School Community Council Draft Minutes

Willow Springs Elementary

April 20, 2022 10:00-11:30 AM

Marianne Yule, Principal       

Megan Gutierrez, Chair

Denise White, Achievement Coach

Brooke Zimmerman, Vice Chair

Shanda Antuna, Achievement Coach

Kaydee McMahon, Secretary

Christine Wirthlin, Teacher

Alexis Rife, Parent


Cassidy Merrell, Parent


DeeAnna Smith, Parent


In attendance: Marianne Yule, Denise White, Shanda Antuna, Christine Worthlin, Megan Gutierrez, Brooke Zimmerman, Kaydee McMahon, DeeAnna Smith, Alexis Rife, Cassidy Merrell.

  1. Approval of meeting minutes from March 16th and 21st
    1. Megan Gutierrez motioned to approve past minutes; minutes approved unanimously by council.
  2. SCC discuss elections, and how/when elections happen.  
    1. We hold elections in August.  There will be 3 open seats in the fall of 2022. Principal Yule sends out a schoolwide email giving election information.
      1. Principal Yule gave an overview of the process for SCC elections.
      2. Megan welcomed district personnel in attendance Alice Peck, Susan Edwards, Amber Rodrick-Landward and Holly Neibaur.
  3. Review current year’s LAND Trust plan, data and expenditures and review if on course or if amendments are necessary.
    1. Principal Yule reviewed budget with expenditures made so far this year and clarified that only 10% of the budget can roll over as excess into the next school year. The budget currently stands under the 10% and will be able to roll over to next year. No amendments are needed at this time. This data will be posted to the school’s website.
    2. Observer Emily Ord asked in the chat for clarification about the calming tools line item from the budge. Principal Yule described the contents and the purpose of the calming kits which were previously approved by the council.
    3. Observer Alli Boothe mentioned in the chat that her daughter has benefited from these calming kits.
  4. Note: The SCC is not the decision-making body for technology or curriculum at the school. That is done at the district and state level. The SCC can however listen to thoughts from the public regarding technology and curriculum.
    1. Cassidy previously asked for the open public comment to be addressed this meeting because she believes it is part of the SCC’s duty to digital citizenship and felt we as a council needed more transparency of what programs their children are using and how often they are being used.
    2. Cassidy motioned that the school provide parents with a complete list of apps and programs that their student will have access to and use throughout the year specific to each teacher. This list should include following 3 details: 1. the purpose of the app/program as it applies to the curriculum. 2.The amount of time it will be used for daily, weekly or monthly. And 3. By whom its use is dictated.
    3. Alexis seconded the motion.
    4. Megan explained that the motion to create an app list was not included on the agenda and can not be voted on today but can be add by motion to the next agenda. However, discussion about the motion can take place today.
    5. Principal Yule pointed out that information about tech used in the classroom is given to parents in the back-to-school night packet. Student login information is also sent home to parents and parents can use Clever to log in to their children’s accounts where they can see how much time is being spent on certain apps such as Lexia.
    6. Cassidy voiced that we have been talking about technology and feels the agenda is enough to open the topic up to community discussion.
    7. Susan explained all items to be voted on must be on agenda 7 days prior to the meeting but that discussion is appropriate for this meeting.
    8. DeeAnna feels this is more of a discussion rather than voting for today. Discussion should take place today and voting should be last when all information is gathered.
    9. Cassidy clarified that her motion was intended to open the discussion topic and not to vote.
    10. Kaydee asked for clarification of what info is already going home to parents. (Principal Yule’s comment on line 4. e. was updated with her answer).
    11. Brooke agreed with Principal Yule, she has received a list from her child’s teacher of what her tech/screen time looks like. She feels like she knew up front what apps were being used and a bit of the time frame. Brook is interested about older students access to tech in the classroom, when they finish work early do they spend time on screen? Brooke feels like the last few years have been hard to hire staff to be able to break out into smaller groups where tech can help with that.
    12. Christine answered that every teacher is different, but they all try to be on same page as a grade level team. Kids are given a variety of fast finisher activities there is a combination of tech and non-tech options.
    13. Cassidy asked about clarification of Clever login, which contains 2-3 apps but when asking her child, it appears more around 9 apps are being used. Who checks the apps to see if they are appropriate?
