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Basin Rec should have made a safer choice on the new field

Would you let your kid play on a pile of tires?

Would you let your child go to birthday parties on a pile of tires?

Would you let your kid compete in soccer on a pile of tires?

No. No. AND probably No.

Yet, Basin Rec is preparing to install another turf field made from recycled tires. KPCW is reporting that Basin Rec will be replacing the field house turf on Wednesday, July 25th. It will be replacing it with the same substance it has previously used, an “infill of rubber.”

We first talked about the danger of these fields in 2014. If you’ve been to one of Basin Rec’s fields, you’ll often see the “rubber dots” that fly up. You’ll often see rubber stuck to your toddler’s socks. You’ll often find rubber pieces in your kid’s hair. You’ll often notice your kid’s hands and feet are stained in black.

That rubber is ground up tires. There are 27 chemicals of concern in crumb rubber (as they call it) and 11 of which are carcinogenic. Those tires contain mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead.

The question that many have is whether these tire “bits” are cancerous. The issue came to light when Amy Griffin, an assistant head coach of women’s soccer at the University of Washington, began to notice that some of her current and former players, especially goalkeepers, had been diagnosed with cancer. According to CNN, “when the list began drawing attention, the Washington State Department of Health and researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health reached out to conduct an investigation into whether the cancer rate seen in Griffin’s list was unusual. The study, published last week, concluded it was not, and recommended that ‘people who enjoy soccer continue to play irrespective of the type of field surface.'”

However, according to CNN “the study wasn’t designed to identify whether exposure to tire crumbs caused cancer among some of the players. Rather, the investigation was to determine whether the cancer diagnoses were higher than would be expected and then qualify as a cluster.”

So, on one side we have the Washington State Department of Health who says that the cancer rates were not higher than expected. On the other side, we have a soccer coach who noticed that a lot of goalies who played on artificial turf were getting blood cancers. Neither opinion is conclusive on whether paying on a field of ground up tires is safe.

Yet, we come back to the question of whether you’d want your kid playing on used tires? The alternative is using a product like “Nike Field Turf” which is made from ground up shoes. According to NBC, it costs about 2% more than turf-rubber made from tires and contains consumer-friendly ingredients.

Of course, The Synthetic Turf Council, a lobbying group for the turf industry says tire rubber is a non-issue.

The truth is that there are no official studies linking turf made from tires to negative effects. Yet, there are the soccer players … and if you haven’t’ watched the ESPN segment on them, you should.

In many ways it seems a lot like CTE (concussions) with football players. After a hundred years, we are finally acknowledging that blows to the brain have extremely negative consequences. Are fields made from ground up tires a good idea? Should our kids be exposed to this? Should our 3 year olds be running around barefoot at birthday parties on this?

Yes, it’s true we live in the mountains and real grass is hard to come by in March. However, for a few percent more in cost, it seems there are better materials that we should be investing in for our fields.

We think the Basin Rec made mistake on this. We’re building a field for the next 10 years… why not build something that seems more safe, for only a little more cost. Wy not protect our kids from ingesting potentially carcinogenic substances?

In a town that thrives on athletics, we hope this choice doesn’t turn out horribly for someone.

Frankly, we can’t believe Summit County took the chance.

If you have 10 minutes, and a child, we’d recommend watching the ESPN story on this.

 

 

Thank you Park City teachers for a great year

My oldest kid “graduated” Kindergarten today. Like many things in Park City, it was a little over the top. There was a scheduled performance with songs and many of the formalities you probably witnessed when you graduated high school.

That said, my Kindergartener was broken up. He didn’t want to leave Mrs. Martin’s class at Jeremy Ranch. He was crying during the songs. He was crying during an awesome video Mrs. Martin had made for the kids.

He loved Kindergarten… every minute of it.

That was due to his teacher, her aide, the Principal (who he seems to love but he swears he has never had to go to the office) and the volunteers in the classroom.

I’ve followed the school district closely since about 2015. I watched the Master Planning committee intimately as they decided whether we needed to bond for new schools. That effort all seemed artificial. It all seemed produced. It wasn’t real. It left a sour taste.

Today I saw real. As my kid cried, his teacher didn’t indulge him or give him some platitude. She said, “I’m sad too. You know, I had a dream last night about how much I was going to miss all of you kids and that made me sad… But next year you’ll be just down the hall and I expect you all to come visit.” It was real. It was just what he needed to hear.

It’s what I wish we heard during every discussion we have about schools. However, that’s a post for another day.

So, thank you Mrs. Martin and the rest of the teachers who took care of our kids for the last year. We appreciate you. We appreciate how much you care for someone who is not your own. You make a huge difference.

