TMJH 9th Grader Named Utah Student of the Year

Jorge Luis Tlasmanteco Vasquez, a ninth-grade student at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, has been selected as Utah Student of the Year. The award , which comes with a $5,000 scholarship, will be presented  by Gov. Gary Herbert on May 2.

Vasquez, who was selected from hundreds of nominations statewide, is a member of the school’s Latinos in Action and plays on the Park City High soccer team.

He was selected for his leadership inside and outside the classroom, for making a measurable, meaningful improvements in the lives of others, for exhibiting a love of learning, for encouraging learning in his peers and classmates, and for exemplifying a culture of respect and learning.

Author, speaker and Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen will be the keynote speaker for the evening. In addition, to Vasquez’s award, an Educator of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and Partner in Education will also be announced.

The dinner will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Union Event Center, 235 N. 500 West, Salt Lake City. The award are sponsored by the Cicero Group as a statewide celebration of public education.

April 18 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

The Park City School District Board of Education hosts monthly informal meetings so that it can engage parents and members of the community. The following items were discussed April 18 at Trailside Elementary School with board member Petra Butler.

Superintendent Search Update

The board recently approved the appointment of David Gomez as Interim Superintendent. Mr. Gomez was previously the principal at Parley’s Park Elementary. Dr. Ember Conley began conversations a few weeks ago with the board regarding her transition as the new superintendent of Mesa Public Schools. She felt it was in the best interest of the district to appoint an Interim Superintendent. Mr. Gomez will remain in place until a new superintendent is officially on board.

The board met last Tuesday with HYA consultants, who are conducting the national search for a new superintendent. Butler said the board narrowed the field from 30-40 candidates to less than 10 semi-finalists. The board is appointing a 10-member committee comprised of five employees and five community members to assist in the selection of the next superintendent. Semi-finalists will be interviewed May 5. The candidates will be interviewed by both the committee, and by the board. Finalists will be selected, with interviews set for May 18.   

In addition to Interim Superintendent, the following interim positions have also been filled:

–Interim Associate Superintendent for Teaching & Learning: Traci Evans

–Interim Principal at Ecker Hill Middle: Sam Salinas

–Interim Principal at  Parley’s Park Elementary: Tracy Fike  

Master Planning Update

A parent asked for an update on a potential fifth-, sixth-grade campus. Butler said the board is focused on moving forward with the master planning process. The board recently hired NV5 out Denver, Colo., as master planning consultants. Business Administrator Todd Hauber said NV5 will coach the board through the master planning process and bring technical experts on board, as well as forming a steering committee.

Hauber said NV5 will find out how the community envisions the district and how that supports the vision of the master plan. Butler said the board is coming to master planning without any agenda. She emphasized that the outcome of master planning will be part of the community long after the board is gone.

Currently, the district is providing NV5 with data that it will study throughout the summer. This fall, more intense and longer conversations will occur with the community. A draft of NV5’s plan is expected in January 2019. Hauber said the plan will not look at individual circumstances and facilities but will be the vision that needs to be considered as the board makes future decisions. Butler said NV5 will, in essence, provide the board with a roadmap to move forward.


One parent expressed concern about too much testing occuring this time of year. She also asked for an update on where the district is with standardized grading. Communications Director Melinda Colton said the district is just finishing an audit of the actual time students spend testing; that audit will be released in the coming weeks. Trailside Elementary Principal Carolyn Synan said all schools are all looking at standardized grading.

Achievement Gap

A parent said the schools are not showing sustainable progress to close the achievement gap. She feels it is important for programs and assessments to be part of the master planning process.


One parent asked why PowerSchool and Canvas do not interface. She asked that there by one system for parents to check. She encouraged the board to have the current software systems evaluated for efficiency and ease of use for parents.

Budget Discussions

A retired teacher reminded the board to be fiscally responsible to taxpayers. The anticipated tax increase combined with a potential bond down the road, he worries that taxpayers will say “enough.” He asked the board to be more frugal with day-to-day spending and to be careful with funding contributed by the community. Butler said the board continues to ask a lot of questions in an effort to be transparent about what it is spending tax dollar on and why it is a necessity.  

