Naomi Damron Named Canyons Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to Quail Hollow Elementary teacher Naomi Damron, named the 2011 Canyons School District Teacher of the Year. Ms. Damron is being honored for her individualized instruction and high expectations for students and for inspiring children for 30 years. Ms. Damron will be nominated for State Teacher of the Year honors, which is part of the National Teacher of the Year program. The Board also recognized 44 Teachers of the Year named at each Canyons school. Teacher of the Year prizes are sponsored by the South Jordan Sam’s, LaCaille, Real Salt Lake, Wasatch Baskets, and the Firehouse Car Wash.
New Alta, Jordan Valley Principals Announced
Fidel Montero, Assistant Principal of Timpview High School since 2006, has been named the new principal of Alta High School. He replaces Mont Widerberg, who retired in March 2011. Veteran principal and educator Raymond Jenson has been leading Alta in the interim.
Mark Donnelly, Canyons Coordinator of Speech, Language and Hearing Services since 2009, will be the new principal of Jordan Valley School next school year. He replaces Mark Riding, who is retiring.
Both appointments are effective July 1.
Boundary Committee Submits Recommendations
The Boundary Steering Committee submitted revisions for middle and high school boundary options and one preferred option for elementary schools based on community input. The Committee read input submitted by 1,472 patrons using the online input form. The Committee also dialogued with 288 patrons at eight open houses and one meeting to address special education services. Board President Tracy Cowdell said the Board will discuss the recommendations in June.
Ten patrons from neighborhoods in Sandy and Draper spoke to the Boundary proposals. Patrons in the Sandy neighborhood, bordered by 9400 South and 9800 South, and Highland Drive and 2300 East, urged the Board to keep neighborhood students at Granite, Albion and Brighton. They presented a petition with 55 signatures. Draper residents living west of I-15 want to be included in boundaries for the new high school and Crescent View or Indian Hills middle schools, rather than have their children spend an hour on the bus to Mount Jordan Middle and Jordan High School. They said they supported the District’s $250 million bond because it would put a new high school in their community. They presented a study about how long bus rides affect children, and a petition with 60 signatures and said more would be coming.
To hear patron comments, click here and select item 3C.
Budget Information Presented
Chief Financial Officer Keith Bradford presented budget information showing a deficit as high as $11.3 million. The shortfall is largely due to a $3.7 million drop in state funding and the restoration of five furlough days used this year to save $3.5 million. It also accounts for costs of funding steps and lanes ($3.8 million) on the salary schedule and all seven professional development days high and above the state’s average of 1.5 professional development days funded by Utah school districts at a cost of $3.6 million.
Bradford noted there may be a way to address, in the coming year only, the gap between revenues and expenditures under a new law that caps school districts’ abilities to increase local tax levies. Canyons could combine some levies, and decrease the capital levy to remain revenue-neutral, to accomplish two goals: 1) give the Board more headroom under the levies cap in the future; and 2) shift more than $9 million from the capital, or buildings, fund to the general operating fund for the coming fiscal year.
The Board of Education will discuss the budget in the next Board meeting. The new budget year begins July 1.
Silver Mesa Lottery Upheld
After meeting with parents and weighing their concerns, the Board voted to uphold the second lottery determining which students would enter Silver Mesa Elementary’s Dual Immersion program. Board members praised colleague Steve Wrigley for listening to his constituents and exploring alternatives with them.
The Board recognized Brookwood Elementary student Isabella Curatolo, who won National Award of Merit at the National PTA Reflections Contest for her watercolor titled, “Together, we can,” and showed a congratulatory video message from National PTA President Chuck Saylors. Two other Canyons students — Erin Kaseda of Midvale Middle (Literature), and Zoe Woolsey of Oak Hollow Elementary (Photography) — also won state Awards of Excellence to advance to the National PTA Reflections Competition.
