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Office Hours With Ember Conley (4/30/2016)

The Park City School District Superintendent, Dr. Ember Conley, meets every Friday (through May 27) with citizens in an open, friendly environment at Hugo Coffee. No topic is off-limits. Each week, Dr Conley answers questions about what the Park City Schools are doing. Below, is a summary of last Friday’s discussion. Much of the session was dominated with a discussion of a nurse at Parley’s Park who may not been rehired for the next year. Other topics included mental health, master planning, and testing.

  • A citizen asked about mental health month and what the district is doing about it. She says mental health can cover a multitude of issues and not just the extremes. It can cover anxiety, depression, etc. She says it is important to pay attention to all of those issues.
    • Dr. Conley says she agrees it is important.
    • The talk shifted to test anxiety. One of the citizens talked about how she is organizing therapy dogs to go into the high school with them. She is looking for ways to get more teachers interested. Dr. Conley said she can help. She suggested that the citizen should focus on the a few teachers until the use becomes more prevalent.
  • A citizen says that she was involved with master planning the last time around. She says, though, she is hearing more conversations about the 6th graders back into elementary.
    • Dr Conley says one board member has been talking about moving the 6th grade back into our existing elementary schools and another member says that the decision has already been made to go with a separate 5-6.
    • Dr Conley says that the board has now asked her to form a committee to look at both possibilities (pre K to 6th vs a separate 5-6 school). The timeframe includes having everything to the board by next March. Before March, meetings will be held with the community to get input (much like is being done on the new rec facility).
  • A citizen says he has 3 kids in schools. His middle child is Type 1 Diabetic. He says there is a rumor that the Parley’s Park nurse may not be rehired. He says he doesn’t have the words to express how much he appreciates what the Parley’s Park nurse does. He and his wife view it as the fact the nurse saves their child’s life every day. The Citizen says the nurse is so important because Type 1 Diabetes is different every day. Citizen says it is so disappointing that the district may not value this nurse. The citizen says there are 3 type 1 diabetics at Parley’s Park.
    • Dr Conley says that in her former district it was high poverty and low income and they had full time nurses. She says that she knows they have massive improvements to make. She says using the model of a full time nurses and with a nurse manager is the model they are going for in 2017-2018. She says as the population has grown, there are now more needs.
    • Citizen says he is concerned that this is a personality issue between people at the district and people at Parley’s Park vs the nurse. He says this is hearsay, of course… but he hears that this is more vengeance than doing the right thing for the kids. He says it will be disappointing if that is the case. Citizen says he has no relationship or vested interest in this particular nurse, other than that she is great with his kids.
  • A citizen relayed a story about high school students not caring about Galileo testing, and therefore not taking the test seriously. The citizen asked where our district stands on having the Galileo test, SAGE, and then individual tests that lead to an unending series of tests at our high school. Dr Conley responded that there should be a shift as we go to more collaborative team process. She said that one of the issues is that teachers are still giving certain exams (i.e. some year end exams) that duplicate what the Galileo testing is doing. Another citizen asked whether the Galileo testing could be used for grades. Dr Conley said, yes. Dr Conley also responded that teachers can submit questions for the Galileo testing.
    • Another citizen says that they have talked to teachers and the teachers have tried to add questions and it has not happened. Dr Conley says that they don’t think it’s too widespread.
    • Dr Conley also responded that is Galileo more than just a test. It can also help teachers teach to areas where there are problems. For instance, if a majority of students have a deficiency in an area, Galileo can provide supplemental lessons and quizzes to help make sure students get the education they need.

There were a few other discussions but that was the majority of the meeting. “Office Hours” runs through the end of May. I would encourage you to attend (Friday’s at 8:30 at Hugo Coffee) if you have questions.


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