Focus Groups to Help Determine Strengths of Next Superintendent

HYA Executive consultants are in Park City this week conducting more than 40 focus groups seeking input on what the community is looking for in its next superintendent of Park City School District.

“The focus groups today have included interested community members and employees. We appreciate the directness and thoughtfulness in their responses,” said Darline Robles, HYA consultant. ” “This information will guide the board in its selection of a new superintendent. Everyone’s honest and participation is great appreciated.”

The consultants retained by the Board are Robles, the former superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education, and currently an associate dean Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She is also the former Superintendent of Schools for the Salt Lake School District. Carmella Franco spent 36 years in public education and retired as Superintendent of Schools of Whittier School District in California. She currently serves as Director of the Association of California School Administrators Superintendents’ Academy in Whittier.

The Board of Education has asked the consultants to meet with the following groups:

–Cabinet members

–Teachers

–Principals

–Parents

–District Office Staff and District Directors

–PCHS student leaders

–PTO/PTA Leadership (school and district level)

–School Community Councils

– Education Association and Classified Employee Leadership

–Classified and Support Staff

–Park City Police Chief and Resource Office, and Park City Fire Chief

–Communities That Care & Summit County Mental Wealth Alliance

–News Media

–Park City Education Foundation executive board

–Park City Chamber of Commerce

–Sunrise and Park City Rotary Clubs

–City Council and County Council

–Park City Community Foundation

A Community Forum is being held tonight, Feb. 5, for anyone who wants to offer opinions on what characteristics and strengths the board should consider for the next Superintendent. Tuesday, Feb. 6, a Community Forum will be conducted in Spanish. Both meetings are from 6:30 to7:30 p.m. at the District Office. Robles will return to Park City on Feb. 13 to conduct a focus group with elementary teachers (due to Parent-Teacher Conference conflicts this week).

HYA will conduct an online survey, both in English and in Spanish, Feb. 9-16. The survey will be sent to all parents via PCSD Chat and will also be available to the community on the district website.

Following the focus groups and survey, conducted this week and next, Robles and Franco will develop a leadership profile and present it to the board on Feb. 27.

A national recruitment process will take through March 31.

Three School Board Positions Open in January 2019

There will be three open seats on the Park City School District Board of Education, effective January 2019. Those interested in running for a seat in Districts 1, 4, or 5 need to declare candidacy March 9-15.

School board members serve four-year terms, unless appointed. Those members appointed and wanting to maintain their seats are required to run for a four-year term.

District 1 is currently represented by Anne Peters who was appointed to the board in June 2017 when Phil Kaplan resigned.

District 4 is currently represented by JJ Ehlers who serves as vice president of the board. She has served since January 2015 and has decided not to run again.

District 5 is currently represented by Julie Eihausen. She announced her resignation, effective Feb. 5. The board has appointed Erin Grady to fill that seat the remainder of 2017.  Grady will be sworn in at the Feb. 5 board meeting.

The 2018 filing period opens March 9at 8 a.m. and closes March 15 at 5 p.m. Candidates interested in filing for public office must appear in person at the Summit County Clerk’s Office during regular business hours.

Below are the maps for each of three precincts. Candidates must live in the district for which they are running.

Precinct 1

Precinct 4

Precinct 5

Board Meeting Summary

Jan. 23, 2018 | Work Session

Superintendent Search

Darline Robles and Carmella Franco from the firm of HYA Executive Search met with the board to define the search process for a new superintendent. They presented the following calendar:

–Feb. 5-6: Individual interviews with board members; focus groups conducted during the day; community meeting conducted in both English and Spanish

–Feb. 9-16: Online survey in both English and Spanish

–Feb. 27: Leadership profile presented to Board

–April 17: Interviews and final stages of search; candidates presented to board

–April 27-28: Initial interviews with 5-7 candidates (selected by search committee)

–May 5-6: Semi-finalists’ interviews with board

–May 6: Board identifies preferred candidate

–TBD: Board members conduct site visit and extensive background check

–TBD: Public announcement of new superintendent

The online survey will collect information from internal and external stakeholders about what they consider to be the most important strengths and characteristics of a superintendent. Feb. 5-6 Robles and Franco will conduct a series of interviews and focus groups with stakeholders. Based on the survey results and the information gathered during interviews and focus groups, a leadership profile will be created by HYA and presented to the board. A national recruitment process will take 4-6 weeks (through March 31).