Securing School Front Entries

A parent expressed her frustration with the lack of security as parents enter schools. She is appreciative of the remodeling of the front offices that is occurring, but says something needs to be done in the meantime to secure the front entries until the front offices are finished. She asked the board to consider hiring additional personnel to check parents in and out. Butler said the district’s safety consultant recommended against hiring security guards or off-duty police officers. It will be not be effective unless someone is guarding every door that goes into the school. County and city law enforcement have increased their patrols at all schools.

Recruitment Efforts

A parent asked about the district’s efforts for recruiting difficult to fill positions. Butler said that will be one of the board’s priorities for the incoming superintendent.

Next Meeting

The board’s next Information Exchange Meeting is Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at the Park City Learning Academy, 2400 Kearns Boulevard.

Parents/Guardians Invited to Take Online School Survey

Beginning today, April 23, Park City School District will be administering online school surveys. All parents/guardian  of PCSD students are invited to participate. This survey is open today through May 11.

The purpose of the survey is to gather feedback about teachers, principals, and schools. Responses are anonymous and no personal information is collected. Results will be given to teachers and administrators and used to improve classrooms and schools. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete.

The survey can be taken on any computer or device with web access, or on computers available in all schools. The survey is available in English and Spanish.

The survey can be accessed here.

There is also a link to the survey on school and district websites.

Parents/guardians may receive more than one invitation or reminder to take the survey, but are asked to only take the survey once.

Board Meeting Summary

April 17, 2018 | Regular Session

Interim Superintendent Appointed

The board appointed David Gomez as Interim Superintendent. Mr. Gomez currently serves as principal of Parley’s Park Elementary. The board and Superintendent Ember Conley felt it was in the best interest of the district to hire an Interim Superintendent on a full-time basis until the new superintendent is on board.

Mr. Gomez has been principal at Parley’s Park since 2012. Prior to coming to Park City, he was an elementary principal in Granite and Jordan School Districts, and an assistant middle school principal and an elementary principal in Jordan School District.

Dr. Conley, who is transitioning to her new position with Mesa Public Schools, is committed to a smooth and effective transition, and will be available to assist the Interim Superintendent and the new PCSD Superintendent once he/she is hired.

Tracy Fike will serve as Interim Principal at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is currently the school’s Instructional Technology Coach.

School Improvement Plans/Land Trust Plans Approved

School Improvement and Land Trust Plans for 2018-19 were presented to the Board for discussion. 

Policies for Posting

– New Policy: Dropout Prevention and Recovery

– Policy 11000: Family Education Rights and Privacy

Policies Adopted

The board approved revisions to the following policies:

– Policy 2020: Authorization of Student Clubs

– Policy 9110: Acceptable Use

– Policy 9045: District Academic and Athletic Travel

– Policy 10100: Safe Schools

New Interim Superintendent Appointed

David Gomez

The Park City School District Board of Education has appointed David Gomez as Interim Superintendent.  Mr. Gomez currently serves as principal of Parley’s Park Elementary. The board approved the appointment at its board meeting tonight, April 17. Mr. Gomez begins as Interim Superintendent tomorrow, April 18.

“The board and Superintendent [Ember] Conley have made a collective decision to appoint an Interim Superintendent for Park City School District,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “The board and Dr. Conley feel it is in the best interest of the district to hire someone on a full-time basis until the new superintendent is on board.”

Dr. Conley, who is transitioning to her new position with Mesa Public Schools, is committed to a smooth and effective transition, and will be available to assist the Interim Superintendent and the new PCSD Superintendent once he/she is hired.

Tracy Fike

Tracy Fike will serve as Interim Principal at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is currently the school’s Instructional Technology Coach. Caplan said the district’s Business Administrator Todd Hauber will continue to focus on budget and policy issues and Mr. Gomez will focus on academics.

