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Getting Involved





Getting Involved

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013

Update: Superintendent Search

The Superintendent Search consultants are examining input gathered to date from School Community Councils, constituency groups, and 130 online responses regarding the characteristics they’d like to see in the new superintendent, reported Board Member Kim Horiuchi. The information will be compiled for review and discussion in the Board’s Dec. 17 study session. Board Member Tracy Scott Cowdell noted the public input meetings have resulted in good feedback for the Board to consider, and perhaps should be repeated as a way to gather general input from communities on a regular basis.

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

School Calendars Approved

The Board approved school calendars for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years, and gave tentative approval to the 2016-2017 school calendar as recommended by the District Calendar Committee. The Board did so by suspending policy requiring tentative approval only of future calendars. The Board also directed the Committee to return with a recommendation for proposed language to modify the policy to allow for long-range planning.
In response to public input, the District Calendar Committee, made up of parents, teachers, District Office representatives, school administrators and Education Support Professionals, had recommended school calendars with consistent start dates and Spring Break times to optimize instructional time and planning for families. The calendars include starting school on the third Wednesday in August, except in years in which there are five Wednesdays in August. In that case, school would start on the fourth Wednesday. The school year generally ends the week of Memorial Day, parent teacher conferences fall during consistent windows of time, Spring Break comes in the first full week of April, and no districtwide activities are scheduled on Election Days.
To view the proposals or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8A.

Audited Financial Report Presented

Interim CFO Leon Wilcox reviewed the recently audited 2012-2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report with the Board. Auditors Squire & Co. gave the District finances an excellent review, Horiuchi noted. Spending is 3.5 percent under budget. While assessed valuation has dropped over the past four years of recession from $16.8 billion to $15.6 billion, the assessed valuation this year is expected to start bouncing back, Wilcox said. State law requires that school districts publish within five months of the close of each fiscal year financial statements that have been audited by an outside firm.

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

Joint Educator Evaluation Committee Timeline Proposed

The Board amended the Study Session agenda to table discussion on the secondary Health Curriculum, and allow a presentation on the Joint Educator Evaluation Committee (JEEC) by Dr. Hollie Pettersson, Director of Evidence-Based Learning in Secondary Schools. The JEEC has met three times this fall in efforts to create a teacher evaluation tool that can objectively measure what is happening in the classroom and focus on growth and progress while staying within standards and requirements set by law. JEEC membership includes of four parents, four administrators, and four teachers. Dr. Pettersson presented the Board with a proposed JEEC timeline, which includes pilots of individual evaluation pieces beginning in 2015, and full implementation in 2017, as required by law. The Board will take up the matter again in January.

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

Teachers Surprised with Innovation Grants

Thirteen teachers received Innovation Grants from the Canyons Education Foundation. Grant awards totaled nearly $90,000 – the Foundation received $345,000 in grant requests – and were funded by community donations. The grants were awarded by a Foundation “prize patrol” in surprise announcements this week. Cowdell praised the efforts of the Foundation Board, whose volunteer membership includes community members, mayors and company CEOs, and thanked them for their sacrifice and their efforts to improve education. Horiuchi also expressed her appreciation for the fundraising efforts and to Foundation social media efforts.

To listen to the presentation, please visit BoardDocs BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8B.

High School Curriculum Materials Proposed

The Board received information about a request for materials aligned with new college- and career-readiness standards of rigor, based on supports identified by teachers and materials vetted by teacher committees. For details, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2D.

Students, Employees Recognized for Excellence

The following students and employees were recognized for their outstanding achievements:

  • Corner Canyon Theater, First Place Ensemble, Second Place Sweepstakes, 37th annual Shakespeare Competition, Oxford Division
  • Hillcrest Theater, First Place Ensemble, Second Place Sweepstakes, Second Place Duo/Trio Dance, 37th annual Shakespeare Competition, Buckingham Division
  • Nadia Gomes, Brighton High, Deseret News 5A Girls Soccer MVP
  • Elisabeth “Bizzy” Phillips, Alta High, Deseret News Ms. Soccer 2013
  • Michelle Simmons, Hillcrest High, Perfect ACT Score
  • David Shirley, Canyons Counselor on Special Assignment, Human Rights Award, Utah School Counselor Association
  • Phaidra Atkinson, Corner Canyon High, 2013 Theater Teacher of the Year, Utah High School Activities Association

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, including Nov. 19 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Board Hire and Termination Reports; Home School Affidavit; MOU with Alpine School District; Interlocal Agreement with the University of Utah and Midvale CBC; Ratification of the Interlocal Agreement with Sandy, which Cowdell noted ensures the campus auditorium is used for education first.The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta Boys Tennis; Brighton Model UN; and Jordan Boys Basketball, Cheerleading, and Dance Company. For details, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7.

