PCSD Hires Additional Secondary Assistant Principals

Park City School District Interim Superintendent David Gomez has announced the addition of four new secondary assistant principals for the 2018-19 school year.

By adding an additional assistant principal at each secondary school, Superintendent Gomez said it will bring the ratio of administrators to students more in line with the Utah ratio. Principals have also said they need additional administrators in their buildings to help with licensed evaluations, assist with UHSAA and club sports, school clubs, student supervision, safety, student wellness, discipline, evening and weekend activities, increase in 504s, and parent communication.

–Jamie Weekes, currently an assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle, appointed assistant principal at Park City High

–Melissa Tschabrun, currently an instructional coach at Treasure Mountain Junior High, appointed assistant principal at TMJH

–Claustina Mahon-Reynolds, currently Educational Equity Supervisor for Salt Lake City School District, appointed assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle

–Tracy Fike, currently Interim Principal at Parley’s Park Elementary, appointed assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle (one-year appointment)

Jamie Weekes

Jamie Weekes

Weekes has been teaching for the past 15 years at middle school, high school, and summer school levels. She has worked as a math interventionist for eight years in both middle school and high school. Weekes has taught at Park City High for six years.

Melissa Tschabrun

Melissa Tschabrun

Tschabrun started her career in education 14 years ago in Vermont where she was a math teacher, alpine ski coach, and soccer coach. She has taught middle school math at a charter school, and taught high school math and served as the department chair at a private school in Salt Lake City. She came to PCSD two years ago as a math teacher at TMJH. She spent half her time this past school year as an instructional coach at the school.

Claustina Mahon-Reynolds

Claustina Mahon-Reynolds

Originally from Westchester County, New York, Mahon-Reynolds is starting her 19th year in education. Her educational experience includes teaching (K-12), coaching (K-6), middle school administrator, higher education instructor, and staff developer. She is currently completing her doctoral studies at the University of Utah in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. She has lived in Utah for 13 years.

Tracy Fike

Tracy Fike

Fike has been the Instructional Technology Coach at Parley’s since 2016 and has been an administrative intern at Parley’s Park, Ecker Hill Middle, and Park City High. From 2013-16 she was a reading intervention teacher at Ecker Hill Middle.

Board Meeting Summary

June 21, 2018 | Special Regular Session

Budget Hearing

The board approved the FY18 Revised Budget and the FY19 Preliminary Budget by a vote of 4-1. Board member Petra Butler dissented. The board unanimously approved the preliminary property tax rates.

Ecker Tunnel 

Derrick Radke, Public Works Director for Summit County, reviewed the Park-and-Ride lot under construction on Kilby Road. The board granted easements for a tunnel that will connect the school to the Park-and-Ride. The county assured the board it will install high-resolution cameras in the lot for heightened security and will provide a camera feed from the tunnel to the school. Radke said the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to patrol the area on a regular basis and will assist with increased traffic the first few days of the school year. Board member Petra Butler asked if the county was concerned about the additional traffic on Kilby Road. Radke said road improvements will help with the anticipated capacity. He said many Park-and-Ride users will not increase traffic during school hours. Radke anticipates the tunnel will complete before the 2018-19 school year starts.

Board Selects SR 248 Tunnel Design Option

The Board selected Option 1A for  Park City’s proposed pedestrian and bike tunnel planned under SR 248. The proposed tunnel is in front of Park City High and LDS Seminary. It will replace the existing signalized crosswalk. The tunnel will provide for a higher level of safety and connectivity for students as well as the community at-large, and will improve the overall delay and vehicle congestion on Kearns Boulevard.

Policies for Posting

– Policy 7070: Maternity and Paternity Leave

– Policy 7165: Educator Evaluation

– Policy 11103: Visitor Access

Policies Approved

– Policy 7085: Employing Licensed Staff

– Policy 7110: Resignations

Board Meeting Summary

June 19, 2018 | Regular Session

Consent Items

There was not a quorum of board members present at the meeting so  consent items could not be approved. The board is holding a Special Regular Session on Thursday, June 22, at 6 p.m. to approve consent items, review policies for posting and approval, and vote on the FY18 Revised Budget and the FY19 Preliminary Budget.

Student Report

School board student representative Steven Mitchell said he plans to poll students this fall on topics the board is discussing so he can accurately reflect student opinions.

Communications Report

Communications Director Melinda Colton reported PCSD Chat will be used this summer to keep Summer School parents updated. She said traffic on the district’s social media channels continues to increase and she is posting frequently throughout the summer months. Facebook followers increased by 37 percent last month and page views increased by 49 percent. Colton is participating in a virtual Social Media Camp next week to stay current in the latest education trends around using social media as a key communications tool.