I hope you all get some time off this summer.

 

 

Want your very own e-bike to use around Park City?

There are few things I’ve purchased in the last few years I enjoy as much as my e-bike. I wouldn’t want to go without or take a step down to the ones rented by the City/County. In my opinion, it is the best way to beat the traffic and get around the Basin.

If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge, my wife is selling her black Pedego Interceptor.

It’s been a great bike, but now that the kids are older, she has moved to a cargo bike.

It’s a 2015 Pedego Interceptor, 48V 10AH battery, has both pedal assist and a throttle, and a new rear tire and brake pads were put on last summer. It has 3,153 miles. She is asking $1,400. New they sell for around $3,000. We’ll even throw in a free year’s subscription to the Park Rag :-).

Pedego has a shop down by Sammy’s Bistro, which makes support and service simple.

Anyhow, if you are interested you can reach Janna at 801-558-7460.

Doing the work in Park City…

I’m from Kansas. One of the stories I always remember is that Bruce Springsteen would come through Kansas City and his 1970’s concerts would go until midnight at Memorial Hall. It was real. It was epic. It was four hours of great music, which is unheard of in today’s age

Springsteen put in the work necessary to make a great performance…. and obviously a memorable one.

When we started the Park Rag about 6 years ago (it was called Summit Counts back then), we were warned by a few folks that people in Park City will stand up beside you until it counts, becomes inconvenient, or is a lot of work. They cited the Discovery Core project and noted how the community stood up against a development near Weilenman until the rubber hit the road.

Yes, people are willing to provide money (sometimes). That’s fairly easy. Yes, people are willing to show up once a year to a fundraiser. That’s easy, Yes, people are willing to pledge to Live PC Give PC. That easy. 

For those people, it feels like good…They feel like they have contributed… but have they really?

Our collective experience tells us that time is what really matters. It’s similar to Springsteen. He could have just given money to Kansas City … but instead he gave time. He created something memorable.

Park City needs more of that. We need involvement. 

Thank you to those people who do provide minutes of their spare time to the community. It is more valuable than money. The experiences shared are really priceless.

Yeah, Running with ED buys a new computer for a school. That’s great. But are you creating something? Are you educating? Are you spending more time deciding on what costume to wear than how the school will use the money?

Actually dedicating your time and experience is fundamental. It makes all the difference. It makes our community better. 

We need time spent by the best and brightest.

Without YOU, we are stuck in some morass were we think money will solve all our issues.

Instead, we need your experience. That gives us the best chance of making sure that OUR KIDS’ hometown is a thriving community going forward.

The next generation of Park City won’t look like what you want it to without your help. We hope your help can include some of your time.

The Park Record is doing a disservice to our new High School Principal

We were excited to see that a new Principal was hired for Park City High School. As of August 2018, Roger Arbabi will become the new Principal at PCHS. What we gather from the Park Record article was that Mr Arbabi currently is an Administrator in the country of Colombia. He has 25 years teaching Science and Physics. He and his family have vacationed here for years. He is also fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi.

That’s it from the Park Record article. Thanks guys.

To us, he sounds like a great guy. His background is unusual and likely offers a lot of real world experience.

So, don’t get us wrong. The upcoming rant isn’t about Mr Arbabi. We look forward to meeting him and hope he brings a diversity never before seen in Park City to the position.

Our rant is about the Park Record. Does the Park Record know our community anymore? They basically trotted out an article stating that the replacement for the head of our top-ranked school (PCHS) is a guy who is a Principal in a Columbian school who has 25 years teaching experience in Science. WTF?

This didn’t give us enough information.

Frankly, we get more analysis from ESPN on the 64th best team in the NCAA March Madness tournament.

We decided to look Mr Arbabi up on LinkedIn. This simple search told us that Mr Arbabi worked at Gransbury ISD in Texas for three years. What we aren’t sure of is whether the Park Record is trying to discredit Mr Arbabi by not mentioning his 3 years as an “Administrator” at Gransbury ISD Texas (2010-2013) or whether they are concerned with his background.

In order to figure out what was actually happening, we had to listen to an interview with Mr Arbabi on KPCW. We learned he was born in Dallas, TX. We learned that he lived in Iran from age 7-14 (his mother is Iranian and his father from the US and they moved during the Iranian Revolution). We learned he had lived in Texas for 9 years (as teacher and Administrator) and he and his wife were looking for an adventure.  They applied for international jobs and received a job in Colombia. He has been there for 5 years.About a year ago he and his wife decided move to Park City and wanted to find a way to make it work. He wanted live here and was looking for work (from substitute teacher on upwards).  Then the High School Principal position came available and he applied for that.

