Superintendent Search: Public Input Report Coming In December
The public input process in the search for the new superintendent is well underway, Superintendent Search Consultant Rickie McCandless told the Board. The consultants are taking input from School Community Councils, PTAs, business leaders, employee groups, elected officials, the Canyons Education Foundation, and the Student Advisory Council. Stakeholder meetings are scheduled through Dec. 9. The consultants also have reserved space in national and local publications and Web sites, and will send information to universities and executive search companies about the superintendent job announcement. Printed materials will be prepared next month.
The consultants will report the public input to the Board in a newly scheduled Dec. 17 Study Session.
To view the consultants’ update, or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2D.
Graduation Predictors, Student, Educator Supports Presented
Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode provided a report to the Board regarding student achievement, curriculum and instructional changes, and educator supports available in CSD. She said 511 educators are new or are working in new assignments this school year. Supports provided to educators include achievement coaches, Building Leadership Teams, new teacher coaches, content leads, counselor supports, library media specialist supports, and Administrative Teams. The supports are aimed at helping teachers achieve goals to increase the number of high school graduates who are prepared for college and careers.
To help students prepare for college and careers, the District is continuing its rollout of the Utah core and updating Concurrent Enrollment sequencing; a language arts emphasis on writing; a Social Studies emphasis on literacy aspects of the core, assisted by partnerships with Stanford University and Brigham Young University; and improved course progressions in middle school world languages.
Dr. Rhode also shared research regarding students at risk for academic failure. Low academic proficiency, credit deficiencies (particularly those acquired in the ninth grade), low school engagement and unmet psychological needs are factors that predict student dropouts. Ninth-grade performance in core subjects is a stronger predictor of graduation than either language proficiency or interruptions to the student’s education. Dr. Rhode said dropout prevention is best practiced through rigorous, relevant instruction and effective support and enrichment. She would like to provide the Board with additional information on how the District is addressing student needs in a future meeting.
To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8A.
Civil Rights and Accommodations Director Appointed
The Board ratified the appointment of Daniel R. Harper as CSD’s Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Accommodations. Harper, an attorney with Burbidge & White law firm in Salt Lake City, also will serve as Canyons District’s Interim General Counsel. Harper, who is a former English teacher and has served as outside legal counsel to the District for several years, replaces Melissa Flores, who recently became Westminster College’s General Counsel.
“He brings a wealth of information and experience to us,” Dr. Rhode said, “and we are thrilled to have him join us.”
School Calendar Consistency Recommended
In response to public input, the District Calendar Committee is recommending the Board adopt school calendars with consistent start dates and Spring Break times to optimize instructional time and planning for families. The committee, made up of parents, teachers, District Office representatives, school administrators and Education Support Professionals, began meeting in September to draft consistent calendars for the next three school years. The Committee recommends starting school each year 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 consistent start date allows families to plan summer vacations, creates an additional week of instruction before year-end testing, and schedules fewer instructional days following year-end testing to maximize productivity. The school year would generally end the week of Memorial Day. Also in the recommended calendars, parent teacher conferences would fall during consistent windows of time, Spring Break would come in the first full week of April, and no districtwide activities would be scheduled on Election Days, as requested by the Board.
The committee also presented other school calendar options for Board consideration. The Board will vote on the calendars in its next Business Meeting.
To view the proposals or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.
Lagoon Day Coming to Eighth-Graders
The Board recommended the administration create a year-end Lagoon Day for eighth-graders in light of public input that favored maintaining the longstanding middle-school tradition. Previous District policy, inherited from the former Jordan School District, contained an annual Lagoon Day for ninth-graders. The policy was repealed last April based on the Board’s adoption of the new middle school schedule, current administrative practices in middle schools, and the movement of the ninth grade into high schools. The Board looked to options for eighth-graders including Lagoon Day, a service activity, an alternative activity, or no activity. District School Performance Director Mike Sirois surveyed middle school SCCs, PTSAs and SACs at the Board’s request. Respondents favored a Lagoon Day by a 2-to-1 margin. Sirois recommended scheduling Lagoon Day on a day other than that set aside for high school commencement to prevent family conflicts.
To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.
