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Getting Involved

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010

Canyons Elementaries Implement Common Core State Standards in Math

Canyons is implementing math Common Core State Standards in elementary schools. In a study session, Chief Academic Officer Ginger Rhode and Evidence-Based Learning Directors Hollie Pettersson and Amber Roderick-Landward outlined the Common Core, target dates for further implementation, and other efforts to ensure all Canyons students are prepared for college and careers by the time they graduate from high school.

Common Core State Standards contain fewer, clearer and stronger standards in reading and math that align with skills needed for college and the workforce, and provide parents and teachers tools to help children stay on the college- and career-ready path. Thirty-eight states, including Utah, have adopted the Common Core State Standards. The standards were developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors Association, and the highly respected research team at Achieve, Inc., with input by teachers and stakeholders, and uphold high expectations for all students.

The Common Core includes higher-level math concepts in lessons beginning in kindergarten. The idea is to lay a foundation for mathematics understanding and student success. The Common Core also increases rigor for all students and addresses the Canyons’ higher-level math achievement gaps. Board members lauded the Common Core because it includes higher-level math concepts beginning in kindergarten and integrates math and science disciplines in a manner that more closely reflects 21st Century learning — and real life.

Dr. Rhode and her staff proposed that new Common Core math standards be implemented in seventh and eighth grades next school year, and in high school grades by 2012-2013. They also proposed that Language Arts Common Core State Standards be implemented in seventh through 12th grades next school year, and in elementary grades in 2012-2013. The Board plans to discuss a number of issues related to Common Core implementation, including textbook adoption, the impact of new standards on gifted education, and the desirability of additional magnet programs, in upcoming meetings.

Meanwhile, Canyons is offering professional development and opportunities for students to catch up or get ahead in efforts to boost career- and college-readiness:

– Students earned 310 original math and science credits in the new Summer Block
– USTAR centers in middle- and high school show students how the disciplines relate to real life
– Full-day kindergarten is offered at Title I schools, and additional student supports are in the works
– Elementaries provide extra help for students in reading and math
– Middle school teachers collaborate to examine student performance and fine tune their approach to ensure students receive the help they need
– All 11th graders will take the ACT this year; all eighth- and 10th-graders are taking the ACT EXPLORE and PLAN tests to better prepare them for college and careers
– Response to Intervention model used to catch students before they fall behind.

Study Session

Canyons Education Association President Tony Romanello presented the Utah Education Association campaign, “Taxation, Equitable Funding and Education Excellence.” The campaign pushes for broad-based tax structures and adequate funding, and encourages investments in research-based school reforms that include educators. It says public education investments bring greater economic returns than equal investments in corporate subsidies or tax cuts. The Board also met in closed session to discuss investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct.


The Board recognized the following students and employees:

National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists: Alta High: Alexander R. Burton, Sean A. Groathouse and Nicole M. Moody; Brighton High: Kevin A. Bryant and Grant B. Taylor; Hillcrest High: Anne C. Ashton, Christina A. Crum, Caitlyn E. Gallagher, Russell P. Johnston, Julianne Linton, Brenton D. Maybe, Katrina E. Mikell, Sangjae Park, Jason J. Rammell, and Samuel B. Watson.

Mackenzie Woolf, Brighton High, last spring received a College-Sponsored National Merit Scholarship

Hillcrest students competing at the July FBLA National Leadership Conference won Second Place in Banking and Financial Systems, Fifth Place in Networking Concepts, Sixth Place in Business Law, and Seventh Place in Business Ethics at the. Participating were seniors Namisha Balagopal (Electronic Career Portfolio), Julianne Linton (Business Ethics), Jason Rammell (Networking Concepts); and alumni Jason Chen (Banking and Financial Systems), Albert Cui (Client Services), Tyler Draper (Banking and Financial Systems), Blake Ellison (Business Law), Brad Marshall (Banking and Financial Systems), and Erin Recanzone (Business Ethics). The FBLA Advisor is Hillcrest Business Department Chair Ed Mondragon.

Paul Winkelman, Hillcrest High School Counselor, received the 2010 Utah Best of State Award for Best Administrator in the Education Category

Alta High teacher Susan Nielsen, was awarded the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants Champion of the Profession Award

Lane Valum, District School Psychologists Coordinator, was named Psychologist of the Year by the Utah School Psychologists Association

Niloufar Sanatinia, Canyons School Psychologist, received the Utah School Psychologists Association’s Barbara Bennett Excellence in Diversity Award

Laurie Fue, Speech-Language Pathologist, was named Educator of the Year by the Brain Injury Association of Utah

Les DeMille, welding instructor at the Canyons Technical Education Center, received a Special Excellence Award from the Utah Education Association.