What we like in his interview on KPCW is the following… Leslie Thatcher asked, “What will you bring to Park City High School?” His response was that it was a challenge to follow in the footsteps of the former Principal Bob O’Connor and Dr Einhorn and current staff represented “an amazing place to be.” He said he wanted to accessible and approachable. He wanted Park City to be a safe place to be for teachers.

We wish all the best for Mr Arbabi. We hope he is great. Our theory is that it’s all about execution. Hopefully he will execute well.

For the Park Record; however, they appear to be trying to execute but aren’t doing a great job.If someone reads their article, it is practically setting up the new Principal to fail. In 30 seconds of searching we found additional info that wasn’t included. In 10 minutes of talking to the man, KPCW shed some light on who Mr Arbabi is.

The Park Record did none of this.

If they aren’t going to do this on something as important as the new Park City High School Principal, you have to question everything about it. If they endorse a candidate or write an editorial, that’s great. Is it based on the same 24 seconds of research? Probably.

We’re starting to wonder if perhaps KPCW should just provide a daily transcript and call that a paper. We think it would be more informative.

It’s not been a good day for the Park Record. Frankly, it’s not been a good month or two.

Update: Thanks to the person who caught our spelling issue

The Park Record’s site metering is an ugly distraction… but there is a work-around

As of Wednesday, the Park Record instituted “Site Metering.” This means that you can only look at three articles per month before the Park Record blocks you (unless you provide your email address to them). Frankly, if we were an advertiser, we would be upset. But we suppose that’s their business.

That said, forcing users to provide an email for access doesn’t seem like a customer focused solution. The Park Record says, “The data will be used internally only — we will not sell it. It will be used for newsletters, email blasts and more from us.” It seems like a drastic move for something that would seem to provide little value. Perhaps there is great value to them in the “and more from us” part of their statement.

We’ve always looked at the Park Record as a Faustian Bargain. Are we willing to wade through all the ads disguised as articles to get the few pieces of information that are valuable? Lately we’ve further questioned that in the reporting regarding school start times. The Park Record ran a story that led many community members to think elementary school was starting at 9:20AM. This them caused an uproar from the community, which caused the Park City School Board to have to issue a statement saying that start times were not changing. It was a mess… mainly caused by the Park Record.

So, this brings us back to site metering. Again, the Park Record is making people register in order to look at more than three records per month. We’ve visited with a few folks about the change who have said “good riddance.” We’re not at that point. We believe The Park Record can provide value to the community; however, we still don’t like the concept of site metering. We’ve subscribed to the electronic edition of the Park Record in the past but that always came with a paper copy of the Salt Lake Tribune. We hated the idea of killing trees — that’s why we wanted the electronic edition. So, we cancelled our subscription. We have no problem paying for news but we’d prefer to exchange money for a service and not blindly sign up for this.

We assume that they’ll eventually turn it off, but for now there is a work-around. When the web page comes up simply click the “stop loading button” in the browser right after you see the article text appear (before the popup appears). In Chrome, that is the X that appears next to the URL box.

Xonchrome

 

This also works on an iPhone. Simply click the X in the url box right after the article text appears.

There are also more technical work-arounds but this is a fairly simple solution.

We’ve reviewed the Terms of Use for ParkRecord.com (which are from 2012) and we don’t believe this is contemplated in them. That said, you should review the Terms yourself and come to your own conclusion (if you are going use this method).

Likewise, perhaps you don’t mind giving up your email address to the Park Record for their internal uses (whatever that may end up being). Power to you.

 

 

 

Are We Using Assessments Effectively in PCSD Schools?

Assessments empower students, teachers, and parents on the educational road. But how much do parents really know about the assessment tools and information gleaned from them in the classroom? The Galileo assessment used at almost every grade level three times a year is considered a teacher’s tool to determine how well students are grasping core concepts throughout the year. Teachers can use the data to figure out who needs more help, who needs to be challenged, and what topics need to be revisited. It helps teachers individualize their teaching. But when students transition from the middle school to the junior high school, the Galileo is considered part of students’ grades and has the potential to determine a student’s path into high school. What’s more, parents may or may not be privy to the test questions and results for their own children for the purpose of supplementing education at home on topics not grasped on the test. This has also captured my attention. Our school district has made great strides recently and we all have the same goal — to provide the best education for our kids. Hopefully you will find this exploration of how assessments are used in the Park City School District as informative as I did while gathering the information.

Assessments, teaching methods, and curricula have changed over the years. With the Marzano Standards-Referenced Grading (SRG) method of teaching, assessing, and grading being gradually implemented in our Park City School District (PCSD), I wondered how other assessments were being used in conjunction with it. The more questions I asked, the deeper I drifted into a chasm of information.

