District Statement Concerning Student Walkouts

The recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, and other losses of life on school campuses across the nation over the past several years have driven increased interest in student-led civic engagement efforts and actions, including school walkouts.

Park City School District supports students’ constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free expression; however, the role of our educators is to remain neutral, including when a walkout is held during contract time and on school property. 

Our goal in responding to student-initiated plans and other forms of peaceful assembly is to keep the focus on teaching and learning, while promoting student safety on campus.

If students do not return to class following any walkout, standard attendance rules for unexcused absences, truancies and tardies will apply. Classes will continue for students who choose not to participate in walkouts. Park City School District supports students’ rights to have varying opinions, and asks that there be respect for those opinions.

The first nationwide walkout is planned for Wednesday, March 14, and we anticipate some of our students will participate. Students will be supervised and law enforcement will be present.

Additional events are planned for March 24 (March for Our Lives), and April 20 (National School Walkout in remembrance of the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting).

Park City School District remains committed to a safe, neutral, learning environment for all students.

National Breakfast Week to Feature Free Breakfast at Schools

To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available for school breakfast, Park City School District will celebrate National Breakfast Week, March 5-9, by offering free breakfast on Wednesday, March 7, at all school cafeterias. The menu will include sunbutter and banana sushi and cold soaked oats parfait with fresh fruit and greek yogurt. Wednesday’s complimentary breakfast will be available while supplies last.

Breakfast hours at each school include:

– Park City High:  7:10 – 7:35 a.m.

– Treasure Mountain Junior High: 7:10 – 7:30 a.m.

– Ecker Hill Middle: 8:30 – 8:50 a.m.

– Jeremy Ranch Elementary: 7:50 – 8:15 a.m.

– Parley’s Park Elementary: 7:40 – 8:10 a.m.

– Trailside Elementary: 7:45 – 8:15 a.m.

– McPolin Elementary: 7:30 – 8:00 a.m.

Sponsored by the School Nutrition Association, National Breakfast Week is a week-long celebration of the School Breakfast Program. Research indicates that students who eat breakfast:

– Reach high levels of achievement in reading and math

– Score higher on standardized tests

– Have better concentration and memory

– Have improved attendance, behavior, and academic performance

– Are more alert

– Maintain a healthy weight

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education possible,” said R.J. Owen, Director of Child Nutrition for PCSD. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy, great tasting, and appealing choices we offer.

The district serves 50,000 breakfast meals a year, and is anxious to get more students to start their day with breakfast. School nutrition professionals in PCSD  prepare breakfast and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards – limiting fat, calories and sodium – while encouraging students to choose from the fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.”

The cost of school breakfast for students is: $1.25  at elementary schools, $1.35 at Ecker Hill Middle, $1.45 at Treasure Mountain Junior High, and $1.50 at Park City High. Students who receive reduced-priced meals only pay $.30 for breakfast.

Board Meeting Summary

Feb. 27, 2018 — Regular Session

Moment of Silence

At the request of Superintendent Ember Conley, a moment of silence was held in memory of the 17 victims who lost their lives at Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Safety Consultant’s Report to the Board

Cole Smith, a safety and security expert with the Tresit Group, presented the board with his analysis for safety. Smith is a former Special Agent for the Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. “Park City School District has been extremely proactive in their response to school safety and emergency procedures,” the report states. “All eight schools in the district would be among the top schools for safety posture and preparedness in the State of Utah based on frequency of drills, school involvement in safety planning, community engagement, and school upgrades for access controls.”  Smith commended the district’s willingness to improve security procedures, visitor access, and perimeter security are in line with best practices. He reminded the board that the report will not guarantee the practices put in place will completely stop and eliminate all threats in schools. “A trained teacher who can make decisions is by far the best. All improvements, additions, and procedures will complement a well-trained teacher.” The report includes recommendations for the following  visitor access policy, background checks, lessons learned from drills and areas of improvement, historical threats in Utah and best practices for school safety, future training for staff, access control and perimeter, and modular classroom threat assessment. The full report can be accessed here.

