PCHS Needs Volunteers to Assist with Robotics Tournament

Park City High School will be hosting a Robotics Tourament on Jan. 18 and needs 80 student and adult volunteers to assist with the qualifying competition. Some 24 robotics teams from thoughout Utah will be competing.

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities which include varying amounts of commitments the day of the event (and possibly some the prior day). The descriptions of the volunteer roles can be found below.

Volunteer role description: https://www.firstinspires.org/resource-library/ftc/volunteer-resources 

The following positions are currently available:

Adult Roles

– Judges

– Cameras

– Robot Inspectors

– Field Inspectors

– Robot Inspector (hardware) (5)

– Field Inspector (software) (4)

– Referees/Scorers (8)

– Dean’s List Interviewer (1)

– Judge Match Observer (2)

– Set Up (8 AV experience helpful)

– Team Registration (2)

– Volunteer Registration (2)

– Breakfast Pick Up

– Lunch Pick Up

– Clean up/set up

Student Roles

– Pit Runners (4)

– Field Reset (4)

– Judge Queuer (2)

– Team Registration (2)

– Volunteer Registration (2)

To sign up for a volunteer position, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to http://firstinspires.org   As an international organization, FIRST has a standardized process for registering and certifying their volunteers.   When you get to the “Event Search Page” please select “FTC” on the left side of the screen to narrow the event options to First Tech Challenge (FTC).  Then select the Park City Qualifier on Jan. 18. You will be asked to select a role for the qualifier.  If we have discussed a specific role for you, please select that role.  If we have not discussed a specific role or if you have forgotten the role name, simply choose “Assign Me as Needed” and I will assign you to the correct position.   If you are a returning volunteer, the system will take you to My Dashboard and will direct you to any paperwork needed. After filling out the forms as prompted, then you will be able to volunteer for the event.  

Step 2: Complete the registration and required screening.

Step 3: If we have not discussed a role for you, sign up as “Assign Me as Needed,” and please email Kimberly Drury, volunteer coordinator, at snowangelkim@gmail.com, your volunteer preferences. She an assign that role in the system.    

The schedule for the Park City event can be found on the event website:  https://www.parkcityqualifier.com.

PCHS Dance Company II to present 'Informance' Jan. 15-16

Park City High School’s Dance Company II has been working hard on its annual informative performance for this year, and Director Ashley Mott says it has been a process.

The dancers will present their annual Informance, set to the theme of “Process,” at 7 p.m. in the Eccles Center Black Box Theater Jan. 15 and 16. Admission is $5 at the door.

All 13 company members have been working on creating every aspect of the production, from filming and editing informational videos, to designing and distributing posters, to organizing the order of the show.

Each group of dancers has been assigned a specific choreographic approach – or process – to explore. The processes were “theme first,” “style first,”
“music first,” “inspiration from a famous choreographer,” “formations first,” and “costumes first.”

The production will also feature performances from PCHS’s Dance Company as well as choreography from dance company director Ashley Mott, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s Nick Jurica, and guest choreographers Emily Denham and Efren Corado.

Elizabeth Becerra said this project has allowed her to choreograph using a method that she would never have used to create a dance otherwise. Dulce Robles describes the experience as a creative process that allowed her to branch out and work with new people. Zoe Jensen described how it has been difficult because some dancers had little experience with the genre of hip-hop, which was what her “style first” group has chosen to use as their medium.

'Counselor Connection' Offers Tips on Coping with Holiday Stress

The December issue of “Counselor Connection” offers important information on how to cope with stress. Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time. Stress is any demand placed on your brain or physical body. People can report feeling stressed when multiple competing demands are placed on them. The feeling of being stressed can be triggered by an event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. It can be a reaction to stress, or it can occur in people who are unable to identify significant stressors in their life.

Learning and emotions are connected. But how? According
to Yale Professor Marc Brackett, “How we feel – bored, curious, stressed, etc. – influences whether we are present, in ‘fight or flight’ mode, or able to process and integrate information.”

The holidays in particular can be stressful. The end of a school semester or trimester, along with “extra” holiday demands can put students as well as parents on overload. Learning to manage stress is an important skill that once learned, will serve us well.

Here are some strategies that may help:

– Keep a positive attitude.

– Accept that there are events that you cannot control.

– Learn and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.

– Exercise . Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.

– Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

– Set limits; learn to say no to requests that lead to stress.

– Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation.

– Get enough rest and sleep.

– Seek out social support and spend time with friends.

Read the full December issue here: English | Spanish

District Receives Prestigious Budget Award

The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) has recognized Park City School District for excellence in budget presentation with the prestigious Pathway to the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for the 2019–20 budget year. The budget is prepared annually by Business Administrator Todd Hauber.