Superintendent Report

Interim Superintendent David Gomez thanked Colton for providing clear communications on some of the sensitive issues that recently occurred. He reported that he talks with incoming Superintendent Jill Gildea weekly and should know her timeline for arriving in Park City in the coming weeks. Superintendent Gomez also reported the district had a large pool of candidates for the new secondary assistant principal positions, which included a 50/50 mix of internal and external candidates.

Proposed SR 248 Tunnel

Julia Collins, Senior Transportation Planner for Park City, and Rob Sunderlage, an associate with Horrocks Engineers, reviewed three design options for a proposed pedestrian and bike tunnel planned under SR 248. The proposed tunnel will be in front of Park City High and LDS Seminary. It will replace the existing signalized crosswalk. Collins said the tunnel will provide for a higher level of safety and connectivity for students as well as the community at-large, and will improve the overall delay and vehicle congestion on Kearns Boulevard. She aid the city has conducted a SR2 48 corridor improvement study, gathered community input, collaborated with UDOT, the LDS Seminary, and area residents, completed traffic analysis, and continues ongoing discussions with the school district.

Board Vice President JJ Ehlers said she will poll the board this week to determine their preferred option. Ehlers also asked the city to look into the feasibility of adding electric charging stations during the construction process of the tunnel.

City officials will meet with the board again in August to request easements and review the memo of understanding. Park City plans to finalize the design this summer, with construction commencing in Spring 2019.

Public Comment

–Micaela Carriel, a social studies teacher at Park City High and the women’s soccer coach, expressed appreciation to the board for adding 30 paid days to its maternity leave. She said it makes her feel valued as an educator. She asked the board to review the wording so teachers who are expecting during Summer or Winter Recess can take their maternity leave from their contracted days.

–Melissa Perry, a math teacher at Park City High, thanked the board for its consideration of offering 30 paid days to the district’s maternity leave for mothers and fathers. She said it will help reduce the financial burden on teachers.

Budget Hearing

The board will meet Thursday, June 21, to vote on the FY18 Revised Budget, and the FY19 Preliminary Budget.

Budget Hearing Public Comment  

Jim Tedford, a retired teacher and community member, said given the city and county tax increases, he has concerns about the budget and proposed tax increase from the school district. He questioned why the board is hiring three more assistant principals at its secondary schools. He also expressed concern about the salary and benefits the board is paying the new Superintendent.

Board Meeting Summary

June 5, 2018 | Special Regular Session

FY19 Budget Discussion

The board continued its discussion of the FY19 budget, including the addition of two special education teachers for elementary schools, one additional transition teacher for post high schools students with mild/moderate disabilities, the cost of the classified job study recommendations, and the elimination of some student fees.

Two Additional Special Education Teachers: Interim Principal David Gomez shared data that illustrates significant gains academically when there are additional specialized personnel helping special education students. Special education teachers also require additional time for professional development for better alignment with general ed teachers and interventionists. The teachers current caseloads do not allow them to provide the kind of one-on-one instruction they would like to give to their students. Additionally, a new law requires more accountability from school districts to show that special education students are making progress.

One Additional Transition Teacher: The board agreed to not fund the transition teacher position for post high school in this budget but will use the coming year to find out the needs of students and parents for such a program.

Classified Job Study: Business Administrator Todd Hauber said 29 employees are impacted by the district’s recent review and salary study of classified positions.

Elimination of Academic Student Fees: The board affirms that a public education should be free to the patrons of the school district and that barriers to public education should be removed wherever possible. In that effort, the school board has waived the fee requirements for mandatory and academic fees for the 2018-19 school year. Hauber presented the board with a list of discontinued academic students fees in the amount of $691,900.  The board’s action is not a categorical waiver of all fees. Fees subject to this action include fees for elective courses and general education expenses. This action does not extend, at this time, to extracurricular fees and other fees for activities conducted outside the normal hours of the school day. In all cases, remaining school fees are subject to State law and district waiver policy. Hauber recommended the rental of musical instruments remain with the families this coming school year while the district spends the year learning more about how best to manage instruments at its secondary schools.

Board Compensation

Board member Petra Butler recommended increase the board’s compensation by $7,000. She said the board does a tremendous amount of work and said the additional compensation will attract more people to run for the board. Board President Andrew Caplan said a study was completed a few years ago on board compensation. The board will review the study.

