Premier SAGE Results Outpace State Averages

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie presented results of the state's first SAGE test, and teachers from several schools shared with the Board what they're doing to boost student achievement in their classrooms.

Elementary scores exceeded state averages in all tested subjects. Granite Elementary scored No. 1 in the state, and Sunrise and Quail Hollow were included in Utah's Top 25 scoring schools in science. In English Language Arts, Quail Hollow, Willow Springs, Granite, Willow Canyon scored in Utah's Top 25. Dr. McCarrie noted that East Midvale Elementary scores exceeded expectations. East Midvale teachers Anna Alger, Kathryn Brog and Megan Pollard discussed efforts to collaborate and utilize resources including school psychologists and education technology specialists to provide student support and interventions. They said they teach the core using programs to help them achieve mastery goals, and focus on student data, growth and provide continual feedback.

Middle school scores also outperformed state averages in all tested subjects, by as many as 10 percentage points. In Language Arts, Draper Park leads the state in SAGE scores, and Albion, Butler, Indian Hills, Eastmont all scored in Utah's Top 25. In math, Draper Park and Albion scored in the Top 25, and in science, Eastmont, Indian Hills and Draper Park scored in the Top 25. Draper Park's sixth-grade science team – Ellie Seaborn, Cynthia Lloyd, and Kami Abercrombie – shared their practices to lift student achievement, including multiple attempts to master concepts and standards-based and mastery grading; team planning to creatively engage students; and strong partnerships with school leaders, parents and students.

In high schools, SAGE results exceed state averages in English language arts, but Dr. McCarrie noted SAGE results are mixed in science and math and that high school teams were examining ways to boost student achievement. Secondary Math I scores exceeded state averages by 7 percentage points, and Brighton High scored in Utah's Top 25 in math scores. Brighton Math Team Lead Natalie Meyer noted efforts to boost student achievement include a summer bridge program to help students with remediation and acceleration; an after-school test-preparation program funded by a USTAR grant; a new math lab; and a trimester system that promotes teacher accountability, collaboration and daily math instruction.

Students with disabilities also are exceeding state averages on the SAGE. Brighton Special Education Department Chair Barb Scrafford also talked about co-teaching with the math department; focusing on the new core; and district professional development opportunities.

"Our commitment is that all students in Canyons School District will receive a quality education that will prepare them for the future and whatever they choose to do," McCarrie said.

Board Member Kim Horiuchi noted CSD has focused on middle school achievement since a 2009 Dan Jones poll revealed parent concerns, and noted that focus was a min driver of the academic plan, grade reconfiguration, building design and space-maximization for middle school teacher teams. Vice President Steve Wrigley noted elementary achievement also is on the rise, helping middle school achievement and indicating the system is working.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8B.

Canyons Ready for College Application Week

Energy is building in schools for Utah College Application Week, set for Nov. 17-21 in CSD, Dr. Hollie Pettersson said. The goal is to have every high school senior fill out a viable college application during the school day. Students also are encouraged to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid PIN to open doors to scholarships and financial aid.

Students from CSD high schools shared some College Application Week activity plans, including a college-wear competition at Corner Canyon, a door-decorating contest at Hillcrest, and college day and guest speakers at Alta.

Student Val Vasquez of the Jordan High Standing Tall club for Native American students thanked the Board for the opportunities afforded to students via College Application Week. "It's that little push we are given as seniors to know that next fall, we are going be in college, and to start getting ready for the next life, the next step."

Jordan student Carlos Rivas, president of Jordan Latinos in Action, said he hopes to find his future in college. "I always wondered, is college really for me? I'm so grateful to this district for being so college focused," he said. "I hope that as College Application Week takes place, you remember me, and that I'm the student that you helped."

College Application Week activities include a Nov. 13 seminar for Spanish-speaking parents, "Preparing for College Success," from 7-8 p.m. at the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East, and another seminar "preparing for College Success," a CSD presentation for Spanish-speaking families; and on Nov. 19, "Preparing to Be Resilient in College," from 6:30-8 p.m., also at the CSSC.