Superintendent Search Update

Darline Robles and Carmella Franco, consultants from HYA Executive Search, presented the Leadership Profile which was compiled from input gathered during more than 40 focus groups/interviews and an online survey. The full profile can be viewed here. Highlights from the Leadership Profile include:

–Strengths That Should be Continued or Expanded: high standards for academic achievement,  safe schools, strong sense of community, variety of programs to meet diverse student needs, curriculum (technology and DLI), community partners, innovation, focus on mental health wellness, and the quality of teachers, administrators, and staff

Challenges and Concerns the New Superintendent will face and should address: communication, equity and access, facilities and growth, uniqueness of district, lack of leadership from the top, organizational management, organizational health, lack of focus on eliminating the achievement gap, and lack of leadership for English Learners and DLI program

Desired Characteristics Essential in the Next Superintendent: One who has a proven track record and can develop a strong partnership with the Board of Education.  One who will foster a climate of mutual trust and respect in order to continue to attract and retain outstanding employees; as well as be an accomplished and experienced instructional leader with knowledge of best practices while demonstrating integrity and a professional presence.  A superintendent that is a visionary, an  excellent communicator and collaborator is preferred.  Other essential attributes desired are: fiscal acumen, politically  savvy, effective manager of the system, and knowledgeable about facilities.

The first round of interviews is tentatively scheduled for April 27-29, with final interviews tentatively scheduled for May 5-6. The board anticipates extending an offer to a candidate by mid-May.

School Start Times Update

Superintendent Conley provided the history of the school start times proposal, stating there was a past motion (made June 6, 2017) on the floor from the Board to implement new start times for the 2018-19 school year. The administration gathered the details of that motion and what it would look like financially. That information is included in the preliminary budget discussions. The budget will not be voted on until the end of April. The board is also looking at the timing of master planning and if it should wait to make any major changes in school start times. Dr. Conley said there are some traffic solutions being discussed by the city and county, but those solutions are down the road. Vice President JJ Ehlers said the discussion will continue March 6 when more board members are present.

PCEA Report

Ben Kahn, co-president of PCEA, reminded the public that the upcoming tax increase is a result of increased spending across the district, and not just a salary increase for teachers. PCEA wants representation on hiring committees. And Kahn said there was lack of transparency on start times being discussed by the Board tonight. Vice President Ehlers reminded Kahn that start times is only a discussion item because it is included in the preliminary FY19 budget.

PCCEA Report

Colleen Mutcher, president of the Park City Classified Education Association, expressed concerns on behalf of the Transportation Department, about the two-bell schedule. Transportation employees have a lot of concerns about the cost of implementing the new start times, the need for 8-10 new buses, the need for 10 new drivers, and the possible loss of benefits.

Communications Report

Melinda Colton, Director of Communication, reported on the Utah School Public Relations Association’s strategic effort to use district social media channels to push out safety messages, protocols, and resources following the Stoneman-Douglas High School shooting. Colton also said she has been working with Human Resources to develop its online presence for the Education Week Online Job Fair set for March 1. PCSD will be recruiting teachers nationally for the 2018-19 school year. At the request of the board, she is working with the HYA consultants who are conducting the Superintendent Search.

Budget Discussion

Business Administrator Todd Hauber presented $5.7 million in capital outlay recommendations to the board for FY19. The recommendations can be viewed here.

Patron Comments

–Lauren Strachan, a parent who has served on the school start times committee, said the committee approved a two-bell system for an 8:30 a.m. or later start time in schools to assist students in their mental health and well being. She suggested the board considered pushing all start times back 25 minutes so that school buses will not be on the roads during peak traffic times.

–Sharon Maddux, a teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High, said she attended board meeting thinking a vote was taking place on school start times. She expressed frustration that there has been no communication on this issue with stakeholders, especially teachers. Maddux said this issue will impact every staff member in the district. She believes start times would be better coordinated with the possible realignment being discussed as part of the master planning process.

–Elissa Aten, co-founder and president of PC Reads, said the Wilson Fundations reading program has been well received in the elementary schools. She asked the board to support the addition of four Tier 3 intervention specialists. She said these positions are critical because of the great need for intervention.

–Jim Tedford, a retired teacher, said arming teachers with guns is a very bad idea. He urged the board to support the students movements on this issue, whether locally or nationally. He applauds the students who are starting this movement. He encouraged the board to facilitate any students activities, within reason, that support this national movement.

Learning Academy Focused on Personalized, Project-Based Learning

The Park City Learning Academy has not only changed its name, it has changed the way its students are learning.

The Academy provides Park City High students with an alternative setting for core class instruction in English, math, social studies and science. Elective are taken at the high school.

“The PCLA is a setting for students looking for smaller class sizes, personalized and project-based learning, and an adult mentor to support,” said Principal Tracy Sjostrom.

The PCLA is open to any future 10th-, 11th-, or 12th-grade students “who want to be part of a close-knit group of students and staff focusing on social emotional well-being and academic achievement,” Sjostrom said.