District to Meet with Cities About Infrastructure, Hazardous Bus Routes
The District is scheduling meetings with cities to coordinate safe walking routes in hopes of stemming the need for hazardous bus routes. CSD SNAP plans, which highlight walking routes to schools, will be finalized by mid-January. The city meetings are scheduled for February to inform policymakers as they prepare their budgets. The meetings are expected to include discussion about city infrastructure improvements, including crossing guards, crosswalks, and sidewalks, to better serve communities and schoolchildren who live within walking distance of schools.
To view the proposals or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Oct. 15 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Board Hire and Termination Reports; October Financial Reports; Home School Affidavit; LAND Trust Amendments; Fiscal Policy Task Force; 2013-2014 Student Membership Review; and an Administrative Appointment. The Board approved student overnight travel for Alta Boys Soccer and Theatre; Brighton Baseball, Cheer, and Wrestling; Hillcrest IB/AP Art History; and Jordan High Theater.
The Board approved an interlocal agreement with Sandy City, subject to prior review by counsel and the administration to ensure the agreement first meets the educational purposes of Mount Jordan. The agreement includes $1.5 million from Sandy City to improve the Mount Jordan middle School auditorium with a full fly system, a larger stage, two dressing rooms, and a larger storage area and enhanced catwalk system for lighting needs. Sandy will be allowed to schedule the auditorium for community events. The interlocal agreement is similar to that which the Board formed between Cottonwood Heights City and Butler Middle School.
Students, Employees Recognized
The Board recognized the following employees and students for their achievements:
- Martee Hawkins, CSD School Nurse, National Board for Certification of School Nurses
- Natalie Hancock, Jordan High, Utah Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year
- Alta High School Theatre, First Place, Sweepstakes, 37th annual Shakespeare Competition
- Alta Marching Band, Best Percussion, Best Music, and Second Place in State Championships
- Brighton High School, 5A State Girls Soccer Champions
- Olivia Braiker, Jordan High, UESP “Make Your Mark” Contest Winner
Ridgecrest Elementary teacher Pam Bunderson said she and her colleagues have had to work long hours to analyze and communicate to parents student achievement data for the new elementary report cards. She thanked the Board for the $1,000 bonus they are awarding to employees in next week’s paychecks.
Parent Wendy Davis, who comes from a long lineage of veterans, urged the Board to recognize Veterans Day as a holiday on school calendars in the coming years to give students and families the opportunity to spend time with their family members on the important day of recognition. In the alternative, she asked that all schools host organized Veterans Day activities.
Canyons Education Association President Ross Rogers read a letter from a fellow education technology specialist. The letter seeks student e-mail accounts, as have been available in the past, to ensure students are able to access online educational tools available via e-mail sign-in. The Google Docs system used now lacks student e-mail. Rogers suggested allowing ed techs to create user guidelines for student e-mail use.
Alta High Social Studies Chairman Rique Ochoa said he has been unable to purchase textbooks for AP Geography students this year, and asked for Board assistance in the purchasing process.
To listen to the comments, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.
Interim Superintendent Report
Dr. Rhode praised Dr. Darren Draper for his work to create the first TEDxCSDTeachers event Nov. 8. She said the event is believed to be the only one hosted in a Utah school district, and she said she hoped to host the event again. She noted Midvalley Elementary has begun a partnership with Ballet West, in which artists offer dance instruction to all fifth-graders. She said the students love the weekly class, and will offer a performance in the spring.
Interim CFO Report
Interim CFO Leon Wilcox noted Mount Jordan Middle School demolition will be completed by end of this week, and much of the concrete will be recycled for new building’s pad. Construction will begin at the outset of 2014. He said the District has purchased 60 carbon monoxide detectors, which will be installed this week in mechanical rooms of every CSD building in response to the San Juan school gas leak. He noted that voters rejected the Jordan District bond proposal, and thanked the Board and Administration for its foresight and prudence in the successful $250 million bond campaign in 2010. He said voters approved bonds in Cache, Logan, Duchesne and Washington districts, and that CSD could learn from others’ successes and failures. He also noted employee bonuses, totaling $1,000 for full-time employees, will come in Monday’s paychecks.