Presently, it appears that what assessments are used depends upon state requirements and district-hired companies and -adopted assessments. How assessments are used depends largely upon each individual teacher or Professional Learning Community (PLC). A PLC is a group teaching either the same grade level (e.g., 4th grade teachers in one elementary school) or the same subject (e.g., 9th grade math teachers) that gathers periodically to share information and make decisions.

This is a convoluted topic one can get lost in, so to simplify, I first offer district information about what assessments are being used by grade or group. Then I offer additional information about some of these assessments.

Assessments by Group

English Language Learner (ELL)

From 2013 to 2015, ELL students were tested using the Utah Academic Language Proficiency Assessment (UALPA).

From 2015 to present, we are using ACCESS 2.0.

These are both annual assessments to determine skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in english.

Preschool

Since at least 2013, we have been using the Essential Preschool Skills (EPS) program composed of materials and assessments, both in print and online, for early learning. I have explored neither the materials nor the frequency of assessments in this grade, but I assume it to be a comprehensive program with ongoing assessments.

Kindergarten

From 2013 to 2017, we used a shortened version of the EPS program for assessment in skills.

In 2017, we adopted both Imagine Learning, which generates ongoing assessments in english and math, and the Kindergarten Entry and Exit Profile (KEEP) assessment, administered three times a year to determine the level of intervention needed for each student. Imagine Learning is used only in Jeremy Ranch and Parley’s Park Elementary Schools.

1st Grade

From 2013 to present, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) benchmark tests are administered three times per year to measure literacy and reading. However, if a student is identified as needing much help (red), further assessment and monitoring occurs every week; as needing some help (yellow), it happens every other week; and as doing well (green), it happens once a month in order to monitor progress.

From 2014 to 2016, Galileo assessments were administered three times per year to assess understanding in math, english, and science.

From 2016 to present, iReady is used weekly as an adaptive assessment in reading and math.

Beginning in 2017, PCSD adopted Imagine Learning, which uses ongoing assessments in english and math. It is used only in Jeremy Ranch and Parley’s Park Elementary Schools.

2nd Grade

Same as 1st Grade, above, except for Imagine Learning.

3rd Grade

From 2013 to present, DIBELS benchmark tests are administered three times per year to measure literacy and reading. However, if a student is identified as needing much help (red), further assessment and monitoring occurs every week; as needing some help (yellow), it happens every other week; and as doing well (green), it happens once a month in order to monitor progress.

From 2013 to present, Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) is administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2014 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2015 to present, iReady is used weekly as an adaptive assessment in reading and math.

From 2015 to 2017, the state of Utah required the… buckle your seatbelt… American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) assessment to be administered to Dual Language Immersion (DLI) students to determine understanding in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our district still uses AAPPL. These assessments seem to be ongoing and task-related within the classroom setting, based on the ACTFL website information (https://www.actfl.org/assessment-professional-development/assessments-the-actfl-testing-office/aappl/aappl-measure-faqs).

4th Grade

In 2013, DIBELS benchmark tests were administered three times per year to measure literacy and reading. However, if a student was identified as needing much help (red), further assessment and monitoring occurred every week; as needing some help (yellow), it happened every other week; and as doing well (green), it happened once a month in order to monitor progress. Starting in 2014, these tests have been administered only as needed.

From 2013 to present, SAGE is administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2014 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2016 to present, iReady is used weekly as an adaptive assessment in reading and math.

From 2015 to 2017, the state of Utah required the AAPPL assessment to be administered to Dual Language Immersion (DLI) students to determine understanding in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our district still uses AAPPL. These assessments seem to be ongoing and task-related within the classroom setting, based on the ACTFL website information.

5th Grade

Same as 4th Grade, above.

6th Grade

In 2013, the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) was administered as needed (possibly monthly) to determine students’ reading level (a Lexile level, which is a type of standard). Our district did not use the SRI in 2014 and 2015, and started using it again in 2016 to present.

From 2013 to present, SAGE is administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2014 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2016 to present, iReady is used weekly as an adaptive assessment in reading and math.

From 2016 to present, the state of Utah required the AAPPL assessment to be administered to Dual Language Immersion (DLI) students to determine understanding in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our district still uses AAPPL. These assessments seem to be ongoing and task-related within the classroom setting, based on the ACTFL website information.

7th Grade

Same as 6th Grade, above.

8th Grade

From 2013 to present, SAGE is administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2013 to 2015, PCSD used ACT Explore for english, math, reading, and science. For the 2015-2016 school year to present, this was dropped.

