"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Year End Post

Note: Audio for the board meetings can be downloaded at the bottom of each of the following links.

Nov. 13, 2012: http://sbs.alpinedistrict.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/eAgenda.woa/wa/displayMeeting?meetingID=1297
Nov. 27, 2012: http://sbs.alpinedistrict.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/eAgenda.woa/wa/displayMeeting?meetingID=1312
Dec. 11, 2102: http://sbs.alpinedistrict.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/eAgenda.woa/wa/displayMeeting?meetingID=1314

I want to thank Board Members, Mark Clement and Terry Peterson for their service.  I will miss our discussions.  I wish them the best in their future endeavors!

Welcome to our two new board members who will be sworn in this January, Scott Carlson and Brian Halliday. I look forward to working with you both.

Board Leadership and Code of Conduct
During the January 8 Board Meeting, our newly-elected board members will be sworn in. We will also select a new Board President and Vice President. I was told the Board President is responsible for upholding our Code of Conduct. I would recommend that everyone read the Code of Conduct here. You can read the official About the Board from our website here. Every January, we review the Code of Conduct.  I would like to bring your input to our discussion.  Please feel free to email or Facebook message me with your suggestions and thoughts.

Here is a quick overview of November and December.

Space Center
Probably the biggest issue in November was the Space Center.  So many people showed up at the Board Meeting to show their support for the Space Center.  It was great to see that level of public involvement.  A committee has been established to explore options and to make recommendations to the Board.  Right now, they plan on presenting options in February.  For my part, I am very supportive of the Space Center. (My kids would be very disappointed were I not.)  I want to continue the simulators and the current experience in whatever way makes the most sense.  If there is a cost-effective way to get part of the Space Center back up and in operation, I am supportive.

Also, during the public comments, Robin Allred took the time to support the idea of incorporating families into our district values. (Thanks, Robin!)

We accepted the CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) which is a required document detailing the financials for the district for 2011-12.  The auditors gave us a clean bill of health.  There are some very interesting pieces of information, especially toward the end of the report, e.g. salary schedules, amount spent per student, number of employees, tax rates over time, etc.  You can view it here: http://alpineschools.org/accounting/cafr/2012-cafr-audit-services-provided

Closed Schools
The following schools will be closed for 2013-14.  Note: Lone Peak HS is not on this list.  I mentioned concerns that have been raised about Lone Peak.  The principal says they may have room for only 30 more students.  I have been told principals can limit those who want to attend from "out of area" when there are reasons such as limited space and/or teachers.  I will follow this closely.

Fox Hollow Elementary – Due to the capacity of the school.

Freedom Elementary – Due to the capacity of the school.
Hidden Hollow Elementary – Due to the capacity of the school.
Meadow Elementary – Due to the capacity of the school.

Pony Express Elementary – Due to the capacity of the school.

Snow Springs Elementary – Due to the capacity of the school.

American Fork Junior High – Closed to out-of-area students with the exception of students who will attend American Fork High School. These students would still be required to apply for an out-of-area exception through Student Services during the open enrollment window.

Lakeridge Junior High – To continue educational offerings.
Vista Heights Middle School – To help equalize boundaries with the new school.
New Eagle Mountain Middle School – New school

Enrollment Projections
Our district has a great track record on enrollment projections.  The latest projections were discussed, as well as what additional schools might need to be constructed and when.  This information can be viewed here: http://alpineschools.org/administration/enrollment-history-projections/2012-13-enrollment-history-projections
These projections are used to make recommendations about bonding and building.  For those of you concerned about bonding, this is the time to start thinking about alternatives.  We will need to accommodate these projections, unless something drastic occurs.  Please take the time to review this information and give me feedback.

Eagle Mountain Elementary School
Property was purchased in Eagle Mountain for a new elementary school, planned as part of the bond projects.

Utah Consolidated Application
Every year the district has to fill out this application for the state.  It provides our accountability for certain programs that come with strings, both Federal and State, e.g. Special Ed, Optional Extended-Day Kindergarten, etc.  From my perspective, it is a lot of hoop-jumping, and many of the options are for ways that allow children to spend more time in school and less time at home.  (I will refrain from editorializing.)  There are about 40 different funding sources, most of which come from the state.  As mentioned, in order to get the funding, you have to show your compliance with the "strings".  I would prefer to have the state just give the local districts a lump sum and let us divvy it up as we see fit.  (Pipe dream, I know.)

Graduation Requirements Policy
The State Board sets the minimum graduation requirements.  Alpine School District has placed additional requirements on our graduating students.  The policy has been changed to reflect two different kids of diplomas: a basic and a traditional.  A Basic diploma (e.g. Fast Track) will be offered with 24 credit hours.  All the required courses (3 English, etc) must still be earned.  However, students can graduate with fewer electives, if they choose.  A Traditional diploma requires 28 credit hours to obtain.  A few interesting things.
1) Students with an IEP can earn a traditional diploma with those 28 credit hours, and whatever course accommodations needed to made in accordance with the IEP. 
2) There are also 2 certificates offered to special ed students who do not qualify for the traditional diploma. 
3) A student who successfully completes Calculus has met the math requirements regardless of number of math credit hours earned.  However, that student would have to still meet the 24 or 28 credit hours by taking electives instead of math.
4) The SEOP has been changed, by the State Office, to a CCR (College and Career-readiness) Plan.  The policy stipulates that each student will have one.  I tried to get clarification on whether a parent can opt their student out of the CCR Plan.  I was told each counselor will be following the student to make sure they are on track for graduation.  There are additional pieces of information, such as career testing, that are optional, since they would fall under the Utah FERPA (privacy) law.  Any private information, likes, dislikes, family circumstances, etc. all require written permission from a parent. 

The policy can be viewed here:

School Calendar Update
The school year for 2013-14 will start on Tuesday, Aug. 20 instead of Thursday, Aug. 22, so teachers can have two full professional development days, instead of the current minimal days.  (Yea! Not a fan of the minimal days, personally.)

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!