Safety Update

Interim Superintendent Gomez said the fencing materials have been ordered and work will begin on Monday. Work will also begin Monday on the elementary schools’ entryways and the additional items that have been added to the architectural plans. A districtwide visitor management system has been purchased and will be tested in the district’s summer school programs over the next few months. He said he is keeping the new superintendent, Dr. Jill Gildea, updated on the safety projects underway and they will be creating contingency plans, in the event that a project is not complete before school starts this fall.

Leadership Training

Maryann Billington with the Action Leadership Group based in Salt Lake City facilitated training for board members

Board Selects Dr. Jill Gildea as Superintendent

Dr. Jill Gildea

After conducting an extensive national search, the Park City School District Board of Education has selected Dr. Jill Gildea as Superintendent. The Board voted today to appoint Dr. Gildea, an experienced educator with demonstrated success in enhancing family and community engagement, in improving student achievement, inspiring innovative learning environments, and demonstrating effective fiscal management.

Dr. Gildea is currently the Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools in Connecticut and brings three decades of education experience to Park City. She has a proven track record in managing school districts using data-driven decisions and sound fiscal practices, working collaboratively with staff and parent groups, as well as with local township governments to fund educational needs.

She is known as a student-centered and future-focused educator who keeps students at the center of all decisions. She has been a Superintendent for 11 years, assistant superintendent, educational programs director, curriculum director, high school division administrator, elementary principal, and has taught at the middle and high school levels.

“Her experience as a Superintendent both in the Chicago area and in Greenwich will bring valuable intellectual capital to our district,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “Her history of helping children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally stood out to the board and made her our first choice for this position. The board looks forward to welcoming Dr. Gildea to our community this summer and we are excited to support her leadership in the coming months and years ahead.”

Dr. Gildea exemplifies the qualities the community identified as those they would like to see in the next Superintendent, and was a top choice for the the 12-member community committee that interviewed candidates.

President Caplan said Dr. Gildea impressed the Board as a strong educational practitioner and thought-leader, well-versed in the national conversation on public education. She values the mission and vision of the Park City School District with its focus on inspiring and supporting all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential. She has a keen understanding of what it takes to manage systemic change in order to achieve student growth and improve performance, create a master plan for facilities and managerial systems, and to enhance communications and family and community engagement.

“I’m honored to join the Park City School District and to work collectively on the important visionary and strategic work of an exemplary system,” Dr. Gildea said. “From my perspective in visiting other districts across the country through my work with a variety of national organizations, I believe that Park City School District keeps its students at the center of key decisions, and models whole child practice. The District is well poised as a leader not only in Utah, but in the nation. I look forward to joining this talented and dedicated team.”

An award-winning and published educator, Dr. Gildea has been recognized as an exemplary educational leader and for her work in communications and fiscal management. She has worked with implementation of a future-focused strategic plan, master facility planning, and scaling innovative practices.

She has received numerous honors and accolades including: 2014 Finalist for the National Association of School Superintendents’ Superintendent of the Year Award, the National School Public Relations Association 2013 Golden Achievement Award in Communications, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials’ Meritorious Budget Awards in Financial Budgeting for six years running.

Dr. Gildea earned her Doctorate in curriculum and supervision from Northern Illinois University, her Master of Education in language and literacy, and her superintendent’s endorsement from National Louis University, and her Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from Bradley University.

Community Members Needed for Master Planning Steering Committee

Park City School District is soliciting interested community members to be a part of its master planning steering committee. The district is seeking a diverse stakeholder group representation as part of this committee.

The district has retained NV5 as its owner representative for the master planning process.  An executive committee has been formed and is now in the process of  building a steering committee that ensures all stakeholder groups have a voice and the opportunity to be involved in this longterm planning process.

Those interested are invited to complete the steering committee application is below.

Steering Committee Application (English)

Steering Committee Application (Spanish)

Deadline for applications is June 7 at 3 p.m. The steering committee will not begin meeting until August.

Please complete the application and return it to Park City School District Office, 2700 Kearns Boulevard, (Attention: Todd Hauber) or email it directly to NV5 at desi.navarro@nv5.com.

Board Meeting Summary

May 15, 2018|  Regular Session

Superintendent Report

Interim Superintendent David Gomez reported on the Front Line Blue Line event held Monday night at Ecker Hill Middle School. The evening was presented by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the school district and Communities That Care. Nearly 400 parents attended and learned about drugs and online safety. A Resource Fair was also available for parents to visit with representatives from various community agencies.

Communications Report

Communications Director Melinda Colton said the district’s Facebook page numbers continue to grow and last month reached nearly 12,000 people (an increase of 33% from the previous month). She also reminded the board that all news coverage about the district can be found in the Newsroom.

