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

PCSD closing all schools to open enrollment for 2018-19

The Park City School District Board of Education voted Nov. 21 to close all its schools to open enrollment for the 2018-19 school year. No new out-of-district students will be accepted next year. The board made the decision to maintain program offerings while holding class sizes to manageable levels.

Out-of-district students who are currently attending PCSD schools will be allowed to remain within the school system, but if they are moving from one school to another in 2018-19, they will need to submit an open enrollment application.

PCSD employees will continue to be allowed to register their children in PCSD schools.

The district currently has 168 out-of-district students attending its schools, 33 of which are children of employees.

 

Board Meeting Summary

Nov. 21, 2017 | Regular Session

New Board Member Appointed

The board appointed Erin Grady as the new board member for District 5, replacing Julie Einhausen who will step down Feb. 5, 2018.  Grady has lived in Park City for 34 years and currently serves as co-president of the PTA at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is a board member of PC READS and the Figure Skating Club of Park City. For 12 years she served as communications manager for Deer Valley Resort.  

Closing Schools to Open Enrollment

The board voted to close all PCSD schools to open enrollment for the 2018-19 school year. Out-of-district students currently attending PCSD and moving to a different school in 2018-19 will need to submit an open enrollment permit. No new out-of-district students will be accepted in the district next school year.

Superintendent’s Report

-Superintendent Ember Conley reported on her visit to the Western States Resort Superintendent Conference in Telluride, Colo. Participants discussed mental health, affordable housing for staff, bonding, student incentive programs, and staff recruiting.

-The Superintendent said the district is currently evaluating three certified educator evaluation systems, and is beginning Open Office Hours every other month starting Nov. 29 from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Board Rooms.

-Dr. Conley reported that the administration has reviewed protocols and policies related to the district’s emergency plan and is making improvements to the existing plan.

PCEA Report

Ben Kahn, representing the Park City Education Association, said the association’s membership has grown to 276 members, an increase of 36 this year. He said PCEA has an active interest in supporting provisional teachers, retaining excellent employee, and adopting an objective and equitable certificate evaluation system.  Kahn said PCEA is anxious to clear up lingering issues of off-contract pay and to have a voice at the negotiating table.

Communications Report

-Melinda Colton, Director of Communications, noted the newsroom blog has moved to the district website. After Thanksgiving it will be publicized to parents and the community.

-PCSD Chat was launched Oct. 25 and texts were sent to 5,345 parents. Each was asked to rate the district communications on a scale of 0-10.  With a response rate of 67.4 percent, the overall rating was 8. In addition, the district received 1,799 communication compliments and/or suggestions for improvement.

-Colton is working with AtlasRTX to develop a texting system that can text communications to parents faster.

-Eric Esquivel, Latino Outreach specialist, provided the Board with a written report of the the Latino communications efforts, by school.

Budget Discussion

Business Administrator Todd Hauber reviewed the fiscal year 2019 budget considerations with the board, including the anticipated tax increase identified in last year’s budget cycle.

Safety and Health Updates

Dr. Conley said emergency procedures will be updated to include a clear protocol for students staff housed in portable classrooms. She commended law enforcement for its quick action and arriving at Kearns Campus schools within five minutes of a recently reported incident. This incident showed the need for clear communication to students who are moving between buildings on the Kearns Campus. Staff need additional training, and technology needs to be updated in parts of the high school. She said students need to be trained to text appropriate information to their parents.  Our emergency posters need to be posted in every classroom in PCSD schools, both in English and Spanish, and a smaller postcard version will be printed to give to visitors in the building. Board President Andrew Caplan suggested the board discuss hiring a consultant to look over PCSD’s safety protocols and assist staff with additional training and drills. The superintendent said she has already reached out to three consultants to see what services they can offer the district.

Review Safety Policies

The board asked that district safety policies be updated to include specific penalties and repercussions for staff who fail to follow proper protocols. Board member Julie Eihausen asked the board to be careful about any punitive action and to make sure there is balance. Caplan said if the board is going to ask this of employees, it needs provide proper training.  Board member Petra Butler said we need to hire staff who make good sound judgments and said the district does not want to be in a situation where an administrator doesn’t know what to do.  Board Vice President JJ Ehlers requested substitute teachers also be trained on emergency protocol and safety procedures.