The board will form a 12-member search committee, comprised of parents and staff. Those interested in serving on the committee will be asked to apply. Once the committee is selected, it will interview candidates and present 5-7 candidates to the board. Initial interviews with the board will be April 27-28, followed by semi-finalist interviews with the Board May 5-6. The board will make its selection by the end of the day on May 6.  A public announcement will be made following a site visit and extensive background check.

NOTE: Robles is the the former superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education, and is currently a professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She is also the former Superintendent of Schools for the Salt Lake School District. Franco spent 36 years in public education and retired as Superintendent of Schools of Whittier School District in California. She currently serves as Director of the Association of California School Administrators Superintendents’ Academy in Whittier.

Board Training

With new member Erin Grady joining the board Feb. 5, board members discussed possible trainings such as becoming a more cohesive board and governance for elected officials. The board plans to ask the Utah School Boards Association to conduct a refresher training during an upcoming work session. Board member Petra Butler said the board needs to hold itself accountable. She said it took courage for the Superintendent to come forward at the last meeting and tell the board it needed additional training. “We also need to work on respect with one another, having respect within the district, and becoming active listeners,” she said.

Upcoming Board Conferences

Butler and Board Vice President JJ Ehlers plan to attend the National School Boards Association  Conference April 7-9 in San Antonio, Texas. In the future, board members expressed interest in attending the annual Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) National Conference.

Board Meeting Summary

Jan. 16, 2018 — Regular Session

National Board Certified Teachers

The following educators were recognized for completing their National Board Certification: Liis Rametta, a fifth-grade dual immersion (English) teacher at Jeremy Ranch Elementary; Matt Nagel, English teacher at Park City High; Steve Cuttitta, English teacher at Park City High. National Board Certification develops, retains, and recognizes accomplished teachers and generates ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education. Issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the certification is a rigorous process that takes one to three years to complete. 

PCEA Report

Ben Kahn, representing the Park City Education Association said pre-negotiations are off to a great start. PCEA is looking forward to discussing meaningful professional development with Superintendent Ember Conley and Kathleen Einhorn. Kahn also asked the hiring committee for future Cabinet members involve all stakeholders, especially teachers.

PCCEA

Colleen Mutcher, representing the Park City Classified Education Association, invited the board to participate in “Bring a Board Member to Work” initiative. District department employees are willing to spend 30 minutes to an hour showing the board their department responsibilities. She also said the Utah School Employee Association Delegate Conference will be held in Park City in April.

Board Member Reports

Julie Eihausen expressed concern over the process to appoint a new board member. She said a sitting board member has a long-term friendship with the new board member and it was not disclosed by the board member or the applicant. She believes that relationship should have been disclosed in light of the 3-2 vote. Eihausen said she believes in full transparency and the process was not transparent.

–JJ Ehlers attended a PCCAPS meeting where she learned they need funding for noise reduction in their facility. The program also wants to rearrange its space so it can be used for other classes.

–Petra Butler reported that she is part of a new transportation committee that is working with all city stakeholders to study various modes of transportation.

Park City Education Foundation Report

PCEF board member Jodey Fey and Program Director Kara Cody reported the foundation funded 23 teacher grants in the amount of $75,200. Fey said this was the year of “all things tech.” Some examples of grants include: Makerspace expansion, 3D printer, modular circuits for electronics, recording equipment, virtual reality equipment, and hands-on STEM.

Communications Report

Melinda Colton, Director of Communication, reported the district’s recent national honors:

–USA Today named Park City High as the best public high school in Utah.

–Business Insider ranked Park City as the best school district in Utah.

–Dr. Conley was featured in the American School Board Journal as part of an opioid article that discussed the impact opioids have on schools.