Cities within CSD – Sandy, Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, and Draper – signed proclamations declaring Nov. 17-21 Utah College Application Week in their respective areas.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8A.

Foundation Gives $25,000 for College Application Fee Waivers

Canyons Education Foundation Board President Brad Snow and members of his Board and support staff presented the Board of Education with a $25,000 check to defray college application fees for students needing assistance during College Application Week. "WE are grateful to be able to do this," Snow said. Snow and his team presented the donation in the form of a giant check.

Midvale Middle to Relocate During Reconstruction

Midvale Middle School students will have temporary digs starting next school year. The Board voted to relocate the school community to the old Crescent View building for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years while the school is rebuilt with proceeds from the $250 million voter-approved bond. The District Transportation Office is arranging to safely transport students to the temporary school location. The relocation is supported by Midvale City leaders. The old Crescent View, located at 11150 S. 300 East in Sandy, has served as the temporary home to the Mount Jordan Middle School community for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years, during Mount Jordan's reconstruction. The new Mount Jordan Middle School, also rebuilt with bond proceeds, will be ready to welcome students in fall 2015. Midvale Middle School reconstruction is scheduled to begin in summer 2015, and be completed in August 2017.

Mount Jordan Redevelopment Discussed

The Board of Education heard a presentation from Jeff Vitek, CEO of Boulder Ventures, Inc., which has done a feasibility study on the possibility of building a District Office that would serve as a headquarters for all departments of the Canyons District. Currently, because of a lack of space, departments are separated in four buildings: the Canyons Administration Building, Canyons Support Services Center, the Transportation Depot and the General Warehouse. The proposed site of this building would be the 48 acres owned by the District just west of the new Mount Jordan Middle School and east of the TRAX line, which would facilitate an aim to make a building accessible by mass transit. Two options were presented: Two five-story buildings connected by a bridge and with structured parking, and one 11-story building with multiple levels of structured parking. To offset the occupancy cost to the District, space for rental retail properties has been included in both space-usage proposals. The proposed funding mechanism for the private-public project, estimated to cost $50 million, would be a 20-year bond. The Board will continue to discuss the proposal. Board member Kim Horiuchi urged the new Board to continue deliberating the plans for the new District Office after the start of the year. Board Member Tracy Scott Cowdell added that the building could also be used as a center for teacher professional development and students' technical training.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

Policies Reviewed

Superintendent Briscoe urged Board members to review proposed policies that, if approved, would govern Board Governance, Board Ethics, the Board's Relationship With Superintendent, and the Board's Relationship With Business Administrator. This is the first set of policies reviewed by the Policy Review Committee, made up of Board members Nancy Tingey, Chad Iverson, and Robert Green; Dr. Briscoe; Director of External Relations Charles Evans; General Counsel Daniel Harper, and Assistant Legal Counsel Jeffrey Christensen. The Board also was asked to review a proposed nondiscrimination policy. Board member Nancy Tingey asked the Board to read the draft language and provide feedback to the committee. Board member Tracy Scott Cowdell encouraged the Administration to make the proposals available to the newly elected Board members so they can act on the proposal after they take office in January.

To view the proposals or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.

Health Textbooks Review Opens

Dr. Hollie Pettersson, Director of Secondary Evidence-Based Learning, presented the process the District has followed to develop custom-print, medically accurate health textbooks for secondary schools. The Board gave approval to a plan to provide parents in the eight CSD middle schools an opportunity to review updated middle school materials that are recommended for adoption in health classrooms. The public review process is scheduled to start Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2C.

Proposed Changes to CSD's Advanced, Honors Diplomas

Dr. Pettersson also presented ideas to make the unique-to-Canyons Advanced and Honors Diplomas, the state's first differentiated diplomas, more academically rigorous. Dr. Pettersson urged the Board to consider requiring a minimal Grade Point Average; accepting a certificate of bi-literacy that could be achieved through the Dual Language Immersion Program to satisfy the World Languages requirement; and re-examining the criteria for English Language Arts classes. Board member Tracy Scott Cowdell also recommended requiring additional writing and service-learning components.