    14. Shanda answered there are a lot of different apps that teachers use, and there is no concise list, but they do have Learn Platform that vets all submitted apps. When submitting an app to be used the teacher includes why and how they want to use the app. The amount of time on apps varies by the lesson and circumstances. Teachers are trained on how to use technology appropriately and it is a continual and ongoing conversation and training. Screen time at school is not a passive experience but tech is used to create and collaborate or enhance a teacher’s ability to get and give instant feedback.
    15. Alexis mentioned that she learned today how to look up screen time through Clever which she is happy about and did not know about before.
    16. DeeAnna sees apps such as Lexia at home and they have been helpful to her children. She is worried about apps that are just games and do not promote much learning. She has learned that her child has in the past during free time at school use Buzzfeed and Harry Potter Quizzes, such activities are concerning for her 5th grader, seeing inappropriate content should not happen during fast finishers. She is not sure what the solution for fast finishers should be.
    17. Principal Yule mentioned that things such as typing an essay is not counted as screen time.
    18. Shanda gave a quick explanation of the school’s filters and asked that if something gets through those filters and your child sees something inappropriate to please let the teacher know so they can increase their monitoring. It is not approved to students to just browse but must have a task/purpose when using tech.
    19. Kaydee mentioned that she feels Willow Springs is proactive rather than reactive when it comes to tech safety and thanked the school for all they do. She also appreciates the open conversation to keep us on track.
    20. Megan feels that there are individual situations that get through filters and should be handled on an individual basis and that she trusts the teachers and the district. She is grateful for all Willow Springs and the district do.
      1. Holly Neibaur from the district was asked by Principal Yule to go first. Holly pointed out that all the district personnel at this meeting is evidence of the Canyons District listening to parent concerns and there is a great synergy between the district and parents. In education there is a pendulum swing and with COVID we did swing heavily towards technology. The district has created a new strategic initiative (included at the end of the minutes) that considers tech, hands on and collaborative learning. She went on to say that education needs a balance with tech. Next year SCC members will be trained on this initiative. More funds will be coming from the state to cover tech allowing SCCs to explore other options for spending. The best outcomes come from discussion and transparency so parents can make informed decisions at home.
      2. Observer Laura Checketts appreciates the ability to have an open conversation about this. There is a good reason parents have strict screen time at home especially for K-3 because it can cause overstimulation and stress. She would like more play-based learning. There are many cognitive and social emotional benefits when children are taken off screens.
      3. Observer Roo Wight appreciates the more hands-on learning approach. She is concerned about children interacting with others. This discussion has been helpful.
      4. Observer Lindsey Knudsen a former educator in the Canyons district has seen a huge shift toward tech that scares her. She feels we should research what the long-term effect is before we experiment with interactive gaming that is passed off as educational. She does not agree with the amount of tech and time that she believes is causing social and respect issues. She asked how do we help the kids be more creative? She feels kids are growing up too fast with tech.
      5. Observer Jessica Smith was glad to know about Clever and how it tracks time. Are all the apps used in the classroom listed on Clever so parents can see the time? The recommended 1-2 hours of screen time can be monitored better at home with knowing the time spent at school.
      6. Observer Kristy Wayland loved what Holly said, she respects the teachers, but there is a lack of communication about what their kids are learning and doing on technology. She asked if she has the option to opt out for a certain program?
      7. Observer Emily Ord read a prepared statement; I would like a personal device consent form offered as well. If consent is NOT given by parents then I request an alternative learning method be provided. For example a “traditional learning method including real books, paper, pencils, socially interactive lesson plans and increased student/teacher interaction opportunities.” Under UT state code 53G-6-803 the Parental Right to Academic Accommodations section it states: (1) (a) A student’s parent is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent. As such, a student’s parent has the right to reasonable academic accommodations from the student’s LEA as specified in this section. (c) The parental rights specified in this section do not include all the rights or accommodations that may be available to a student’s parent as a user of the public education system. (6) (a) An LEA shall reasonably accommodate a parent’s written request to place a student in a specialized class, a specialized program, or an advanced course.” Parents who would not consent to screens for their children would be asking for an “academic accommodation.”  