PCHS Dance Concert to Present “Iconic” Tribute May 2-3

Park City High’s dance program will feature iconic music of the past century
at its upcoming spring concert “Iconic.” The performances begin at 7
p.m. at the Eccles Center.

Performers are students in grades 9-12 from the Dance Company, Dance Company 2, and Dance 2/3 classes. The concert will feature original choreography by students, as well as professional works by guest
choreographers and company director Ashley Mott.

Members of Dance Company chose this year’s concert theme. “They wanted to work with choreographing original work inspired by iconic music,” said Mott. “Music choices range from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Prince.

The selections represent many genres and styles of dance, including contemporary, modern, jazz, hip-hop, and AfroBeats (a stylized form of African dance). Approximately 50 students will be performing, and another half dozen are involved behind the scenes of the production as members of the technical crew, running the lights, sound, and video.

Tickets are $6 if purchased in advance (from any performing dance student), or $8 at the door. All proceeds from the event directly benefit the dance company and dance programs at the high school.

District Seeking Feedback through Calendar Survey

Park City School District has partnered with Hanover Research to a conduct comprehensive survey of staff, students, parents, and the community to gather input that will enable the district to develop a school calendar for the next three to five years.

The survey opened today, April 24, and can be taken in English or Spanish by clicking here. The survey closes May 8. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Responses will remain strictly confidential and all data will be stored securely on Hanover’s private servers. No information that could be used to identify specific individuals will be reported or released.

PCSD to Offer ‘Summer at School’ Programs Again

For students who may want to take a break from school but not from learning, Park City School District is once again offering its Summer at School programs.

Parents can register online here. The district program is taught for experienced, licensed teachers.

Elementary Summer at School, offered for students currently in grades K-4, is set for June 17–July 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at McPolin Elementary. The summer program is $100 and includes transportation, breakfast and lunch, and project-based learning with academic reinforced math, reading, science STEM and a host of other enrichment activities.

Secondary Summer at School is for current 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students in Park City School District. This program is set for June 17-July 11, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday at Treasure Mountain Junior High. Summer at School focuses on four themes: Flight, Space, Architecture/Engineering, and Survival.  Academic focuses will include STEM, writing, and math along with current events, building problem-solving skills, cooperative learning skills, and perseverance. Some of the enrichment activities will include hiking, music, paddle boarding, escape room, drones, art, swimming, rockets, service projects, bowling, and so much more. Cost is $100 and includes transportation, and breakfast and lunch.  

Parley’s Park Elementary Cuts Ribbon on New Greenhouse on Earth Day

Parley’s Park Elementary School (PPES)cut the ribbon this morning to open the school’s first outdoor classroom, a greenhouse where K-5 students experience science and nutrition education.

“We are very excited to create outdoor, hands-on learning experiences for our students,” said Principal David Gomez.“This greenhouse provides our teachers a new tool to create fun outdoor STEM learning.”

At the grand opening EATS volunteers taught students from kindergarten and third grade how to plant seeds and helped them pot tomatoes and herbs that seeded the greenhouse. “EATS is excited for the first Park City school greenhouse and the essential life skills opportunities the garden provides students K-5,” said Meaghan Miller-Gitlin, EATS ExecutiveDirector.

This outdoor classroom didn’t happen overnight, it took significant fundraising and staff/volunteer dedication from both the PPES PTA, Park City School District, and the EATS organization.“The process for the greenhouse started five years ago with a committed group of PTA parents who began working with EATS to expand the classroom to the outdoors,”said PPES parent Sara Sergent. “I am very excited to see it come to life, especially on Earth Day.”

This greenhouse is a first of the school district and is seen as an outdoor education pilot initiative. “The greenhouse is a great visual representation of where the Park City School District is heading with our master plan and integrating outdoor education into each school,” said Superintendent Jill Gildea.


Contact: Brandi Connolly | Parley’s Park Elementary PTA | 214-448-9651, parleyspta@gmail.com

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District Appoints Chief Operations Officer

Michael Tanner

In an effort to provide more efficient day-day-to operations, Park City School District has appointed Michael Tanner as its Chief Operations Officer. As COO he will oversee the departments of facilities and grounds, maintenance, transportation, child nutrition services, and community education.

Tanner has worked in similar roles for other school districts over the past 15 years. He was selected following a national search by an independent search firm.