ASBO International’s MBA and Pathway to the MBA promote and recognize best budget presentation practices in school districts. Participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents.

Districts that successfully demonstrate they have met the necessary program requirements may earn either the MBA or Pathway to the MBA, an introductory program that allows districts to ease into full MBA compliance.

“Districts that apply to the MBA or Pathway to the MBA programs recognize the importance of presenting a quality, easy-to-understand budget internally and to the community,” ASBO International Executive Director David J. Lewis explains. “Participating in the MBA and Pathway programs provides districts with important tools and resources they need to communicate the district’s goals and objectives clearly and illustrates their commitment to adhering to nationally recognized budget presentation standards.”

Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide.

Park City High Announces 2020 Sterling Scholars

Park City High School has announced the 16 recipients of the 2020 Sterling Scholar competition. A Sterling Scholar is a high school senior who is publicly recognized and awarded for his or her pursuit of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship in the State of Utah.  

A potential Sterling Scholar presents an all-encompassing portfolio on his or her work in a specific category and during the later stages of the competition is interviewed by judges in the category’s field.  Sterling Scholars are awarded at the high school, regional, and state levels.  

This year’s Sterling Scholars are:  

– Agricultural Science: Lucy Flitton

– Business & Marketing: Molly Gallagher

– Computer Technology: Gabe Sherman

– Dance: Clara Bradford

– English: Sydney LaPine

– Family/Consumer Science: Kathryn Clapier

– Foreign Language: Mary Hurner

– General: Ella Ball

– Instrumental Music: Liam Hanrahan

– Math: Jack Skidmore

– Science: Sydney Senn

– Skilled & Technology: Bella Miller

– Social Science: Siri Ahern

– Theater: Victoria Kenton

– Visual Art: Ashley Silver

– Vocal Performance: Emma Sundahl

New Issue of ‘Counselor Connection’ focuses on technology

Park City School District promotes digital citizenship and internet safety in a variety of ways. Please contact your school’s counselors or administrators if you have questions.

According to Cyber Savvy Kids:

– The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10-years-old.

– 64% of kids have access to the internet via their own devices, compared to 42% in 2012.

– 39% of kids get a social media account at 11-years-old.

– On average, children in the 4th and 5th grades have their hands on a powerful device that leaves them unsupervised and open to a whole lot of trouble. Whatever trouble they can get into, you can be sure that a phone will magnify that trouble 100x.

Phones have become a ubiquitous part of ours and our childrens’ lives, providing instant access to the internet. And while they are incredibly convenient for staying connected, there are some potential negative impacts we can’t overlook. Cell phones impact learning, relationships, and overall well being in ways that none of us could have predicted before cell phones (BCP.) And because they’ve never been without phones and internet access, digital natives are challenging our parenting and teaching in dramatic ways.

So how can we help our children develop healthy cell phone and online habits? How can we keep them safe, gain that all-important sense of belonging and prevent them from developing substance abuse or mental health problems? How can schools and parents partner so students can benefit from the innovative technological and educational opportunities an online world provides?

There are terrific resources for parents in our second issue of Counselor Connection. In addition, we want to share what counselors and social workers in our schools are doing related to each Connection topic to promote academic, social, emotional, and behavioral wellness.

Read the full newsletter here in English, or in Spanish.

PCSD Employee Named 2020 Utah ESP of the Year

Park City School District Human Resources Coordinator Veronica Claridge has been named the Utah School Employees Association’s 2020 Educational Support Professional of the Year. She was awarded the honor during a surprise district office luncheon on Friday. Members of the district administration along with leaders from both the Utah School Employees Association (USEA) and the Park City Classified Employees Association (PCCEA) joined in celebrating Claridge’s contributions to public education. This is the second year in a row a PCSD employee has won this state honor. 

Education support professionals (ESP) are the support staff — clerical services, custodial and maintenance, food services, health and student services, paraeducators, security services, skilled trade services, technical services and transportation services — who work tirelessly to ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, challenged and supported.

As the winner of USEA’s award, Claridge will be Utah’s nominee for the National Education Association’s ESP of the Year. She will attend the national conference and awards event this Spring in New Orleans. She will also travel throughout the state to meet members, raise awareness of ESP issues and advocate on their behalf.

Claridge has been with  Park City School District since 1999. In addition to her work in Human Resources, she has also been the head secretary at McPolin Elementary, and an administrative assistant for Student Services. 

“I am honored to be named the Outstanding Education Support Professional of the Year for the State of Utah,” said the mother of three. “I work with several outstanding ESPs and am humbled to even have been considered. It is my hope that I will represent Park City School District as well as the State of Utah well at the national level.”