The Board also recognized the following students who excelled at the Canyons Art Show: Middle School Award of Excellence: Melissa Paulsen, “Italian Tea Party,” and Noel Hoffman, “A Rural Afternoon,” Crescent View; Paola Ramirez, untitled, Albion; Hannah Peterson, “Mask,” Midvale. Middle School Best in Show: Autumn Bate, “2D,” Butler; and Adriann Allan, “3D,” Crescent View Middle. High School Awards of Excellence: Erin Hunt “Mtalimansa” and “Snow Day,” Alta; and Tri Lam, “Just a Girl,” Hillcrest.
State PTA Reflections Winners Are: Honorable Mention: Photography, Elizabeth Walker, Brookwood Elementary; Theater, Melinda Schwendiman, Willlow Canyon Elementary. Awards of Merit: Dance, Carter Williams, Quail Hollow Elementary; Music Composition, Roxanne Bartee, Albion Middle; Three-Dimensional Art, Michaela Sivertsen, Alta High; Theater, Chandler Carr, Bellview Elementary, Heidi Schwendiman, Eastmont Middle, and Abigail Slama-Catron, Altara Elementary.
One patron addressed the Dual Immersion lottery at Silver Mesa. Eight teachers expressed concerns about removing three of 25 negotiated policies on advisory committees and student discipline from the negotiations process because the Board contends those policies are outside the realm of working conditions. Teachers said they want to preserve their voices and employee morale, and noted they are the ones on the District’s front line. Others asked the Board to not balance the budget by making teachers disproportionately bear potential cuts, and instead urged them to cut unnecessary expenditures.
Board president Tracy Cowdell thanked Canyons Education Association President Tony Romanello for his comments and leadership in the District’s transition, and for maintaining a friendly yet healthy tension with the Board of Education during his tenure.
To hear patron comments, click here and select item 5E.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the April 26 minutes, purchasing bids, summer capital construction/repair projects, Board hires and terminations, April financial reports, CSIP plans, fund balance commitments, Perkins Local Plan, bell schedule amendment, Policy GBAC Criminal Background Checks, establishment of a School Safety Task Force; home school affidavit; and administrative appointments. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta Boys and Girls Soccer, Cheer, Drill, Girls Soccer, and Student Government; Brighton Boys Basketball, Dance Company and Shakespeare Team; and Jordan High Girls Tennis.
Superintendent David Doty reported on his visit to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, and said he is scheduling dates for tolerance training in schools. He traveled to Los Angeles to view the center’s production of Horizon Line, which depicts what causes some students to embrace hateful acts, and visit Hillcrest and Brighton students competing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He praised the District’s working relationship with CEA President Romanello.
President Cowdell thanked Bradford for his budget presentation. He thanked Romanello for his service, advocacy for teachers, and friendship. He thanked teachers for expressing their opinions, and invited them to come more often to Board meeting. He said the Board will discuss the 2013-2014 boundary recommendations in a study session in June, and invited parents to provide feedback to the Board via e-mail.
Kim Horiuchi attended the Recreation Board meeting and likes the idea of bringing a Lego League event, in partnership with the University of Utah, to Canyons. She talked about new legislation requiring all sporting organizations to be trained to recognize and treat concussions. She attended the Cottonwood Heights town meeting about the park at Mountview Elementary, which is nearly torn down, and called the park to replace it a perfect example for a city-District partnership. She enjoyed the opportunity to speak at the Butler Middle School Career Fair.
Kevin Cromar thanked teachers for attending the Board Meeting. He praised the Board’s approval of a School Safety Task Force, and noted the Utah School Boards Association is offering an earthquake emergency preparedness workshop next spring. He asked Board members to start thinking about legislative priorities for next year to present to USBA. He said USBA is gathering school board best practices, and recommends Canyons submit Hillcrest students’ space shuttle experiment to the USBA for its “Telling Your Story” convention theme.
The Board discussed employee volunteer guidelines allowing employees to volunteer at the schools where they work so long as the work is significantly different from employment duties in accordance with labor laws. It discussed meeting June 21 at 5 p.m., holding no Board Meetings in July, and scheduling a daylong Board retreat, tentatively Aug. 2.
The Board met in Closed Session to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; pending or reasonably imminent litigation; collective bargaining; and the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property.