Students can register for the PCLA by picking up an application at Treasure Mountain Junior High or the Academy. Summit Learning is a personalized approach to teaching and learning.

Sjostrom said Summit Learning combines core values, what science tells on how students learn best, and cutting-edge research into a school experience that is tailored to community needs.

The three pillars to the student experience at the Academy are 1) project-based learning where students work alongside teachers and classmates on real-world projects; 2) one-on-one mentoring; and 3) individualized pathways that empower students to set goals and understand content in a way that is best for them.

“We offer exploratory field trips, positive supports, and added encouragement. Students do not fall through the cracks,” Sjostrom said.

Feb. 14 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

The Park City School District Board of Education hosts monthly informal meetings so it can engage parents and members of the community. The following items were discussed Feb.14 at Park City High School with Board President Andrew Caplan and Vice President JJ Ehlers.

Connect Summit County: Executive Director Shauna Wiest provided an overview of the mental healthcare resources Connect Summit County has available to parents and students. Connect, now in its second year, partners with the school district to host events related to mental wellness, suicide prevention, improved communications between parents and students in the age of smartphones, and opioid addiction. Connect provides educational programming, outreach, and a database of resources.

Update on Superintendent Search: President Caplan said the Board has hired HYA, a firm that conducts national searches for superintendents. HYA consultants have conducted more than 40 interviews and focus groups, and are conducting an online survey seeking community input.  Data from the focus groups and survey will be used to compile a leadership profile which will be presented to the board at its Feb. 27 meeting. The superintendent opening is currently being advertised nationally and the board plans to conduct interviews in April. An announcement is expected by the end of the school year.

A parent asked Caplan what his top criteria is for the next superintendent. He said someone with experience and political savvy in a similar community, and someone whose strength is managing a strong team. He said the board is committed to “pulling out all of the stops to bring in a superstar.” He told parents that PCSD is only the second district in Utah to use a national search firm.

One parent said Park City has  high expectations and the district needs a superintendent who has the ability to say no to the community and prioritize what the district can accomplish.

Communication: One parent suggested more information about the superintendent search be included in the newspaper and on the radio. He would like to see more about the process and the timeline publicized.  Caplan thanked him for his feedback and said the district is always looking for ways to improve communication.

Homework: A parent said students are incredibly stressed due to lack of sleep and too much homework. Vice President Ehlers said there is a movement to decrease the amount of homework for students. She noted that Jeremy Ranch Elementary is piloting a no homework policy this year.

Recess: A comment from a parent focused on the importance of students having recess at the elementary level.The parent said he spent 25 years in education and has seen physical activity lessened in the name of academics, but test scores have not improved. He said there is an importance of having designated time for recess, to not only be active, but to learn how to get along with each other. Caplan said that decision is currently made at the local school level, but the Board is reviewing its Wellness Policy and discussing whether it should include guidelines districtwide. “We are looking at the whole child and what are the standards we want for our district. It’s at the top of our mind and we are addressing it as a board,” he said.  

Property Tax Notice: A parent asked for a description of the school uniform fee. Business Administrator Todd Hauber said before 1996 the minimum school tax was called the school uniform. It is now called the basic levy and that levy used to fund education. That title has simply not been changed yet on tax notices.

Master Planning: Master planning will begin in the fall. Caplan said the board has a lot of data about what the community wants. Later start times are a priority for some parents, but what does that mean about the location of the high school, Caplan asked.  “We need to determine what our curriculum and programs will look like.  What do we want our school sizes to look like.?” Caplan said the district is looking at about 15 percent growth in the next 10 years. “We are a mature community and everything we do is going to be costly. Ultimately, we want to make decisions that are the best for the community. After we do that, we need to look at how we finance it.” A parent said there are pros and cons to everything the board will consider. She said as long as people believe the board is making the best decision for students, the community will approve the board’s plans.

Board Meeting Summary

Feb. 6, 2017 | Work Session


Oath of Office

Newly appointed board member Erin Grady was given the Oath of Office by Business Administrator Todd Hauber. The board appointed Grady to fill the vacancy in District 5 after Julie Eihausen resigned.

School Board Filing

The filing period for three school board seats runs March 9 at 8 a.m. to March 15 at 5 p.m. Seats are open in Districts 1, 4, and 5. Those interested in running for the board must appear in person at the Summit County Clerk’s Office to file. The Primary Election is June 25 and the General Election is Nov. 6.

