Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Message from ASD Board of Education

We appreciate the opportunity to correct a serious misunderstanding about Alpine School District that has occurred because of a link that was accidentally and briefly on our website. The link was inappropriate and does not reflect the beliefs or values of the district, administration or school board. The Superintendent had it removed as soon as he became aware of it. We appreciate those who brought it to our attention.

The ASD Mission Statement, “Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy” was developed as a reminder of the importance of education in preserving our freedoms and as a celebration of the educational opportunities that America provides for all her children; boys and girls, rich and poor. We chose ‘our democracy’ to reflect both a government with power vested in the people and our freedoms. We not only recognize that our government is a republic, but we value and participate in this form of government with an elected Board of Education. The use of the word democracy underscores the type of republic found in the United States.

Our mission statement is supported by our Values, four principles grounded in the Moral Dimensions of Teaching. They are: 1) All children should have access to a quality education, 2) Public education has a responsibility to teach children the social and political skills they need to successfully contribute in America’s culture of freedom, law, and civic responsibility, 3) Every child needs a quality teacher to ignite their love of learning, and 4) We have a stewardship to the children for these things.

The phrase, Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy, is the formal language for principle #2 (above). It is displayed in the Professional Development Center, with America’s patriotic documents contained in the Freedom Shrine, and is to recognize and celebrate the rights, responsibilities and sacrifices required for liberty in our country. There are many activities that occur in the daily life of schools that build civic virtues. These include such things as respect for others, obedience to rules and laws, service to country and patriotism, etc. We recognize that this phrase is not user friendly and since the word meanings have changed over time we need to revisit this.

ASD is committed to continuous improvement and to the ‘Public’ in Public Education. We do not make decisions in isolation or by emotion. We have in place an extensive feedback and decision-making process, both formal and informal, that includes all the stakeholders of education: parents, employees, city officials, legislators, students, business, and community members. By the time an issue comes to the Board for a vote, it has been through months of research, evaluation, input, feedback and revision through this process.

The district Mission Statement went through this process in 2005. We made refinements and alterations according to the input. In succeeding years, we have again and again taken the Mission, Vision, Values and Goals to our representative groups and to the public for their feedback. The Board annually reviews the district MVVG as part of our normal processes because it is important to us to be aligned with our community’s values. We will do this again this year taking into consideration all the input we have received.

The ASD Board and Administration love America and the freedoms we enjoy as a people. We are dedicated to student learning and working with our community to promote student achievement.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

National PTA Action Alert


Contact Your Members of Congress TODAY!

Members of Congress are making a bi-partisan effort to safeguard Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs). Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) are asking their colleagues to sign onto their "Dear Colleague" letters requesting that appropriators safeguard the PIRCs by providing level funding Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.

The Senate and House “Dear Colleague” letters are in response to the President’s FY11 budget proposal that consolidated PIRCs into the Expanding Educational Options budget authority. Consolidation means –elimination of PIRCs by directing funding away from PIRCs.

We need Congress to safeguard this sole federal program dedicated to engaging families in the education of their children.

What you can do:

* Please ask your two Senators to sign onto Senators Tom Udall and Christopher Bond’s “Dear Colleague” letter requesting level funding for PIRCs. The Senate “Dear Colleague” letter will be sent to Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

* Please ask your Representative to sign onto Representatives Grijalva and Platts' "Dear Colleague" letter requesting level funding for PIRCs. The House “Dear Colleague” letter will be sent to Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (R- KS) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.

If you need help finding your legislators, you can link to their contact info from the PTA Web site original article.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Legislative Action: HB 295 1S

We've been encouraged by Superintendent Henshaw to contact our representatives and ask them to support this bill. Here's a bit of background, followed by a summary of the bill will do:

Currently, districts are required by statute to use all capital outlay (revenue from property taxes) on building construction and maintenance.

What this means during difficult economic times like these is that your school might get a new gym floor, but teachers may be cut or class sizes increased. It's one of those things that gets parents shaking their heads; however, understand that under the current state law, the money is earmarked for repairs and improvements--not to pay teacher salaries.

If passed, HB 295 1S will allow districts to choose how they want to spend this revenue for the next two years, hoping that the economy will improve and by the end that time we'll have more in our school coffers.

This will make it possible for the district to make decisions about capital outlay that their hands were formerly tied on. If a school doesn't need critical improvements in order to ensure the safety of children, the district could choose to keep class sizes smaller and ignore some needed repairs.

In other words, re-wax the gym floor and let it go for a couple of years, and keep class sizes stable.