Tanner has extensive experience in education, as well as corporate, government, and military management. “Mike comes to us with a broad range of supervisory and leadership skills,” said Superintendent Jill Gildea. “He will be a tremendous asset because of his strong background in master planning, bonding, budget administration, transportation, finance, and marketing.”

He has a MBA in Finance and Marketing, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Natural Resources Management. He is a certified Chief School Business Official and also has a Secondary Education teaching certificate.

“After considering a move to Park City for many years, my family and I are very excited to finally get the opportunity to become part of the community,” said Tanner. “I am honored to join the fine school district team, and look forward to leading the group effort to bring a number of operational improvements to the district. I hope to leverage my background to provide communication, visibility, accountability and execution for the community, and serve as a force to help drive positive change.”

In addition to his public education background, he has served in the United States Air Force since 1996 as a Pilot and Contingency Airlift Director. He collaborates with senior military and state department leadership to frame airlift requirements, articulate system capabilities and limitations, conceive strategic airlift plans, and mobilize resources to orchestrate international airlift operations in support of U.S. wartime and humanitarian relief missions.


Board Meeting Summary | April 16, 2019

Superintendent Report

– Accolades: Superintendent Jill Gildea began her report by sharing more than 75 statewide and national accolades that students and staff have received this school year.  She said she continues to be impressed with the great things happening across the district.

– Transition Plan: As a new superintendent she has spent this year focused on listening and learning. She is now assessing the district’s current state and reflecting on the necessary steps to guide the system with a strong history and tradition of excellence to realize our community’s vision of the future of education.

– Future of Learning: She thanked the community and education participants for their ongoing donation of time dedicated to master planning the past seven months.

– Standards-Based Learning: In many conversations and meetings, she said colleges and universities have repeatedly and unequivocally said that standards-based grades and transcripts pose no problems whatsoever for applicants. In fact, some of the most highly selective institutions in the world such as Harvard and MIT have provided public statements expressing this position. She said from a reporting lens, implementing a comprehensive/ robust learner profile (transcript) and a very strong district profile is the best reassurance to our community that students  will compete at the top universities globally.

Standards-Based Grading

– Board President Andrew Caplan: President Caplan said the board acknowledges that standards-based learning has been used as a successful method of learning in the district in some form or another for decades. While not a new methodology, the new grade reporting system at Ecker Hill Middle this year has parents concerned. He said the board supports teachers 100 percent in their efforts to provide the best education possible for students. The board also recognizes that we teachers and administrations are the ones well equipped to decide what is best for the students. President Caplan asked for the community’s patience as the district continues to roll out standards-based learning that ultimately will help the teachers provide the best educational experience for children.

– Superintendent: Dr. Gildea said the shift to standards-based learning is the way the world is going. She noted that none of the districts in Utah, who are using standards-based learning, have had smooth implementations. She said parents need to be better educated about how to use the data to see where their student is succeeding and where the student needs additional help. Ultimately, she said an aligned assessment and reporting system will provide the best results for students.

Master Planning Options

Chris Guarino of NV5, the district’s owner representative, and Christine Richman with GSBS, presented options that aligned with the master planning process of the past seven months. There was consensus that the 9th grade needs to be at the high school, and 7th and 8th grade need to be together.  The four options presented were weighed against the Guiding Principles and the criteria developed by the task force groups. The presentation can be viewed here.

– Option A: K-5, 6-8, 9-12

– Option B: K-6,7-8, 9-12

– Option C: K-8, 9-12

– Option D: K-4, 5-6, 7-8 9-12

Early Learning: Pre-K learning options range from an Early Learning Center, keeping Pre-K in the elementary schools, or a combination of an Early Learning Center within neighborhood schools, and added community services (extended day, healthcare services, dental, parent learning, etc.)

The board expressed appreciation to those who have participated in this phase of the master planning. The community is encouraged to stay involved, or to get involved and offer feedback on the options in the coming weeks during community forums or an upcoming online survey.

Budget Discussion: Business Administrator Todd Hauber lead a discussion on the tentative FY2020 and final FY2019 budgets. The budget can be viewed here.

Joint Use Agreement: The board approved a joint use agreement between Snyderville Basin Recreation and Park City Municipal for use of facilities for recreation.

