News Release-End of Year

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

End Of Year

 With 26 days remaining in the 2020/2021 school year, we are looking forward to ending the year healthy and strong. Thursday, June 3, 2021, the final day of school, will follow a Friday release schedule with bus transportation available.  Lunch will also be available for students. Thursday, June 3, at 5:00 P.M. seniors will graduate from Park City High School at the North Forty, and families will be invited to attend that special recognition ceremony of the Class of 2021. Masks will be required as this is a gathering of greater than 50.

While the statewide mask mandate expired on April 10, 2021, according to HB294, masks are still required for large gatherings of 50 or more guests, and masks are still required in K-12 schools.  The Legislature kept the mask requirement in place for the following reasons:

  1. No vaccine is currently authorized for anyone younger than 16.
  2. Not every adult in the school setting has been vaccinated.
  3. Children can get sick from COVID.
  4. Children can get COVID, not feel sick and transmit the illness to people who are not vaccinated yet.

We’re not out of the pandemic yet. And, we know that masks work to prevent the spread of COVID based on our successfully maintaining in person learning for the 20/21 school year. According to Dr. Andy Pavia, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah Health, “We all want what is the best for our kids. And what is best for our kids ultimately is to have a safe and healthy end of the school year. We’re in the final stretch…and that means keeping doing things that work, and that includes, first and foremost, masking. There are very, very, very few conditions that medically make it inappropriate or dangerous for a child to wear a mask…in most cases the danger of not wearing one outweighs those issues.”

“Masks are a very safe and easy measure that has proven very effective at allowing kids to go to school in person, which is what we all care about.”

Thank you for your support as we work towards a successful conclusion of the 2020/2021 school year.

Board of Education-April 2021

NEWS RELEASE 

For additional information, contact:  Lorie Pearce, Executive Assistant to BOE/Supt at lpearce@pcschools.us 

April 20, 2021

Board of Education Update – April 2021 

by Erin Grady, BOE President 

It’s been a busy month.  In April, we saw incredible actions and accolades from our students and our staff across academics, arts, athletics, and more. Our student participants in the Sterling Scholar statewide competition earned recognition for their efforts as did our dramatists at the state level. Congratulations to each of our students who pursue their interests and passion at such an extraordinary level. 

At the regular monthly business meeting, the Park City School District Board of Education heard updates and reports from:

PCEA Leadership – Julie Hooker submitted a written statement highlighting communication and collaboration. PCEA mentioned that with 31 days of school, we have AP testing, elementary state testing, and traditions such as 5th grade clap out and high school graduation to look forward to in the coming months. PCEA shared, “We appreciate the commitment to student, teacher and staff safety with the enforcement of Governor Cox’s mask mandate until the end of the school year.” 

Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Amy Hunt – shared information on the 21/22 LandTrust applications and reviewed some examples of the stretch goals our schools have adopted.  BOE Member Peters complimented the streamlined layout of the Landtrust plans. 

Chief Operations Officer, Mike Tanner, spoke about covid trends, safety/security, briefed the school board on two recent events related to mask wearing and vaccinations for COVID. Mr. Tanner also discussed the overall capital budget which addresses our facilities at approximately $4.75M for the year.  Mr. Tanner indicated a review of the requests from our baseball families will want to be considered as part of a long range athletics facilities plan.  Whether the community and BOE elect to review previous plans for indoor facilities or consider a phased approach to field improvements, all will take time, collaboration and dollars. 

Superintendent Gildea thanked our incredible staff for their exemplary work this year and noted, “As we are maneuvering through an unusual time and through unusual circumstances, we appreciate our community’s commitment to educational and academic excellence.” Later in the meeting, Dr. Gildea read a statement about the face covering requirement, and asked that we include this information for the public:

“The Public Health Order that outlines the mask mandate is still in effect through June 15th as outlined by the Governor through the Utah Department of Public Health. While you may have varying thoughts and feelings about the wearing of masks in schools, the mandate is considered rule of law, disallowing school boards and leaders to override the state mask mandate order for schools.” 

Medical exemptions are permitted to the face covering requirement and have been in place all school year. 