Eric Equival, Latino Community Relations specialist, provided a monthly report on the Latino outreach efforts at the District and school levels.

Superintendent’s Report

–Superintendent Conley shared a TEDx Youth talk, “A Community Divided,” given by Park City High student Skylar Jackenthal about respect, kindness, and compassion. Jackenthal argues that Park City has lost its amazingness. Watch the TEDx Youth talk here. “You had the courage to speak out,” Dr. Conley said. “So many times we do not share our stories that can help others. Thank you for challenging us for what we can do to change.” The Superintendent thanked Teri Orr for bringing this program to Park City High and expressed appreciation to the Park City Institute for providing remarkable training for students.

–Dr. Conley also recognized board member Eihausen and thanked her for her service on the board. This was Eihausen’s last meeting.

Master Planning Follow-up

Business Administrator Todd Hauber told the board he is working on the request for proposal for a master planning consultant. He said there are different types of master planning and the district wants to be very specific in its need.

Budget Discussion

The Board had some questions regarding the FY19 preliminary budget and the district narrative. Hauber reminded the board it is only looking at budget items for FY19. The Board will address more details of the budget at its next Work Session.

Policy Retired

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

Policy Discussed

The board discussed Policy 9045: Student Travel, and a request received from the high school music teachers to allow eighth-grade students to travel to Normandy this summer with the high school band. The eighth graders will only be 10 days short of becoming official 9th graders.

The board voted to send the policy back to the Policy Committee to include an exemption process.

Policies to Post

The board approved posting the following revised policies:

–Policy 7005: Employee Ethics

–Policy 2010: Eligibility and Qualifications of a Board Member

–Policy 7050: Administrative Sabbatical Leave

–Policy 10010: Student Enrollment

Policies Approved

The board adopted the following revised policies:

–Policy 4005: Purchasing Policy

–Policy 7020: Drug Testing of Drivers of District Vehicles

–Policy 7025: Personnel Records

–Policy 7035: Scope of Employment and Use of Weapons

–Policy 7045: Benefit Status During Unpaid Leave

–Policy 7100: Professional Staff Transfers

The board tabled Policy 9025—Wellness Policy, until its next meeting. In the meantime, the Policy Committee will review the recess and nutrition suggestions made by parents.

Superintendent Search Update

The board has retained HYA Associates to conduct a national search for a new superintendent. HYA is one of the oldest and largest search firms, having assisted more than 1,000 school boards select leadership in school systems across the nation. Darline Robles with HYA Associates talked with the board via a conference call and presented an overview on how the firm conducts a superintendent search. Robles will meet with the board on Jan. 23 at noon.

Patron Comments

Superintendent Resignation

–Bari Nan Rothchild, a parent representing a group of community members, wants the board to ask Dr. Conley to rescind her resignation. She said Dr. Conley is an educator in the truest sense and has led the district during some of its darkest hours. She asked the board to find a way to keep her—keeping her would a avoid a costly search and a lengthy transition that will not benefit students.

–Sally Elliott, who has lived in Park City for 32 years and has served two terms on the Summit County Council, said this is the first time she has ever attended a school board meeting, but she came to express support for asking the Superintendent to stay. She said the district needs stable, competent leadership. She asked the board to consider having government official training to better understand their roles, which has been offered by the Park City Mayor and South Summit Council members. She urged the board to do all it can to retain Dr. Conley.

–Christina Miller, a parent representing several members of the community, said Dr. Conley’s resignation is a symptom of a much greater issue. Miller said she has spoken with parents, teachers, members of the Utah School Boards Association and Utah School Superintendents Association, business owners, and community leaders, and all want the board to consider asking Dr. Coney to stay. She said the district has a lot of issues on the table that need momentum moving forward. The time and money spent on a search for a new superintendent will take away time from students and teachers. She asked the board to take the Mayor’s and Summit County Council’s offer to facilitate more functional conversations with district leadership.

–Dr. John Hanrahand, a parent who has served on numerous district committees, expressed his respect for Superintendent Conley. He is convinced she has the best interests of students at heart. He believes she is the best Superintendent the district has had since he moved here in 1992. He encouraged the board to have meetings with the Superintendent to figure out a way to keep Dr. Conley.