The Board tabled the middle school Health Curriculum discussion scheduled for study session, and amended the agenda to discuss the JEEC in study session.

Patron Comments

Betty Shaw, Region 17 PTA director, thanked the Board on behalf of Canyons schoolchildren for placing carbon monoxide detectors in all schools in response to the Montezuma Creek gas leak and illnesses experienced there. She said she has bragged to the Utah PTA, which is urging districts to install the detectors, for Canyons’ foresight. She also thanked the Board for employee bonuses, and expressed gratitude for her associations with the PTA and Canyons Board.
Interim Superintendent Report
Dr. Ginger Rhode noted the District has reviewed protocols for snowstorms and is ready for the winter season. She said the District Administration will ensure roads are safe each morning and will declare any potential snow days or late starts by 5 a.m. on affected days.
Interim CFO Report
Leon Wilcox thanked Horiuchi and Board Member Chad Iverson for attending the financial audit meeting at 5 p.m. on a Friday. He said final touches on building projects at Midvale and the Bengal Building are complete, and that projects came in $800,000 under budget. He said facilities is clearing some general punch-list items at Corner Canyon High, Butler and Draper Park middle schools, which should be completed by school year’s end. He also noted that Corner Canyon construction and design won the Publisher’s Pick award for from the Utah Construction & Design Magazine.

Board Reports

Robert Green said that while Board members have different views, he praised the complimentary ideas they bring to discussions. He also asked to have UVU Prep come to study session to talk about their program. He also congratulated teachers in the Midvale area who received Foundation Innovation Grants. He also inquired as to teacher professional development requirements. 

Horiuchi attended the Bingham v. Brighton championship football game, congratulated the Bengals on a great season and wished them well next year. She saw a performance of “The Wiz” at Hillcrest High, and said the size and quality of the production was outstanding. She attended the Utah High School Activities Association meeting and mentioned Cowdell’s ideas that they weigh factors other than enrollment in determining competitive classifications. She said she was pleasantly surprised that others in attendance and a realignment survey of superintendents and athletic directors indicated favor of other ideas as well. She read a letter that UHSAA Executive Director Rob Cuff sent to Brighton Girls Soccer Coach Matt Stoker, congratulating him on his exceptional team and 5A State Championship. She also noted the Jordan Beetdiggers were in the magazine High School Today, which wrote about the school’s unique moniker.

Second Vice President Nancy Tingey also attended “The Wiz” at Hillcrest, and plans to see “Peter Pan” next week at Alta. She believes the performances offer a great experience for audiences to witness outstanding staging, talent, and energy of the students and their great work, as well as great opportunities for students to shine. She also attended the Brighton v. Bingham championship game with Horiuchi and Green, and congratulated the Bengals on their play in the state finals. She noted the Utah School Boards Association conference is scheduled Jan. 9-11.

Vice President Steve Wrigley attended “Seussical” at Corner Canyon, and appreciated the new building’s sound system, lighting, and stage, which he said is great for students and the community. He also saw “The Wiz” at Hillcrest, and noted his niece played Dorothy, and said the production was of professional quality. He also saw “Oklahoma!” at Brighton and is looking forward to Alta’s and Jordan’s musicals. He thanked the schools’ arts departments for their great work.

Cowdell said he loves history, and is reading “The First 100 Years: A history of the Jordan School District.” He read that a teacher’s contract 100 years ago required educators to prove they do not have tuberculosis, that they live in the district, and that females cannot marry during their tenure. He noted the bus tragedy in South Jordan 75 years ago Dec. 1, in which the bus was hit by a train during whiteout conditions. The crash killed 23 students and wounded 18 others, all of whom attended Jordan High. His grandmother was a student at Jordan at the time, and said she has reflected on how sobering the accident was. He also read the Deseret News reporter’s account of the tragedy and hysteria of the scene. He noted it remains the worst school bus crash in U.S. history, and that bus safety protocols came from it. He also noted the City of South Jordan erected a monument to the victims of the crash, and asked that Jordan’s plaque dedicated to the crash victims be placed in a prominent location in the school. He thanked bus drivers for their work to ensure students are safely transported to schools each day.

Chad Iverson thanked Tracy for bringing the bus tragedy and history to the Board’s attention. He thanked bus drivers for ensuring students safely arrive at schools. He also thanked Wilcox and Horiuchi for staying late on a Friday to discuss finances.

President Sherrill Taylor read a card from the staff of Mount Jordan, in which they thanked the Board for the bonuses they’d received in the November paychecks. He urged all in attendance to drive home safely.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purposes of discussing 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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