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Thursday, 03 August 2017 06:00

Board Meeting Summary, Aug. 1, 2017

Board Meeting Summary, Aug. 1, 2017

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Potential Bond Proposal Discussion

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board on the work being done to prepare for a possible general-obligation proposal for the November ballot.  Wilcox said that roughly half of the facility needs identified in the 2010 architectural review of all CSD buildings have been addressed. However, there still is a significant amount that remains to be done, even with ongoing work with capital-facility money and completion of 12 of the 13 projects promised to voters at the time of the approval of the $250 million bond in 2010. Wilcox said any debt could layered into the existing outstanding debt. He said the District also is studying ways to make the bond proposal tax-rate-neutral. Possible projects, which would be funded with bond and capital-facility money, include an Alta High remodel; new wings at Corner Canyon High; the construction of a new elementary in west Draper; rebuilds of a White City, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementary schools, Union Middle, Hillcrest and Brighton high schools; six elementary school office upgrades; and 18 elementary school lighting upgrades. The deadline to vote for a resolution to place a bond-issuance question on the ballot is Aug. 22. The Board also addressed issues surrounding the projects that could be completed with bond money, including ensuring the public is aware of the planned construction.

Staffing Report

The new salary schedule approved last spring by our Board of Education has proven effective in Canyons District’s recruitment efforts, according to a report by the Human Resources Department. In April, Board voted for an innovative and progressive salary schedule that boosts the starting salary for a beginning teacher more than $5,000 a year while also providing salary hikes for mid-career and veteran educators. CSD’s Human Resources Director Steve Dimond reported that Canyons District staff recruited at 11 teacher fairs and other recruiting events, such as a “Flip the Interview” night CSD’s District Office. As a result, some 230 licensed employees have already been hired for the 2017-2018 school year. Sixty-two of those educators — 27 percent — are re-locating to CSD from out of state, with help from our re-location stipend program. In addition, 29 — 13 percent — are in an ARL/APT program. As of July 25, CSD had to hire just one school psychologist (which has been offered to a candidate), one speech-language pathologist, two elementary teachers, nine secondary school teachers, and four special-education teaching positions. Dimond also reviewed recent exit-interview results with the Board members. 

SAFE Neighborhoods Program  

The Board of Education was asked by the United Fire Authority to be a partner in the SAFE (Schools Aid Families in Emergencies) Neighborhoods Program. The aim of the initiative is to provide assistance to citizens at a local school in the event of a major disaster. The fire authority wants to put an emergency kit in every elementary school in Salt Lake Valley. The kit would aid in neighborhood communication, public information, situational awareness, and household reunification in the first 96 hours after a calamity. The fire authority previously met with the Incident Command Manual Update Committee, which is wrapping up a re-write of the District’s emergency-response plan. The Committee, at the request of Board member Mont Millerberg, asked the fire authority to give their presentation to the Board as whole.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, which includes approval of the minutes from the Board of Education meeting on July 11; hire and termination reports; student overnight travel requests; and administrative appointments.

Academic Framework

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board on the District’s multi-tiered system of supports. Dr. Roderick-Landward explained that this framework serves as a roadmap for school-improvement plans.  Board President Sherill H. Taylor said the Board would review the information and may ask additional questions at a later meeting. 

Administrative Appointment

The Board approved the appointment of Quentin Linde as the new Assistant Principal at Corner Canyon High. A vacancy at the school was created when Scott Wihongi was appointed Principal of Murray High School in the Murray City School District.  Linde has been serving as a science teacher at Corner Canyon High. At the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie also introduced new administrators Kenna Sorensen, who is now an administrator in ISD and Dr. Angela Wilkinson; the new Principal at East Sandy.

Recognitions

The Board recognized the achievements of students, faculty and staff in Canyons District.  The Board honored Cora Mickelson, 4A state champion girls golfer; Redd Owen, Brighton High’s 5A first-singles tennis champion; Olivia Berhan, winner of a Sandy Young Entrepreneur Contest;  Energy Conservation Specialist Chris Eppler, who was named an Energy Pioneer by the Utah Gov. Gary Herbert; Jordan High’s Roberto Jimenez, whose leadership in the program Puertas Abiertas helped win ta Family Engagement Award at the National Family Engagement Summit; Rique Ochoa, the 2017 Utah History Teacher of the Year; and the Hillcrest Husky Strong Academy, for being the reason CSD was named a national District of Distinction by District Administrator Magazine.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Briscoe thanked the Board for the discussion surrounding the possible bond election. He also presented information to the Board about the area where the Utah State Prison now sits. He also informed the Board about the Administrator’s Training held today in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Administration Building-East.  He said he’s excited for the start of the school year. 