–President Andrew Caplan: “From the board’s perspective, we are sad to see Dr. Conley go. We did not terminate Dr. Conley or ask for her resignation. When she resigned we respected her wishes and her resignation. No change is more important than the change in our Superintendent. This is not what we wanted to focus on. It will be a distraction to the district. The characterization that is out in the community that the district is a mess is unfair to the Board, Administration, and all employees in our district. We were recognized twice by national organizations this week, and have a Blue Ribbon School. That is a testament to the work Dr. Conley has done, as well as all our Administrators, teachers, and the board. Thank you for coming tonight and supporting Dr. Conley.”

–Superintendent Ember Conley: “The outpouring of the community has been extremely encouraging. The turnover on the Board has been very difficult and it has caused us to fumble along the way. Changing direction and executing the wishes of the board has been extremely difficult, both professionally and personally. With or without me, I am begging you on behalf of our district to have a mentor from  the city or county council. You asked me to do executive coaching, I’m asking you to do the same.”

McPolin Elementary Recess

–Stephanie Winzeler, a parent from McPolin Elementary, shared her concerns and ideas concerning its Wellness Policy. She urged the board to include recess standards as it updates its Wellness policy. She believes recess is not a privilege, but a necessary for students. She told

the board McPolin Elementary has eliminated one recess for fourth- and fifth-grade students and hopes the board will consider setting recess guidelines.

–Laura Rojas, a parent from McPolin Elementary, also expressed concern about the recess being taken away because of behavior issues. She said the time it takes to resolve recess issues with students takes away from instructional time. She said now is the time to work on behavior issues with the the fourth- and fifth-grade students before they move on to middle school. Mrs. Rojas said she understands the demands placed on the principals and staff, and parents have offered to volunteer at recess.

–David Peters, a parent from McPolin Elementary, realizes the board has a lot of issues it is dealing with, but also thinks it is important to look at any issue that has to do with the health of 8 -, 9-, and 10-year-old students. He believes it is extremely important for students to have recess. He asked the board to look at how parents can assist the school before the chemistry of a student’s day is altered.

EATS Park City

Jenae Ridge, Executive Director of EATS Park City, asked the board as it reviews its Wellness Policy to make the nutrition section more progressive.

Jan. 10 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

In an effort to engage parents, employees, and members of the community, the Park City School District Board of Education hosts informal monthly exchange meetings. Each month the meetings are held at different schools. The following items were discussed Jan. 10 at McPolin Elementary with Board President Andrew Caplan and board member Petra Butler.

Front Office Remodels: Parents asked what the new design of the McPolin Elementary front office will look like and when it will be completed. They requested the front office staff have input into the final architectural drawing so it provides an area that is as safe as possible. Caplan said the elementary school front offices are taken longer than expected to remodel due to a delay in materials. He said the elementary offices should be finished by the end of January.

Spanish Translation: A parent asked the district to consider contracting with an outside firm for Spanish translation services.  The Superintendent is aware of the increased need for documents needing to be translated and she is including it as a FY19 budget item. Another parent noted that not a single Spanish-speaking parent was in attendance at the meeting. She encouraged the district to develop systems and processes that are more inclusive.

Budget: Caplan said the board is beginning preliminary budget discussions and hope to have the FY19 budget approved by March or April to give principals the ability to hire staff sooner than in previous years.

Reduced Recess: A McPolin Elementary parent expressed frustration that fourth- and fifth-grade recess has been reduced due to behavioral issues on the playground.  If parents and the school can develop solutions, she wonders if the board can fund them.  Butler cautioned the parents about suggesting aides as solution. She said the district has 16 unfilled aide openings. Caplan encouraged parents to work with the principal to understand the decision and then together create alternative solutions.  Caplan also said the board is updating the district wellness policy and encouraged parents to comment on it. Butler reminded the parents “the board is primarily responsible for the district budget and policy and tries to stay out of school-related decisions. This is the year of “safe and healthy” and the board is willing to look at budget items that will improve student safety.”