From 2014 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2016 to 2017, iReady was used weekly as an adaptive assessment in reading and math.

From 2016 to present, the state of Utah required the AAPPL assessment to be administered to Dual Language Immersion (DLI) students to determine understanding in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our district still uses AAPPL. These assessments seem to be ongoing and task-related within the classroom setting, based on the ACTFL website information.

From 2016 to present, the SRI is administered as needed (possibly monthly) to determine students’ reading level.

9th Grade

From 2013 to present, SAGE is administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2014 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2016 to present, the SRI is administered as needed (possibly monthly) to determine students’ reading level.

In school year 2016-2017 only, iReady was used weekly as an adaptive assessment in reading and math.

Advanced Placement (AP) tests are optional for students who want to enter advanced courses.

10th Grade

From 2013 to 2015, American College Testing (ACT) Plan was used to assess strengths in english, math, reading, and science for the purpose of planning for college and career with the counselors.

From 2013 to present, SAGE is administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2014 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2014 to present, Pre-ACT is administered annually to simulate the ACT exam experience for english, math, reading, and science. While optional, it is highly recommended and most students do take this exam to prepare them for the real ACT.

AP tests are optional for students who want to enter advanced courses.

11th Grade

From 2013 to 2016, SAGE was administered annually to assess understanding in english, math, and science. From school year 2016 to present, SAGE is not used.

From 2015 to present, Galileo assessments are administered three times per year to assess understanding in english, math, and science.

From 2016 to present, the ACT exam is used to ascertain understanding in english, math, reading, and science. It is required by the state.

AP tests are optional for students who want to enter advanced courses.

The Assessments

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
In the school year 2014-2015, this assessment was used in grades 1 to 5 to ascertain english literacy in students. The state requires this assessment of english literacy in students from Kindergarten through grade 3. In addition, PCSD required this assessment in grades 4 and 5, but in the school year 2014-2015 it was changed for these two grades to an ‘as needed’ assessment.
Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE)

This test is Utah’s current student assessment on the state’s core standards in math, english, and science. It used to be mandatory, three tests, one in each subject, delivered near the end of each school year. From the 2013-2014 school year, it was given from grades 3 to 11. Beginning in the year 2016-2017, 11th graders did not take this exam. In addition, it became optional for students to take it.

Last October, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) decided to hire a different company, Questar Assessment, to write these core standards assessments. Beginning next year (2018-2019) SAGE may be known by some other acronym.

While the SAGE assessment is optional now, the PCSD encourages all students to take it. Why? For one thing, it is carried out from grades 3 through 10 and has been administered over the last five years. Teachers can use this information over time to determine a student’s progress. It also gives students and parents a good idea of proficiency and growth over the years. It can also be considered a good thing to give students practice in taking exams. So why would anyone opt out of this assessment? Sometimes a student can feel overwhelmed with the amount of work and number of assessments happening in a particular quarter or semester. Since the SAGE test is taken near the end of the year, around the same time as the Galileo test and possibly other year-end, subject-specific exams, it may be overwhelming for a student. Opting out of the SAGE exam may reduce stress and enable a student to focus on the learning at hand.

Galileo
 The PCSD adopted the Galileo assessment in the school year 2014-2015 to measure progress in math, english, and science three times per year (at the beginning of the year in each grade, the middle of the year, and end of the year). In the first year (2014-2015), it was used in grades 1 to 10. In the 2015-2016 school year, it was used in grades 1 to 11. In the 2016-2017 to present, it is used in grades 3-11.

The Galileo assessment is developed by ATI (Assessment Technology, Inc.). ATI’s mission statement is: ‘Create, distribute, and support technology to promote learning.’ You can learn more on their website at http://www.ati-online.com/galileoK12/K12-assessment.php.

According to one of our school principals, ATI writes the test questions, incorporating state-specific common core material. Our teachers, however, are allowed to customize the tests by choosing which questions to use based on their class instruction to date. This offers some flexibility for teachers who want this assessment to be more relevant to what the students are learning in class.

Because the Galileo test is a central assessment focus for our district and given three times per year, I asked our school principals five questions about it. Here are my questions and the answers I received:

1. Is the Galileo assessment predominantly a tool for teachers to assess where students are in their learning for the year and to adjust teaching accordingly to keep students on track?
Elementary schools: Yes.

Middle school: Yes. ‘It is one piece of information used to ensure student learning.’

Jr. High school: Yes.

2. For students, is the Galileo assessment considered in grading? In other words, is it a graded assessment like any other exam in any way?
Elementary schools: No.

Middle school: No.

