Thursday, November 19, 2009

Working with Legislators

So I wasn't able to turn my PowerPoint from our November 2 training into a movie--well, I did, but my husband had some kind of issue with the fact that the video filled his entire hard drive. I decided it might take weeks to upload, so I'm going to give you bits and pieces of the information in a series of posts. You'll get all the information, just not in a movie that crashes your computer. That will make everyone happy!

The first part of the training was given by Representative Steve Sandstrom, who talked about how to work with legislators. Most of it is common sense, just reminding us to remember that legislators are regular people like you and me, with families, jobs, and busy lives, and appreciate being treated with kindness. Sadly, sometimes people forget these things in the heat of the passionate moment around an issue. Here are some of the tips he offered:

  • Most representatives prefer email, but they are also available by phone if you'd like to talk to them.
  • Identify yourself as a constituent (in the subject line of the email if you are contacting them that way).
  • Find out what stance they have taken on this issue or similar issues before contacting them. You can view how any legislator voted on a given bill in the past by looking on the Legislature Web site. If you aren't able to find out what their stand is, ask before assuming they have a certain position.
  • Be courteous--even if you are frustrated. You'll get better results. Everyone likes to be approached civilly.
  • Respect their time.
  • Contact your representative early—before the legislative session starts, if possible.
You can find your legislator and his or her contact information on the Legislature Web site at

Remember, not every issue needs to be taken to the state Legislature. Here are some types of issues you will want to talk with your legislators about:

  • Budget issues (classroom size, teacher pay, trust lands)
  • Transportation issues involving state funds or state roads
  • Health and safety issues (drug and alcohol laws, gun laws, etc.)
Stay tuned for: How a bill becomes a law.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Alpine School Board Meeting Highlights

The Board of Education met in a study session prior to the dedication of Westlake High School as well as the regular Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 10, at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs. The purpose of the study session was for the Board to discuss Chapter 10 of the Utah School Boards Association handbook as well as to review the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The dedication of Westlake High School took place at 6:00 p.m. The Westlake Concert Choir sang the National Anthem, followed by remarks from Principal Fred Openshaw. School Community Council Chairman John Festin then spoke. The Westlake Concert Choir did a beautiful job singing “You Raise Me Up.” Sam Jarman, ASD 10-12 administrator spoke followed by Board Member JoDee Sundberg. Board Member Guy Fugal then gave the dedicatory prayer. Thank you to the administration, staff and patrons of Westlake High School for a great job in opening this new school.

The regular Board Meeting began by the School Board approving the request from the American Fork High School Marching Band to travel to the Bands of America National Competition this weekend. Good Luck AF Band!

There were three action items for the evening: 1) The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and External Audit, 2) Schools Closed to Out of Area Students for the 2010-2011 school year, and 3) Board Meeting Schedule for 2010. (Attached)

The schools that will be closed to out of area students for the 2010-2011 school year are:
1) High Schools – Lone Peak High School.
2) Junior High/Middle Schools – New Saratoga Springs Middle School, Willowcreek Middle, Lehi Junior High, Timberline Middle, American Fork Junior (open to students living outside the boundaries who will attend American Fork High School), and Lakeridge Junior High.
3) Elementary Schools – New elementary school in Traverse Mountain, Ridgeline, Fox Hollow, New elementary school in Eagle Mountain, and Eagle Valley.

There were four discussion items for the evening: 1) Preliminary boundary options for the new junior high school and two elementary schools, 2) The 2011-2012 school calendar, 3) Policy regarding peanut and food allergies, and 4) Policy regarding background checks. Discussion items will be voted on at the Board Meeting in December.

Thanks to Westlake High School for hosting Board Meeting.

The next Board Meeting will be on December 8 at the district offices.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alpine School District Update 11/9

Welcome to November! Both Governor Gary Herbert and President Barack Obama have issued declarations announcing November to be observed as American Indian Heritage Month.

1. We have received word from the Utah County Health Department that neither the H1N1 or the seasonal flu shot will be available at our health and benefit fairs this month. They are hoping to have the vaccine available by December.

2. There was a law passed in the last legislative session requiring that all employees go through fingerprinting and background checks every six years. In Alpine School District, certified employees will be doing this every time they go through the re-certification with the State Office of Education. Classified employees will be on a rotation schedule. Employees will receive notification from the Human Resource Department.

3. Superintendent Henshaw will be having input meetings for all employees starting this week. He, as well as Assistant Superintendents Rob Smith and Gary Seastrand will be available to answer any questions or respond to any concerns employees might have. Employees are invited to attend any of the sessions, regardless of where they work. The following sessions have been scheduled:

Wednesday, November 11 at Lakeridge Junior High School
Thursday, November 12 at American Fork Junior High School
Tuesday, November 17 at Willowcreek Middle School

There will be two sessions each day, one will begin at 3:00 p.m. and the other at 4:00 p.m. Sessions will last approximately 45 minutes and will be held in the auditorium.

4. Congratulations to American Fork Junior High School for being featured on Fox 13 as the “Cool School of the Week.” The steel drum band, orchestra, choir, jazz band, ballroom team, and student council all did a great job. They did their red ribbon week balloon launch on the show as well. Students raised over $1,000 to give to “Big Buddha” for the Samoan relief effort. Buddha is from that area and was very surprised and even got a little teary eyed when the presentation was made. The U.S. $1.00 is worth about $3.00 in Somoa, so it will buy a lot of water and supplies. Fox 13 was very impressed with AFJH and wants to visit them again next year. Great Job American Fork Junior!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Legislative Involvement Conference

Check back soon for video presentation on today's conference . . .