The Park City School District Board of Education heard the following reports:

Stiefel financial advisors presented an overview of traditional funding methods for the master plan sharing good news on low-interest rates.

Mr. Hauber, Business Administrator, provided a budget overview along with the financial outlook of the district related to state and local revenues.  The prepared budget does include a tax increase request of $800,000, which was our target. 

Policy updates on existing policies were introduced and discussed with minor to no substantive changes but are brought up for 5 year review.  We received comment from the public on two of the policies with requests to add examples.  As the policy provides the umbrella, administrative guidelines may include examples related to visitor or conduct policies. 

The aircraft policy is related to permissions necessary to pursue funding for drone education which may be applied in CTE or film studies courses. 

The Board adjourned for a brief closed session and then returned to adjourn the meeting. 

With regard to Public Comments, we wish to remind our public of the following:

-Public Comments will not be read verbatim, but will be recorded in the notes of the meeting. For example, “Baseball Field” will be found in notes that indicates 50 individuals wrote in to support funding and/or to support creative alternatives to provide indoor practice space for spring sports.  However, we will not read aloud the same email message 50 times.  We appreciate input from the public.

-Public Comment provides input to topics being discussed or addressed, but it is not a place where a list of questions will be read, reviewed or recorded.  

-Public Comment will not be addressed in the moment but will be assigned to an administrator for follow up.  It is not a series of back and forth dialogue or a list of questions.  Questions for the school district or school board may be directed to: communications@pcschools.us 

PCSD Statement on Today’s Events 1/6/2021

January 6, 2021

Park City School District Statement on Today’s Events

“A time to help, a time to model, a time to teach”

As the nation and our children read, hear and watch about the riots at the U.S. Capitol building, we are reminded just how important it is for school systems to teach about and model civility and respect for our democracy.

Civic engagement is the foundation of our democracy. PCSD respects and supports the right to demonstrate and peacefully protest. We strongly condemn all attempts to incite violence and do not tolerate acts of hate that counter our shared democratic principles. 

We know that it is sometimes difficult to find the words to talk with children about these events. 

Below are some suggestions for talking to your children about today’s violence. 

Responding to Children’s Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis (American Academy of Pediatrics) 

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (National Association of School Psychologists) 

This is a time for our Country to stand together and promote peace, hope, and optimism for the future. We encourage everyone to use this moment to remember the foundational values that our Country was built on and what we stand for as a Nation.

I encourage all to remain kind and supportive of each other as we continue to navigate what has been an incredibly challenging school year.

Respectfully,

Dr. Jill Gildea Superintendent of Schools

HealthAttend Portal

PCSD Covid Dashboard

We are pleased to announce the release of the PCSD Covid Dashboard.  This resource provides our staff and our families with daily, updated information.  Data will be updated nightly.  The data originates from each school site’s point of contact and via the HealthAttend portal.

The information that you will see on this dashboard includes positive test results shared over the past 72 hours, active covid cases, total covid cases since August 20, and absences related to the virus. The entire press release can be found here

The HeathAttend dashboard can be found here

Niche ranks PCSD as Best District in Utah

Niche  just released its 2020 Best Schools in America rankings and grades, and Park City School District ranks as the “Best School District in Utah.”

Rankings and grades are calculated using a series of steps to ensure statistical rigor and useful guidance in the school choice experience.  Niche analyzes dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards, and profiles for every K-12 school, college, and neighborhood in the U.S.

2019 Mr. Miner Pageant set for Valentine’s Day

Park City High School’s annual Mr. Miner Pageant is set for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Eccles Center. This year’s mock pageant will follow the theme of “Men of Romance.”

The young men compete is several categories including character modeling, talent, GQ modeling and response to an interview question. This year’s contestants are Ben Agnew, Isaac Foote, Charlie Lowsma, Cris Mora, Liam Occon, Carl Prior, Judd Ricks, Christian Stockwell, and Marco Zanetti.

“The Mr. Miner Pageant is known for being a funny, light-hearted event,” says Ashley Mott, Dance Company director. “This year’s theme is ‘Men of Romance,’ because it’s being held on Valentine’s Day.”

This year’s talent portion will include singing, playing live music, and dancing. The pageant is judged by Park City High faculty and administrators, as well as community volunteers.