To view the presentation or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2D.

United Way 'Promise Partnership' Formed

The Board approved a Memorandum of Intent with the United Way to provide a "Promise Partnership" in Midvale City. Dr. Briscoe and General Counsel Dan Harper have bet with United Way representatives to work out details and develop the partnership outlined in the MOI. The MOI allows the district to get started on the partnership; a memorandum of understanding will be proposed later with greater detail of the partnership. Dr. Briscoe noted the partnership will involve joint fundraising efforts, and will include sharing student data and interventions for schools not meeting expectations. He said school participation will be voluntary. The MOI includes restrictions for gathering and use of student data and parent permission protocols to ensure student privacy is maintained. Board Member Robert Green said he believes the partnership will help students in Midvale and results in future cost savings.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8C.

Comprehensive Guidance Update

Student Support Services Director Tamra Baker noted the state's Comprehensive Counseling Performance Review is this year, and high school counseling teams are preparing for it. She noted Canyons is meeting state requirements for a school counselor ration of 1 counselor for every 350 students, and required great effort to get there. She said the District has secured $418,000 in additional funds to support school counselors this year, which is a slight decrease from last year. Dr. Briscoe praised Baker for her work to assemble and lead the new Student Support Services Department.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8D.

Patron Input on 2016-2017 Calendar Summarized

Planning and Enrollment Director Ben Lems thanked the Calendar Committee, and summarized the input gathered from 248 patron survey responses on the proposed 2016-2017 school calendar. He noted the survey responses represented 1 percent of parent households and that it appeared some people had entered more than one response. He said most people did not want to start a week earlier, some suggested paring back recesses. The Board directed him to reconvene the Calendar Committee of parents and employees to weigh the public input and bring back a report for the December meeting.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8E.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Oct. 21, 2014 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; October Financial Reports; Hires and Terminations. The Board also approved Student overnight Travel for Brighton Dance Company and Model UN; Corner Canyon Softball and Baseball; Hillcrest AP IB Art History; and Jordan High Cheerleading.

Board Recognizes Achievement

The Board recognized the achievements of the following students and employees:

Silver Mesa Elementary School, International Spanish Academies Designation
Randal Clark, Corner Canyon High, 2014 Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Secondary Music- Instrumental
Canyons School District, 2014 Youth and Family Partnership Award, National Center for School Mental Health, accepted by Karen Sterling, Canyons Director of Student Advocacy and Access
Leon Wilcox, Canyons Business Administrator and CFO, Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, Government Finance Officers Association
Granite Elementary School Principal Ronnie Mulqueen and faculty, No. 1 in Utah, Elementary Science, SAGE Tests
Draper Park Middle School Principal Greg Leavitt and faculty, No. 1 in Utah, Middle School Language Arts, SAGE Tests
Academic All-State:
  • Boys Golf: Jeremy Aguilon, Daniel Fang, Jacob Ulrich, Hillcrest
  • Girls Tennis: Alyssa Hirschi, Brighton
  • Football: Peter Lynch, Hillcrest
  • Volleyball: Madison Lewis, Corner Canyon; Rebekah Anderson, Hillcrest; Samantha Mangum and Sara Farnsworth, Alta
  • Girls Soccer: Ashley Christensen and McKell Kellogg, Brighton
  • Cross Country: Samantha Nabity and Hannah Nelson, Brighton; Peter Johnston, Hillcrest
Annika Holmberg, Corner Canyon High, Artist, Canyons District Holiday Card
David Skorut, Harry Han, and Nick Cockrell, Hillcrest High, Fifth Place, National History Day contest, National Park Service Award for Latino-American History
David Skorut, First Place, On Demand Video, National Technology Student Association Competition

Patron Comments

Betty Shaw of Region 17 PTA noted Alta View and Indian Hills Middle School students won a state Veterans Day essay contest. She attended the Ridgecrest veterans honor assembly, and noted a World War II veteran attended in his uniform. She thanked Horiuchi and Cowdell for their service and invited them to volunteer in schools in the future. She noted Utah College Application Week is an exceptional initiative in CSD. She said she fell on the Jordan High commons steps and encouraged the Board to find solutions to its configuration (Wilcox later addressed her concern and said the commons would be remodeled in the summer).