PCEA Report

PCEA Co-President Ben Kahn said PCEA has appreciated the Administration and board seeking its input about the new educator evaluation policy. He also asked why additional assistant principals at secondary schools are needed and what their responsibilities would include.

PCCEA Report

President Colleen Mutcher introduced Conde Ponce, a custodian at Park City High, who was honored last month as the Utah School Employee Association’s winner in the custodian category. Mutcher also told the board this was her last meeting since she was retiring at the end of this school year. She thanked the board for its continued support of classified employees.

New Student Representative Introduced

Park City High junior Steven Mitchell was introduced as the new student representative on the board. Board Vice President JJ Ehlers will work with Mitchell this summer looking at ways the board can improve its dialogue with students and get their input on the issues impacting them.  

Master Planning Update

The district has hired NV5 as its owner representative for the district’s master planning process. An executive committee has been formed and is in the process of creating a master planning steering committee comprised of members of the community. The application process seeking volunteers for that committee will be published shortly. The executive committee is also in the final stages of reviewing the RFP for a master planner.

Critically Conscious Teaching Overview

Meghan Zarnetske, a teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High, presented information regarding the Critically Conscious Teaching cohort this year.  Its goal has been to increase collective understanding of social identities and to provide a safer and more inclusive school district for all. The cohort has met twice a month to discuss issues surrounding race, culture, gender, sexuality and how to facilitate conversations in classrooms to “normalize” marginalized groups. Three teachers in the cohort addressed the board and said the training has made significant impacts on them and the way the teach and interact with their students. Board President Andrew Caplan offered the board’s full support of the program and its goal to increase the program next year to 40 teachers. Student representative Mitchell said in the past few years he has seen a notable difference in the ways students are more accepting of each other. He expressed appreciation to the teachers for the work they do in merging beliefs and creating a more effective learning environment for everyone. 

FY19 Budget Discussion

The board requested additional information and data on the following FY19 budget considerations:

–Special assignment contract rate adjustment: In the past, the District has followed administrative guidance and practice for various types of work.  Business Administrator Hauber is recommending the district use the teachers’ base salary daily rate. 

–Substitute pay increase: The district is experiencing a shortage in substitutes. Improving pay will help alleviate some of the pressures experienced in filling assignments. There will also be an economic advantage for those subbing on Mondays and Fridays.

–Job study: Following a classification and market study of 60 positions in the district, the study recommends title and lane changes to 11 positions.

–Three assistant principals at secondary schools: The addition of one assistant principal at Park City High, Treasure Mountain Junior High, and Ecker Hill Middle School will bring the ratio of administrators to students more in line with the Utah ratio. Principals also need additional administrators in their buildings to help with licensed evaluations, assist with the 22 UHSAA and club sports, 37 school clubs, student supervision, safety, student wellness, discipline, evening and weekend activities, increase in 504s, and parent communication.

–Four elementary interventionists: An additional interventionist at each elementary school would provide much-needed time and support for struggling students. This will provide more personalized services to the students who need it the most. Schools will develop a plan that will be evaluated by a district team prior to the allocation of the interventionist.

School Safety Report

Board President Caplan asked that the principals reach out to their community liaisons and let them know about the compromise solutions on fences. Interim Superintendent Gomez told the board the district is posting the opening for a full-time Safety Coordinator to oversee and safety and security measure districtwide.

Public Comment

Laura Rojas, a parent from McPolin Elementary representing the PTO, expressed frustration with the district’s lack of direction and delayed timeline on safety improvements at the schools. She said appropriate safety measures are virtually non existent until the lobby remodel is complete. Board President Caplan acknowledged the board’s disappointment in the delay of safety projects. He said students are their No. 1 priority and anticipates all the safety measures will be in place by the start of the new school year.

Cell Phone Tower Update

As per Policy 6000, Modification to School District Property, the board approved structural changes at the high school, subject to an acceptable lease agreement for a proposed cell phone tower.

Policies for Posting

–Policy 7085: Employing Licensed Staff

–Policy 7110: Resignations

Policies Approved

–Policy 10021: Dropout Prevention and Recovery

–Policy 11000: Family Education Rights and Privacy

May 10 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

The Park City School District Board of Education members hosts monthly informal meetings so that it can engage parents and members of the community. The following items were discussed May 10 at Park City Learning Academy with board Vice President JJ Ehlers and board member Erin Grady. This was the final exchange meeting of the school year.