Open Enrollment Closed: A parent asked why the board approved closing all schools to open enrollment. “As a board we looked at instructional space, enrollment, and capacity at each school. We also have modular classrooms in many of our schools, and we provide many more programs than required by the state. We also have a mandate from community for small class sizes,” said Caplan. ” We have had a tremendous amount of growth in our population in the past 10 years. This is the first year we haven’t grown. After looking at all the data, we realized we are out of room. So, we made the decision that no new out-of-district students will be allowed to enroll in our schools. It is a decision that will need to be reviewed every year.”

DLI Program: A parent wanted more information on capping enrollment in the dual-immersion programs at certain schools. Currently, every one who wants to get in the DLI program is admitted, Caplan said. “We are seeing a slight decline at Parley’s Park. Some schools have started other programs for students who are not in DLI and those new programs are appealing.” He said if a student applies to a DLI school and the program is full he/she can apply to another school in the district where space is available.

Superintendent Search: A parent wanted an update on the Superintendent search. Caplan said a request for proposal has helped the board retain a consultant who will conduct a nationwide search for Superintendent candidates. A committee of community and staff will do the first round of screening interviews and move three candidates forward for the board to consider. The goal is to have the position filled by this Spring.

Master Planning: The master planning process will kick off this summer and fall. The board hired a consultant this winter to help with pre-planning. The consultant’s recommendation was to wait for a new Superintendent to be in place before the master planning process begins.

Start Times: The board has researched and studied later school start times for years. “There is no good solution,” Caplan said. “With the current traffic patterns we can’t have the high school start later and guarantee that we can get them to school on time. We understand the science and want to make this happen, but we just can’t right now.” A parent who was on the start time committee said a school district in Seattle was able to implement a later start time schedule. She said the board needs to be more creative in its solutions. Butler said she agrees. “Because of traffic patterns we would need 50 minutes to get student to and from school. On the other hand, we have had just as many people oppose the schedule change. It all becomes a ripple effect,” she said. “We want to get through the master planning process and start times and where schools are located will have a direct impact on that plan.”

Bonding: A parent asked when the board is looking at bonding. Andrew said it all depends on what the community wants the district to look like in next 10-15 years. “If the community wants small schools then we will need more money. If they community says they like the way things are, they we don’t have to bond for more money.” Caplan said the board is depending on community input during the master planning process.  Butler said, “Education is incredibly important to this community. If we can show where the money is actually going I have no doubt we will have support for a bond. But we have to explain to the community why we need the buildings and why we need specific programs. And we need all of you to then share that with your neighbors.”

Taxes: A parent wondered if the board worries that taxes are going up in the county and city and if two years from now the community won’t want to support any more tax increases. Caplan said the board is raising taxes this year to cover staff salary increases.

 Interfacing with Park City: A parent asked if the school district and the city interact on a regular basis. Jon Weidenhamer, Economic Development Manager for Park City, who was at the meeting, acts as the liaison with the district. He said the City Council’s goal is to be a full partner with the board. “We work together to understand what our residences want and what the community values.” Caplan said the board has regular meetings with the city, as well as Summit County government officials. “We cannot be successful without knowing the city and county plans,” Caplan said.

DLI Coordinator Needed: Parents requested the board hire a dual-language immersion coordinator. They said Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Kathleen Einhorn has been a strong advocate for DLI and understands the issues related to the program. Caplan said the position is included in the preliminary budget.

The board’s next Information Exchange Meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 1-3 p.m. at Park City High.

Board Meeting Summary

Jan. 9, 2018 | Work Session

Preliminary Budget Discussion

Superintendent Ember Conley and members of Cabinet provided the Board with context for understanding the financial needs of the district over the next three to five years.

Dr. Conley presented the vision for a budget that looks not only at FY 19, but the district’s longterm needs. The district’s administrative team believes the greatest needs of the district are time, staff support, and consistent processes.

Cabinet is developing a budget that will have the most impact at the school level and improving student outcomes. The board will need to prioritize the district’s most important issues for FY19.