Mr. Gomez has been principal at Parley’s Park since 2012. Prior to coming to Park City, he was an elementary principal in Granite and Jordan School Districts, and an assistant middle school and elementary principal in Jordan School District. He has also served as the Educational Equity associate director for Granite School District. Mr. Gomez began his career with the Utah State Office of Education as an education specialist for at-risk, Title I students. He holds a master’s degree in public school and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

“My goal is to continue the excellence that PCSD is known for, while improving upon some areas of need in order to provide for a smooth transition for the next superintendent,” said Mr. Gomez. “The one thing I will promise is that each decision I make will be based on a single premise —what is best for students. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the entire PCSD community during this transition. Let’s get to work!”

Mrs. Fike has been the Instructional Technology Coach at Parley’s since 2016 and has been an administrative intern at Parley’s Park, Ecker Hill Middle and Park City High. From 2013-16 she was a reading intervention teacher at Ecker Hill Middle. Mrs. Fike has two master’s degrees, one in instructional leadership and one in business administration, and a Bachelor of Arts.

Board Appointing Committee to Assist with Hiring New Superintendent

The Park City Board of Education is inviting district employees and community members to form a 10-member committee to assist the board in the interview process for the position of the new Park City School District Superintendent.

Members of this committee must be able to be present for an orientation meeting May 4 from 5-7 p.m. as well as present for the interviews on Saturday, May 5.

Based on a group size of 10, the committee will be comprised of five school district employees and five at-large community members.

Applications are due Monday, April 23, at 5 p.m., and should be sent via email to Board President Andrew Caplan,

Those applying are asked to include the following responses to the questions below in your email. Applicants are also welcome to attach a resume with the email.

Questions for PCSD Employees

–Why would you like to be on the Superintendent interview committee?

–If you have participated on interviews or hiring committees in the past, please tell us about your experience.

–We hope to have a mix of PCSD employment length and roles on the committee. Tell us how long you have been employed by Park City School District.

–What is your current role and what have your previous roles been?

–What is the single most important characteristic for the next Superintendent to possess?Please feel free to include any other relevant information that you wish to share.

Questions for Community Members

–Why would you like to be on the Superintendent interview committee?

–What previous experience do you have on interview committees or in hiring personnel?

–How long have you lived in the Park City School District?

–Do you have children currently in the district or who have attended PCSD schools in the past? If so, please list their ages and which schools the attend/have attended.

–What is your current or past involvement in the school district? Please list all relevant participation in committee work, volunteering, and relevant work in the field of education.

–What is the single most important characteristic for the next Superintendent to possess?

–Please feel free to include any other relevant information that you wish to share.

Kindergarten Online Registration Now Open for 2018-19 School Year

Online registration for students entering kindergarten for the 2018-19 school year is now available. State law requires students to be age 5 by Sept. 1. No new out-of-district students will be accepted for the 2018-19 school year.

New student registration is available online here:



The registration process includes providing the school secretary/registrar with the following required documents:

– Current immunizations
– Vision screening for kindergarten students
– Proof of Residency is required every year – Proof of Residency
guardianship papers
– Name/address/phone/fax or school last attended
– Copy of student’s birth certificate

Registration is not complete until the above information is provided to the school.

Once all information is received, your student will be entered into our database/scheduling system.

Park City High Wins Six Nominations for ‘The Addams Family’

Park City High School’s Theater Department has received six nominations for its musical, “The Addams Family,” performed earlier this fall. This is the second year in a row PCHS have best nominated for Best Musical.

Nominations include:

–Best Musical

–Best Supporting Actress: Tori Kenton (Pugsley Addams)

–Best Cameo: Katie Lobrot (Grandma Addams)

–Best Costume Design

–Best Lighting

–Best Orchestra

“To be nominated for Best Musical two years in a row is amazing,” said Rick  Kimball, drama teacher and director of the show. Last year PCHS was nominated for “Little Women.”

Performances from more than 70 schools from throughout Utah were judged by theater professionals who traveled across the state to adjudicate high school productions. Park City competed against some schools that are more than twice its size.