The pageant is organized and coordinated by Dance Company, Dance Company 2, and the stage crew class.

Audience members will have the opportunity to buy ballots, for $1 a piece, and cast them in the lobby to vote for their favorite contestant.

Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance (from a dance company member or Mr. Miner candidate), or $12 at the door. The Mr. Miner Pageant is the primary fundraiser for Park City High’s dance program.

Letter from the Board: Education is the Strength of Our Community

By Park City School District Board of Education

From left, Erin Grady, Andrew Caplan, Anne Peters, Petra Butler, and JJ Ehlers.

The mission of Park City School District is to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential. As a Board of Education, we have been elected to represent the interests of our collective community — we have heard and appreciate the community’s desire to create an educational culture that is focused on the whole child. We make decisions based on keeping our students safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy.

With the new school year beginning in less than two weeks, we are thrilled that all teacher positions are filled. The biggest benefit we offer new teachers is a competitive salary, the highest in the state. At the same time, we increased compensation for returning teachers, support staff, and administrators to encourage them to stay long-term.

Our strength is in our people. We are fortunate to have outstanding staff who genuinely care about students and aspire every school year to help students achieve their potential. Employee compensation and benefits comprise nearly 80 percent of our expenditures. The gap between higher expenditures and neutral revenues is growing. Because local property taxes make up more than 90 percent of our income we knew we recognized we needed to increase taxes.

The last time we raised taxes was 2014. We firmly believe that access to a quality education is a foundation to the strength of our community, and we know our community wants to invest in education.

Our FY19 budget reflects several critical needs. Besides hiring and retaining excellent personnel, safety and security is also a priority for us. We have added interventionist at each elementary school to work with struggling students. And we have hired an additional assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle, Treasure Mountain Junior High, and Park City High.

This year, approximately $5 million in property taxes will be sent in equalization funding to the state to be distributed to revenue strapped districts such as Alpine, Davis, Nebo, and Jordan. We are the only district in Utah that collects more money than we are authorized to receive. Last year, we sent $3 million back to the state for equalization. Recent legislation now requires that we send an additional $2 million back to the state.

In an effort to provide an equitable education for all our students, the district will now cover the cost of academic student fees. That’s nearly $700,000 in fees, which parents have paid for in past years.

Some community members have expressed concern about the compensation package for our new superintendent. We are incredible fortunate to have hired an experienced, student-centered and future-focused leader. The proposed tax increase does not include her salary or housing benefits. That is already covered under our existing budget.

We realize tax increases are never easy. We have been judicious in approving this budget and have spent many months reviewing data that supports the goals of our Strategic Plan.

Our Truth-in-Taxation hearing is set for Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. at the District Office, and is your chance to voice your opinion before the tax increase is finalized.

Thank you for your continued support of education. We are all partners in ensuring our children achieve their highest academic and social potential.

PCSD BOARD OF EDUCATION

Andrew Caplan, President

JJ Ehlers, Vice President

Petra Butler, Member

Erin Grady, Member

Anne Peters, Member

Jan. 10 Information Exchange Meeting Summary

In an effort to engage parents, employees, and members of the community, the Park City School District Board of Education hosts informal monthly exchange meetings. Each month the meetings are held at different schools. The following items were discussed Jan. 10 at McPolin Elementary with Board President Andrew Caplan and board member Petra Butler.

Front Office Remodels: Parents asked what the new design of the McPolin Elementary front office will look like and when it will be completed. They requested the front office staff have input into the final architectural drawing so it provides an area that is as safe as possible. Caplan said the elementary school front offices are taken longer than expected to remodel due to a delay in materials. He said the elementary offices should be finished by the end of January.

Spanish Translation: A parent asked the district to consider contracting with an outside firm for Spanish translation services.  The Superintendent is aware of the increased need for documents needing to be translated and she is including it as a FY19 budget item. Another parent noted that not a single Spanish-speaking parent was in attendance at the meeting. She encouraged the district to develop systems and processes that are more inclusive.

Budget: Caplan said the board is beginning preliminary budget discussions and hope to have the FY19 budget approved by March or April to give principals the ability to hire staff sooner than in previous years.

