Park City School District has receive the honor of being named best school district in Utah by Business Insider.
“There are nearly 100,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in the U.S. The best districts are coveted, and a high-caliber school system can be a key factor when a family decides to relocate to one city over another,” the article states.
Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, provides a ranking of school districts. Their ranking is based on a district’s strength of academics, health and safety, diversity, and the quality of teachers.
“We are incredibly honored,” said Superintendent Ember Conley. “This accolade is a reflection of the incredible teachers and staff who are advocates for our students. We also strive to be forward thinking in providing our students with the best possible education,” she said.
Highly respected school leader Park City High School Principal Bob O’Connor shared Thursday, Jan. 11, that he will not be returning as principal at the high school in order to address health concerns.
Mr. O’Connor released the following statement to students, parents, and faculty:
“I want to thank all of you so much for your concern and support over the past several weeks while I’ve been going through a series of screenings and tests to diagnose my health-related symptoms. My doctors have discovered evidence of a neuromuscular-degenerative disease that requires me to seek multiple care plans and treatments. It is in my best interest to take medical leave to fully explore treatment options. Due to the nature of my health issues I will not be able to return as Principal of Park City High School.
“I am proud of my 21 years of service in leadership roles in the Park City School District. My latest service as Principal for the past six years at Park City High School is reflected through the numerous accomplishments of the entire faculty and student body.
“The students at Park City High School offer me hope for a brighter world full of music, scientific discoveries, athleticism, diversity and environmental stewardship. Their love and enthusiasm are infectious, which is something I will cherish forever.”
Superintendent Ember Conley announced in November that Mr. O’Connor was taking leave. Kathleen Einhorn was named interim principal. Dr. Einhorn will serve as principal the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.
“Mr. O’Connor is a highly respected educator and administrator. He is a role model for advocating for children and his staff. His exemplary service as a leader in the district will be irreplaceable. He is a advocate and champion for students.”
The district will post the position this month and begin the search for a new high school principal. The district will screen applicants and interview in March with the replacement announced later that month. A hiring committee will follow district policy with a balanced team of teachers, parents, administrators, and board members.
Mr. O’Connor was hired by Park City School District in 1997 and has served as principal at PCHS since August 2012. Prior to that he was an assistant principal at PCHS and a principal at Treasure Mountain Junior High School.
Schools in Park City School District are seeing an increase in cold and flu absences this winter. In order to control the spread of infectious diseases at our schools, the district nurses are asking parents to keep the following guidelines in mind when deciding whether or not to send their student(s) to school:
– Symptoms of influenza include and are not limited to: fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. In addition, symptoms may also include chest discomfort, head congestion, headache, nausea/vomiting (more common in children), shortness of breath, and sore throat.
– If you have concerns regarding the flu, have your student seen early. Treatment with medication is usually effective if started within the first 48 hours.
– It is not too late to get a flu shot.
– Students should remain home for the following reasons:
Any temperature greater than 100 degrees. Students should be fever free, without fever reducing medications for 24 hours prior to returning to school.
Strep infections require treatment with at least the first dose of antibiotics. Students should also be fever free and feeling well before returning to school.
Vomiting and/or diarrhea require that the student remain home until 24 hours after the symptoms have ceased without medication.
Marked drowsiness/malaise: Exclude from school if student is unable to actively participate in routine school activities. Needs to be symptom free for 24 hours.
If your student has pinkeye (conjunctivitis) with purulent discharge. Exclude from school until 24 hours after treatment or cleared by health care professional.
Encourage hand washing and refrain from touching the eyes.
– As a general rule, students should remain home until they have been symptom free for 24 hours. This is important for your student’s health and the health of his/her classmates and staff. Please continue to remind your student of the importance of frequent hand washing, proper nutrition, adequate rest, and proper use and disposal of tissues during this cold and flu season.
– When notifying the school of your student’s absence, please notify the attendance receptionist of the reason for the absence. This assists the nurse in her efforts to control the spread of disease in the school environment.
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
With snow falling in Park City this weekend, here is an explanation of Park City School District’s school closure procedures. Parents and staff should become familiar with the guidelines and are encouraged to review them at the start of each winter.
The decision to close school, delay start time, or release students and staff early can only be called by the superintendent to reduce confusion between schools and programs; this includes cancellation of any elementary after school programs.
When school closes early due to weather, all evening activities will be cancelled, with the exception of high school athletics and activities, which will be determined by the superintendent and athletic director. Sometimes there are exceptions to this rule; and we will notify you of these situations as they arise.
By policy, head secretaries and 12-month employees, which includes principals and assistant principals, are expected to report to work as soon as it is safe to do so. This expectation is based upon the issue that we typically have families who do not receive notification and may show up to school. We are NOT obligated to keep students, but need to contact parents or an emergency contact to get them home safely.