Wilcox said the CSD is finalizing a contract for transportation in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Facilities Department is working hard to complete projects in schools, he said. He reminded the Board that Alta View’s site work will not be completed until November because crews had to tear down the old school after the new school was constructed. 

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson thanked his fellow Board members for the collegiality on the Board.  He said he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and feelings with other Board members.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey said she had the privilege of sitting on the Governor’s Excellence in Education Commission, which is developing a 10-year roadmap for advancing education. The group heard a presentation by Pam Perlich, a demographer at the University of Utah who stressed that while macro data are interesting, it’s neighborhoods that should occupy the focus of policy makers and elected officials. Neighborhood schools are the nexus of communities and Board members are privileged to be able to focus on individual neighborhood schools and the communities they serve. 

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked teachers and the administration at Jordan High who recently celebrated completion of a summer academy designed to give entering freshmen a jump on high school.

Mr. Steve Wrigley expressed appreciation for the administration and remarked on how much he looks forward to the start of school. He is proud of the District’s past year of accomplishments, and looks forward to another year.

Mr. Mont Millerberg commended schools for having such a welcoming attitude. He also spoke about how the architecture of the school reflects some of Utah’s most stunningly beautiful assets of Utah, including Delicate Arch. He also remarked on how many teachers were putting in extra hours, outside of their paid contracts, to prepare their classrooms and lesson plans. He said he’s excited for the opening of the new Midvale Middle on Aug. 8.

President Taylor thanked the Board for the rigorous debate and discussion about important items. He mentioned the Board has met a lot over the summer.  He said he feels the excitement in the air for the start of school.
Canyons School District is launching a new online tool that will make it easier for students to apply to transfer from their neighborhood school to another school within the District.

School choice transfers are approved through a process known as “permitting.” Until now, permit applications had to be filled out on paper and submitted directly to schools. But starting, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, families can complete their application via their personal computer from the comfort of their homes. Schools also have computers available to assist families with the application process.

Applying is easy: Simply click here and follow the prompts.

Please note: If your student is already attending a non-boundary school on a permit, that permit is still active and you do not need to fill out another one. Rules governing eligibility for permits remain the same. All that’s changed is the process for applying for permits. The online permits will be date- and time-stamped to ensure your place in the first-come, first-served permitting process.

To guide families through the process, the Department of Planning and Enrollment has created a tutorial found here. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Department’s website. The Main Office at your local school also is a good resource for information.
Thursday, 29 June 2017 15:30

Board Meeting Summary, June 27, 2017

The Board of Education met on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 to review the year’s accomplishments and discuss items of interest that could be addressed in the coming school year and beyond. 

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reviewed major accomplishments of the year, including the adoption of a mission and vision statement; an unprecedented increase in salaries for teachers; the completion of an ambitious new-school and school renovation program with money from the 2010 voter-approved bond; improvements to the elementary school schedule; and efforts to balance enrollments through boundary adjustments. 

Board member Clareen Arnold asked questions about CTESS, the educator evaluation tool. She also reviewed some of the responses to the survey about CTESS. Arnold also expressed frustration with SAGE assessments. She said she’s personally invested in a change in the assessments based on her experience as an educator. Board 1st Vice President Nancy Tingey suggested planning a future discussion, which would include a presentation on CSD’s SAGE results by Canyons Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson.  Tingey also suggested obtaining input from teachers at all levels. 

Tingey presented information and led a discussion about the District’s vision, mission, values, tenets, and indicators. She also asked Board members if they have suggestions for the evaluation tool used by the Board to review the performance of the Superintendent and Business Administrator. Board members asked to send their written input to Board leadership by July 11.

President Taylor asked the administration for an employee-retention report. 

Board 2nd Vice President Amber Shill presented an idea to insert STEM- and STEAM-related “makerspaces” into Brain Boosters time in the elementary-school schedule. The Board also asked for an update on the elementary-school schedule, including teacher collaboration and Brain Boosters. 

Dr. Briscoe presented information about gifted and talented programs in the District, including pathways to Advanced Placement classes. Tingey asked the Administration to ensure that communications are sent to parents about the optional exam that opens the door for students to participate in accelerated programs at the middle school level. The Board also discussed some of the pros and cons of having pull-out or magnet programs for gifted and talented or accelerated students. The Board also discussed ensuring access to AP and other accelerated-learning offerings at high schools.

