Guest editorial: Park City School District Superintendent says ‘best days’ are yet to come

Dr. Ember Conley Superintendent, Park City School District

We had an exciting and successful start to a new school year as we welcomed more than 5,000 students to their educational journey of 2017-2018. As I visited each of our schools on the first day of classes, it reminded me that the future holds infinite possibilities for all these minds entrusted to us.

We had a busy summer hiring additional staff to help in our growing district. New this year are: Dr. Ben Belnap, Associate Superintendent of Student Wellness; Melinda Colton, Director of Communications; Carolyn Synan, Trailed Elementary Principal; RJ Owen, Food Service Director; Casey Dupart, School Psychologist; Jaimee Kidder, Behavior Specialist; Kara Brechwald; Special Education Specialist; Julie Hastings, Curriculum Specialist; Leslie Czerwinski and Amanda Wissler, Social Work Counselors; Heather Brilee, PCHS Counselor; Andy Lee, Network Administrator; Jeremy Bauer, Audio/ Visual/ Phones; Andy Tullis, McPolin Academic Coach; Laura Todd, McPolin Interventionist; and Angie Dufner, McPolin Title I Specialist. These individuals bring an incredible amount of expertise to their positions and will be great additions to our already talented staff.

This year will continue to be shaped by our efforts as outlined in our Park City School District Learning Plan. Our accomplishments have been monumental and we will continue our focus on teaching and learning so that our students graduate college and career ready.

While maintaining the implementation of the initiatives already in place, this year we will also focus on addressing targeted mental health and school safety initiatives through our “Safe and Healthy” campaign. Throughout the year, Dr. Belnap will initiate discussions with the community about how best to create safe, drug-free, and respectful environments for learning, and how to promote the behavioral health of our students. We are anxious to collaborate with parents, community partners, and civic leaders about such complex issues as violence, substance abuse, and mental health and ways to help our students be healthier, both in mind and body.

Another important objective this year is the updating of the district’s Strategic Plan. We will invite members of the community to work with the Board of Education to determine the path forward for our schools. This is an important process that will determine the district’s priorities and objectives for the next five to seven years.

Most importantly, in light of national civil unrest, we have reminded our educators to continue their efforts to develop positive, fair and equitable learning environment for all students. We reaffirm our commitment to provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for all of our students, regardless of ace, religion, national origin/ethnicity, color, sex/gender (including sexual orientation and gender identity), pregnancy, age, disability, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law. We hold ourselves accountable to these standards as educators, and we expect our students and staff to adhere to these standards. We will lead by example as we celebrate all students in the district.

As I enter my fifth year as your Superintendent, it has been my honor to serve this community in our mutual pursuit of providing the finest educational system possible for our students. With your continued support, I believe the best days of Park City School District are ahead of us.


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