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.

Board Announces Committee to Assist in Selecting Next Superintendent

The Board of Education has selected a 12-member committee to assist in hiring the next Superintendent of Park City School District.

“We had many qualified candidates and did our best to create a mix of individuals who represent the community and district,” said Board President Andrew Caplan.

The committee consists of six district employees and six community members. Individuals will attend an orientation meeting the evening of Friday, May 4, conducted by HYA consultants who will outline the interview process and coordinate questions as well as the schedule and format of the interviews.

Superintendent candidates will be interviewed on Saturday, May 5.

The committee includes:

District Employees

–Bob Edmiston: McPolin Elementary Principal

–Shannon Hase: Park City Learning Academy teacher and parent of secondary students

–Abby McNulty:  Park City Education Foundation Executive and parent of elementary students

–Mark Parker: Treasure Mountain Junior High English Teacher and parent of elementary students

–Lorie Pearce: Executive Assistant to Superintendent

–Carolyn Synan: Trailside Elementary Principal

Community Members

–Fritz Edelstein: Grandparent of middle school and elementary school students, background in education policy

–Kevin Efrusy: Parent of secondary students, background in finance

–Christine Grenney: Parent of elementary students, background in real estate

–Meg Leaf: Parent of secondary students, PTO and SCC member

–Brenda Moss: Parent of secondary students, background in human resources

–Pablo Rojas: Parent of elementary student, background in technology

April 18 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

The Park City School District Board of Education hosts monthly informal meetings so that it can engage parents and members of the community. The following items were discussed April 18 at Trailside Elementary School with board member Petra Butler.

Superintendent Search Update

The board recently approved the appointment of David Gomez as Interim Superintendent. Mr. Gomez was previously the principal at Parley’s Park Elementary. Dr. Ember Conley began conversations a few weeks ago with the board regarding her transition as the new superintendent of Mesa Public Schools. She felt it was in the best interest of the district to appoint an Interim Superintendent. Mr. Gomez will remain in place until a new superintendent is officially on board.

The board met last Tuesday with HYA consultants, who are conducting the national search for a new superintendent. Butler said the board narrowed the field from 30-40 candidates to less than 10 semi-finalists. The board is appointing a 10-member committee comprised of five employees and five community members to assist in the selection of the next superintendent. Semi-finalists will be interviewed May 5. The candidates will be interviewed by both the committee, and by the board. Finalists will be selected, with interviews set for May 18.   

In addition to Interim Superintendent, the following interim positions have also been filled:

–Interim Associate Superintendent for Teaching & Learning: Traci Evans

–Interim Principal at Ecker Hill Middle: Sam Salinas

–Interim Principal at  Parley’s Park Elementary: Tracy Fike  

Master Planning Update

A parent asked for an update on a potential fifth-, sixth-grade campus. Butler said the board is focused on moving forward with the master planning process. The board recently hired NV5 out Denver, Colo., as master planning consultants. Business Administrator Todd Hauber said NV5 will coach the board through the master planning process and bring technical experts on board, as well as forming a steering committee.

Hauber said NV5 will find out how the community envisions the district and how that supports the vision of the master plan. Butler said the board is coming to master planning without any agenda. She emphasized that the outcome of master planning will be part of the community long after the board is gone.

Currently, the district is providing NV5 with data that it will study throughout the summer. This fall, more intense and longer conversations will occur with the community. A draft of NV5’s plan is expected in January 2019. Hauber said the plan will not look at individual circumstances and facilities but will be the vision that needs to be considered as the board makes future decisions. Butler said NV5 will, in essence, provide the board with a roadmap to move forward.

Testing/Grading

One parent expressed concern about too much testing occuring this time of year. She also asked for an update on where the district is with standardized grading. Communications Director Melinda Colton said the district is just finishing an audit of the actual time students spend testing; that audit will be released in the coming weeks. Trailside Elementary Principal Carolyn Synan said all schools are all looking at standardized grading.

Achievement Gap

A parent said the schools are not showing sustainable progress to close the achievement gap. She feels it is important for programs and assessments to be part of the master planning process.

PowerSchool/Canvas

One parent asked why PowerSchool and Canvas do not interface. She asked that there by one system for parents to check. She encouraged the board to have the current software systems evaluated for efficiency and ease of use for parents.

Budget Discussions

A retired teacher reminded the board to be fiscally responsible to taxpayers. The anticipated tax increase combined with a potential bond down the road, he worries that taxpayers will say “enough.” He asked the board to be more frugal with day-to-day spending and to be careful with funding contributed by the community. Butler said the board continues to ask a lot of questions in an effort to be transparent about what it is spending tax dollar on and why it is a necessity.  

Securing School Front Entries

A parent expressed her frustration with the lack of security as parents enter schools. She is appreciative of the remodeling of the front offices that is occurring, but says something needs to be done in the meantime to secure the front entries until the front offices are finished. She asked the board to consider hiring additional personnel to check parents in and out. Butler said the district’s safety consultant recommended against hiring security guards or off-duty police officers. It will be not be effective unless someone is guarding every door that goes into the school. County and city law enforcement have increased their patrols at all schools.

