Welcome to the latest Superintendent Snapshot. To submit a question, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Question – I love that the preschool is getting money to improve, but the kindergarten needs their money back that was cut so the OEK can continue. Our district should be having every school have the OEK not just title one. Please work on getting our funding back.
Answer – We have supported and implemented both optional extended-day kindergarten (O.E.K.) and preschool in Granite School District for many years, and will take advantage of any opportunity we have to expand and/or improve these programs. When the Utah State Board of Education made grant funds available in the preschool area for this year, we eagerly applied. We’re delighted that we had funding awarded to serve an additional 500 students with preschool services. Should the state make additional funding available to expand O.E.K. services, we will certainly do all we can to be awarded those funds as well.
Thanks for the comment and thanks to Teaching & Learning Services for assistance in responding.
Welcome to the latest snapshot. To submit a question, email it here.
Here is the latest superintendent snapshot discussing the future of textbooks. To submit a question to Superintendent Bates for his blog or snapshot, email him at email@example.com.
Question – Our school has been fortunate enough that a few teachers got to take an iPod training and then they received an iPad or iPod lab to use. As excited as I am for them, it has already created a feeling of “that’s not fair” in my classroom. And as a teacher who enjoys using technology, I would love the opportunity to create more learning opportunities for my students as well. Are there plans to increase the availability of IPods to other classrooms?
Response – Thank you for your email and interest in use of technology in the classroom! The iPod carts that have been provided has been a fairly large project in terms of cost and professional learning. Due to limits in resources (both in funding and in time), we have not been able to provide this opportunity to all teachers. We hope to continually add technology integration into all classrooms. The technology tools will obviously change over the years, but our vision and goals of always looking to provide as many opportunities to teachers will not change. This year we were able to modify restrictions on how textbook funds can be used – to include certain technologies. As you may have seen in our 5-Year Plan, we intend to have one-to-one technology with students and, just as importantly, the infrastructure to support it. Thanks again for your commitment!
Question – I am a teacher at KHS. My concern is the size of the self-contained classes when you add another year of students. I currently have 12 students on my class list for next year. Adding 9th grade will add 3-4 students. Can the district promise added support in this era of budget cuts and withdrawal of needed support for special needs students?
Response – The Special Education Department staffs it’s programs based on the number of students assigned to the program and additional program needs in accordance with state caseload guidelines. As conditions change, the Special Education Department actively responds to changes that may result in additional needs on an individual basis. As such, appropriate levels of ongoing support for special needs students would not change based on a potential grade reconfiguration.
Thanks to the special education department for their assistance in responding to this question.
Check out the latest snapshot video on $$$$ from year-round savings below. To get a copy of the presentation on preliminary budget numbers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and request it. Thanks and have a great day.
Question – Why is it that all teachers working in a title one school, regardless of it they work with title one designated kids, get a big bonus and the title one aides, who help immensely to run the classrooms and wherever needed, get no part of it. It is very frustrating to do all that we do and not be acknowledged as the teachers are.
Response – We value the work of para educators and recognize that they make great contributions to student achievement. The Title I Stipend / Incentive is allowed by federal law to recruit and retain licensed educators in Title I schools. Unfortunately the law does not allow these types of incentives to non-licensed staff.
Thanks to our Title I Director for his assistance in responding to this question.
Question – When will the newest idea from our state legislators take effect? When are our schools going to be graded and what are the qualifiers?
Response – I share your frustration that oftentimes, the mandates passed on from the legislature can be taxing and decrease morale among our hardworking educators. Currently, the school grading bill is undergoing some amendments for implementation this next fall. We are working to communicate with our legislators the impacts of all programs and suggest you do the same. At this point it looks as though implementation of the new “system” will be delayed for another year.
By the way, regardless of the grade that ultimately results – we encourage you to celebrate the growth of each student with the student’s parents. With my very own children, when I know that they are progressing, achieving, love learning, and have teachers who genuinely care about them and their growth, I’m not particularly interested in the label the building gets on some report downtown. if we focus on the things we know make a difference pedagogically, kids will thrive, parents will be pleased and, I believe, the school grading system will take care of itself.
Thanks for serving the kids!
Question – The Cognos IBM tool available on the USOE site is great for transparency. It has illustrated that the charter schools are not succeeding at the rate the parents think they are. Unfortunately, as an STS who was trained on the program I can “filter out” the special populations of our schools. When I look at the neighborhood schools compared to the charter schools the neighborhood schools are succeeding at a far better rate than assumed with and without those filters. When schools do not make AYP sometimes it is due to special ed, attendance or high mobility populations. Is there a method in which we can make the message “that involved parents have successful students” more available? Every school I go to I see involved parents with extremely successful students.
When I talk to parents who have sent their children to charter schools they seem to emphasize that these charter schools emphasize arts and science more and have a smaller student to teacher ratio. My frustration is that all the resources are being pulled from the district schools to make these charter schools happen. How did the parents become so disenfranchised that instead of investing in our schools they prefer to create whole new buildings and systems? I applaud the tax hike last year to accommodate all the physical educators but maybe all these parents that moved their students would prefer to invest more in the schools but are not sure how to. How can we involve these parents so that they can help us to create the schools they want instead of going elsewhere?
Lastly, I think the size of our district enables us to do great things that other districts can not. We have great programs in place and great resources. It would be nice to see our students reflect on the great things in our district and their local schools. I know the PTA does a reflections assembly and the US forest service used to do a tree poster contest. Can we as a district do something like this to emphasis how great we are. We have certified dedicated teachers, great new schools being built, technology specialists, PE specialists……let’s have students clelebrate these things.
In closing I know these ideas are not foreign. PTA is suppose to be the conduit for change and dialogue and teacher of the year awards are to celebrate our district strengths but they are not. We need to change our image, our schools are succeeding in many ways, yet the news is full of depressing statistics. Thank you for your time.
Response – You bring up a number of great points that are currently being addressed by me and my staff. We have communicated with principals directly, the importance of ascertaining if students are leaving to go to charter schools. And we encourage them to take steps to shore up their programs to prevent or stop the loss! Our Communications Department continues to work to highlight programs and school successes for the media and our legislators to ensure that information is getting out to the parents who ultimately make these decisions. We continue to work to identify these successes in our schools and could use any tips for programs or individual successes that should be recognized and publicized. Anyone can submit ideas email@example.com.
Lastly, we continue to work on other plausible marketing techniques to raise the profile of Granite District. Look for some of these to be implemented over the next year. While we don’t want to give anything away, they will be noticeable and draw significant attention to the efforts our great educators are making in our classrooms everyday.
Please know however, at the end of the day the very best advocate for our schools are the people who work and volunteer in them – we have thousands of “marketing agents” who have personal access to their neighbors. Just think of the power if all of our employees and volunteers committed to share just one great thing they see happening with three people each day who don’t work or volunteer at their school!
Thanks for all you do – including eating “neatly” at your desk!