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, 2018

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.”

The Facts About Standards-Based Learning

The following is a guest editorial written by Park City School District that was published in the Park Record March 6, 2019.

As Park City School District transforms our schools to meet the needs of the future, it is critical we examine the ways we prepare and engage students. Our mission is to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential.

Standards based logo

How do we know if students are reaching their academic potential? Grades should reflect student proficiency in relation to a specific standard. Standards-based learning (SBL), which has been around since 1983, encourages students to take ownership of their learning. It empowers them to improve understanding of a concept and advocate for multiple ways in which they can demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

SBL is a method of providing feedback that separates academic achievement from habits, efforts, and behaviors. It is a more accurate reflection of what a student actually knows and can do. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of SBL is that it encourages students to view learning as an ongoing process that doesn’t end after an assessment.

We hope the following information illustrates our student-centered vision and why we believe SBL will help our students feels supported, engaged, and challenged.

Three years ago teachers at Ecker Hill Middle School realized that its reporting system needed to be an accurate method that recognized students’ accomplishments and specific needs. Through school visits, research, and professional development, the educators realized SBL was the best way to go to assist students in their growth and achievement. Now three years later, Ecker Hill Middle has piloted the system and fully implemented this school year.  The students now receive a composite score of 1, 2, 3 or 4 in each subject which is calculated by averaging the proficiency score for each standard in each subject. A “3” means a student is proficient in that subject.

Because SBL was teacher driven at a local school, there has not been district-level coordination until this school year when we realized all our schools were interested in using a consistent system. This year we created two district task forces to assist with educating parents about SBL. Since the remaining schools will not fully implement SBL until 2022, we are in the beginning stages of educating  parents districtwide about SBL and its value to students.

To date, more than half of Treasure Mountain Junior High teachers are using SBL scales to assess learning and the school plans to fully implement SBL by August 2020. Individual teachers and departments at Park City High have started to use SBL scales. Secondary students will continue to earn a traditional letter grade in a course, and the high school transcript will look the same as it has in the past. The course letter grade will be determined according to a proficiency-based grading scale. Our elementary schools are exploring the use of SBL, developing scales, and some teachers are beginning to assess mastery of standards separately from behavior and work habits.

Ultimately, students are the ones who will benefit the most from SBL. The key tenant of SBL is understanding where each student is on the road to mastery, not just at the end of the year, but constantly throughout the year.

Parents, if you have questions we invite you to meet with your teachers and/or principal to have your questions answered.  More resources and research about SBL is available on our Teaching & Learning website.

Master planning consultants to conduct school listening tours

Park City School District’s master planning consultants will be hosting meetings at each school in March to get a better understanding of the issues and needs specific to each school building.

The master planning process is heading into the home stretch. This is your last chance to publicly share thoughts about the issues and needs specific to your buildings. Make your voice heard by attending your school’s meeting.

GSBS consultants will ask the following questions to parents, teachers, and community members who are invited to attend the meetings:

– What are the aspects of education at your school that contribute most to the quality of education?

– What are the most successful elements of the facility?

– What could be done to improve the facility?

– Are there things that should be fixed or addressed right away?

The Listening Tour dates and locations are listed below:

March 5: Ecker Hill Middle School, 5 p.m., 2465 West Kilby Road

March 6: Jeremy Ranch Elementary, 5:30 p.m., 3050 Rasmussen Road

 March 7: Parley’s Park Elementary, 5 p.m., 4600 Silver Springs Drive

March 7: McPolin Elementary, 5:30 p.m., 2270 Kearns Boulevard

March 11:Park City High School, 5:30 p.m., 2270 Kearns Boulevard

March 13: Trailside Elementary, 5 p.m., 5700 Trailside Drive

March 14: Treasure Mountain Junior High School, 5 p.m., 2530 Kearns Boulevard

These community engagement meetings are part of “The Future of Learning” education master planning process that has been underway since the start of this school year. The goal of this process is to create a community vision for the future of education in our District. This plan will guide the development of our educational programs, investments in our facilities, and better define what student success looks like now and in the future.

Those unable to attend their school meeting are invited to email their feedback to Clio Rayner, project manager, crayner@sbsarchitects.com.

For more information visit the Future of Education website at pcfutureoflearning.com.

Career Compass Event March 4 to Encourage Students to Explore Careers

Park City School District’s CTE will host its second annual Combined Registration and Career Compass Event on Monday, March 4, from 5-7 p.m. at Park City High for students in grades 5-11 and their families.

Compass

Monday’s event is 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.

Set to the theme, “Come Find Your True North,” a compass illustrates the theme with the four cardinal directions representing Ecker Hill Middle, Treasure Mountain Junior High, and Park City High — each cardinal direction narrowing the focus as students proceed from school to school.

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.

CTE Director Danny 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 at 5 p.m. in the Lecture Hall with registration details. Seven breakout sessions will be held both at 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. Those sessions include:

– Health sciences: Intermountain Healthcare panel

– Information technology Earl Foote, CEO of Nexus IT Consultants

– Business and marketing: Bruce Emerson, E-Commerce

– Audio/Visual Communications: Conrad Iacobellis and Nick Chace, Park City Television

– Community Outreach: Eric Esquivel, PCSD Latino Community Relations

– Engineering and architecture: Sue Sharp, vice president of Operational Excellence for Sinclair Oil

– Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies: Caleb Fine, PCHS assistant principal and PCCAPS administrator

There will also be an Electives Fair from 6- 7 p.m. that will provide students with more details about elective courses offered at the high school.