Preliminary Budget Discussion

Superintendent Ember Conley said the FY19 budget is built around three priorities: bring the district back to full staffing after the 2008 recession, focus on Professional Learning Communities, and provide student support for the Whole Child (safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy).

The board reviewed a preliminary budget with new items including such positions as: an elementary curriculum director, four Tier 3 interventionists, a high school academic coach, an additional nurse, school social work counselors, an additional Latino outreach aide, translation service, three additional special education teachers, additional bus drivers and a mechanic if the board moves to a two-tier transportation system, an executive director of Human Resources to address succession planning for retiring veteran HR Associate Superintendent, and additional DLI teachers at the high school and junior high. In addition to the proposed staff, the contracted compensation agreements for FY19 amount to $1.2 million.

The board is also considering whether to add one assistant principal at each school so principals have more time to devote to instructional leadership in their schools.  The Board also thinks it may want to wait until a new superintendent is selected and allow him/her to offer their input on the issue.

The preliminary net tax increase would be $5.7 million. The estimated annual impact on primary residential would be $141. The estimated annual impact on a secondary/commercial would be $257.

Board members expressed concern about having the right systems in place to properly onboard new employees. Some board members feel new positions should not be added until a process is in place to train new staff.

Demographics Study

The board retained the Salt Lake City firm of Lewis, Young, Robertson & Burningham, Inc., to conduct a demographic survey. The study included the following:

–2,349 new dwelling units in the school district boundaries in the next 10 years

– 476 new students from proposed developments by 2027

– The largest increase of students by 2027 will be within the Trailside boundaries with 217; McPolin boundaries, 91; Jeremy Ranch boundaries, 84; and Parley’s Park boundaries, 84,

–A scenario using natural growth and new development projections estimates a total of 716 new students in the next decade.

The complete study can be viewed here.

Cell Tower Update

The board was shown what proposed cell towers would look like on the top and back of the Eccles Center. The board asked the district to proceed with determining monthly lease revenues with the cell phone company.

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.

Career Compass Event to Help Students Find Their True North

 

Park City School District wants to know what direction students are headed when it comes to exploring their interests and future careers.  In an effort to help students find their truth north, the district is hosting a Career Compass Event on Feb. 12 from 5-7 p.m. at Park City High for students and families (grades 5-11).

The compass is the key theme of the event, with the four cardinal directions representing Ecker Hill Middle, the intercardinal direction representing Treasure Mountain Junior High, and the secondary intercardinal direction representing Park City High — each narrowing the focus as students proceed from school to school. 

“In public education, we tend to view college and career readiness as college readiness. This creates a “one way to win” philosophy and strategy for our families,” said Danny Fisher, director of Career Technical Education. “The truth present in the jobs market is that there are many ways to arrive at success and this event is designed to share more of these ‘many ways to win’ with our students.”

As students mature and progress in their career interests they should move from exploring to tactically engaging in classes, clubs, and experiences that will provide them a strategic advantage in whatever their goals are for the next stage in life. Fisher said the end goal of this event is to start or support meaningful conversations with students, parents, teachers, counselors, etc. about how the culmination of our students’ educational experiences will “give them a strategic advantage as they choose a career and lifestyle that is right for them.”

The evening begins with a keynote remarks by McCauley Finnegan, a 2015 Park City High graduate who is currently enrolled in the Business Scholars program at the University of Utah, and Ishan Chho, a current student at PCHS.

The event will feature more than 30 breakout sessions, each hosted by a teacher and an industry professional. The professional will discuss the career field and what skills, experience, and knowledge students need to gain in school. The teacher will talk about what classes and clubs are available to support that specific career, and present a pathway of classes in middle school, junior high, and high school to explore the career.

Sessions include: hospitality and tourism, photography, digital design, construction trades, engineering, architecture, apparel design and production, fashion, interior design, aviation, banking and finance, healthcare, legal advocacy, biomedical, art, and filmmaking.

Representatives from Ecker Middle, Treasure Mountain Junior High and PCHS will provide registration information sessions. Additional sessions will be provided by PCCAPS, the Park City Learning Academy, Bright Futures, Park City Education Foundation, Miner Athletics, An Hour of Coding, and Blended Learning at PCHS.

“For students and families in the earlier grades, the event will be about exploring different courses and seeing the connections between potential careers and courses offered in PCSD,” Fisher said. “Students and families should know early on what supports are available through the school district so everyone can incorporate these supports into their educational and career planning.”

Fisher said this event is really about providing information so students can progress through PCSD schools and refine their interests and begin developing a plan to focus and deepen their knowledge base and skill sets towards their plans for the next stage of life.

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