Recruitment Efforts

A parent asked about the district’s efforts for recruiting difficult to fill positions. Butler said that will be one of the board’s priorities for the incoming superintendent.

Next Meeting

The board’s next Information Exchange Meeting is Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at the Park City Learning Academy, 2400 Kearns Boulevard.

Board Meeting Summary

April 17, 2018 | Regular Session

Interim Superintendent Appointed

The board appointed David Gomez as Interim Superintendent. Mr. Gomez currently serves as principal of Parley’s Park Elementary. The board and Superintendent Ember Conley felt it was in the best interest of the district to hire an Interim Superintendent on a full-time basis until the new superintendent is on board.

Mr. Gomez has been principal at Parley’s Park since 2012. Prior to coming to Park City, he was an elementary principal in Granite and Jordan School Districts, and an assistant middle school principal and an elementary principal in Jordan School District.

Dr. Conley, who is transitioning to her new position with Mesa Public Schools, is committed to a smooth and effective transition, and will be available to assist the Interim Superintendent and the new PCSD Superintendent once he/she is hired.

Tracy Fike will serve as Interim Principal at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is currently the school’s Instructional Technology Coach.

School Improvement Plans/Land Trust Plans Approved

School Improvement and Land Trust Plans for 2018-19 were presented to the Board for discussion. 

Policies for Posting

– New Policy: Dropout Prevention and Recovery

– Policy 11000: Family Education Rights and Privacy

Policies Adopted

The board approved revisions to the following policies:

– Policy 2020: Authorization of Student Clubs

– Policy 9110: Acceptable Use

– Policy 9045: District Academic and Athletic Travel

– Policy 10100: Safe Schools

New Interim Superintendent Appointed

David Gomez

The Park City School District Board of Education has appointed David Gomez as Interim Superintendent.  Mr. Gomez currently serves as principal of Parley’s Park Elementary. The board approved the appointment at its board meeting tonight, April 17. Mr. Gomez begins as Interim Superintendent tomorrow, April 18.

“The board and Superintendent [Ember] Conley have made a collective decision to appoint an Interim Superintendent for Park City School District,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “The board and Dr. Conley feel it is in the best interest of the district to hire someone on a full-time basis until the new superintendent is on board.”

Dr. Conley, who is transitioning to her new position with Mesa Public Schools, is committed to a smooth and effective transition, and will be available to assist the Interim Superintendent and the new PCSD Superintendent once he/she is hired.

Tracy Fike

Tracy Fike will serve as Interim Principal at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is currently the school’s Instructional Technology Coach. Caplan said the district’s Business Administrator Todd Hauber will continue to focus on budget and policy issues and Mr. Gomez will focus on academics.

Mr. Gomez has been principal at Parley’s Park since 2012. Prior to coming to Park City, he was an elementary principal in Granite and Jordan School Districts, and an assistant middle school and elementary principal in Jordan School District. He has also served as the Educational Equity associate director for Granite School District. Mr. Gomez began his career with the Utah State Office of Education as an education specialist for at-risk, Title I students. He holds a master’s degree in public school and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

“My goal is to continue the excellence that PCSD is known for, while improving upon some areas of need in order to provide for a smooth transition for the next superintendent,” said Mr. Gomez. “The one thing I will promise is that each decision I make will be based on a single premise —what is best for students. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the entire PCSD community during this transition. Let’s get to work!”

Mrs. 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. Mrs. Fike has two master’s degrees, one in instructional leadership and one in business administration, and a Bachelor of Arts.

Board Appointing Committee to Assist with Hiring New Superintendent

The Park City Board of Education is inviting district employees and community members to form a 10-member committee to assist the board in the interview process for the position of the new Park City School District Superintendent.

Members of this committee must be able to be present for an orientation meeting May 4 from 5-7 p.m. as well as present for the interviews on Saturday, May 5.

Based on a group size of 10, the committee will be comprised of five school district employees and five at-large community members.

Applications are due Monday, April 23, at 5 p.m., and should be sent via email to Board President Andrew Caplan, acaplan@pcschools.us.

Those applying are asked to include the following responses to the questions below in your email. Applicants are also welcome to attach a resume with the email.

Questions for PCSD Employees

–Why would you like to be on the Superintendent interview committee?

–If you have participated on interviews or hiring committees in the past, please tell us about your experience.

–We hope to have a mix of PCSD employment length and roles on the committee. Tell us how long you have been employed by Park City School District.

–What is your current role and what have your previous roles been?

–What is the single most important characteristic for the next Superintendent to possess?Please feel free to include any other relevant information that you wish to share.

Questions for Community Members

–Why would you like to be on the Superintendent interview committee?

–What previous experience do you have on interview committees or in hiring personnel?

–How long have you lived in the Park City School District?

–Do you have children currently in the district or who have attended PCSD schools in the past? If so, please list their ages and which schools the attend/have attended.