Board member Steve Wrigley asked for additional information about the District’s dual-language immersion programs. He also discussed some of the challenges in providing DLI classes, especially at the secondary level. Wrigley also asked for an update on the Standards-Based Grading.  The Board also had a discussion about Standards-Based Grading. 

Tingey presented information about service learning. She and other Board members also discussed ways to make the schools welcoming environments.

Shill also presented ideas about creating a Board handbook.

Board member Wrigley discussed how the District is supporting the well-being of students.

The Board also addressed the issues surrounding a bond election. Board members discussed the possibility of doing a patron survey, creating a communication plan, and a financial-impact study. President Taylor also urged a judicious and systematic approach to creating a list of projects.

The meeting concluded with reports from Board members: 
  • Tingey expressed gratitude to the Board for their hard work, dedication, and service to the community. She said constituents and patrons feel like the District is responsive. 
  • Shill appreciated the status reports provided to the Board before the roundtable discussion. 
  • Wrigley said he appreciates the tone and topics of the Board retreats.  He feels like the Board is in the “driver’s seat.” He also discussed information about the profile of a career- and college-ready graduate.  
  • Board member Mont Milleberg said it feels very different to be a part of Canyons than it was during his first term on the Board. He said patrons are complimentary of the District’s decisions. 
  • President Taylor thanked Millerberg for bringing an analytic mind to the Board issues; Wrigley for his dedication to the well-being of students; Shill for her sharp intuition; and Tingey for her study and mastery of complex education issues. Taylor also expressed appreciation for Arnold’s commitment to students, and Board member Chad Iverson’s attention to detail.  Taylor expressed appreciation for District staff, and said he was grateful to be a part of the Canyons District family.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 18:34

Board Meeting Summary, June 13, 2017

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Budget Hearing

Following a public hearing, the Board of Education approved a final budget for the 2016-2017 school year. The Board also voted to adopt the proposed budget for the 2017-2018 school year, which contains no tax rate increase. In fact, if projections hold, CSD’s tax rate will be the lowest in the District’s history, reported Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. When residents receive property tax notices, however, home owners may be surprised to see their annual tax payment growing, which is due to an 8 percent spike in home values in 2017. In 2017-2018, CSD’s expenditures are expected to be about $405 million, the vast majority of which will be spent on instruction, or salaries for faculty and school staff, including, the largest teacher pay rise in CSD’s nine-year history, explained Wilcox. Class sizes under the proposed spending plan would remain the same, though, an investment would be made in 30 teachers to support team-teaching in the middle schools and elementary split classes. The budget also includes money to cover the rising cost of school supplies and utilities, pension and insurance payments, capital facilities improvements, and payments on old Jordan District debt. CSD’s General Fund balance is budgeted to decrease from $70 million to $66 million. However, the actual decrease is expected to be less due to conservative budget practices.

Administrative Appointments

Canyons District approved new administrative appointments for the coming school year.

Kenna Sorensen, currently the Principal of East Sandy Elementary, will become an administrator in the Instructional Supports Department. This position was created when Dr. Darren Draper, the Director of Education Technology, resigned to accept a position in the Alpine District.

With the move, Sorensen joins the Department of Instructional Supports’ administrative team of Director Dr. Amber-Roderick Landward and Administrator Jesse Henefer in guiding the District’s curriculum and education-technology initiatives

Dr. Angela Wilkinson, currently the Assistant Principal of East Midvale Elementary, has been selected as the new principal of East Sandy Elementary, replacing Sorensen.   

Danya Bodell, who is now an Achievement Coach at Brookwood Elementary, is the new Assistant Principal at East Midvale Elementary.

School Lunch Policy

In response to a federal mandate, the Board of Education approved a policy regarding the payment of unpaid meal charges. Canyons District’s practice will be following: “If a student’s meal account is inadequate or delinquent to pay for a meal, the school will provide a full meal to the student, and parents will be notified that the school may use collection efforts to pay for the provided meals.” At the end of the school year, if accounts are in arrears, then parents may be sent to a collection agency. Throughout the year, efforts will be made to communicate with parents, via paper and electronic means, as well as provide information about free- and reduced-price applications. All schools participating in the National School Lunch Programs were required to adopt a school unpaid meal charge policy by July 1, 2017.

Discussion About Possible Construction Projects

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox reminded the Board of Education that a 2009 architectural review showed $650 million in needed repairs to CSD schools. Now, in 2017, after nearly all projects of the $250 million voter-approved bond have been completed, the District has about $382 million in needed upgrades. Wilcox also presented information on the buildings that could possibly be identified as bond projects if the Board were to decide to seek voter approval on a general obligation proposal in the future. A for-discussion-only list was formed by using Facility Condition Index scores of current buildings and previous input by members of the Board. The 10-project list included elementary, middle and high schools in all parts of the District. The Board members asked the administration to provide additional information on enrollments, growth patterns, possible construction timelines, and past voting records.