Board President Andrew Caplan said the Board is supportive of the direction the Administration is taking with the budget and personnel. Dr. Conley said the Board would see a preliminary budget at its Feb. 6 meeting.

Master Planning Update

After reflecting on the report from the Collaborative Learning Network, the board is adopting the following six steps outlined for master planning:

– Step 1: Understanding and Assessment

– Step 2: Reflecting on Educational Vision

– Step 3: Inspiring the Connection between Education and Facilities

– Step 4: Discovering Locally Relevant Solutions

– Step 5: Funding the Future

– Step 6: Professional Development Support

The board also agreed to submit a Request for Proposal for an “Owner’s Representative” who will coordinate the district’s scope and schedule of the master planning process and report to the district’s leadership team and Board of Education.

Board Meeting Summary

Dec. 19, 2017 | Regular Session

Master Planning Process Report

Nick Salmon, founder and president of Collaborative Learning Network, presented the board with his report and a timeline concerning the district’s master planning process. Board member Anne Peters asked what is the next step in the master planning process. Salmon said the board needs to determine how quickly it wants the process to move. Board member Petra Butler said she doesn’t want the decision to bond to drive the master planning process. She encouraged the board to take its time because it is planning what the district will look like for the next 10-15 years. Salmon concurred, stating he has a bias to fully use what facilities the district already has before building new structures. Board Vice President JJ Ehlers reminded the board it is waiting on the demographic study to be completed so it knows where student populations are in relation to schools. Salmon said the board could use this winter and spring to pull together the remaining pieces of information such as enrollment forecasting and geo-mapping. Time also needs to be spent in every building observing how space is being used. Board member Julie Eihausen agrees the board should take its time with master planning, but she reminded the board that in the meantime it will be spending a great deal of money to maintain Treasure Mountain Junior High.

Superintendent Search

Terry Shoemaker, Associate Director of the Utah School Board Association and Executive Director of the Utah School Superintendents Association, provided the Board with information regarding its search for a new superintendent. He reminded the Board that this decision is critical to students, to parents, to local community leaders, and to state policy makers. Shoemaker said USBA is available to assist the board in finding qualified candidates.

Superintendent’s Report

–Superintendent Ember Conley reported a district committee has been created to study chronic absenteeism. The committee will research why there are so many absences and determine possible solutions to pilot at schools.

–She said the district’s recent lockout drill was successful and districtwide drills will continue throughout the school year. The text messaging system was a great improvement and she says the district will improve with each drill. A request for proposal has been submitted for a safety consultant and the safety committee will review proposals Jan. 2. The superintendent is anxious to get a consultant on board to review all the district’s safety projects.

–Dr. Conley’s next Open Office Hours is set for Jan. 22, 2018, from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Board Rooms. Continue reading “Board Meeting Summary”

Dec. 13 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

In an effort to engage parents, employees, and members of the community, the Park City School District Board of Education hosts informal monthly exchange meetings. Each month the meetings are held at different schools. The following items were discussed Dec. 13 at Ecker Hill Middle by the parents who attended the meeting with board member Petra Butler.

Mindfulness Program: Rebecca Brenner and Randy Jo Taurel provided an overview of the mindfulness program being taught at Ecker Hill Middle this year. Mindful learning includes simple ways to reduce stress and improve impulse control, attention span, emotion regulations, and empathy. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Thanks to a grant from the Park City Education Foundation, the two experts are working with 12 teachers and three counselors at the school about the benefits and uses of mindfulness. The mindfulness exercises are then taught to their students and used in their classrooms. These simple tools can help students in the classroom and at home.

Master Planning: Butler said the Board has completed it strategic planning updates and is now starting on master planning. A consultant has been retained and will present his plan to the board next week. The Board will then bring in a facilitator to begin master planning with community. “This is the piece that determines what this community wants and what our district will look like 10 to 15 years from now,” Butler said. “Do you want new schools? What kinds of programs to you want your children to have access to? What kind of schools do you want? These are the kinds of questions we need to ask as we begin master planning.”

