Board Meeting Summary | April 16, 2019

Superintendent Report

– Accolades: Superintendent Jill Gildea began her report by sharing more than 75 statewide and national accolades that students and staff have received this school year.  She said she continues to be impressed with the great things happening across the district.

– Transition Plan: As a new superintendent she has spent this year focused on listening and learning. She is now assessing the district’s current state and reflecting on the necessary steps to guide the system with a strong history and tradition of excellence to realize our community’s vision of the future of education.

– Future of Learning: She thanked the community and education participants for their ongoing donation of time dedicated to master planning the past seven months.

– Standards-Based Learning: In many conversations and meetings, she said colleges and universities have repeatedly and unequivocally said that standards-based grades and transcripts pose no problems whatsoever for applicants. In fact, some of the most highly selective institutions in the world such as Harvard and MIT have provided public statements expressing this position. She said from a reporting lens, implementing a comprehensive/ robust learner profile (transcript) and a very strong district profile is the best reassurance to our community that students  will compete at the top universities globally.

Standards-Based Grading

– Board President Andrew Caplan: President Caplan said the board acknowledges that standards-based learning has been used as a successful method of learning in the district in some form or another for decades. While not a new methodology, the new grade reporting system at Ecker Hill Middle this year has parents concerned. He said the board supports teachers 100 percent in their efforts to provide the best education possible for students. The board also recognizes that we teachers and administrations are the ones well equipped to decide what is best for the students. President Caplan asked for the community’s patience as the district continues to roll out standards-based learning that ultimately will help the teachers provide the best educational experience for children.

– Superintendent: Dr. Gildea said the shift to standards-based learning is the way the world is going. She noted that none of the districts in Utah, who are using standards-based learning, have had smooth implementations. She said parents need to be better educated about how to use the data to see where their student is succeeding and where the student needs additional help. Ultimately, she said an aligned assessment and reporting system will provide the best results for students.

Master Planning Options

Chris Guarino of NV5, the district’s owner representative, and Christine Richman with GSBS, presented options that aligned with the master planning process of the past seven months. There was consensus that the 9th grade needs to be at the high school, and 7th and 8th grade need to be together.  The four options presented were weighed against the Guiding Principles and the criteria developed by the task force groups. The presentation can be viewed here.

– Option A: K-5, 6-8, 9-12

– Option B: K-6,7-8, 9-12

– Option C: K-8, 9-12

– Option D: K-4, 5-6, 7-8 9-12

Early Learning: Pre-K learning options range from an Early Learning Center, keeping Pre-K in the elementary schools, or a combination of an Early Learning Center within neighborhood schools, and added community services (extended day, healthcare services, dental, parent learning, etc.)

The board expressed appreciation to those who have participated in this phase of the master planning. The community is encouraged to stay involved, or to get involved and offer feedback on the options in the coming weeks during community forums or an upcoming online survey.

Budget Discussion: Business Administrator Todd Hauber lead a discussion on the tentative FY2020 and final FY2019 budgets. The budget can be viewed here.

Joint Use Agreement: The board approved a joint use agreement between Snyderville Basin Recreation and Park City Municipal for use of facilities for recreation.

School Land Trust Plans: School Trust Land Plans for the 2019-20 school year have been reviewed and approved by the board.

School Fees: The board approved the 2019-20 school fee schedule. The fee schedule can be viewed here.

Public Comment

– Jessica Sheetz, a teacher at Ecker Hill Middle teacher, said standards-based learning helps students improve and targets the needs of the students. She contacted several top universities (Stanford, Yale, Penn State, Harvard, MIT, Notre Dame, etc.) who said they all receive transcripts from around the world that use a variety of reporting systems.

– Parent Dr. Glenn Schemmer said parents and students are confused about standards-based learning. He said the reporting system needs to be implemented appropriately to be successful.

– Summer Marshall, the technology instructional coach at Ecker Hill Middle, is a proponent of standards-based learning. She believes it is essential to have a reporting system that is accurate, consistent, and supports meaningful learning for students. She said schools can improve how they communicate and educate parents about the tools they have to assess their students’ learning.  