Expert to Discuss Executive Functioning Skills for Students March 7

Dr. Parth Gandhi, director of the Neuroassessment and Development Center in Salt Lake City, will be at Park City High School on March 7 to talk to parents and students about executive functioning skill development in emerging adults and what can be done at home and in therapy to assist teens. 

Dr. Parth Gandhi

He will be available to meet with parents and students from 3-7 p.m. outside the Lecture Hall to discuss individual student needs, and then will speak from 7-7:30 p.m. in the Lecture Hall. Park City High and Treasure Mountain Junior High students and their parents are invited to attend.

Executive functioning (EF) are those skills that adolescents use to function independently and successfully, says Wendy St. James, instructional coach at the high school.

“At the heart of these skills is accountability and motivation. Often students miss developing the skills of planning, organization, time management, self-monitoring, or self regulation as a part of normal development,” says St. James. “Twice exceptional students or those with learning issues or ADHD are particularly susceptible to EF deficits, but developing these skills is essential to living life successfully after graduation when independence is a requirement.”

Dr. Gandhi holds a doctoral education in clinical neuropsychology and continued post-doctoral training in neuropsychology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in both outpatient and inpatient settings. He continues to write and research in the fields of developmental psychology, neuropsychology, family systems, and applied neuroscience.  He is also a consulting neuropsychologist to treatment centers across the country.

Board Meeting Summary | Feb. 26, 2019

Oath of Office

New board member Wendy Crossland, who was appointed by the board to fill the vacancy in District 3, was given the Oath of Office by Business Administrator Todd Hauber.

Superintendent Report

Superintendent Jill Gildea provided the board with her progress report on her and the board’s goals for 2018-19. The full report can be viewed here. “I truly am honored and so very pleased to have the opportunity to learn alongside and lead this incredible school system as we realize our vision as a whole child driven learning organization that ensures our students are safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy,” wrote Superintendent Gildea in her report.

Budget Discussion

Business Administrator Todd Hauber reviewed the district’s FY2020 budget request priorities. The proposed 2019-20 Operating Budget represents a 6.25 percent or increase over the current year’s budget. The increase is primarily due to contractual obligations (salary and benefits of $3.3 million) and stronger supports for students with special needs (of $0.8 million). The Capital Budget represents $5 million in new projects, guided by a multi-year facilities master plan which prioritizes safety, security, and accessibility, and considers workload capacity and resources. An additional $1.5 million represents set aside funding for initial projects and design work of the master plan proposals. The remaining $800,000 covers information technology investments. Budget priorities can be viewed here.

Education Master Plan Update

GSBS consultant Christine Richman provided the board with an update on the education master planning process. Two community Open Houses are planned this week — one tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 27) at 5 p.m. at Park City High, and tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 28) at 6 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle. The community will have the opportunity to weigh in on how issues like grade alignment, class size and school location best support learning and academic excellence. Starting next week, the consulting team will be having a listening tour at each school to better understand the needs at each building. A full update can be viewed here.

Assessment Task Force Update

Traci Evans, interim Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, provided information on the work of the district’s assessment task forces. Two task forces have been created: 1) one made up of a teacher and principal from each school; and 2) one comprised of a parent from each school who serves on the parent organization or School Community Council. Both task forces then share their progress with their schools and parents. Evans said there are currently 16 different grading scales throughout the district. The district wants to establish a reporting system that truly tells us what a student is learning in a way that best informs learning and teaching to benefit our students. Schools in the district are moving to standards-based learning which helps teachers more clearly understand what students actually know and how to focus and target their instruction. The district is n the process of educating parents about the benefits of standards-based learning. There are numerous resources and research on district website here.

School updates include:

– Ecker Hill Middle has fully implemented standards-based learning.

– Treasure Mountain has about 60% of teachers who have transitioned to standards-based learning. TMJH plans to be fully implemented by August 2020.

– Park City High has developed proficiency scales that are currently being used in two departments. GPAs will still be calculated and included as part of a comprehensive learner portfolio.

– Elementary schools are building understanding behind why instruction must be refined to reflect standards mastery. Some grade levels are beginning to assess mastery of standards separately from behavior and work habits.

– The district plans to have standards-based learning implemented districtwide by the 2022-23 school year.

Public Comment

Sharon and Bryant Bookhamer said they have a lot of questions about standards-based learning and hope more information continues to be available to parents. They stressed the importance of consistency in testing and grading.

Policies for Posting

– 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 Assets

– Policy 4020: District Records

– Policy 5000: Snow Day

– Policy 5025: Student Transportation

– Policy 6000: Modification of District Property

– Policy 7075: Twelve-Month Employee Holidays

– Policy 7095: Conditions of Employment

Policies Adopted

– Policy 2005: Board of Education Power and Duties

– Policy 2015: Advisory Committees

– Policy 2025: Electronic Board Meetings

– Policy 2030: Board Policy Development

– Policy 2045: Board Member Compensation

–Policy 7061: Shared Leave