Start times and grade realignment: Butler said both issues will be discussed following master planning. For now, the board is not discussing either issue until the master planning process is complete. “Both are very complex issues,” Butler said. “Until the traffic on Kearns Boulevard is fixed, the board cannot guarantee students will get to school on time. Until we figure out the traffic, we can’t make it happen.”

Superintendent search: Business Administrator Todd Hauber said the board has sent out a request for proposal for a recruiter to identify potential candidates.

Temporary classrooms: A parent asked if the board anticipated adding more temporary classrooms in the district.  Butler said the board just closed all schools to open enrollment which will help in managing enrollment. Hauber said the board will begin discussing next year’s budget and determine if new programs will be added or current programs expanded– and whether or not those will require more space. Currently, the district has two portable classrooms at Trailside Elementary, two at McPolin Elementary, two at Treasure Mountain Junior High, and one at the District Office.

Community involvement: A parent expressed frustration that the same people are always at community meetings. Butler said the board is open to suggestions on how to get the community more engaged.

Superintendent Notifies Board – Last Day is June 30, 2018

Superintendent Ember Conley

Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley announced today, Dec. 6, she will not seek renewal of her current contract. Her last day as superintendent will be June 30, 2018. She will remain available to transition the new superintendent until Jan. 31, 2019.

“I wanted to provide the board with ample time to select a superintendent who will continue the important work that we have been doing over the last five years,” Dr. Conley said. “A successful transition is extremely important as we move into the next chapter for leadership in Park City School District.”

Dr. Conley has served as superintendent in Park City since 2013. Prior to that she served as a school and district administrator for nine years in Colorado and Arizona.

“My singular focus has been to provide choices and opportunity where students are excited to learn. I will remain fully committed to this vision we created.  As the head administrator I stand with my team in recognizing the tremendous accomplishments we have been able to achieve at PCSD for our students.”

As superintendent, Dr. Conley is responsible for the overall academics and educational experiences with curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional practice; District Office management; administrative team management; budget oversight (including supervising the planning, preparation and presentation of the annual budget and making recommendation to the board for approval); resources and facilities; and knowing current national education trends.

“Dr. Conley and her leadership will be greatly missed. The Park City School District has grown leaps and bounds during her tenure in our community,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “The Board thanks Dr. Conley for her exemplary service and commitment to our district and wishes her the best in her future endeavors. We look forward to celebrating her accomplishments with the community this spring.”

During her time at PCSD, Dr. Conley’s accomplishments include:

–Park City High named one of the top 500 schools in the nation

–Increased graduation rate from 89% in 2013  to 97% in 2017, which is the top 1% of the country

–Awarded elementary school, Jeremy Ranch Elementary, as a National Blue Ribbon School, the first in PCSD

–Lead two successful contract negotiations with staff after coming into an environment of federal mediation for contract negotiations

–Improved the achievement gap for Latino students

–A top  five Advanced Placement rate district in Utah with a 75% participation rate and a 70% pass rate with the distinction of being awarded top AP School in the state in 2015 and the top two AP students in the state in 2016

–National speaker and advocate to combat opioid crisis in youth with two national publications in School Administrator Magazine and the ASCD Education 

–Improved outreach with Latino community by creating an entire department for student outreach

–Enhanced community partnerships, including the establishment and support of Communities that Cares and Summit County Health Department

–Developed STEM programs at all elementary schools

–Implemented coding for all elementary students

–Added a gifted and talented specialist at each elementary school

–Developed the Beverly Taylor Sorenson dance specialist at Parley’s Park Elementary

–PCSD was named the only Apple Distinguished Program  in Utah for 2014-16 for implementation of its “one-to-one” initiative that supplies students (grades 2-12) with laptops to use in the classroom and to take home

–In U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 rankings, Park City High is one of only three high schools in Utah to earn a gold medal

–Successful implementation of international recognized Dual Language programs by the Spanish and French Embassies

–Added crucial administrative staff — Associate Superintendent of Student Wellness and Director of Communications — with a focus on student wellness