Jr. High school: Yes, for two of the three assessments. The Middle of Year (MOY) and End of Year (EOY) assessments account for 10% of each student’s grade during the quarter in which the assessment is taken. This is to ensure that students take the assessment seriously, otherwise the assessment data may not accurately reflect each student’s level of understanding.

3. If a student does not take the Galileo assessment, are punitive measures taken?
Elementary schools: No.

Middle school: No, but all students participate.

Jr. High school: All students participate in this assessment.

4. If a student does not score well on the Galileo, are punitive measures taken?
Elementary schools: No.

Middle school: No.

Jr. High school: Yes and No. At Treasure Mountain, it depends upon whether a student is taking Honors or regular classes, the raw assessment score (the score at face value), and eventual score that results from an algorithm developed by the principal and teachers. Most students are not penalized due to the algorithm applied.

However, for students seeking to register for Honors courses in the next grade level, the MOY, taken in January, can impact whether or not a teacher recommends him/her for that Honors course. Some teachers currently use the Galileo raw score as the determinant for their Honors recommendations. Others look at the whole child, e.g., class assignments, quiz grades, and the student’s level of commitment and knowledge.
The good news is that the principal and teachers are willing to answer questions and offer some flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

5. If a student scores very well on the Galileo, are measures taken to deliver a more rigorous educational experience?
Elementary schools: Yes.

Middle school: ‘Again, it is one piece of information used to assess learning.’

Jr. High school: Yes, and how that is done currently depends upon each teacher, his/her style of teaching and current methodology, and his/her level of adoption of the SRG methods. When so much is in flux, no one can expect teachers to perfectly assess each student and perfectly individualize what each student is learning in class. For this reason, parents should be involved in the education process for their children and when in doubt, communicate with teachers and principals to augment each child’s experience.

The current Galileo rubric applied at Treasure Mountain Jr. High is as follows:

Sample Student Scenario 1
MOY Galileo is 30 points in Honors class (10% of second quarter points)
Student’s raw score on MOY Galileo 37 correct out of 45 questions (over 80% proficient)
Translates to 30/30 in Power School
(Standards-Reference Grading Translation: 4/4)

Sample Student Scenario 2
MOY Galileo is 50 points in regular class (10% of Q2 points)
Student’s raw score on MOY Galileo is 32/45, over 70% proficiency mark
Translates to 50/50 in Power School
(Standards-Reference Grading Translation: 4/4)

Sample Student Scenario 3
MOY Galileo is 20 points in Honors class (10% of Q3 points)
Student’s raw score on MOY Galileo is 30/45, below 80% proficiency mark
Score becomes 30/36, which = 83%
Translates to 17/20 in Power School
(Standards-Reference Grading Translation: 3.3/4)

Sample Student Scenario 4
MOY Galileo is 45 points in regular class (10% of Q3 points)
Student’s raw score on MOY Galileo is 23/45, below 70% proficiency mark
Score becomes 23/31, which = 74%
Translates to 33/45 in Power School
(Standards-Reference Grading Translation: 3/4)

So,…Are We Using Assessments Effectively in PCSD Schools?

Each teacher will use assessment data differently depending upon:

  • whether or not the teacher has fully adopted and is in compliance with the Standards-Referenced Grading system
  • whether or not the teacher is part of a PLC that makes independent decisions about how to apply the data collected from an assessment
  • whether or not a student takes an assessment seriously
  • whether or not a teacher takes an assessment seriously
  • whether or not a student experiences test anxiety
  • whether or not a student opts out of an optional test
  • any number of other factors

Additionally, grades as they are reflected through the Powerschool system may not generate accurate assumptions. They don’t reflect what’s really going on in the classroom. Powerschool accommodates the traditional type of grading system, but does not translate the SRG methods of grading. How that information is added into Powerschool is up to interpretation. A student with straight A’s in Powerschool may actually struggle on assessments and vice versa. Assessments are only part of the big picture but can still be used to guide your child down a particular academic path. How much weight any assessment is given depends, again, upon the individual teacher.

If you want to dive deeper and better understand topics your child got wrong on an assessment, you may run into a legal question about the sharing of assessments. Most assessments are written by third party companies who consider their questions proprietary. They don’t necessarily care to risk questions getting out and being used for potentially nefarious purposes. This line of inquiry is still being researched at this writing.

What’s important to me as a parent is that our district lay the groundwork for the proper, appropriate, and effective implementation of teaching methods, assessment methods, and grading methods, so all parties to the public education process can be on the same page and truly understand how our children are doing in school. Teachers need to be an integral part of the planning and implementation decisions. Our current PCSD School Board is looking at all the programs and assessments as part of the Master Planning process. This is a step in the right direction because we must understand what and how education is delivered in our district before we can make improvements. For now, make no assumptions about your child’s academic path. Look at all the angles and information. Meet with teachers and come prepared to discuss your child’s experience and future.