–What is your current or past involvement in the school district? Please list all relevant participation in committee work, volunteering, and relevant work in the field of education.

–What is the single most important characteristic for the next Superintendent to possess?

–Please feel free to include any other relevant information that you wish to share.

New Park City High School Principal Appointed

Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley announced today, March 21, that Roger Arbabi, currently the high school principal at The Columbus School in Medellin, Colombia, has been appointed principal at Park City High School.

Mr. Arbabi brings 25 years of education experience to Park City High, having served as an assistant middle school principal at The Columbus School, and Granbury Independent School District in Texas. He is also a former high school AP physics and science teacher.

“Our family chose to come to Park City almost one year ago, not only for the quality of life, but also for the high quality of its schools,” he said. “I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of Miner community and to continue the amazing work that is already happening at the high school.”

Mr. Arbabi, who is fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi, holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Science/Biology. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador where he trained extensionists to go into the field and teach sound agroforestry techniques to local farmers. He also assisted single mothers to start small businesses to support their families, and developed and executed a seminar for two local high schools on the awareness of global and local environmental issues and the planting of more 1,000 trees in erosion areas.

He and his wife, Kathryn, will reside in Park City with their two children. His wife is an OB/GYN and will be volunteering at the People’s Health Clinic. Mr. Arbabi begins Aug. 1.

“Roger is a welcome addition to Park City High School, to the district, and to our administrative team,” said Tim McConnell, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources. “His background is unique and extraordinary. This is an excellent decision and we are so excited for him to arrive in Park City.”

Board Meeting Summary

March 20, 2018 | Regular Session

Superintendent’s Report

–Dr. Ember Conley highlighted the March 14 walk-out and said more than 1,000 students peacefully participated.

–The Superintendent provided an update on safety measures and projects underway in the district. A “Safety Update” will be sent to parents and staff in the coming weeks.

Communications Report

–Communications Director Melinda Colton encouraged the board to attend the upcoming “The Front Line and The Blue Line Working Together” event planned by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. The event is planned for May 14 at 6 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle School.

–She noted the district’s Facebook page views increased by more than 70 percent last month and reach 10,137 people.

–For the first time ever, PCSD is hosting the Utah School Public Relations Association on March 23. Superintendent Conley will speak to the association members on the topic of opioids.

FY19 Budget Discussion Continued

–The board approved $3.5 million for capital projects for FY19.

–The board reviewed the student fee schedule and want the Administration to provide a financial breakdown of classroom fees versus extracurricular fees.

–A detailed discussion took place about adding Tier 3 interventionist at each elementary school. Associate Superintendent for Learning and Teaching Kathy Einhorn said adding the interventionists is critical to MTSS. President Caplan said he wanted to see explicit districtwide procedures to identify students who need interventions.

–Dr. Conley is recommending an additional crisis counselor. Associate Superintendent for Student Wellness Ben Belnap told the board that counselors are working closely with mental health professionals to provide more services for students. With more emphasis on career and college ready at the junior high level, there are a lot of crisis situations that consume the counselors’ time.  He said having an additional mental health provider would be invaluable.

–The district is experiencing a lack of substitute teachers. President Caplan asked the Administration to look at the option of hiring full-time permanent subs versus just increasing the daily rate.

Changes to District Policies

The Board approved making technical adjustments to district policies to reflect current state statute references.

School Start Times

The board rescinded a motion from June 6, 2017, to implement new start times for 2018-19 school year. The board approved appointing a Start Times Board Advisory Committee. The committee will be comprised of stakeholders who will develop details on how to change district start times. The committee’s report will be presented to the Board by the end of 2018. Board member Anne Peters emphasized that start times will play a major role in master planning. Board President Andrew Caplan said new start times need to implemented in a way that is not disruptive to the entire district.

Policies for Posting

The board approved posting the following revised policies:

–Policy 2020: Authorization of Student Clubs

–Policy 9045: District Academic and Athletic Travel

–Policy 9110: Acceptable Use

–Policy 10100: Safe Schools

Policies Adopted

The board approved revisions to the following policies:

–Policy 2010: Eligibility and Qualifications of a Board Member

–Policy 7005: Employee Ethics

–Policy 7050: Administrative Sabbatical Leave

–Policy 10010: Student Enrollment

Policy Retired

The board approved retiring Policy 7000: Employee Involvement with Non-School Travel.

Board Meetings Now Live Streamed

The Park City School District Board of Education is pleased to announce it now live streams its board meetings.  Making the meetings available to everyone aligns directly with the Board’s strategic plan to “communicate with all stakeholders in an open, timely, and consistent manner.”

The board’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, March 20, at 4 p.m. Those unable to attend the meetings in person can watch them via the live stream here. A summary of the meetings can be found here.

The board meets twice a month — a work session held the first Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m., and a regular session held the third Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. All meetings are held at the District Office.

A schedule of meetings is available here.

Board meeting agendas are available 24 hours in advance of the meeting on BoardDocs here.