Class Ranking: A parent asked if the high school is doing away with class rank and moving to a Latin honors system (Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude).  Ehlers said the board has seen no proposal on this change. The parent expressed frustration that students are talking about the change because teachers are, yet parents have no information about it. She said students should not be hearing about these program changes from teachers.

Late Start on Mondays at TMJH and PCHS: A parent asked for more details regarding the possibility of a late start next year on Mondays at Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High. She wants to know the rationale behind this change and how it will impact transportation issues. She encouraged the District to communicate this information to parents as soon as possible so they can begin planning for next year.  

Standards Referenced Grading: A parent questioned the benefits of standards referenced grading. She said that not all teachers are educated about how it works, even though it has been piloted at Ecker Hill Middle School. The parent believes there is not a buy-in from faculty because the new grading will require teachers to restructure how to grade assignments. She does not want more stress placed on teachers and believes it needs to be rolled out slowly. Ehlers said the decision to move to this new system was made by the Professional Learning Communities at the schools.

Changes at the District: In light of the changes at the District, a parent suggested that changes to programs be placed on hold until a new Superintendent is in place.  

Update on Selecting Superintendent: Five candidates were interviewed May 5 by the board and a 12-member community committee. The board narrowed the field of candidates to two finalists and Saturday, May 12, conducted a final round of interviews. Ehlers said both finalists were both approved by the community panel as well as the board. The board will issue a public statement about its selection once a decision has been made, and the board’s consultants have completed its due diligence.

Board Selects Two Superintendent Finalists

The Park City School District Board of Education has narrowed its field of candidates for Superintendent to two finalists. The finalists will meet with the board on Saturday for a final round of interviews.

On May 5, five semi-finalists were interviewed by a 12-member committee comprised of staff and community members. That same day, the semi-finalists were also interviewed by the board. The  two finalists were both approved by the community panel as well as the board.

The board will issue a public statement about its selection once a decision has been made, and the board’s consultant, HYA Executive Search, has completed its due diligence.

Board Meeting Summary

May 1, 2018| Special Regular Session

New Appointments

The board appointed the following administrators:

–Jaclyn Knapp, Director of Special Education

–Jamie Weekes, Assistant Principal at Ecker Hill Middle School (one-year appointment)

(View Press Release here)

FY19 Budget

The board reviewed budget items related to expenditures for FY19, totalling $4.1 million.

–Ben Belnap, Associate Superintendent for Student Wellness, recommended hiring four behavioral aides to assist the district behavioral specialists. The aides would be trained by the specialists and dispatched to schools to provide immediate help in classrooms. The board requested a more detailed plan from Dr. Belnap prior to its next meeting.

–Dr. Belnap suggested the board consider a transition program for students, ages 18-22, with moderate disabilities. The district currently provides a post high school program for adults with severe disabilities. He suggested the same model be used for the moderate program. Board member Petra Butler encouraged the board not to bring on any new special education programs until it has addressed the problems that currently need attention. Board member Anne Peters suggested this budget request wait until the new Special Education Director is on board. The board requested more details.

–Interim Superintendent David Gomez briefed the board on responsibilities, implementation, and evaluation for four interventionists at the elementary schools. He also recommended adding one assistant principal at each secondary school.

–Business Administrator Todd Hauber reported that the district requires an average of 30 substitute a day. The district fills 86 percent of those each day. He is developing a proposal that will pay subs a daily rate, regardless of late start or early out, increasing the pay for subs, and offering an incentive schedule for those who sub more often.

–The district has received a preliminary draft of the job study reclassification report which includes recommendations to adjust the current salary schedule.

–Mr. Hauber is developing a special assignment contract rate for various types of teacher assignments. He will present that information to the board in the coming weeks.

Safety Implementation

Interim Superintendent Gomez recommended the board hire a district safety coordinator immediately so that person can be included in the new safety measures currently underway throughout the district. The district has selected a contractor to install fencing, and a vendor has been selected for the Visitor Management System.

Request for Exception to International Travel Policy

The board approved an exception to Policy 9045—District Sponsored Athletic and Academic 6-12 Student Travel—to allow eighth-grade musicians to participate in the Park City High Marching Band’s trip to Normandy, France, in June 2019.

Policies Adopted

The board approved an exception to Policy 2000: Student Representative on the Board of Education, allowing a senior to be the student representative on the board, instead of a junior. Board member JJ Ehlers will seek input from students this summer about how best to have their voices heard by the board.

Mental Health Awareness Month Resolution

The board approved a resolution to recognize May 2018 as Mental Health Awareness Month in Park City School District. The board encourages students, families, faculty and staff to take the opportunity to learn more about mental wellness in the variety of events scheduled this month by CONNECT Summit County.