Park City School District sets principles to guide its master plan
A few weeks ago, teachers, administrators, students and community members met to talk about their ideal school district. They filled the walls with sticky notes before attempting to sum up their thoughts into a few sentences.
By the end of the meeting, the majority of those in attendance were nodding in agreement as they looked at the six guiding principles they had selected.
Identifying the principles was one of the first steps in the Park City School District’s master planning process. The district intends to use the principles — as well as its mission, vision, values and strategic plan — as a foundation for the master plan, which will determine the future layout of classrooms and schools and assess the need for new facilities.
The principles are: learner-centered experiences best support student growth; positive and healthy schools promote safety and security; relationships are nurtured and cultivated; meaningful engagement demands real-world learning; flexible, adaptable spaces support programming and students; and a commitment to inclusivity provides greater access for all.
Danny Fisher, the district’s career and technical education administrator and a member of the master planning steering committee, said the principles are reflective of the feedback the committee has heard thus far from the community.
He said the master planning process has gone well, and he believes the district has tried to provide opportunities for people to offer their opinions. The district held an open house at the end of October that was open to the public and had a public survey on its website for several weeks.
The survey asked Parkites what they thought were the top three skills a Park City High School graduate should have. The top three answers were critical thinking and problem solving, communication skills and study skills, and time management.
Clio Raynor, the project manager for the district’s master planning consultant GSBS Architects, said the responses from that survey are in agreement with the guiding principles, which is encouraging. Educators also said they agreed with both the guiding principles and the survey responses at a recent forum held earlier this month for teachers to discuss the district’s educational vision.
“As we’ve been talking with educators and our steering committee and the general public, we’re finding that their thoughts on the visions for education are really aligned with each other,” she said.
She said the steering committee plans on finalizing the guiding principles after it receives feedback from the public in an upcoming survey. The principles will be critical in determining the future of the school district, she said.
“They are the touch point that we come back to with every conversation that we have,” she said.
Raynor said the next step in the process is to talk about how the principles can be translated to spaces in the schools, including classrooms and other gathering rooms.
Raynor said public engagement is expected to ramp up next year. The next open house, which will include discussions about future spaces, is expected to take place at the beginning of February.
The public is also invited to attend steering committee meetings about how to develop future classrooms and to review current classroom conditions. The meetings are set to take place on Jan. 15, Feb. 12 and March 12. The steering committee is scheduled to meet at Park City High School’s PCCAPS space on those dates from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., according to the district’s website.
Raynor said after future spaces are discussed, the plan is to take stock of the district’s current schools and spaces and decide how to best apply the community’s vision into the schools.
“We don’t want the students or the community to be limited by their space, we want their space to fit their vision,” she said.
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The forum was moderated by KPCW’s Carolyn Murray and was mostly subdued, no surprise given that two of the incumbent candidates are unchallenged.