Reduced Recess: A McPolin Elementary parent expressed frustration that fourth- and fifth-grade recess has been reduced due to behavioral issues on the playground.  If parents and the school can develop solutions, she wonders if the board can fund them.  Butler cautioned the parents about suggesting aides as solution. She said the district has 16 unfilled aide openings. Caplan encouraged parents to work with the principal to understand the decision and then together create alternative solutions.  Caplan also said the board is updating the district wellness policy and encouraged parents to comment on it. Butler reminded the parents “the board is primarily responsible for the district budget and policy and tries to stay out of school-related decisions. This is the year of “safe and healthy” and the board is willing to look at budget items that will improve student safety.”

Open Enrollment Closed: A parent asked why the board approved closing all schools to open enrollment. “As a board we looked at instructional space, enrollment, and capacity at each school. We also have modular classrooms in many of our schools, and we provide many more programs than required by the state. We also have a mandate from community for small class sizes,” said Caplan. ” We have had a tremendous amount of growth in our population in the past 10 years. This is the first year we haven’t grown. After looking at all the data, we realized we are out of room. So, we made the decision that no new out-of-district students will be allowed to enroll in our schools. It is a decision that will need to be reviewed every year.”

DLI Program: A parent wanted more information on capping enrollment in the dual-immersion programs at certain schools. Currently, every one who wants to get in the DLI program is admitted, Caplan said. “We are seeing a slight decline at Parley’s Park. Some schools have started other programs for students who are not in DLI and those new programs are appealing.” He said if a student applies to a DLI school and the program is full he/she can apply to another school in the district where space is available.

Superintendent Search: A parent wanted an update on the Superintendent search. Caplan said a request for proposal has helped the board retain a consultant who will conduct a nationwide search for Superintendent candidates. A committee of community and staff will do the first round of screening interviews and move three candidates forward for the board to consider. The goal is to have the position filled by this Spring.

Master Planning: The master planning process will kick off this summer and fall. The board hired a consultant this winter to help with pre-planning. The consultant’s recommendation was to wait for a new Superintendent to be in place before the master planning process begins.

Start Times: The board has researched and studied later school start times for years. “There is no good solution,” Caplan said. “With the current traffic patterns we can’t have the high school start later and guarantee that we can get them to school on time. We understand the science and want to make this happen, but we just can’t right now.” A parent who was on the start time committee said a school district in Seattle was able to implement a later start time schedule. She said the board needs to be more creative in its solutions. Butler said she agrees. “Because of traffic patterns we would need 50 minutes to get student to and from school. On the other hand, we have had just as many people oppose the schedule change. It all becomes a ripple effect,” she said. “We want to get through the master planning process and start times and where schools are located will have a direct impact on that plan.”

Bonding: A parent asked when the board is looking at bonding. Andrew said it all depends on what the community wants the district to look like in next 10-15 years. “If the community wants small schools then we will need more money. If they community says they like the way things are, they we don’t have to bond for more money.” Caplan said the board is depending on community input during the master planning process.  Butler said, “Education is incredibly important to this community. If we can show where the money is actually going I have no doubt we will have support for a bond. But we have to explain to the community why we need the buildings and why we need specific programs. And we need all of you to then share that with your neighbors.”

Taxes: A parent wondered if the board worries that taxes are going up in the county and city and if two years from now the community won’t want to support any more tax increases. Caplan said the board is raising taxes this year to cover staff salary increases.

 Interfacing with Park City: A parent asked if the school district and the city interact on a regular basis. Jon Weidenhamer, Economic Development Manager for Park City, who was at the meeting, acts as the liaison with the district. He said the City Council’s goal is to be a full partner with the board. “We work together to understand what our residences want and what the community values.” Caplan said the board has regular meetings with the city, as well as Summit County government officials. “We cannot be successful without knowing the city and county plans,” Caplan said.

DLI Coordinator Needed: Parents requested the board hire a dual-language immersion coordinator. They said Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Kathleen Einhorn has been a strong advocate for DLI and understands the issues related to the program. Caplan said the position is included in the preliminary budget.

The board’s next Information Exchange Meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 1-3 p.m. at Park City High.