School Land Trust Plans: School Trust Land Plans for the 2019-20 school year have been reviewed and approved by the board.

School Fees: The board approved the 2019-20 school fee schedule. The fee schedule can be viewed here.

Public Comment

– Jessica Sheetz, a teacher at Ecker Hill Middle teacher, said standards-based learning helps students improve and targets the needs of the students. She contacted several top universities (Stanford, Yale, Penn State, Harvard, MIT, Notre Dame, etc.) who said they all receive transcripts from around the world that use a variety of reporting systems.

– Parent Dr. Glenn Schemmer said parents and students are confused about standards-based learning. He said the reporting system needs to be implemented appropriately to be successful.

– Summer Marshall, the technology instructional coach at Ecker Hill Middle, is a proponent of standards-based learning. She believes it is essential to have a reporting system that is accurate, consistent, and supports meaningful learning for students. She said schools can improve how they communicate and educate parents about the tools they have to assess their students’ learning.  

– Parent Bari Nan Rothchild said she supports standards-based learning and asks parents to trust the system and empower teachers to get the kinks out along the way. She said standards-based learning provides data that helps teachers prepare students to succeed in the 21st century.

– Dave Howard, a community member who has been involved with Park City baseball for the past 27 years, asked the board to consider adding turf to the baseball field at the high school. He said the team has not been able to have any home games because of the poor condition of the fields this time of the year. Students are missing class three times a week and getting home late from all the away games.

Policies Approved

– Policy 5015: Transportation

– Policy 5020: School Bus Emergencies

Board to Receive Future of Learning options April 16

Following seven months of input about the future of education in Park City from educators, parents, students, community members and city and county officials, GSBS Consultants will present a range of options to the Board of Education April 16.

GSBS is currently in the process of creating education scenarios and evaluating them using the Guiding Principles, educational specifications, and criteria developed by task force groups. “The options will reflect the community’s vision and make the decision-making more objective,” says Clio Rayner, project manager.

Board members will get their first look at the options during its regular board meeting on April 16 beginning at 4 p.m. at the District Office.

“One of our biggest take-aways was how much agreement we saw from teachers, students, parents and administrators around the district’s mission and values and the Guiding Principles,” says Rayner. “As we moved through the process we kept revisiting these visioning pieces and each time they were reaffirmed.”

The Guiding Principles were developed earlier this fall during the Future of Learning Summit, an all-day workshop with teachers, students, and community members. Throughout the day major themes emerged when the group considered what students would need in the future to continue to be successful learners.

The educational specifications use the Guiding Principles and outline how learning spaces can be designed to help support this vision for education, Rayner says. The specifications were developed with the input of teachers and administrators during five learning leader forum meetings. The specifications will be used to evaluate the current facilities and identify ways to improve schools that focus on education first.

The consulting team is also analyzing the physical condition of the facilities including architectural, site, structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical components. Each school is also being reviewed for educational sustainability.

During discussions with the Steering Committee, “hot topics” that would directly impact master planning decisions were identified. Task force groups were created for grade alignment, school/class size, school location, Treasure Mountain Junior High, the Kearns campus, and transportation.

“The task forces were asked to develop criteria for decision making that related to each topic. That criteria will be used to evaluate different master planning options moving forward,” Rayner says. “We didn’t ask the task forces to solve the problems, but rather asked them to develop criteria for evaluating solutions to the problem.”

Rayner said it’s important for the community to know that no single option will satisfy all community concerns. “There is still hard work to be done by the district and the community to consider which trade-offs the community is willing to make.  Our job is to present the options that reflect the community’s vision and to do it in a way that makes the decision-making more objective.”

The community is invited to visit the Future of Learning website here for more information.

Park City High’s PCCAPS to Host National Documentary Film Tour April 15

Park City High’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies (PCCAPS) is a nationally-recognized model for profession-based education and experiential learning. As part of the CAPS Network, PCCAPS connects students, educators and business partners in a collective vision for the future of education.

The CAPS Network is launching a documentary film and speaking tour as part of a strategic effort to propel experiential learning throughout all levels of education. The film, “Where Students Lead,” chronicles the dramatic student impact of the CAPS profession-based education model, and its growth across the country. The film will be premiered across the U.S. this month, including a stop in Park City on April 15 at 6 p.m. at the Eccles Center.