Region 17 PTA leaders presented the Board with a giant “check,” indicating volunteers provided more than $1.9 million worth of volunteer hours to Canyons schools in the past year.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Sept. 7, Sept. 21 and Oct. 5 minutes; purchasing bids; Home School Affidavit Report; September financial reports and Board hires and terminations; foreign exchange student enrollment approval; and aligning CSD Special Education Policy Manual to reflect state policy changes in Least Restrictive Behavior Intervention Guidelines. The Board also approved overnight travel for Alta High Academic Decathlon, Theatre, Baseball, Wrestling, Cross Country, and Band/Orchestra; Brighton High Model United Nations and Baseball teams; Hillcrest High Debate, Drill Team, and Performing Arts Department; Jordan High Choir/Band/Orchestra and Drill Team; and CTE FBLA.

The Board approved the Utah Consolidated Application, which Canyons submits to the state to receive funding for programs including Title I, Indian Education and Homeless Education, Special Education and K-3 special money. Dr. Rhode detailed plans to use the money to improve academic achievement.

The Board unanimously voted to limit individual Board Reports to five minutes, and urged Board Members to focus on education issues during comment time.

Patron Comments

Betty Shaw, Region 17 PTA Vice President, urged the Board to issue a statement opposing efforts to create partisan elections for state and local school boards. Board elections currently are nonpartisan. She also thanked the Board for honoring her late son with a donation to the Boy Scouts of America.

Board President Tracy Cowdell said he was pleased that partisanship has not been an issue on the Board, which focuses on children and education policy matters. He said the Board would take Mrs. Shaw’s request under advisement.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent David Doty attended the 5A Girls State Tennis Tournament last week, and praised the performance of individual Brighton athletes, many of whom have received Academic All State honors. He wished well participants in the 5A State Cross Country Championships. He attended the 5A Girls State Soccer quarterfinals, and noted that Brighton advanced to the State Title round. He praised the success of the Middle Schools Intramurals Cross Country Meet, in which participation increased this year by about 20 percent to 145 students. He praised Hillcrest High’s Drama students for their overall win at the High School Shakespearean Competition, and Canyons Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray and Communications Director Jennifer Toomer-Cook for their response to the stolen bus incident Thursday. Dr. Doty’s first Spanish column in El Observador was published this month, and will be a monthly feature in the Spanish-language newspaper. He also attended the Salt Lake Chamber’s screening of the education-reform documentary “Waiting for Superman.” He said it was unfortunate teachers associations took a hit in the film, and feels fortunate to have a collaborative relationship with the CEA.

CFO Report

CFO Keith Bradford said architects are starting to draft plans to rebuild schools. He said work started on Butler Middle School plans today, and will start Wednesday for Sandy and Midvale elementaries, and next week on the new high school in Draper. Architects are meeting with District and school representatives, as well as high school principals regarding plans for the new high school. Meetings will continue weekly until designs are drafted for public input at Town Hall meetings, which will be scheduled the week before Thanksgiving for the new high school.

Board Reports

Ellen Wallace attended the Utah School Boards Association’s Board of Directors meeting last week. She said the USBA state convention is Jan. 6 — 8, 2011, and meetings for new board members and superintendents are Dec. 3 and 4. She agrees with Mrs. Shaw that school board races should remain nonpartisan. She also suggested the District, as it offers summer educational opportunities for students, petition lawmakers to keep per-student funding for students who graduate early.

Kim Horiuchi attended the National Federation of Urban and Suburban School Districts conference in Topeka last week. There, she presented “Grease-Free Lunches, Ultimate Frisbee, and Skiing with the Superintendent: Innovative Approaches to Student Fitness from Utah’s Newest School District” with Board Member Kevin Cromar, Executive Director of K-16 Student Achievement in Elementary Schools Trenton Goble, and Ms. Toomer-Cook. She said the presentation was well received by attendees and attracted local TV news coverage. She also learned about First Lady Michelle Obama’s obesity prevention program, and toured the Brown v. Board of Education museum, hosted by the daughter of the plaintiff in the landmark education case.

President Cowdell thanked Mr. Romanello and Ms. Roderick-Landward and Dr. Pettersson for their presentations. He also thanked the IT team for its help at Board meetings.

Sherril Taylor, a member of the Utah High School Activities Association Board of Trustees, provided a UHSAA realignment update, saying the most recent proposal would classify 24 schools in 5A, and Hillcrest High as a 4A school.

Paul McCarty thanked Mr. Romanello for his presentation, saying he hoped it would be presented to the Legislature. He requested a Boundary Steering Committee update.

Mont Millerberg expressed gratitude for community support of the Canyons School District Education Foundation’s Inaugural Golf Tournament; for adjusted health benefits that cover colonoscopies; for the hard work of principals, who he visited during Prinicipals Week; and community involvement in designing schools. He also agreed school board elections should remain nonpartisan.

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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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