Big Cottonwood Canyons Bus Route

The Board of Education voted to require the administration to investigate contracting with a private agency to provide transportation for students who live in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The administration has been given a month to provide this information to the Board. The Board originally entertained the motion to cancel the route because of its inherent dangers and declining ridership.

Information for Board Roundtable

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe presented the Board with information that was compiled in advance of the Board’s scheduled June 27 roundtable discussion. He urged the Board members to review the data and progress reports put together by various departments for the Board’s review. Dr. Briscoe also noted the inclusion of patron and teacher survey results.

Patron Comment

Jen Buttars, who served as CEA president for the 2016-2017 school year, thanked the Board and Administration for their efforts to be collaborative and friendly with the teacher’s union. She said members of the Board has made it “abundantly clear” they respect teachers and want to hear their input.  She said she was emotional about being at the Board meeting as the last time as the CEA leader. 

Outgoing Region 17 PTA Director Betty Shaw thanked the Board members for their friendship during the past eight years. She served as the Associate Director for three years and the Director for five. She said she’s been to countless ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings, committee and Board meetings, award programs and luncheons. She noted the hard work associated with the 2010 bond election, and boundary changes and grade configuration. She recalled a heated Truth in Taxation hearing in 2010, when “brutal” things were said about the Board. In the end, though, Board members listened to constituents. She said it was an honor to serve children and the District.

Former Alta High student John Carillo presented information about the start times of schools. He urged the Board to consider adopting later start times for secondary schools. 

Tom Fendler urged the Board to maintain the bus route in Big Cottoonwood Canyon.  He urged the Board to disregard Utah State Risk’s assessment of the safety of the route. 

Resident Scott John urged the Board to keep the bus route in Big Cottonwood Canyon. He presented a letter by the Big Cottonwood Canyon Community Council, which made an official request for the Board to keep the route.   

Student Isaac Reese, who has ridden the bus route in the canyon, says he has never felt unsafe.  

Kamiah Peterson is a student at Brighton High.  She’s been riding the bus for 12 years. She’s never felt unsafe and prefers to ride the bus in the winter seasons.  If the bus route is cancelled, she would have to drive her younger brother, who would not have a ride home if she stayed after school for activities and work. 

Resident Deborah Myer urged the Board to keep the bus route in Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

Consent Agenda

The Board approved seven items on the consent agenda, including, hires and terminations, purchasing bids, student overnight travel plans; May financial reports, administrator appointments, and the approval of sale of CTEC student-built homes at 107 Benson Lane and 109 Benson Lane. 

The Board asked Business Administrator to explain the proposal to change the medical and dental carrier for the 2018 Insurance Benefit Year. Wilcox said CSD is required to bid professional services every five years.  CSD last went through this process in 2013.  After a competitive bid and evaluation process, the Administration recommends PEHP to be the third-party administer and carrier of the District medical and pharmacy plans.  This would take effect January 2018.  The Board approved this consent-agenda item after the discussion. 

Board Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the accomplishments of students. The students are: Corner Canyon’s Olivia Berhan, first-place winner of the Young Sandy Entrepreneurs competition; Brighton High’s Redd Owen, 5A state tennis singles champion; Corner Canyon’s 4A championship girls golf team; Alta High’s 4A state championship soccer team; Alta High’s Stewart Robinson, 4A pole vault champion; Hillcrest High’s Gracie Otto, 4A pole vault champion; Jordan High’s Nicole Freestone, state champion javelin thrower; and Corner Canyon’s Logan Orr, 4A champ in 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. The Board also applauded CSD’s Academic All-State honorees and National Merit Scholars Brian Johnson and Eric Jackson.

Pledge and Reverence

Canyons District’s Director of Accounting Gary Warwood led the Board and audience in a recitation of the pledge of allegiance. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie delivered the reverence.

Volunteer Report

Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards reported that 12,674 volunteers have been approved, per state regulations, to work in Canyons District schools.  It takes up to three days to clear a volunteer, Edwards said, but our team of staff members who approve the volunteer applications work hard to complete those as soon as they come in. A final report will be made to the Board soon after school starts. 