Patron Steve Van Maren wanted to know about CSD's bus inspection report, considering Alpine District has been in the news for poor performance. He noted Utah LAND Trust plans were to be posted soon, and wanted to include cell tower revenues in reports. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Dowdle responded that the District has for the past three years received the Silver Award from the Utah Highway Patrol for outstanding fleet maintenance, and that 13 of 180 buses had minor violations that were fixed within a few hours, and that no buses were pulled off the road.

Ridgecrest teacher Barbara Blaser noted Dr. Briscoe attended the school's veterans assembly, and said fifth-graders learned a great deal from the veterans and were writing essays. She also thanked Board Member Kim Horiuchi for her service, and said she is an amazing person and thanked her for all she's done for Ridgecrest. She acknowledged the hard work of teachers and appreciated knowing leaders are listening to them.

Patrick Christensen, representing the Canyons Education Support Employees Association (CESPA), noted next Wednesday is Utah ESP Appreciation Day, and said the District runs as a result of the hard work of custodians, lunch ladies, bus drivers and other ESPs. He thanked Dr. Briscoe for coming to CESPA meetings and for the honest conversations. He thanked the Board for hiring Dr. Briscoe and the good work they do in community.

Superintendent's Report

Dr. Briscoe asked Lems to provide an explanation of calendar changes should another calendar survey be created. He said he and Dr. McCarrie have been talking about academic presentations as the most critical thing to present to the Board. He said teachers are beginning to master data analysis and use it to inform instruction. He said bringing those results to the Board may take a long time in Board meeting, but is critical to the Board and Administration's jobs. He attended the Ridgecrest Elementary veterans event, which he called a humbling experience. He retold the emotional story of a colonel at the airport and having to leave his daughter, and a World War II veteran whose great-great-grandson is a Ridgecrest student. He said he lives under an umbrella of freedom because of the courage and sacrifice of people who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

CFO Report

CFO Leon Wilcox noted we have one mechanic for every 20 buses, and continually rotate our fleet. While the life of a bus is 20 years, CSD buses are retired after 15 years. He noted the Insurance Department completed open enrollment. He addressed Shaw's concern, and said the Jordan High commons was on the small capital list to be revamped in the summer.

Board Reports


Chad Iverson is looking forward to attending a Foundation Board meeting Thursday morning. He said SAGE data is encouraging and exciting.
Wrigley gave a shout out to Brighton High School for its production of the Wizard of Oz. He attended an Arts Consortium meeting, and said a decision would have to be made for middle school arts because the schedules are coming out.

Tingey thanked the District for the SCC trainings, attended by 257 people. She said online training modules are being prepared and will be posted online. She said SCCs are a vital contribution to the success of the District. She and Dr. Briscoe attended an academic excellence symposium, where goals presented for the State of Utah largely resembled things Canyons is doing now. She enjoyed Brighton's production of the Wizard of Oz, and thanked parents' efforts throughout the District to provide enriched opportunities for students. She wished Brighton well in Thursday's 5A State Football Semifinals game, and Corner Canyon well in Friday's 4A State Football Semifinals game.

Green attended a veterans tribute at the Midvale City Cemetery and paid tribute to his brother, an Iraqi War veteran, and grandfather, a World War II veteran, saying he was honored to be surrounded by courageous relatives. He also visited Midvalley and Midvale elementary schools and Midvale Middle School, and said he is excited to see Midvale Middle School, which will be great for community pride.

President Sherril Taylor thanked Jeff Haney, Jennifer Toomer-Cook, the District Administration, Wilcox, Dr. Briscoe and Facilities Director Rick Conger for setting up the Alta High School Ribbon Cutting Ceremony last month. He said it was nice to see the investment in the high school, and the students and teachers enjoy the school and upgrades.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
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