With school year in sight, district solidifies plans for change
July 22, 2008
As the school season kicks into session this August, parents and students can expect some major changes.
Several issues that are expected to reach resolution by the time school opens include attendance policy, school security and the long-awaited eMints program.
School attendance policy, a heavily debated subject since last winter, was the cause of a special advisory committee that has met in regular sessions several times over the past months. The district will shortly be at work on a final draft policy that should reach a finalized version by the end of August. At the very latest, a policy will be in place by the time winter sports begin.
The district’s Gifted and Talented program is under the microscope as well. Superintendent Ray Timothy said that the distrct has looked toward the programs utilized at other districts in Denver and Minnesota to help redesign its own curriculum. The district hopes revisions to take effect in the near future.
Also, after a great deal of discussion, optional full-day kindergarten is now open for registration. The district is also evaluating community education programs for at-risk children. With these two programs in place, students can stay in a protected classroom atmosphere for the majority of the day.
School security, which was beefed up thanks to more than $1 million added to the budget earlier this summer, is also about to drastically change. After reviewing several applicants for a district-wide security, the district is looking to make an offer to a contractor soon. Specifics of that program will have to remain a secret to insure its integrity. Students can expect at least one full-time security officer for the district and an increase in security infrastructure, although installations may not be obvious.
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The district has also pushed some longer-term projects. Timothy, who is on the advisory committee for Utah Valley University, has looked for the university to network more closely with Park City High School. Although a timeline is still in the works, high school students could soon be taking classes in culinary arts and hospitality directly from university faculty. The hospitality program at UVU kicked off only recently.
The long-awaited eMints program is currently in the late phases of installation and will be ready for use shortly. All fifth-grade classrooms in the district have been torn part from the ground up to accommodate high-speed Internet and new computers recently purchased by the district. Teachers will be able to continue their training for the program on installed hardware at many of the elementary schools in early August. eMints is an integrated system that asks students to use computers for a variety of different educational pursuits.