Legislative and Policy Update

The Board voted to update policies governing the evaluation of Education Support Professionals; licensed personnel; administrative personnel; student conduct and discipline; and the provisional status of ESP employees and administrative employees. The minor changes to evaluation and student discipline policies were proposed to align with federal and state law.  The provisional policies were aligned for consistence among employees. 

The Board also voted to update policies governing school wellness; the protection of private health records; the District Advisory Council for Education Support Professionals; professional development conference attendance; and secondary-school schedules.  

Superintendent’s and Business Administrator’s Report

Superintendent Jim Briscoe commented on the traumatic incident at Brookwood Elementary on Tuesday, June 6. He said it’s not likely we’ll ever be able to make sense of the event, but it was heartening to see the community pull together to provide support to students, families, and teachers. The care and support was overwhelming, he said. He lauded Sandy Police officers for their good work and sensitivity. He thanked Wilcox and Accounting Director Gary Warwood for their work on the budget.  He reported on attending Hillcrest, Brighton and South Park high school commencement exercises. He said all the rites were well-planned and executed.  Even though school is out, Canyons employees are working hard, including at professional development for teachers and administrators. 

Mr. Wilcox thanked all parents, employee, students, and staff for their work in completing a successful school year, the District’s eighth. Wilcox also thanked those who responded and provided support to the Brookwood school community.

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending the graduation ceremonies for Alta and Corner Canyon high schools. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold said the graduation rites were “awesome.”  She expressed appreciation for faculty, administrators and staff for helping students reach their goals. She thanked the business staff for their work on the budget. 

In a written statement read by President Taylor, Mrs. Nancy Tingey expressed thanks to the Sandy Police Department and the CSD Administration for their sensitivity and professionalism in handling the event near Brookwood Elementary.  

Mrs. Amber Shill expressed appreciation for the support given to the Brookwood school community. She reported on attending the Brighton and Hillcrest high graduation rites. She’s received feedback on the Friday that students have off before the last day of school. She asked the Calendar Committee to survey teachers to find out if they want that day off or would like another day.

Mr. Steve Wrigley also mentioned feedback about the calendar. He also reported on attending Mrs. Gretchen Murray’s celebration of life.  Murray was the 2016 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg said his granddaughter attends Brookwood and, based on what he’s heard from his family and others, complimented Principal Barrett for her good, thorough, professional work. He also reported on attending Hillcrest’s graduation ceremony, and lauded the mature comportment of the Class of 2017. He also thanked Mrs. Betty Shaw for her service in Region 17 PTA leadership.  He also reported on attending the Retirees Banquet at The Gathering Place at Gardner Village. He wished them well in their journeys.

President Sherril H. Taylor said he was proud of the conduct of the students at the graduation ceremonies. He thanked Wilcox and Warwood for their work on the budget. He said the Board considers all members of the community part of the CSD family. Members of the Board are keenly aware of the supports that are provided the students, especially during crises, and he thanked the employees for their hard work and dedication. 
There’s still time to apply for a spot in Canyons District’s innovative program for kindergarten-age students. 

The District continues to take applications for the Supplemental Hours of Instruction classes for the 2017-2018 school year — a groundbreaking early-childhood academic initiative that was recently spotlighted by KSL-TV Channel 5

Students in the classes receive nearly four additional hours of instruction every school day. Enrollees begin and end school at the same time as the school’s first- through fifth-grade students.  This is the second year Canyons has provided this educational opportunity to the community. 

Who is eligible for the opt-in, tuition-based program?  Any student who is 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2017.  

How to apply?  It’s easy — click here to access Frequently Asked Questions and the online application. 

Click here to see the bell schedules for all Canyons schools.

Cost for the program is $2,950 a year, and can be paid in monthly installments, August-May. A 10 percent discount is available for parents and guardians who pay the yearly tuition in full at one time. There also is a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $100.

Financial-need scholarships also are available for qualifying students. Parents may apply for the financial assistance at the same time they submit enrollment applications. 

The program is dependent on enrollment. The program can only be offered at a school if there are at least 20 students who have signed up. 

The District aims to provide the program at Alta View, Altara, Bell View, Bella Vista, Brookwood, Butler, Crescent, Lone Peak, Midvalley, Oakdale, Park Lane, Ridgecrest, Sprucewood, Sunrise, Quail Hollow and Willow Canyon elementary schools. 

Efforts will be made to enroll students at school closest to their homes — but the District cannot guarantee placement at any specific school.  

Children who qualify for transportation services will ride the kindergarten bus with morning-session kindergarten students and will ride home with the afternoon-session kindergarten students. 

Questions?  Call 801-826-5045 or send an e-mail message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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