Another option to keep our community gathering spot at New Park

Yesterday I wrote about the public frustration with their inability to effect change on development around the Basin. The Park Rag received a comment from Park City City Council person Steve Joyce speaking to how the city was letting the public speak with their pocketbook on the Treasure project. After reading his comment I thought, “that really is the fairest thing the city could do.” It seems reasonable.

I awoke this morning with another thought. Why not do the same thing with the parcel of land in New Park (Steve may have been trying to tell us something). Why couldn’t Summit County put a bond on November Ballot to buy the amphitheater area at New Park and the land where the Condos would sit. As Steve said about Treasure, no affordable housing, no land sweeps, nothing complicated. The Summit County bond would be purely for buying the New Park land and turning it into open space.

What would that cost? Let’s say it was $4 million. What would that cost a primary home owner per year? $20 or $30? Maybe less. It would also require the Snyderville Basin Open Space Advisory Committee (BOSAC) to buy an option to purchase the land (just like Treasure). That may be $200K to $300K, which would be lost if the voters didn’t approve it.

Would the county want to go through the effort? They purchased a large open space parcel next to Home Depot, in what appears to be planning for a future that may or may not come (but was probably a wise choice). They spent over $3 million on the Cline Dahle Parcel with the idea of someday putting a transit oriented development on the property and a park and ride lot. So, why not invest in something people use today?

Better yet, why not let the people decide if they want to invest in something they use today.

It would be a win for the Crandall’s, as they won’t have any risk of any blowback from this development (and get money without having to develop anything). It would be a win for the local business in New Park, as it cements a public gathering place that makes the area attractive. It’s a win for the county, because they are giving the people a direct place in the decision making process.

Who ultimately knows how it goes… but it seems like the most logical choice to decide the fate of something that appears important to the public.

Summit County, Park City, local businesses, and even the Crandalls need to be aware of where this is heading

I’ve watched over the past few months as a series of events seem to be unfolding around us. A common theme is that development is happening and people feel powerless to stop it. Not only that, it seems like development is happening and the rules have changed in ways to support INCREASED development.

Case in point is the Woodward at Gorgoza approval. Twenty years ago, it was approved as an outdoor recreation facility. Now we have approvals from our County Council and Planning Commission to enable Disneyland at Park City… or at least a Whole Foods sized building that was never allowed in the first place. The developers used the law to somehow get approvals for a building that is much bigger and taller than allowed in the Snyderville Basin. There are three appeals to the development, but my guess is they will lose. The Planning Commission ruled for it. The Planning Department allowed it. The County Council won’t rule against it. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done.

The second example is a proposed development beside the RV Park outside of Kimball Junction. It is zoned as rural residential, which means 1 home per 20 acres. However, it has passed the Planning Commission with a recommendation to allow housing, affordable housing, and retail on the space. WAIT, the Snyderville Basin General Plan says that there can be no increase in entitlements. An increased entitlement would be, say, allowing a whole bunch of houses and retail space in a place where there should have been one or two homes. So, what’s going on? There is a loop-hole in the General Plan that allows the county approve increased entitlements if it provides something important to the County Council. So, in this case the developer dangled “affordable” housing and it appears that enables pretty much what ever the developer wants. It’s our Kryptonite. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done.

The latest example is what is happening with the Newpark Commons space. That is the area by Maxwells where the four story condos are going to be built that will block-in the Amphitheater area where people enjoy music on Thursday nights in the summer. A group called Preserve Newpark tried to fight the development. According to Preserve Newpark, “The Commons at Newpark consists of 8 residential townhomes that are four-stories in height and a row of private garages on a private road. The building footprint and height is more than 200 feet long; 75 feet wide; and 43 feet tall, eroding public connectivity, visibility and access to the plaza. The proposed structure is so tall that it will block sunlight and views across the Newpark Amphitheater during prime evening, community gathering hours.”

But everything you know about the outcome was provided in a quote from Mathew Crandall, one of the applicants for the development. He said, “It was no surprise to us that we received a unanimous vote and recommendation because we had the land rights to do so.” Those land rights had been provided 15 years ago when you probably didn’t live here. What is granted now, though, may not be exactly equal to what was contemplated then. And of course, Summit County is allowing it.

One of the interesting things about the Preserve Newpark group is that they started early trying to fight this. Unlike many groups, who start near the end, Preserve Newpark had the foresight to begin early. They hired a person good at her job to try and influence the community and the outcome. They got community backing. Many, if not most, people agreed with them. Yet, it made no difference. Unfortunately there is really nothing that can be done.