PCHS will perform “The Addams Family” at the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 12, as part of the Utah High School Musical Theater Awards. “These awards are like the Tony Awards for high school theater,” said Kimball.

All finalists will perform during the May 12 award ceremony. Best Actor and Best Actress will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City  to compete at the national level. Scholarships will be awarded to the Best Supporting and Best Cameo winners.

11 Students Win at Regional Science & Engineering Fair

Congratulations to our students who placed in the top four spots at the recent University of Utah Science and Engineering Fair. Open to students in grades 5-12, the fair’s purpose is to ignite a love for STEM. Following individual school and the district science and engineering fairs, students advanced to the regional competition at the U of U.

Projects were evaluated by volunteer judges with professional expertise in the subject matter.

Park City High student Jaspar Ruegemer was awarded the NASA Earth System Science Award  for his project, “Earth Needs To Chill! How About Some Cool  Sunshades?”

Winners rom Park City School District include:

–Max Ward-Nanney, Ecker Hill Middle: first place, electrical and computer science, “Aim, Click, Connect.”

–Tyler DeMarco and Joshua Cressman, Trailside Elementary: first place,  materials and biomedical, “Pencil Pal.”

–Sebastian Wrona, Trailside Elementary: third place, mechanical engineering, “Water Walking/Running Shoes.”

–Sean Merrill and Liam Foehl, Jeremy Ranch Elementary: third place, civil and environmental engineering, “Help. We Need Water.”

–Dylan Rifkin, Trailside Elementary: fourth place, civil and environmental engineering, “H2Woah.”

– Kian Mathew, McPolin Elementary: fourth place, chemical and physical, “Wi-Fi Cubed.”

-Greta Bretts, Parley’s Park Elementary: fourth place, biochemistry, “Who Can See What Isn’t There?”

–Elena Ruegemer, Ecker Hill Middle: third place, material and biomedical, “Thermal Mass to the Rescue! How Does Material Density Impact Solar Thermal Storage Capacity in Buildings to Minimize Diurnal Swing.”

Miners Take Top Spots at Design/Build Engineering Contest







This year Park City High students took top honors at Weber State University’s Design/Build Engineering Technology Competition. The competition challenges students to strengthen leadership and integrated STEM skills.

Keifer Maples, Hunter Mullen, Carl Prior, Ethan Routledge, Kenneth G Russel, and Parker Olson placed first in Architectural Design. PCHS architectural design teams made a tremendous effort this year and groups spent many hours after school in the class lab and in meetings with local architects and builders to prepare for this event.  Students had to convert two 40-foot shipping containers into a tiny house and showcase the entire design build process. The team developed a complete set of architectural plans and constructed a physical and computer-generated model to accurately depict their design.

Hunter Way, Graydon Russell, and Will Watkins placed second in Engineering Design. This year’s theme was to “engineer the tools for scientific discovery.” The team designed a portable testing chamber where objects could be placed inside the core so various environmental factors could be applied to the part in a controlled setting for data collection and non-destructive testing.

Russell also placed second in Music Production. The challenge was to create a piece of music for the Technology Student Association national conference event ceremony. He composed a complete musical masterpiece using a keyboard, online composition tools, and garage band software.  His piece, “The Eagle,” told the story of the Apollo 11 launch and journey, using the original launch countdown sequence from 1969 to open the composition.

Will Watkins placed third in the Future Technology Teacher competition.  He presented a home-aid lesson on 3D printing accompanied with handouts, manipulatives, guided notes, and other study tools. He was well prepared to teach and answer questions from his panel of judges pertaining to his lesson. Watkins has been a huge asset to the PCHS engineering program,

Mercedes Howard placed third in Photographic Technology. This year’s theme was, “The Battle Between Nature and Technology—Who Wins?” Howard created a portfolio of images and a resume to be entered into the semifinalist round. This was PCHS’s first year competing in this event where students demonstrate understanding and expertise in using photographic imaging technology processes to covey a message based on the theme.

“We are so proud of all our CTE students who competed.  This was a great experience and we are excited for future competitions,” said teacher Jordan Ulrich.