–Doubled the number of nurses in the district from 3 to 6 to address student health needs

–Created new academic program, Summit Learning, for the Park City Learning Academy

–Increased counselors and added social worker counselors to support families and students

–Developed nationally recognized full-day preschool program and added free all-day kindergarten for all students (the only district in the state)

–Named to two national education organization boards that include AASA and the Horace Mann Executive Board

Board Meeting Summary

Dec. 5, 2017 | Special Regular Session

Master Planning Consultant

The board met with Nick Salmon, founder and president of Collaborative Learning Network, who has been retained as a consultant to assist the board in developing a plan for its master planning process. He will identify the data needed for the planning process including enrollment, school sites, facilities, and funding; create a timeline; assess the feasibility of completing a master plan for bond election scenarios; identify key participants in the planning effort; and identify community engagement tools. This week, Salmon is touring all PCSD schools and properties to review current space uses and to meet with school leaders to establish key issues at each site. He is meeting with the Facility Committee to review the planning process and to identify community partners for the planning process and school success. He will present his findings to the board by Dec. 14.

Cell Phone Towers

Business Administrator Todd Hauber asked the board if it would consider installing AT&T cell phone towers at Dozier Field or on the side of the Eccles loft section. The proposed lease agreement could generate $1,000-$1,500 a month for the district. The board said it prefers to see more detailed renderings of what the cell phone towers look like before committing to the lease.

Transportation Update

Park City Municipal Transportation Planning Manager Alfred Knotts and Senior Transportation Planner Julia Collins shared updates about Park City’s Transit Tunnel and the Highway 248 project. They reminded the board that the city is designing and implementing an integrated system of trails, buses, roads, and alternative transportation options in an effort to providing transportation access to all residents and visitors, preserving our small-town character, and meeting the city’s net-zero carbon goals. Knotts said the city will continue its ongoing communication with the district as it moves forward on this project and others.

Human Resources Review

Following a recent review of the Human Resources Department, Associate Superintendent Tim McConnell presented the board with the department’s goals and action steps to address the findings. The review looked at the department’s branding, recruiting, screening, hiring, and onboarding. The department has adopted “Adventure Awaits in Park City School District” as its branding in all teacher recruiting and marketing. The district will take part in several presentations, college and university job fairs, and Education Week’s Virtual Job Fair later this Spring. It will also recruit dual immersion teachers through university DLI programs and career placement centers. The application process has been streamlined and the process for screening, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new teachers is being evaluated and improved.

School Safety Review

–Superintendent Ember Conley said the district is holding additional safety training for staff, reviewing and updating policies and procedures, and studying vulnerabilities during an emergency. A districtwide lockdown/lockout drill is planned for Dec. 15, with law enforcement, to practice emergency response procedures. She plans to conduct similar drills monthly on a districtwide basis.  A tabletop active shooter drill is planned for Feb. 26.

–Dr. Conley has been in contact with school safety consultants to help the district determine best practices. She hopes to have a request for proposal sent out to potential consultants before Winter Break.

– She has met with a vendor for a cell phone booster for schools that have “dead spots.” All intercoms have been checked and four have been repaired or reconnected.

–Construction is underway on the elementary school front office vestibules. The work should be completed by the end of the Winter Break.

–A Safety Sub-Committee recently met to review Visitor Management Systems, and a recommendation for an Emergency Management system will soon be recommended.

–Board President Andrew Caplan urged the Superintendent to retain a security expert/consultant to help guide the district on its safety improvements.

– Board members Petra Butler and Anne Peters suggested an interim fence for portables until fences are installed later this Spring. 

Student Appeal

The board reviewed a student appeal and voted to revoke the suspension, per Policy 10100 – Safe Schools.

Policies for Posting

–Policy 7025: Personnel Records

–Policy 7035: Scope of Employment and Use of Weapon

Policies Approved

The board approved revisions to the following policies:

–Policy 7085: Employing Licensed Staff

–Policy 7160: Orderly Termination

–Policy 10001: Bullying

–Policy 10026: Home School Dual Enrollment