– Parent Bari Nan Rothchild said she supports standards-based learning and asks parents to trust the system and empower teachers to get the kinks out along the way. She said standards-based learning provides data that helps teachers prepare students to succeed in the 21st century.

– Dave Howard, a community member who has been involved with Park City baseball for the past 27 years, asked the board to consider adding turf to the baseball field at the high school. He said the team has not been able to have any home games because of the poor condition of the fields this time of the year. Students are missing class three times a week and getting home late from all the away games.

Policies Approved

– Policy 5015: Transportation

– Policy 5020: School Bus Emergencies

Board to Receive Future of Learning options April 16

Following seven months of input about the future of education in Park City from educators, parents, students, community members and city and county officials, GSBS Consultants will present a range of options to the Board of Education April 16.

GSBS is currently in the process of creating education scenarios and evaluating them using the Guiding Principles, educational specifications, and criteria developed by task force groups. “The options will reflect the community’s vision and make the decision-making more objective,” says Clio Rayner, project manager.

Board members will get their first look at the options during its regular board meeting on April 16 beginning at 4 p.m. at the District Office.

“One of our biggest take-aways was how much agreement we saw from teachers, students, parents and administrators around the district’s mission and values and the Guiding Principles,” says Rayner. “As we moved through the process we kept revisiting these visioning pieces and each time they were reaffirmed.”

The Guiding Principles were developed earlier this fall during the Future of Learning Summit, an all-day workshop with teachers, students, and community members. Throughout the day major themes emerged when the group considered what students would need in the future to continue to be successful learners.

The educational specifications use the Guiding Principles and outline how learning spaces can be designed to help support this vision for education, Rayner says. The specifications were developed with the input of teachers and administrators during five learning leader forum meetings. The specifications will be used to evaluate the current facilities and identify ways to improve schools that focus on education first.

The consulting team is also analyzing the physical condition of the facilities including architectural, site, structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical components. Each school is also being reviewed for educational sustainability.

During discussions with the Steering Committee, “hot topics” that would directly impact master planning decisions were identified. Task force groups were created for grade alignment, school/class size, school location, Treasure Mountain Junior High, the Kearns campus, and transportation.

“The task forces were asked to develop criteria for decision making that related to each topic. That criteria will be used to evaluate different master planning options moving forward,” Rayner says. “We didn’t ask the task forces to solve the problems, but rather asked them to develop criteria for evaluating solutions to the problem.”

Rayner said it’s important for the community to know that no single option will satisfy all community concerns. “There is still hard work to be done by the district and the community to consider which trade-offs the community is willing to make.  Our job is to present the options that reflect the community’s vision and to do it in a way that makes the decision-making more objective.”

The community is invited to visit the Future of Learning website here for more information.

Park City High’s PCCAPS to Host National Documentary Film Tour April 15

Park City High’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies (PCCAPS) is a nationally-recognized model for profession-based education and experiential learning. As part of the CAPS Network, PCCAPS connects students, educators and business partners in a collective vision for the future of education.

The CAPS Network is launching a documentary film and speaking tour as part of a strategic effort to propel experiential learning throughout all levels of education. The film, “Where Students Lead,” chronicles the dramatic student impact of the CAPS profession-based education model, and its growth across the country. The film will be premiered across the U.S. this month, including a stop in Park City on April 15 at 6 p.m. at the Eccles Center.

Tickets are free with the use of promo code CAPSNETYES and are available now at WhereStudentsLead.com.

CAPS is recognized by the Department of Education as a national exemplar and by the Edison Awards for educational innovations in preparing students for higher education and the evolving workforce. Currently, there are 50 affiliate programs in the CAPS Network across 100 school districts in 13 states and 2 countries.

About PCCAPS

The Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program, housed at Park City High, was founded in 2014 to share experiential learning practices and innovative ideas for business and education partnerships. Students work with local businesses on projects to fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real-world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school credit. The CAPS model transforms the educational experience, centering on students’ interests with opportunities for real-world immersion and authentic projects, resulting in highly-skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders. Learn more about PCCAPS here.