District Seeking Substitute Bus Drivers

Park City School District is looking for substitute bus drivers to begin work immediately. This is an ideal position for retirees, parents with students in school, and college students.

Starting pay is $18.65/hour, and the district provide all the training.
Substitute drivers work up to 29 hours during the week. Those who do not have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can earn it from the district while also getting paid for the training.

Benefits include:
• Work Schedule is through the second week of June
• Summers off with the possibility of summer driving opportunities
• Split shifts = freedom during the day
• No required weekends
• Extra work available, if desired
• Ongoing regular training instruction and professional development provided
• Ability to work outdoors
• Holidays off

Park City School District is looking for substitute bus drivers to begin work immediately. This is an ideal position for retirees, parents with students in school, and college students.

Starting pay is $18.65/hour, and the district provide all the training.
Substitute drivers work up to 29 hours during the week. Those who do not have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can earn it from the district while also getting paid for the training.

Benefits include:
• Work Schedule is through the second week of June
• Summers off with the possibility of summer driving opportunities
• Split shifts = freedom during the day
• No required weekends
• Extra work available, if desired
• Ongoing regular training instruction and professional development provided
• Ability to work outdoors
• Holidays off

Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, and hold a high school diploma or GED. For more information call 435-645-5600 or apply here: https://pcsd.munisselfservice.com/employmentopportunities/default.aspx

Board Meeting Summary | Nov. 19, 2019

PCEA Report

Aaron Webb, PCEA co-vice president, said the association recognizes that strong feelings arise whenever issues related to inclusion and bullying are discussed. When disagreements surface, PCEA asks the community to remember its shared values, including honesty, respect, dignity, and kindness. He said PCEA affirms its role as educators is to respect and value each student, and to meet students’ individual and group emotional, developmental and academic needs. PCEA remains committed to the safety and academic success of a diverse and strong body of students and educators. 

CAO Report

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Amy Hunt reported a committee of educators has created a standards-based learning and grading handbook. The purpose of the handbook is to guide principals and teachers towards best practices, to clarify expectations, and to better understand how to provide students with feedback that reflects their learning.

COO Report

Chief Operations Officer Mike Tanner said the District Security Committee continues to meet monthly and is working on a variety of increased safety measures including mainstreaming entrances to Park City High School, using a threat assessment model, and refining emergency communications. Mr. Tanner said he anticipates a secure vestibule will be installed at Park City High during Winter Recess.

Superintendent Report

Superintendent Jill Gildea said the best aspect of her position is the chance to work with a collective community to reach shared aspirations and to provide an outstanding learner experience. During this season of gratitude, she thanked the board and staff for their dedication and commitment to ensure the success of each and every student. She thanked all employees for inspiring passion in students and making a difference in their lives and shaping the educational future for students and their families. 

Master Planning Update

Dr. Gildea proposed the board consider implementing master planning in three phases:

– High School: The board needs to consider when it can move the 9th grade to high school. That will require significant course adjustments to accommodate additional students. She asked the board if it preferred one high school with an addition or a multiple campus site.

– Middle School: Does the board prefer one middle school for grades 6, 7, and 8, with a remodel and addition to Ecker Hill Middle, or two middle schools? Should the 8th grade be kept at Treasure Mountain Junior High until the addition to Ecker is complete? Should necessary improvements be made at TMJH if it is used as a transitional facility?

– Early Learning: Making this a phase three priority allows for additional research, as well as the ability to work in step with the city, county, and state on the initiative.

The next steps in the master planning process include determining financial options, retaining an architect to design high school and middle school options, and conducting a community finance survey. Dr. Gildea asked the board in the coming month to determine a pathway for the future of learning in Park City. 

School Community Council Training

The board reviewed its responsibilities concerning School Community Councils. Local school boards are the adjudicator and protector of School Land Trust funding that is intended to benefit the public-school children of Utah in perpetuity. Boards are required to approve school land trust plans that meet critical academic needs, and that directly impact the instruction of students and improve academic excellence. 

Public Education and Tax Reform

Business Administrator Todd Hauber reviewed the latest draft of the tax reform bill and education funding. He said the Utah School Boards Association is asking for input from local school boards on the proposed tax reform. The state’s proposed tax reform is meant to provide stable, flexible, and equitable funding security for public education. Board President Andrew Caplan expressed concern that the redistribution would mean the district would send an additional $11-12 million back to the state (in addition to what it currently sends back to the state).

Official Oct. 1 Enrollment

Mr. Hauber reported the district’s official Oct. 1 enrollment is 4,757, a decrease of 0.5 percent over the prior year (23 fewer students).  

