School board hears test results and addresses patron concerns
The results of the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test are in.
On Tuesday, Human Resources Director Tim McConnell reported to the Park City School Board that the district performed well compared to other students in the state.
However, nine seniors did not pass the test.
Letters will be distributed to students next week notifying them of their results.
School board member Kathryn Adair wanted it to be clear in the letter that students failing the test will still graduate.
One student took the test three times, scoring a 159, a 159 and a 156. The score needed to pass is 160.
"It’s just heartbreaking," McConnell said.
He also expressed concern for the 25 high-school juniors who have not yet passed the test. In the future he worries that graduation will be contingent on passing.
It was also noted during the meeting that enrollment may be dropping because of the test. School board member Vern Christensen said he would like to see a way of tracking drop-out rates and why students leave school.
The School Board also addressed the issue of a large third-grade class at Trailside Elementary School. At the March 28 School Board meeting, four parents addressed the school board with a complaint about the third-grade class of 28 students. They said it hurt the student’s ability to learn and worried the children would continue to fall behind.
Superintendent Dave Adamson examined test scores for the third- grade class, including the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which showed the class was performing at an average level.
The school board also discussed an email from someone who was worried about the amount of litter at McPolin Elementary School and the condition of the path leading from the school to Lucky John Drive. Adamson said with the recent snow melt more litter is emerging and shared concerns about the trail. He said he will look into improving it.
The playground at McPolin was also brought up because it collects water and forms a small "lake" around playground equipment. Adamson said he will have a contractor look at it so they can explore drainage options.
Kathryn Adair said she spoke with someone who asked if the district was liable if students view inappropriate material online while working on an assignment that mandated Internet use.
Adair suggested the school board should consider addressing that in the Internet-use form signed by parents each year.
At the last school board meeting, members wanted to be sure that students were protected by policy regardless of sexual orientation. Adamson reported that after some research he found language addressing the issue in the safe-school policy and the harassment- discrimination policy.
Meanwhile, the state of Utah is participating in a $300,000 grant, awarded by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education to encourage students to take a rigorous curriculum in preparation for college.
The Park City School District will be participating in the grant which encourages students to take four years of English, three years of math, three years of science, 3 ½ years of social studies and two years of a language other than English.
"The standards they’re trying to establish very nicely aligns with the board’s academic seal," Adamson said.
If students obtain the school board’s seal on their diploma, they have exceeded the expectations of the grant.
Tyler Burns, the student on the school board, said AP tests are coming up along with student-government elections. He also reported that class registration was last week.
Bob Burns, co-president of the Park City Education Association, reported the Utah Education Association will have a review of the legislative results available next week.
McConnell gave a report about music scheduling. Martha Crook has been identifying central issues on the topic.
She wants to "provide as much separation as we can between the elementary and secondary program," McConnell said.
He reported that several teachers give instruction at both the elementary level and the high-school level.
Fifth-grade parents are also being surveyed to determine if there is an interest in zero hour music classes.
Director of student services Tom VanGorder reported that district will be receiving $78,000 less in Title 1 funding, a 38 percent cut from what was received this year. Now it needs to be determined if they will distribute the remaining $128,000 between the three elementary schools or if the school board should identify which of the schools are most in need.
"That will be one of the decisions, where do we put this money," he said.
VanGorder cannot predict if the school board will need to supplement the lost funding.
Another cut was made by a few thousand dollars in Title 3 spending, which is where money for the English Language Learner’s program comes from.
The school board approved the expenditure of $179,200 for summer maintenance. They also approved the purchase of new math texts.
It was decided the school board will send a letter to all Utah candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate informing them of the school boards priorities, including the importance of maintaining local control.
The following policies were approved for posting and can be viewed at: http://www.pcschools.us : Early Retirement Service Credit, Employee Ethics, Safe Schools, Public Information and Media Access to School Faculty and Students, Curriculum Development and Management.
School board member Lisa Kirchenheiter noticed the path between ball fields at the high school is in "pretty bad shape" and would like to see the problem remedied.
Adamson confirmed the high school graduation will be held at the Canyons resort. Details are being worked out by the high school.
Last Friday the Park City Education Foundation began considering funding requests, Adamson reported the district is anticipating an approval of $300,000 in funding.
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The Park City Police Department last week was summoned to Snows Lane to respond to a complaint about three skiers or snowboarders who were reported to be “ducking ropes and avoiding patrollers.”