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Table of Contents / Contact

Summer Updates

July 1, 2020

Dear Salt Lake City School District families,

My name is Larry Madden, and I am thrilled to serve for the next year as your Interim Superintendent. I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say in my first message to you.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been torn by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other members of the Black community. These events are a painful reminder of the deep systemic and structural racism that exists in our country and of how much work we need to do to dismantle it.

Given the discourse about racism and racial injustices on our national consciousness, I want to add my voice to emphatically state that the Salt Lake City School District condemns racism, hatred, and injustice; silence is not an option. We believe fully that Black Lives Matter. It is our responsibility to seize this opportunity to grow, to become stronger advocates for the marginalized members of our community, and to act in ways that are vigorously anti-racist.  

I firmly believe that our diversity is one of the things that makes the Salt Lake City School District such a special place. Celebrating that diversity means fully embracing our desire and responsibility for inclusion, belonging, and justice for everyone; but especially for the historically marginalized members of our community, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LBGTQIA+ people, and those with disabilities. It also means acknowledging our shortcomings and continually seeking ways to right wrongs. As a district, we have a long way to go, but we are committed to the ongoing hard work, difficult conversations, and proceeding actions that must follow.

Salt Lake City School District will continue to improve our own equity, diversity, and inclusion work, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that our staff, our curriculum, and our instruction are a reflection of the community we serve. Now more than ever, I feel the importance of education in supporting the growth of young leaders who are dedicated to creating an equal and just society. We will continue to examine, and act on, issues of inequity to make sure all students have access to the resources, programs, and experiences they need.

Just as these issues and conversations have deeply impacted so many of us, this may also be a confusing and troubling time for our students. I want the families and students of our community to know that we are here for you, and we are ready to help.  I have included some online resources below to help guide family discussions.

Our Vision Statement reads, Excellence and Equity: every student, every classroom, every day.  It is imperative that this is seen not just in words but in our actions. I believe we have the opportunity to grow and to become stronger; to take better care of all members of our community. My door is always open.

I look forward to growing and strengthening this community with you.

Larry Madden
Interim Superintendent
Salt Lake City School District

P.S. Below are a few online resources to help you engage in anti-racist discussions with your students.


June 23, 2020

Dear families,

Today’s message is short but important. Thank you so much to all of you who have responded to our most recent survey. We are grateful for the time you spent providing feedback to help us make plans for the 2020-21 school year.

We still haven’t heard from nearly 20,000 parents, and we are anxious to make sure we hear from as many families as possible. Your opinion is incredibly important to us, and we want to make sure we take your comments and experiences into account.

FOOD FOR FAMILIES

Please note that the Rose Park Community Learning Center food pantry will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, June 24. It will be open again next week on Wednesday, July 1.

For more information on our other food pantry sites, dates, and times, please visit this link:  .

Sincerely,

Lexi Cunningham, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Salt Lake City School District

 


June 17, 2020

Dear families,

Salt Lake City remains in the Moderate Risk phase of COVID-19 recovery, but we remain hopeful for better news as we get closer to the coming school year. Thank you for all you are doing in your own neighborhoods to help maintain our community’s health and well-being.

Currently, our administrators, educators, parents, and school leaders are working hard to prepare for the coming school year. I want to thank all who have provided feedback to us about the remote learning experience, whether via our online survey last month or via other means.

After analyzing your responses, we have some follow-up questions that will help us make plans for fall. Your feedback will help us make decisions that will best serve our families and students as we prepare to provide the best education to our students amid a possible second wave of COVID-19 in our communities.

FOOD FOR FAMILIES

A quick reminder that this week, the hours and locations to pick up emergency food for families have changed.

Community Learning Center Food Distribution

  • Families can come to one of our Community Learning Centers to pick up a bag of emergency food at the following locations and times:
    • Liberty Community Learning Center: 1078 S. 300 E., Salt Lake City, Utah
      • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12:30pm.
    • Glendale Community Learning Center: 1388 S. 1340 W. Navajo Street, Salt Lake City, Utah
      • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12:30pm.
    • Rose Park Community Learning Center: 1105 W. 1000 N., Salt Lake City, Utah
      • Wednesdays from 8am to 11:30am.

Finch Lane Gallery Food Distribution

  • This distribution site is no longer in service.

“For the Kids” Food Distribution

  • An additional 100 food bags will be given out every Tuesday during our regularly scheduled “Grab and Go” meal service for students from 11 am to 12:30 pm at the following schools:
    • Backman Elementary
       (South Parking Area – Enter from 1500 West)
        601 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Edison Elementary
       (U-shaped Driveway – Located in front of school)
        430 South Cheyenne Street, Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Escalante Elementary
       (West Parking Area - Enter from 900 North)
        1810 West 900 North, Salt Lake City, Utah  
    • Liberty Elementary
       (Southeast Parking Area)
        1085 South 300 East, Salt Lake City, Utah  
    • Meadowlark Elementary
       (Northeast Parking Area)
       497 North Morton Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 

And a happy Father’s Day to all our Salt Lake City School District dads!

Sincerely,

Lexi Cunningham, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Salt Lake City School District


June 9, 2020

Dear families,

I hope your summer vacation has gotten off to a great start. We miss seeing your students online, but we’ve already been busy planning and preparing for next fall. We are so grateful for your flexibility this spring as we navigated the school dismissal. We won't know until it’s here what the start of next school year will look like, but here are some things we are doing to prepare:

  • Working on professional development for our educators to make sure they’re ready to provide your students the best education possible, whether that’s in person, online, or a combination.
  • Making changes to our schools such as installing plexiglass dividers and making sure every school is stocked with sanitizer, cleaners, and protective equipment.
  • Streamlining the software and platforms used across the district to make remote learning easier for parents, students, and teachers if and when remote learning is necessary next year.
  • Training our custodial and grounds teams on CDC approved sanitizing guidelines.
  • Coordinating schedules in our buildings to make sure we maintain adequate social distancing and account for the health and well-being of our students and staff.

