Inaugural Student Advisory Council Introduced
The Board introduced the newly empaneled, 10-member Student Advisory Council established to provide student input to the Board of Education. The council consists of two students from each high school one student body officer and one student (a junior or senior) selected as part of an application process. Council representatives will attend the Board’s semi-monthly meetings, and bring information back to the council to discuss and provide input to the Board.
“You will make a difference,” Board President Sherril Taylor said in thanking the students for taking part in the inaugural panel. “You are leading out on something new. It’s very important what you’re doing, and we the Board are looking forward to your input and we will take it seriously when you give it to us.”
Members of the inaugural Student Advisory Council, chaired by founder and Alta student Katrina Jones, are:
– Alta: Kaitlyn Larsen and Rocky Evans
– Brighton: Richard Wright and Courtney Crist
– Corner Canyon: Erica Johnson and Annelise Preite
– Jordan: Olivia Marz and Ashlie Miller
– Hillcrest: Shelby Brey and Naveen Rathi
The council was created following a proposal from Alta student Katrina Jones, task force meetings and an Aug. 20, 2013 vote by the Board.
School Accountability Report Presented
Two-thirds of Canyons elementary and middle schools received A or B grades under the new school grading law, but what does that mean? Dr. Hal Sanderson, Canyons’ Director of Research and Assessment, offered a report to the Board on the school grades released today under the new law. He noted the grades are a separate accountability from the newly implemented Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS). Both UCAS and School Grading use CRT tests data and equally weigh academic growth and achievement, but differ in student growth score calculations. School Grading contains an all-or-nothing component, and requires growth scores of 40 or higher to reward student growth points. Dr. Sanderson also said that not all secondary school subjects are included in the school grading system, nor is International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement achievement.
Board member Tracy Cowdell noted that school performance is a detailed matter difficult to generalize by a letter grade. Robert Green said he wanted to view a more complete report on student achievement in Canyons District to provide a better understanding of problems and potential solutions. Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode said she would like to present such data.
To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.
Fiscal Accountability and Management Policy Discussed
Policy Coordinator Jeff Christensen is continuing to gather input from the Canyons School District Education Foundation Board and school fundraising entities in efforts to improve the proposed policy on fiscal accountability and management, and will bring additional information to the Board for additional discussion in its next meeting. The proposed policy is being drafted to comply with a State Board of Education administrative rule requiring 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.
Student Safety Policy Discussed
Christensen told the Board he has made some adjustments to the proposed student safety reporting policy based on input received. He noted the policy would have a checklist for school counselors, and detail procedures for notifications and record maintenance. The Board is expected to take final action on the proposal in the next meeting. 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 comes from a district committee that has been studying the new law’s requirements and current policy.
To view the proposal or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7B.
Books Close on FY13
Budget Director Leon Wilcox presented preliminary financial statements regarding the General and Capital funds. The General Fund, with revenues totaling about $218.4 million, ended FY13 $5 million in the black due to prudent budgeting procedures. Capital Fund spending also came in $4.5 million under budget, partly due to construction that was not completed until after the June 30 close of the fiscal year. The District’s capital projects totaled about $124 million, with voter-approved bond proceeds accounting for some $84 million of those expenditures. Next steps in closing out the budget year include completing audit and financial reports, and meeting with the Board’s Audit Committee. Wilcox noted that he has met with one of the bond rating agencies, and felt the report was well received. Canyons currently has a Aaa bond rating, the highest possible.
To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7A.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Aug. 20 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Superintendent Search Consultant; and the Consulting Agreement. The Board also approved overnight travel for Alta AP Art History and Drill Team, Brighton Cross Country and Corner Canyon FCCLA. The Board approved changes to Support Staff Hiring, Leave of Absence, and Bus Scheduling and Routing policies in accordance with the agreement with the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association. The Board voted to table policy change GDDA Benefit Eligibility Support Staff. To listen to the discussion please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.
The Board tabled discussions on the Lagoon Day Policy, Board Bylaws, the Superintendent Search Consultant RFP, Board Committee Assignments and the employee contract review until the next meeting.
Board President Sherril Taylor excused Board Member Kim Horiuchi from Business Meeting due to illness.
Dr. Rhode said crisis counselors had been meeting with school administrators and made themselves available in Draper schools Tuesday in light of the death of Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson, who was killed in the line of duty Sunday. On Friday, she attended the Kindergarten College-Ready Day event at Canyon View Elementary, and said it was fun to see the kindergartners and students from Brighton High participate in the event.
Robert Green related themes from the book, “Men, Machines and Modern Times,” to ideas in Canyons. He said that sometimes, good ideas for improvement come from those on the ground, and from those at the top, and that the Board should listen to both. He said data from the School Grading report should be examined to determine whether it can be used as a catalyst for change and improvement. He said that he wants high-quality education in Canyons, so that Canyons can be upheld as a model school district, and prove public education naysayers wrong.
Nancy Tingey expressed sympathies to the Draper community in light of the shooting death of Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson, and gratitude to the District and school leadership for working to help the community. She welcomed the new Student Advisory Council, and, in noting Green’s comments, said the students can help Canyons become a district of distinction. She attended and enjoyed the Bengal Building ribbon-cutting ceremony, and said the building will help students accomplish great things. She enjoyed attending Kindergarten College-Ready Day at Canyon View Elementary, listening to Dr. Rhode read to the children and handing out “diplomas” to the kindergartners. She noted school is important to students, and that the kindergartners in no time will be receiving real diplomas.
Steve Wrigley thanked the Student Advisory Council and directed them to documents placed on BoardDocs to help them prepare for discussions. He praised the District for its leadership in providing life-saving AEDs to all District buildings. He noted he is part of the District Arts Consortium Board, and said that arts are alive and well in the District and serve to provide a well-rounded education to students. He and Tingey attended the White City end-of-year picnic and said that people he spoke with generally are pleased with what’s happening in Canyons. He’s excited that Draper Park and Eastmont are moving forward with standards-based grading, and wanted to know what the District might do to include soft skills in education to help kids be successful.
Cowdell noted the Board is moving forward in approving a consultant for the superintendent search, and that an information-gathering schedule will be produced shortly regarding school visits and stakeholder groups, followed by posting notice for the superintendent’s job and interviews. He thanked the Board for its attention to the matter, and Dr. Rhode for her work as interim superintendent, noting the start of the school year was the smoothest he’s seen in eight years of Board service. He urged people not to get too excited about the School Grading report issued today, and to dig deeper for information about schools. He said the grades should be viewed as one of the many pieces of information to consider when making important educational decisions for children. He said other data, including AP, IB, concurrent enrollment and other information should also be considered, as boiling down information is difficult to do in a single letter grade. He also noted we could do more to advertise achievement of Canyons students. He praised Wilcox for his budget presentation, and the Board for its good work.
Chad Iverson thanked the administration and staff for its support of the Draper teachers and students at a time of mourning.
Sherril Taylor thanked the student council for being here tonight. He said they are leading out on something new, and that the Board is looking forward to their input. He also said the Board is sadden by the tragic passing of Sg.t Johnson and that the Board sends its condolences to the family, Draper Police Department and community, and joins them in mourning the tragedy.
The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.