Master Planning Consultant

The board approved the hiring of Collaborative Learning Network to guide the district on the process for master planning. A committee comprised of a board member, community member, and business administrator reviewed RFPs and submitted a recommendation.

Policies for Posting

The board approved posting the following policies for review:

-Policy 3005: School Community Councils

-Policy 7015: Alcohol & Drug Free Workplace

-Policy 7171: Licensed Public Employees Personal Reporting of an Arrest

Public Comment

-Ann Futch asked the board why the district has not clarified its decision planning process and improved communication with staff. She was a member of the 2015 Teachers Survey subcommittee that made recommendations for improvement to the district.

-David Hickman reported his daughter’s class at McPolin Elementary was sent back outside to their portable classroom during the lockout. He wants the district to acknowledge its mistakes with the recent incident and encouraged more training and drills.

Board Approves Updates to Strategic Plan 

Based on feedback from the community, parents, and employees, the board approved the following updates to the district’s Strategic Plan—2018-2022:

Mission: The mission of Park City School District is to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential.

Vision: Park City School District is student-centered​ ​with a focus and emphasis on the whole child.  Our students are safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy.

Values:

-Academic​ ​Success: We are committed to engaging all students to reach their full potential no matter where they are in their academic journeys.

-Leadership: We are committed to continuous development, accountability, and transparency.

-Excellent​ ​Personnel: We are committed to hiring the best and the brightest staff in a transparent and fair manner.

-Communication: We are committed to communicating with all stakeholders in an open, timely, and consistent manner.

-Community​ ​Alliances: We are committed to a culture of collaboration with our community partners.

Board approves Strategic Plan updates for 2018-2022

Last night, Nov. 21, the Board of Education approved updates to the district’s Strategic Plan’s mission, vision, values and goals for 2018-2022.  The plan includes the following:

OUR MISSION: The mission of Park City School District is to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential.

OUR VISION: Park City School District is student-centered with a focus and emphasis on the whole child — our students are safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy.

OUR VALUES

Academic Success: We are committed to engaging all students to reach their full potential no matter where they are in their academic journeys.

Leadership: We are committed to continuous development, accountability, and transparency.

Excellent Personnel:  We are committed to hiring the best and the brightest staff in a transparent and fair manner.

Communication: We are committed to communicating with all stakeholders in an open, timely, and consistent manner.

Community Alliances: We are committed to a culture of collaboration with our community partners.

STRATEGIC GOALS

Strategic Goal 1 (Academic Success): Develop the potential of every student through data-driven and best learning practices to be academically successful and prepared for life beyond graduation. Provide safe, optimal and equitable learning environments for all students and staff.

Strategic Goal 2 (Leadership): Provide district wide leadership that exhibits transparency, clarity and accountability at all times and in all situations.

Strategic Goal 3 (Excellent Personnel): Create a culture of respect for all employees through recruiting, retaining, and providing professional development, while building the district’s leadership capacity.

Strategic Goal 4 (Communication): Continuously deliver efficient, effective, and transparent communication about the district.

Strategic Goal  5 (Community Alliances): Partner with families and the community for  the general well-being and education of our collective student base while including a culture of inclusiveness and respect for the rich diversity of our community.

New Board Member Appointed for District 5

Erin Grady

The Park City School District Board of Education appointed Erin Grady as the new board member for District 5.  She replaces Julie Einhausen who will step down Feb. 5, 2018.

Grady has lived in Park City for 34 years and currently serves as co-president of the PTA at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is a board member of PC READS and  the Figure Skating Club of Park City. For 12 years she served as communications manager for Deer Valley Resort.  

She was educated in Park City School District and is a graduate of Park City High. “My husband and I have chosen to raise our children in Park City and are committed to making it the best community for generations to come,” she said. “I want to look back  and know that I did my part in securing a positive future not only for my children but for the children of Park City as a whole.”

Grady earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah in mass communications, with a minor in business management.