You may have heard that this bill is only affecting Jordan and Canyon school districts. No! The passage of HB 295 1S will affect every district in the state.

As of Thursday noon, this bill is on the House Third Reading Calendar, which means it will be voted on fairly soon. Please contact your representative right away and let him or her know that Utah PTA supports this bill! We believe it is in the best interest of children.

The bill's sponsor is Rep. Ken Sumsion (Lehi). He will most likely vote for his own bill, so if you contact him, just thank him for his work on behalf of kids and let him know he has our support.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spread the Word!

Here's a short blurb you can put in your school newsletter.

Plan now to attend your precinct caucus on March 23.

A caucus is the place where individuals can make the most difference. During your caucus, you'll elect delegates to go to the county and state party conventions. Your delegates represent you as they vote on and select party candidates for offices from state legislators to US senators and congressmen. You might want to be elected as a delegate yourself, or you can make a difference by voting for someone you believe will represent you.

For dates and times, see your party Web site.

For more information on caucuses, or to learn more about getting involved, visit the

Caucus Meetings--what to expect

In United States politics and government, caucus has several distinct but related meanings. In the state of Utah, a caucus is a meeting of members of a political party or subgroup to coordinate members' actions, choose group policy, or nominate candidates for various offices. These meetings are held once a year in early spring, prior to county conventions.

When you attend your precinct caucus on March 23, here's what will happen:

1. Each precinct represents a relatively small geographical area, so you'll be attending with your neighbors--no need to feel intimidated or anxious.

2. You'll elect precinct chair and other precinct officers. If you'd like to be considered for office, be prepared to state how you'll represent your precinct. No prior experience is necessary--just a desire to serve and be involved.

3. You'll elect delegates, who will go on to the county and state party conventions. (Anyone can attend the conventions; however, only delegates will be able to vote.)

Note: Each party has its own constitution and bylaws. Rules for your caucus meeting as well as any specific bylaws pertaining to the election process will be made available to you at the meeting, or you can find them ahead of time by visiting your party Web site. Also, precinct officer and delegate responsibilities will be laid out for you at your meeting.

Sometimes attendance at precinct meetings is sparse. Often a precinct officer will find herself serving as a delegate as well. This is certainly allowable, as long as the other precinct members have had the opportunity to vote her in.

If you're elected as a delegate, plan to be in contact with as many members of your precinct as possible before your party conventions, in order to find out their views and be able to represent them. You can also take time to discuss issues with them at the precinct meeting. Very often, other precinct members will discuss the issues and elect their delegates based on how they feel they will be represented.

If you need information on where your precinct caucus will be held, check your party Web site, or contact your precinct chair.

If you're not ready to be voted into office this year, attend your caucus meetings anyway!! Plan to attend your party's county and state conventions. There you'll get an idea how the process works, and feel better equipped to serve (or elect your representation) in the future.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Utah PTA Bill Sheet

The new and improved bill sheet is available here. It's easy to understand, so check it out to see what PTA is following this legislative session.

Positions are taken on bills each Wednesday. If you don't see a bill here, check back each week for updates.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Alpine School Board Meeting Highlights

The Board of Education met in a study session prior to the dedication and the regular Board Meeting at Sage Hills Elementary School on January 26. The purpose of the study session was to discuss the boundary options for the new schools.

The dedication of Sage Hills Elementary began with three students sharing “What Makes Sage Hills a Great Place.” First grader Kealani Luke said that it is because “teachers care about what we learn.” Third grader, Bryanna Dye loves the huge library, and fifth grader Kayla Hauer appreciates the fun activities and great people. Principal Sherrie Holbrook talked about the past, present, and future of Sage Hills and has dared her students to “learn, soar, and excel.” PTA President Kirsten Stack expressed appreciation for all of the volunteer help that has been given and acknowledged that there is more to be done. After the students and faculty did a great job singing the school song, K-12 administrator Kathy Janzen spoke followed by Board Member Chrissy Hannemann. The dedicatory prayer was given by Board President Debbie Taylor.

There were two action items in the regular Board meeting. The first was the approval of the boundaries for the new schools. Boundary maps for the new Traverse Mountain and Eagle Mountain elementary schools as well as the new Saratoga Springs middle school/Willowcreek Middle/Timberline Middle/Lehi Junior are attached. The entire area west of the Jordan River is part of the new middle school boundary. The Traverse Mountain area students are now part of the Willowcreek Middle School boundary instead of Timberline Middle School.

