during Monday’s first day of school — massive initiatives that required changes for students and teachers. She said that typical first-day glitches and heavy traffic occurred, but noted that many principals said the first day of school was one of the smoothest they’ve experienced. She attributed the transition to three years of careful planning and teamwork.

Grade Reconfiguration was approved by the Board of Education in 2010 to provide students with academic opportunities that will better prepare them for college and careers. Grade Reconfiguration created high schools that would serve students grades 9-12; middle schools that would serve grades 6-8 (instead of grades 7-9); and elementary schools that would serve grades K-5. Implemented on Monday with the dawn of the 2013-2014 school year, Grade Reconfiguration is part of the College- and Career-Ready Academic Plan. The Academic Plan also includes Utah’s first college- and career-ready diplomas and a $250 million bond, approved by voters in 2010 to create 21st century learning facilities.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7D.

Superintendent Search Update

Board Member Kim Horiuchi said the Board has received five responses to the RFP for a superintendent search consultant. She said that a Board committee will examine the responses within the next week and that the committee is on schedule to deliver a recommendation to the full board in September. To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

Student Advisory Council Update

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and Alta High student Katrina Jones updated the Board on the progress of the Board’s Student Advisory Council. The council of 10 consists of two students from each school — one student body officer and one student (a junior or senior), selected in an application process. Each student representative will attend one of the Board’s semi-monthly meetings, and bring information back to the council to discuss and provide input to the Board. The council’s implementation was created following Board approval and meetings of a task force, which included student leaders, Dr. McCarrie, Brighton Principal Charisse Hilton and Hillcrest Principal Sue Malone. Board Member Tracy Cowdell suggested the Board forward to the student council discussion items to ensure the council can give timely, meaningful feedback to the Board.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.

Proposed Fiscal Accountability, Student Safety Reporting Policies Discussed

Policy Coordinator Jeff Christensen presented two proposed policies about student safety reporting requirements and fiscal accountability and management.

The proposed student safety reporting policy follows a 2013 state law, which requires a school to notify a parent of safety threats to his or her student, including a threat of suicide and incident of hazing or bullying. Additionally, the bill requires a local school board to adopt a policy regarding the process for notifying parents of certain incidents or threats; and producing a record that verifies that parent was notified of certain incidents or threats. The draft policy, which also contains record-keeping proposals, comes from a district committee that has been studying the new law’s requirements and current policy.

Board Vice President Steve Wrigley asked about parent notification procedures for students who are over the age of 18 and other clarifying questions. Christensen said he would bring additional information to the Board for further discussion. For more information please visit BoardDocs http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public and click Agenda Item 7B.

The proposed fiscal accountability and management policy follows a State Board of Education administrative rule, adopted in February 2013, which requires school districts to adopt and implement new policies governing fiscal practices and accountability for funds raised by high schools, athletic teams and booster clubs. Policies must include a district finance committee to develop internal controls, review financial statements at the district and school level, and coordinate with external auditors. Additionally, the policy must govern cash handling, expenditure of public funds, fund-raising procedures at the district and school level, and donations and gifts.

Christensen said he received feedback from the School Performance Office in drafting the policy. Cowdell asked him also to seek feedback from District auditors and the Canyons School District Education Foundation prior to the Board’s next meeting. Board members asked other questions, including clarification that the policies did not affect the number of allowed fundraisers in schools. Cowdell said he would like to bring the proposed policy to a Board study session to discuss its nuances and effects on booster club protocols and equity.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Items 7B and 7C.

Board Action

The Board approved the tentative agreement with the Canyons Education Support Professionals. The tentative agreement includes policy updates and salary increases, including funding of steps on the salary schedule, a 1 percent across-the-board cost of living adjustment, and an additional 1 percent COLA for Step 6. To view the agreement, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7A.

The Board in Closed Session heard a student appeal. The Board has denied the appeal.

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Aug. 6 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Home School Affidavit; and July Financial Reports. The Board also approved Student Overnight Travel for the Alta FCCLA, Brighton Drill Team, Corner Canyon CTE, and Jordan Boys and Girls Cross Country. For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.

The Board received a report from Communications officers about events surrounding the Aug. 19 first day of school, including ribbon-cutting events at the new Corner Canyon HighDraper Park Middle and Butler Middlered carpet events; the Back-To-School Call Center, which has taken more than 2,700 calls since Aug. 5; and volunteers. To view or listen to the presentation, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7E.

Patron Comments

Gary Martensen, President of the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association, said he was pleased to have come to a tentative agreement with the Board. He said a CESPA ratification meeting is set for Thursday, and said he believes employees will like the tentative agreement. He also announced that he will no longer be president of the employee association, which he has led for nine years in both the Jordan and Canyons school districts. He said a new president will be elected by the group. He thanked the Board and said he enjoyed working with them.