2020-21 Open Enrollment

The board voted to close all schools to open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year, pending a review of configurable space at some schools. 

Audit Report

The board adopted the district audit report for the year ending June 30, 2019, conducted by the independent firm Squire & Company. The report found all financial statements were in accordance with state and federal accounting principles generally accepted by Government Auditing Standards.

Policies for Posting

Policy 1001:  Code of Conduct (New Policy)

Policy 1005:  District Vision, Mission, Beliefs

Policy 2030:  Policy Development

Policy 2036:  Board Code of Conduct

Policy 5005:  Building Access and Security

Policy 7040:  Extra Duty Assignments

Policy 7075:  Twelve-Month Staff Holidays and Vacations

Policy 11000: Family Education Rights and Privacy

Public Comment

– Linda Lukanowski asked the board for clarification about the Welcoming School professional development training at Trailside Elementary. She asked that all forms of bullying be covered in future trainings for teachers. 

– Diane Livingston believes there are inappropriate novels on the district-approved list. She proposed all books be approved using Utah criminal code. The district’s legal counsel is reviewing the code for application in school materials.

– Tom Clardy expressed concern over some of the novel students are being asked to read for class assignments.

– Shauna Wall asked the board to follow state law regarding pornography and determine that some novels on the novel adoption list are not appropriate for some ages.

– Kristen Brown suggested school and/or district administrators determine the appropriateness of novels read in schools. She noted that her daughter worked with the teacher to provide an alternative to reading a certain book, but she believes it was not a fair alternative.

– Lindsay Cunningham applauded the board, district administration and staff for all they are doing to make Park City a better place. She said it is easy to have an opinion and post it on social media. She appreciates those who doing the work and “fighting the fight.”

A Letter from the Board of Education

pcsd logo

In regards to current community discussions involving Park City School District, the Board of Education wants to remind the community of the mission and vision for the district created in 2017 through community input and shared collective values and aspirations of our learning organization.

Our mission is to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential. Our vision is student-centered with a focus and emphasis on the whole child — our students are safe, supported, engaged and healthy.

When we say “all students” we literally mean all students regardless of their socioeconomic status, their religious beliefs, their immigration status, their sexual preference, their learning ability or any other factors with which students may identify.

There has been recent discussion around a professional development module that was presented to teachers at Trailside Elementary in August by the equity officer from the Utah State Board of Education. The program, called “Welcoming Schools,” focuses on anti-bullying and was in a direct response to two forces: specific bullying that our teachers witnessed at that school and state law that mandates anti-bullying programs be adopted at all districts. Given this program is state approved and administered, we did not anticipate the criticism that we have received via anonymous letters, social media posts and threats of legal action.

We welcome feedback from parents and community members but ask that this discourse remain civil and that threats of legal action or harassment against specific members of district staff stop immediately. PCSD employees are our friends, neighbors and community members and deserve our respect regardless of differences in opinions.

We would also like to address recent criticism and harassment around repairs being done to the district-owned property where the Superintendent and her family live. In response to the community’s desire for the superintendent to live within the district boundaries, the board purchased a residence in Jeremy Ranch. The board decided that purchasing a property was a more efficient use of resources than providing a rent stipend that we would have no equity benefit.

Given the superintendent’s residence is 25 years old, repairs were included in the budget for much-needed safety and structural improvements. So far a total budget allocation of $67,000 has been spent.

Unfortunately, we are now seeing complaints on social media and in the press that both mischaracterize the maintenance being done and directly attacking the superintendent. These repairs are benefiting the same neighbors who are complaining about the work being done.

Please remember that online abuse, including inciting people to go to the house and threaten and harass the superintendent, is not only potentially illegal but also morally wrong. It feels inappropriate in this case, where a parent of the family residing in this residence is working for the children of this community.

Most troubling is that this district property was attacked last week when a rock was thrown through one of the windows in response to the vitriol that certain “neighbors” have been posting on a popular social media site. We are embarrassed and ashamed that this is how some members of the neighborhood have welcomed the superintendent and her family to Park City.

We value dissenting opinion and comments at all times, but we will not tolerate verbal, written or physical harassment of district employees. This behavior is not only dangerous and illegal but sets a terrible example for the children of Park City.

We believe these actions and words belong to a vocal minority and we appeal to the rest of the community, families and individuals who make up the Park City community that we know and love. Please stand up for what is right and push back against those who feel that threats, intimidation and physical violence are better avenues of expression than traditional conversation and discourse.

— Park City Board of Education

Andrew Caplan, President

Erin Grady, Vice President

Wendy Crossland

Kara Hendrickson

Anne Peters