For your information, the principal of the new Traverse Mountain elementary school will be David Stephenson, current principal at Alpine Elementary. The principal of the new Eagle Mountain elementary school will be David Turner, current principal at Rocky Mountain Elementary School. The Saratoga Springs middle school principal, Steve Stewart, was named last spring and is the former principal of Orem Junior High School.

The Board also voted to open the new Saratoga Spring middle school with seventh and eighth grade students only. Ninth grade students will continue to attend Westlake High School next year.

The second action item was property agreements. Both the sale of the “EsNet” property as well as the purchase of three building lots for Career and Technical Education were approved.

Thank you to the faculty, staff, students, and patrons of Sage Hills Elementary for being great hosts!

The next Board meeting will be on February 9 at the district offices in American Fork.

National PTA Action Alert

Ask Congress to Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Now!

The word on the Hill in 2009 was that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), would begin in January and be wrapped up by the end of the 2010. However, this legislation shows no signs of moving through Congress. Let's increase the momentum for ESEA! Please urge both of your Senators and Representative not to wait any longer and reauthorize ESEA now.

Learn more about National PTA Takes Action and sign up for their newsletter here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alpine School District Highlights

The Board of Education met in a study session prior to the regular Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 12. The purpose of the study session was to: 1) review boundary information for the new schools, 2) discuss growth information and a timeline for a future bond (the Board is looking at the fall of 2011), and 3) debrief from the USBA Convention.

The regular Board Meeting began by recognizing three outstanding employees:

1. Crispen Anderson was recently named the 2009 Utah Junior High School Teacher of the Year at the UAAPHERD conference held at BYU. Crispen teaches health and PE at Lakeridge Junior High School.

2. Garrick Peterson was named Junior High School Principal of the Year for the state of Utah. Garrick is the principal at Lakeridge Junior High School.

3. Rick Clark was named High School Principal fo the Year for the state of Utah. Rick is the principal at Mountain View High School.


Following the recognitions, there were two discussion items:

1. Boundary options for the new middle school and two elementary schools - This will be an action item at the next Board Meeting. (There will be maps sent in the highlights after the next meeting.)

2. Addition to the Scope of Employment Policy - This will also be an action item at the next Board Meeting.

The Board of Education received a report about school improvement plans in the west area of the district. Kathy Janzen, K-6 administrator over this area, did an excellent job reviewing statistics and sharing data with the Board. She shared her excitement about the great things going on in our elementary schools out west.

The next Board Meeting will be on January 26 at Sage Hills Elementary School. There will be a school dedication at 6:00 p.m. The regular Board Meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, January 8, 2010

National PTA News

National PTA has released its 2010 Public Policy Agenda outlining policy priorities and recommendations for the second session of the 111th Congress. Bolstered by research to back up the recommendations, the 2010 Public Policy Agenda focuses on three key priorities.

I suggest you take a look at the agenda, familiarize yourself with it, and make sure you get time on your local board agenda to speak about it. Maybe even put some information in your newsletter. This will go a long way toward comforting some of our members who are afraid our national agenda is too liberal.

2010 Legislative Session

The 2010 legislative session begins January 25 and runs for nine weeks.

On your original Region 9 calendar there was a region PTA day scheduled, but since our region calendar was created we have received the Utah PTA calendar which has PTA Day at the Legislature scheduled near the beginning of the session, making our region day unnecessary.

My reasons for scheduling our own day were that I thought it would be more effective to get us all up to the capitol early in the session, meeting our legislators and learning the ropes.

I would still like to be available to you as a guide if you are interested. I will be available at least one day each week during the session to take you around, discuss bills, and help you meet your legislators. This will be by appointment, so please contact me if you're interested and I'll let you know which day I'll be there.

The first day of the session is generally given over to ceremonies, swearing in new legislators, etc., but any time after that, just let me know and we can make arrangements.

Please let me know if you have questions. I'd love for you all to feel comfortable at the capitol and with your legislators, which is how we can begin to make a difference.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alpine School District Update 1-5-10

1. The Utah County Health Department is sponsoring a free H1N1 vaccination clinic tomorrow, January 7, from 3-7 p.m. at American Fork Junior High School. Appointments are encouraged but not required. All varieties of the vaccine will be available and are free to anyone. To make an appointment go to the Utah County Health Department website at

2. The Utah Association of Secondary School Principals have announced this year’s high school and junior high school principals of the year, and we are proud to say that they are both from Alpine School District. Congratulations to Rick Clark, principal of Mountain View High School, and to Garrick Peterson, principal of Lakeridge Junior High School. They were both honored at an awards ceremony today and will be honored again at the UASSP conference later this month.