Not a change in curriculum, but a change in HOW the curriculum is taught.  I’ve also reviewed the new Canyons Strategic Vision for next year.  Under the “Strategic Initiative” section it states, “all students will have access to DIVERSE pathways for successful learning.  Under “success criteria” such learning methods include:  hands-on learning, interactive learning, art integration, physical movement indoors & outdoors.”   I am very happy with what Canyons is presenting!  I see Willow Springs giving families the option of “traditional learning methods” as supporting both UT Code and Canyons’ new Strategic Vision. It’s a perfect time to create a plan for academic accommodations.  In speaking to the community I have learned that several families would like a “traditional learning method” provided. Infact, the number of families interested seems to be quite high.  There may be enough children to fill an entire CLASS of “traditional learning method” students for each grade.   Land trust and TSSA money can be used for paying and supporting teachers. I currently sit on the SCC at Draper Park Middle School.  We have used a portion of our monies to pay and support a few of our teachers.  I propose we use a portion of the Willow Springs’ Land Trust & TSSA monies to pay and support those teachers who would be teaching “traditional lesson plans.” The money could pay for teacher trainings and extra prep time. Thousands of dollars are being spent on tech products at our school.  Why not invest a portion of these dollars into our teachers? Equity in funding for ALL types of teaching methods is important. We have amazing teachers at Willow Springs.  The newest and best software program will never be better than our teachers.  I believe a loving, engaged teacher is always better than a screen for my child. Thank you.
      8. Principal Yule stated that the majority of the students’ day is using a traditional learning method with real books, paper, pencils, and interactive lesson plans.Megan opened the meeting up for public comment on the discussion with clarification that comments in the chat will not be added to the meeting minutes and each person has 2 minutes to speak and and will be timed by Megan using the timer on her phone.
        1. Megan announced that since meeting started 15 minutes late due to Zoom link issues, we will extend 5 more minutes for public comment and 10 more minutes for the SCC to wrap up.
        2. Observer Heather George would like to make sure Land Trust and TSSP funds are getting to the teachers who need it for ESL (English as Second Language) resources. Sometimes Fast Finishers have sloppy quick work and are not checked. She would like to be able to opt out of tech for her child during Fast Finishers.
        3. Observer Cami Hickcox appreciates being able to comment. She feels it is a hard shift for students to go from using items such as iPads and Chrome Books that are normally used for entertainment, to switch to educational use/purposes. She would like to be able to opt out of some of the games or extra Fast Finisher screen time. She feels parents just don’t fully know the amount of time spent at school on screen.
        4. Megan Gutierrez appreciates the respectful dialogue that was held today. She asked if there is there a motion to add to the next agenda?
        5. Cassidy motioned to add her original motion (line 4. 1.) to be added to the agenda for the next meeting.
        6. Kaydee asked what is needed in order to vote on this next meeting? Do we have all the information such as how much work creating a list will add to our teacher’s plates?
        7. DeeAnna shared her thought that next school year would be a good timeline for the list to roll out to parents.
        8. Cassidy suggests we put the motion on the agenda for next meeting as a discussion to make a game plan to create a list of apps for parents.
        9. Susan pointed out there are a lot of details to discuss and information to gather that can be brought back to the next meeting.
        10. Brooke seconded the motion to add Cassidy’s motion (line 4.1.) for discussion during the next meeting. She is not sure however about the opt-out form. She asked if that is something that is school wide or district wide? What level of decision making do we as an SCC have? She feels some of today’s discussion seems to be bigger than just Willow Springs.
        11. Cassidy motioned that we add to the agenda next month a discussion on consent forms and opt-out options in addition to the list that as has been brought up today.
        12. Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward shared a link to Utah Code about Waivers of Participation and a link for our District Policy about Instructional Materials.
        13. Megan seconded Cassidy’s motion (the addition of a discussion about consent/opt-out options). She asked everyone review the district’s policy of Instructional Materials found at the following link:
        14. Principal Yule thanked everyone for their comments and discussion and motioned to end the meeting. Cassidy seconded the motion to end the meeting.
        15. The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 am.