The decision to close school for the day or release early is one that is made with much thought and consideration. The administration takes into account many different factors including the safety and well being of our students and staff. We look at the weather conditions, precipitation and temperature, based on information gathered from the National Weather Service (NWS), local road conditions provided by UDOT and discussion with the city and county transportation officials.
In the event that inclement or extreme weather warrants school closing, delay start or an early release, the following will occur:
Cancellation/Early Release of School: Parents will be notified as early in the morning as possible, often by 6:00 a.m., through the use of PCSD Chat and the local news media.
Early release from school will be determined as early in the day as possible based on information gathered from The National Weather Service.
Closings and Early Releaseswill be posted on the following media outlets:
–PCSD Facebook & Twitter
In the case of a two-hour delayed start, morning preschool would be cancelled; afternoon preschool would be held. Staff would be expected to be on time and ready to work. As for food service, breakfast would NOT be served, but lunch would be provided.
This is the process going forward:
For a snow day where school is canceled, 12-month employees are required to report to work as soon as it is safe to do so.
For an early release, the decision to close school or release early due to the weather is made by the superintendent in consultation with the administrative team, and UDOT. The safety and well being of our students and staff is at the forefront of the decision. All staff are required to remain at their work location until all students have been picked up or until released by the superintendent.
For a late start where the start of school is delayed by an hour or two, employees would come in at the later time — so a two hour delay, employees come in two hours later.
In the case of a two-hour delay, morning preschool would be cancelled; afternoon preschool would be held. Staff would be expected to be on time and ready. As for food service, breakfast would NOT be served, but lunch would be provided.In most cases employees will be working their normal duties once they arrive at their work locations, although they may be asked to help out at schools with other duties if needed.
Superintendent Ember Conley emailed the following letter this morning to all parents in Park City School District outlining the safety procedures the district followed during Tuesday’s lockdown/lockout at schools on the Kearns Campus.
November 17, 2017
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we managed and evaluated our Kearns Campus lockdown/lockout earlier this week. Our staff had recently reviewed the district safety procedures with students after the University of Utah shooting; and our schools were prepared because of the safety drills and reviews we conduct throughout the year.
We are appreciative of the Park City High student who saw the individual and immediately reported it to school authorities. Law enforcement was called and the Park City Police were able to apprehend the individual and secure all Kearns Campus schools within 40 minutes. We have asked the City Attorney to charge the individual to the full extent of the law. Additionally, we have followed our school district policies and carried out necessary actions to prevent this occurring in the future with the individual.
In debriefing with the team, we did have an incident at McPolin Elementary where a few students were sent outside to their modular classroom during the lockout. This should not have occurred; and we have reviewed proper procedures with the principal and staff. As a parent of an elementary aged student, I can imagine the fear and frustration that a few parents have felt.
As we always do, we debriefed Wednesday morning with our administrative team, who debriefed within their individual schools. We have also received feedback and suggestions from our PTOs, which are very helpful. We meet this next week with our district safety team and will make necessary modifications to our procedures.These modifications often times result in more practice of the protocol, addressing areas of deficiencies, and changing systems, like technology and communication. We are in the process of looking at different emergency notification systems and will alert parents when we have that in place.
As a reminder, in the event of a school or community emergency that requires school lockout (secure perimeter), lockdown(secure perimeter and inside building), shelter in place, closure, or evacuation status, information will be provided to parents as soon as possible. Our first priority is to work with law enforcement to notify our schools and employees so they can take the proper precautions with our students.
Parents, please allow emergency personnel full access to the emergency by remaining clear of the school. We are reviewing several emergency notification systems that offer state-of-the-art technology so we can notify you more immediately. Our first priority is to mitigate the situation at hand with staff and students. We will alert parents as soon as we possibly can. Until we have the alert system purchased and implemented, the fastest mode of communication is our district Facebook page and website. As always, we encourage students with cell phones to text their parents, stating that they are safe and to await notification from the school district and law enforcement.
We reaffirm our commitment to student and staff safety and will do all we can to improve our protocol and our communication with parents.
Park City Police Department responded at 9:30 a.m. today (Nov. 14) to a suspicious incident involving a man brandishing a handgun in the field between Park City High School and McPolin Elementary School. A high school student spotted the individual and immediately alerted school authorities.
The police located the individual at the 1700 block of Kearns Boulevard. Police identified and detained the individual at 10:09 a.m. Appropriate charges are being screened through the City Attorney’s Office.
The lockout at all schools was lifted by police at 10:12 a.m. All schools are back to normal operation.
Police remind parents to follow district protocol and stay away from the schools until law enforcement deems the area safe. Park City Police and district officials thank the student who utilized the “see something, say something” protocol to report suspicious activity to officials.
The Park City Police were assisted by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Utah Highway Patrol.
Parents are asked to review the PCSD Emergency Procedures with their students tonight (see below)