Chad Iverson said he found Ochoa’s comments of interest, and wanted more information about the issue and expressed interest in assisting Alta in its textbook purchase.
Tracy Cowdell praised football teams at Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Jordan for making it to the state tournament, and Region 3 for posting 4 of 8 teams in the quarterfinals. He wished Brighton all the best in the state championship Friday. He said he wants the Utah High School Activities Association to examine the method by which they create athletic classifications, as Hillcrest consistently is at a disadvantage. He noted Hillcrest, though it has the largest enrollment in Canyons, is home to the IB magnet program and the boundary school for the homeless shelter, which affects enrollment mobility and results in a low percentage of students participating in athletics. He said the failure of the Jordan District bond was a shame and disturbing, considering unmet needs and the organized opposition to the bond. He noted lessons can be learned from the bond election, including size of bond, community buy-in and communication, and the importance of supporters campaigning for the bond. He said bond proposals aim to ensure safe and healthy school environments for staff. He noted it is incongruent when those who campaign against a bond continue to issue building permits.
Vice President Steve Wrigley said he and Second Vice President Nancy Tingey attended the statewide SCC training at Corner Canyon, and thanked SCCs for their work. He and Tingey hosted a Town Hall meeting last Thursday. About 40 parents attended, and several thanked him for the opportunity to provide constructive criticism. He visited Alta View and said the Dual-Immersion Language program there is well supported by Mount Jordan. He met with CSD Special Education Director Robin Collett about special education services. He said the Eastmont parent-teacher conferences were well attended, and thanked the teachers for the time they spent preparing. He said he received positive feedback from parents attending conferences there.
Tingey attended several District events and the Utah Education Association’s annual convention. She attended Butler Elementary’s 90th Birthday Party, the Sandy Elementary Halloween Parade, and the TEDxCSDTeachers event, which she found to be inspiring. She congratulated the Lady Bengals on their 5A State Girls Soccer Championship. She enjoyed Brighton’s production of “Oklahoma!” and is looking forward to attending other high school musicals, which begin this week. She congratulated Brighton and Jordan football teams for their great seasons, and wished the Bengals well in state championship Friday. She thanked CCHS for hosting the state SCC training event, and thanked patrons for attending hers and Wrigley’s Town Hall meeting.
Kim Horiuchi congratulated the Lady Bengals soccer team for their championship, as well as Jordan and Brighton football teams. She, too, wished the Bengals well on their championship game Friday. She attended “Oklahoma!” at Brighton, and praised the student talent there. She also attended Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting to provide CSD’s monthly report to the city. There, council members wanted to talk about Brighton football and the Jordan bond election. They, too, noted the foresight of the Board for seeking a bond right after the district’s formation. She said the mayor noted that schools make a difference for schools and bring up every community. She said council members said that they appreciate the partnerships CSD has formed with communities, and that the erosion of city support with the Jordan bond wouldn’t have happened in CSD due to the open dialogue with them and other community leaders. She listened to the TEDx event online and thought that was a great opportunity for Canyons. She was proud of the presenters and thanked everyone for the effort to create the event. She told Cowdell she would relay his concerns to the UHSAA this week.
Robert Green noted Hillcrest athletes have to fund sports participation and ask people in lower income areas for money for fundraising, which can be a tough job. He noted that winning isn’t the main thing in athletics, but helping students with life skills. He did note that a Denver Broncos player, however, is a Hillcrest alumnus. He said it is exciting to have his alma mater Brighton in the state football championships. He congratulated the Lady Bengals on their soccer championship, and noted the team is coached by one of his former classmates. He congratulated Mayor JoAnn Seghini on her reelection, and noted it’s good to have a positive relationship with other elected officials in our area. He said he’d like to increase the tax base without increasing the tax burden.
President Sherril Taylor read Gov. Gary Herbert’s declaration for Education Support Professionals Day Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. The declaration notes ESPs help schools operate efficiently and allow educators to focus on teaching and learning, and are instrumental to the successful education of young people. He also added that the Board appreciates support staff and all they do to help in the schools. He said CSD wouldn’t function for very long without them.
The Board met in Closed Session to discuss the character, competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.