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.