May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Park City School District is proud to support CONNECT as its hosts a month of events in throughout Summit County focused on mental health awareness. May is national Mental Health Awareness Month and CONNECT has 18 events planned on topics such as mindfulness, social media wellness, opioid epidemic, aging, depression, and eating disorders.

CONNECT is a grassroots, non profit community advocacy organization that brings together residents who are concerned about mental health issues facing our community and who want to see  improved mental health services with greater accessibility in the county.

Wednesday, May 2, Park City High students will take part in “Ask Me Anything Night,” a question/answer session beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Park City Library’s  Jim Santy Auditorium. Pizza and dessert will be served.  Those taking part in the interactive, cross-narrative discussion representatives from CONNECT, Park City Library Teen Advisory Board, Latinos in Action, iMPACt/Park City High Hope Squad, and the PCSH Gay-Straight Alliance. Student speakers, who also presented at Tedx Youth Park City, include: Piper Moeller: What Does a Drug Addict Look Like;  Saide Ortiz: Battling Cultural Stereotypes; Natalie Fink: A Piece of my Soul; and  Lexi Laufer: Let People Love.

Thursday, May 3, features “Social Media Wellness: Understanding the Intersection of School, Stress, and Social Media.” Author  and national social media expert Ana Homayoun will discuss how to better understand the new world of social media socialization and offer practical tips on how making better choices around social media use and overall wellness. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Park City Librarys Jim Santy Auditorium.

Monday, May 14, Park City School District is partnering with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Communities That Care to host “Front Line and Blue Line: Parents and Police Working Together.” The event begins at 6 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle School and is open to parents. Sheriff Justin Martinez will address school safety, Lt. Greg Winterton will talk to parents about drugs and harmful substances, and Sgt. Ronald Bridge will talk about electronics and the Internet. Following the speakers, community resource booths will be available to parents. Free childcare will be available for children ages 4-11, and students will receive an incentive if their parents/guardians attend.

For a complete calendar of mental health events in May click here

Results from Elementary State Debate Competition

Twenty students from fifth- and sixth-grade competed Friday, April 27, at the Utah Elementary State Debate division 1 competition at Alta High School, winning multiple awards among the 60 teams participating.

They students contended in Public Forum style debating the resolution: “Be it resolved, in the United States, the benefits of government regulation of education outweigh the harms.”

The competition consisted of teams from Salt Lake, Granite, Jordan, Canyons, and Park City School Districts.

Here are the results from PCSD:

Parley’s Park Elementary: Coach DeEtte Earl

–Ella Wismer and Erin Donovan, AFF (affirmative), first place

–Maddie McHenry and Greta Bretts, AFF, second place

–Olivia Johnson and Elyse Engel, NEG (negative), fourth place

–Ben Butler (Outstanding Speaker) and Jack Revoy, NEG

Jeremy Ranch Elementary: Coach Paula Krueger

–Kelly Richardson and Amelia Grishom, NEG, first place

McPolin Elementary: Coach Kathleen Gibson

–Ben Sidlow and Sophia Mueller, AFF, fourth place

Trailside Elementary: Coach Marjean Johnston

–Annika Hunt and Adam Hilton, NEG

Ecker Hill Middle: Coach Gina Mason

–Leah Yeager and Sophie Goswick, AFF, fifth place

–Madison Coyne and Kardin Salem, AFF

–Natalie Southland and Colin Campbell, NEG, seventh place

Board Announces Committee to Assist in Selecting Next Superintendent

The Board of Education has selected a 12-member committee to assist in hiring the next Superintendent of Park City School District.

“We had many qualified candidates and did our best to create a mix of individuals who represent the community and district,” said Board President Andrew Caplan.

The committee consists of six district employees and six community members. Individuals will attend an orientation meeting the evening of Friday, May 4, conducted by HYA consultants who will outline the interview process and coordinate questions as well as the schedule and format of the interviews.

Superintendent candidates will be interviewed on Saturday, May 5.

The committee includes:

District Employees

–Bob Edmiston: McPolin Elementary Principal

–Shannon Hase: Park City Learning Academy teacher and parent of secondary students

–Abby McNulty:  Park City Education Foundation Executive and parent of elementary students

–Mark Parker: Treasure Mountain Junior High English Teacher and parent of elementary students

–Lorie Pearce: Executive Assistant to Superintendent

–Carolyn Synan: Trailside Elementary Principal

Community Members

–Fritz Edelstein: Grandparent of middle school and elementary school students, background in education policy

–Kevin Efrusy: Parent of secondary students, background in finance

–Christine Grenney: Parent of elementary students, background in real estate

–Meg Leaf: Parent of secondary students, PTO and SCC member

–Brenda Moss: Parent of secondary students, background in human resources

–Pablo Rojas: Parent of elementary student, background in technology

Passion for Music Propels PCHS Senior to Top Honors

Editor’s Note: In the coming weeks leading up to graduation, we will highlight Park City High seniors and their outstanding accomplishments.

Ian Wagman’s passion for music has propelled him to statewide competitions and opportunities many high school seniors will never experience.

Wagman, who will graduate from Park City High in June, knows the value of an arts education and has immersed himself in the music programs at the high school. He plays the piano, oboe, and English horn with the PCHS Wind Ensemble, and keyboard with the Varsity Jazz Ensemble.

Last summer the University of Utah had a piano concerto and solo performance competition. Wagman won first place in the concerto division among high school seniors and college freshmen. In January, Wagman performed “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-Flat, Op. 10” by Prokofiev with the Salt Lake Symphony conducted by Matthew Mainella at Libby Hall on the University of Utah Campus. You can view his performance here.

Wagman’s accomplishments are many. This past summer he was one of the two drum majors of the Marching Band. This was especially unusual because both drum majors were oboists. In addition to performing at the high school, he also takes piano lessons from a professor at the U and oboe lessons from the principal oboist of the Utah Symphony.

He will be attending the University of Utah where he plans to study classical composition, conducting, piano, and oboe. After he completes his bachelor’s degree, he plans to attend a conservatory to get his master’s and doctorate degrees.

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.