Cowdell said Martensen was a great asset in efforts to create the new District. He said that Martensen was among Canyons’ first employees to be hired, which attracted many other employees to the District. He commended Martensen’s service during times of uncertainty, and the relationship he’s cultivated with him over the years. He said he enjoyed working with Martensen, and thanked him for all of his hard work.

President Sherril Taylor agreed with Cowdell’s remarks.

Horiuchi also thanked Martensen, and acknowledged the fine line he had to walk at times as a leader of the employee association. She said he was an outstanding employee representative and a true leader, and that she will miss working with him in that capacity.

Patron Steve Van Maren offered a point of order on the Board voting to accept the agenda. He asked about policy items 7B and 7C on the agenda, and asked if the proposed policies were up for final approval or first reading. 
President Taylor noted the proposals would be presented tonight on first reading.

Leroy Zitting, who lives near Brighton High, asked the Board to consider allowing him to purchase a 25-foot square parcel of District-owned land adjacent to his property. He noted that the parcel is on the corner of his property on the edge of a hill.

To listen to the comments, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 5.

Board Reports

Horiuchi enjoyed the community excitement she witnessed at the ribbon-cutting celebration at Butler Middle School, which she said never would have been rebuilt without the creation of Canyons School District. She thanked the city of Cottonwood Heights for its support of the District and financial support of the auditorium to ensure a great facility for the school and larger community to use. She attended a Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting this past week, where she updated city leaders about shared interests. She said city leaders were pleased to hear of the Back-to-School Call Center and would forward to the center inquiries regarding schools. She said they also enjoyed hearing about Brighton student leaders visiting incoming freshmen and sophomores at home, and especially the story about the cheerleader who was able to communicate in sign language with a student who was deaf. She said the City Council was impressed by the story and the caliber of students in Canyons schools. She praised a choir performance of Brighton, Alta and Hillcrest students at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, where 250 singers from 10 schools performed under the direction of the Salt Lake Chorale Artists Director Dr. Brady Allred. She looks forward to the grand opening of the Bengal Building on Friday. She will attend the Utah High School Activities Association meeting on Thursday, and invited board members to forward concerns to her to bring to the Board of Trustees.

Tingey said said her son was one of the new Brighton students visited at home by the student officers, and said the visits make a difference to new students. She attended the ribbon-cutting events, which she said were spectacular and inspiring, and seemed to send the message to students in a variety of ways that the community believes in them and that they can achieve. She said the message echoed in every classroom as school began this week, that we believe in our students, we believe that they can achieve, and we will be there to help them.

Wrigley thanked the PTAs and PTSAs districtwide for their help with the start of school. He attended all three ribbon-cutting events and said the enthusiasm at the events was high. After the Butler ribbon cutting, he was impressed with the excitement of the new and veteran teachers, and said he could feel their energy. He attended the Eastmont Middle School orientations, and said that providing the extra days to sixth- and seventh-grade teachers to host the events was a great idea, and great help to parents and students. He attended the Alta View, Edgemont and Bell View red carpet events, and assisted with crowds at Alta View. He attended sophomore orientation at Corner Canyon, and commented on the high energy among staff and students.

Tracy Cowdell said watching plans made by the Board come to fruition in the past week has been a real payday for him. He noted the plans for new buildings were challenging to create, and followed an extensive capital facilities analysis and voter-approved bond. He said to see the plans implemented seamlessly was a rewarding team effort, and that there are more big things to come, including Mount Jordan and Midvale middle school reconstruction plans and upgrades for Indian Hills Middle School. He said implementing such plans requires great fortitude, planning and foresight, requires a strong team effort, and thanked Dr. Rhode and her team and former Superintendent David Doty for their leadership. He said he hopes the Board continues to be visionary and push for excellence.

Chad Iverson thanked the Administration and staff’s work in the new schools’ opening and grade reconfiguration implementation, which he said was amazing considering so few glitches in the transition, and communicating the changes and implementing the Back-to-School Call Center. He noted that with Corner Canyon High and Draper Park Middle School, 80 percent of Draper students are able to attend schools in the city of Draper, which he said was great for the community of Draper. He said he was impressed to see the Draper community come together for the two schools’ ribbon-cutting ceremonies. He said we’re gaining traction with the new Board and he’d like to see that continue.

Sherril Taylor said he attended all three ribbon cuttings. He said that the excitement expressed by students reminded him of his career in education, and noted that he told the schools’ administrations to cherish their time working with students each day, which was the highlight of his life. He thanked the Administration for its work. He thanked teachers for their preparations every day to educate students, which he said requires a great team like the one we have in Canyons. He thanked all employees who help students in schools, from lunch workers to bus drivers to custodial staff. He said it’s great to be able to serve on the Board, and that the Board must never lose sight of fact that it is serving on behalf of the students, so that they can become college- and career-ready.

To listen to the comments, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 9.

Closed Session

The Board met in closed session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining and the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.

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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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