Parents, teachers and administration gathered last week for an education forum |

Parents, teachers and administration gathered last week for an education forum

In a meeting last week at Temple Har Shalom in Park City, more than 147 parents, teachers and administration gathered to discuss educational issues.

The Park City Educational Forum provided an opportunity for concerned citizens to discuss challenges in the school system and voice their opinions on a variety of issues including teacher evaluation techniques and how to raise student test scores.

According to Back to Our Roots co-chairman Tommy Tanzer, the discussion covered the ways the district is succeeding too. Some of the district’s attributes include its in-state rankings, graduation rates, college placement and scholarship programs, ESL and Latinos in Action, McPolin’s resurgence and the Park City Education Foundation, Tanzer explained.

One of the concerns voiced among parents and teachers was the new elementary core language and math programs, which Tanzer says are strangling the creativity among the advanced students and most experienced teachers.

"Those that spoke felt that the stringent testing schedules were usurping much of the teachers’ time and that flexibility and teacher input could help solve these kinks in the new system," he said.

A consensus was reached that better methods of teacher evaluation would serve to strengthen the district. Tanzer explained that the district needs to identify how to keep the best teachers, "First we need to address professional freedom and input and how (teachers) go about (their) daily job. Second, how does the district pay its teachers? We pay our administration a fortune," he said.

Tanzer said that participants discussed how the district could retain some of the huge sums of money that are taken away by the state. "In all, it was a great format for the exchange of ideas between the concerned parties," he said.

As a former teacher, Tanzer explained that although he doesn’t have kids or grandkids in Park City, he understands what’s going on in the school district.

As co-chairman of Back to our Roots, which started more than five years ago, Tanzer has helped the organization raise more than $240,000 for scholarships. "In 2010 the charity has sent 17 Park City High School students to college including mentoring assistance and has enrolled three Hispanic students in the Park City Day School," Tanzer said.

More than 19 teachers attended the forum as panelists, including teachers and administrators from all over the Park City School District, and members of the Park City Education Foundation.

Back to Our Roots has added seven new scholarships for 2011 2012.

The recipients include:

Ryan Smith Scholarship

Rebecca Pankow,

Chris Maddux Scholarship

Dalia Gonzalez

Jim Santy Scholarship

Amanda Medes

Candy Erickson Award

Syndney Smoot

Eileen Bailey Award

Abby Jenkins

Race Price Award

Tyler Gaebe

Darren Bean Award

Devon Maddux

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