The common theme is that there is absolutely nothing that can be done if you’re a normal person.

But there is something that can be done, and we have an idea of where this may go.

Do you remember the Park City trademark protests from a couple of years ago? Vail tried (sort of) to trademark Park City and everyone came out of the woodwork. Through former Park City Mayor Dana Williams (and others) that got resolved, but not without substantial efforts. 

We’d guess something similar is going to happen with these developments. People will realize they aren’t supported by their government, so they will go outside that. 

So, if you hate the upcoming Newpark development, what do you do? You boycott it. You boycott everything Newpark. You hit the owners of Newpark in their pocketbook.

You don’t shop there. You don’t buy from the businesses there. You abandon the Thursday night concerts and go to Canyons concerts instead. You don’t got to Maxwells. You don’t go to About Time. You get your hair cut at some other place besides Great Clips. You go to the Best Buy on 2100 South instead of the Best Buy up here. You go to Heber Bowl instead of Jupiter Bowl. You make BBQ at home, instead of going to Dickey’s. 

Oh, you tell your friends. You make a stink on Facebook. You express opinions on Next Door. This bleeds into Yelp. You make sure Sundance visitors know that Newpark is a pariah. All of a sudden you’ve impacted the tourism market at Newpark too.

Then we are back to 2011 and everyone wonders whether Newpark can survive. Well, they could have if their owners weren’t quite so self-focused. Who owns a lot of Newpark? Yes, the Crandalls.

If your government isn’t on your side, then you vote with your pocketbook. That may or may not be enough. However, that’s all you got.

I think that is where this is heading.

When you leave people no choice and no hope, they take matters into their own hands. 

If I owned Woodward, was planning on leasing space at the area by the RV Park, or owned one of the countless businesses in Newpark, I would be a little bit worried. When people feel helpless, they lash out. They’ll drive Maxwells
(which I think is great, btw) into the ground to save their view. They may also stop buying cars in Summit County. 

Things are likely going to get a lot uglier in the Snyderville Basin and it’s due to the actions of developers that are concerned with themselves above the people. They have the rights and legal teams that enable them to manipulate the outcomes.

That works for them until it doesn’t. 

We think the jig is about up.

What choice do people have?

While maybe they can’t prevent the monstrosity at Newpark from being built and they can’t stop even a bigger building at Gorgoza, they can prevent the next one.

I’d hate to own property or a business at one of these places. Social media is a bitch.

The next 18 months should be informative.

Update:
Note, the Park Rag is not necessarily advocating this approach.I frankly haven’t done enough research to know whether it is effective strategy or not. That said, the point of this article is to say that this tactic is one of the next logical steps the populace will take when they have no other recourse.

If this press release about Deer Valley doesn’t terrify you, it should

Masquerading as a story on Parkrecord.com, we noticed a press release from Deer Valley.

It appears that the NEW owner of Deer Valley, Alterra Mountain Company, has named it’s first CEO (Rusty Gregory). According to the news article press release , “Gregory will focus on establishing the newly formed Alterra Mountain Company’s culture and developing the growth, operating and guest service strategies for its platform of mountain destinations across North America, while leading its more than 20,000 employees.”

Note, there is not one mention of Bob Wheaton in this news story about the company that will TAKE OVER Deer Valley.  Uhh, if they didn’t cite Bob Wheaton, an icon that has helped make Deer Valley what it is was, they are either clueless or they don’t care.

We get that it’s a press release about a new CEO, but if you are going to release something like that to a local paper, you may want want to assuage fears. You may want to quote Mr Wheaton — or at least speak of him.

Either way, be it cluelessness or lack of caring, it tells you something.

According to the release —again in the Park Record– the new Alterra CEO says, “Together we will create a highly performing enterprise by focusing on what’s important – our guests, our employees, and our mountain communities. We will build our business by enhancing and enriching the lives and experiences of each.”

We at the Parkrag hope the synergies of alignment provide the mind share to enable a paradigm shift in the organic growth of community engagement.

WTF did we just say? Good question. We’re just channeling Alterra.

The new CEO  continues,  “With the Ikon Pass, we have created an unrivaled platform that offers one-of-a-kind mountain experiences under one pass, by combining our portfolio of 12 destinations with 11 iconic mountain destination partners across North America.”

UHHHH, yeah …. That sounds just like the Epic pass…. But maybe without the savvy.

Does it sound A little too much like other press releases that have happened in the past around here?

We guess we’ll see.

It definitely feels like what happens when a hedge fund takes over.

God speed Deer Valley. We’ll miss you.