Tickets are free with the use of promo code CAPSNETYES and are available now at WhereStudentsLead.com.

CAPS is recognized by the Department of Education as a national exemplar and by the Edison Awards for educational innovations in preparing students for higher education and the evolving workforce. Currently, there are 50 affiliate programs in the CAPS Network across 100 school districts in 13 states and 2 countries.

About PCCAPS

The Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program, housed at Park City High, was founded in 2014 to share experiential learning practices and innovative ideas for business and education partnerships. Students work with local businesses on projects to fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real-world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school credit. The CAPS model transforms the educational experience, centering on students’ interests with opportunities for real-world immersion and authentic projects, resulting in highly-skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders. Learn more about PCCAPS here.

Board Meeting Summary | March 19, 2019

Superintendent Report

– Superintendent Jill Gildea reported on her presentation to the master planning Steering Committee last week and said the work being done by the committee and educators aligns with the district’s mission and vision.

– She reported on her attendance at the Northeast Region Sterling Scholars Recognition Banquet at Utah Valley University Monday night and congratulated Park City High region winners and runners-up.

– The superintendent noted that Park City High represents five of the 20 finalists in the Utah High Entrepreneur Challenge sponsored by the University of Utah Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. The public can vote for their favorite projects until March 29 here.

Student Council Report

Student board representative, Steven Mitchell, said the high school PTSO asked the student council to review the costs it charges for various activities and merchandise. Following an evaluation, he said the student council is reconsidering its practices and working on a solution for next year.

Standards-Based Learning

Tim Brown, an education consultant with Solution Tree based in Bloomington, Indiana, has been retained by the district to provide standards-based learning (SBL) research-based and results-driven professional development for teachers. Brown said there is growing evidence that when teachers use SBG they are getting a clearer picture of what students actually know. The board reiterated its support for SBL philosophy, and encouraged the administration to communicate it more clearly to teachers, parents, and students as it works through implementation.

Learner Profile

Melina Wright, a senior associate with the ECRA Group based in Chicago, presented a Learner Profile and Strategic Dashboard System to the board. The ECRA Group (Education, Consulting, Research, Analytics) is a research and analytics consulting firm that helps schools improve student outcomes by embedding evidence-based practices via predictive models. Wright said the dashboard allows schools to tell their story in a more transparent way. The system also allows a learner profile for each student. Superintendent Gildea said the system allows teachers, students, and parents to visually see how students are learning.

Future of Learning

Chris Guarino with NV5, the district’s owner representative for master planning, told the board that teachers have defined the types of spaces they believe are best for learning and that information will help evaluate the district’s current buildings and spaces. He said the community has offered input during open houses and meetings held at each school.  The board will receive educational master plan options at its April 16 board meeting. April and May will be focused on engaging the community and seeking their feedback on the options.

Preliminary Budget/School Fees

Business Administrator Todd Hauber reviewed the preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year. The board was also presented a list of school fees for next year and will review them prior to adoption. Hauber said legislation just passed during this past session outlines a more detailed school fee practice the board needs to adopt by January 2020.  Preliminary budget priorities can be viewed here.

Jeremy Ranch Wetlands Mitigation & Easement Agreements

The board approved an inter-local agreement and easement with Summit County for the Jeremy Ranch Frontage Road wetland mitigation. The district will partner with the county to build a trail that will allow for a safer route for students walking or biking to and from Jeremy Ranch Elementary.

Policies for Posting

– Policy 5015: Transportation

– Policy 5020: School Bus Emergencies

Policies Adopted

– Policy 2000: Student Representative on the Board of Education

– Policy 4000: Contingency Reserves

– Policy 4005: Purchasing

– Policy 4006: Cash Management

– Policy 4010: Travel and Conference Reimbursement

– Policy 4015: Disposal of Fixed Assets

– Policy 4020: District Records

– Policy 5025: Student Transportation

– Policy 6000: Modification of District Property

– Policy 7075: Twelve-Month Employee Holidays

– Policy 7095: Conditions of Employment

Public Comment

– Nine parents expressed their frustrations about standards-based learning and lack of understanding about it in the community. They asked the district to take its time in rolling out SBL districtwide.

– Four teachers shared their support for standards-based learning and how it impacts student achievement. They said SBL is transforming the grade conversation between students and teachers from “how to I earn a grade” to “how to I learn a grade.”