Of course, there is much more we will be working on over the summer, and we will keep you apprised as we complete the SLCSD Restart Framework. We’re grateful to all who filled out our end of year survey; your feedback has already been instrumental in helping us improve our practices and plan ahead for next year. If you have additional feedback you want to share, you may respond to this email. Thank you for your continued understanding.

13 REASONS WHY

Before I get into other announcements, I want to address an important issue. We know schools can play an important role in preventing youth suicide, and being aware of potential risk factors in students’ lives is vital to this responsibility. With this in mind, we want to inform you that another season of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why was released last week. The show is based on a young adult novel in which a young teenager takes her life. However, due to concerns expressed by organizations like the National Association of School Psychologists and the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, along with the TV-MA rating, we highly discourage students from watching this series.

Many national psychological organizations are concerned that vulnerable youth may watch this series without understanding the show’s content. Please be aware of this Netflix series. It is critical to have thoughtful, open conversations with your child if you have concerns for their emotional well-being. Below are some tips to assist in those conversations.

Ask your child if they have heard of or seen the series 13 Reasons Why.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  • Ask your child if they think any of their friends exhibit warning signs for suicide. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  • Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is said.
  • Get help from a mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

Additionally, I strongly encourage every parent to:

  • Make sure you and your student download the SafeUT app to your smart phones, tablets, or other devices. SafeUT is a statewide service that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through live chat and a confidential tip program – right from your phone. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is 100% free and confidential.
    • Licensed clinicians respond to all incoming chats and calls by providing:
      • supportive or crisis counseling,
      • suicide prevention, and
      • referral services.
  • Save the SafeUT phone number, 1-833-372-3388, to your phone in case of emergencies.

BOARD MEETING LIVESTREAM

FOOD FOR FAMILIES

The Salt Lake Education Foundation will continue to provide emergency food for families throughout the summer.

Community Learning Center Food Distribution

  • Families can come to one of our Community Learning Centers to pick up a bag of emergency food every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 12:30 pm.
    • Liberty Community Learning Center (East side): 1078 S. 300 E., Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Glendale Community Learning Center: 1388 S. 1340 W. Navajo Street, Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Rose Park Community Learning Center: 1105 W. 1000 N., Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Starting June 15th Rose Park will serve on Wednesday ONLY from 8:00 am to 11:30 am.

Finch Lane Gallery Food Distribution

  • We are excited to be operating this food distribution site every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm.
  • Families can come to receive emergency food at 54 Finch Lane, Salt Lake City, UT 84102.
  • This distribution site will serve through June 16th only.

“For the Kids” Food Distribution

  • An additional 100 food bags will be given out every Tuesday during our regularly scheduled “Grab and Go” meal service for students from 11 am to 12:30 pm at the following schools:
    • Backman Elementary
       (South Parking Area – Enter from 1500 West)
        601 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 
    • Edison Elementary
       (U-shaped Driveway – Located in front of school)
        430 South Cheyenne Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 
    • Escalante Elementary
       (West Parking Area - Enter from 900 North)
        1810 West 900 North, Salt Lake City, Utah   
    • Liberty Elementary
       (Southeast Parking Area)
        1085 South 300 East, Salt Lake City, Utah   
    • Meadowlark Elementary
       (Northeast Parking Area)
       497 North Morton Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah  

LEGISLATIVE BUDGET FOR EDUCATION

  • The state legislature has met several times during the pandemic and is currently considering possible cuts to the state budget – including for public education.
  • While nothing has been determined yet, I wanted to make sure you are aware that some type of budget cuts may be coming.
  • The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee met last week to discuss 2%, 5%, and 10% budget cuts. Their recommendation will go to the Executive Appropriations Committee. This is the committee that approves the state budget.
  • We anticipate that there will be another special session to make final budget decisions.
  • We will let you know when we hear any new information that would impact our schools and our students.

MEALS FOR STUDENTS

  • This summer, we will continue to operate a "Drive-thru Meal Service" at 14 designated school sites for children to receive a "Lunch Today, Breakfast Tomorrow" combo meal each weekday during the summer from June 4 through August 19, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • These meals will be provided daily, free of charge, to ALL children ages 0 to 18.
  • Additionally, we will continue to partner with the Utah Food Bank this summer to provide a shelf stable Kids Café Dinner at 12 designated school sites. These additional meals will be served as part of our “Drive-Thru Meal Service” during the hours of 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  
  • Contact our registered dietician, Brianna Hardisty, to make arrangements if your student has special dietary needs ( ).
  • .

ONLINE BOOK COLLECTION ON RACE & RACISM

  • The Library Technology Teachers in our district have worked to curate a collection of digital books (K-12 and adult) on the SORA app which are high quality, written by diverse authors, and focus on race and/or racism.
  • The SORA app is available on all our school devices and is the digital library that all of our students and teachers use.
  • You can also download the SORA app from the App Store or Google Play. This is the icon: 
  • Once you download the app, you’ll select your school district/school.
  • The collection is called “Race & Racism” and is listed under the search icon (the icon is a pair of binoculars).
  • We encourage all our students and families to read these books and share them with their families to help with better conversations about race and racism.    

STUDENT DEVICE RETURN

  • Student devices and hotspots from all schools may be returned to the Liberty Community Learning Center during the summer, Monday through Thursday, 11 am – 2 pm.
  • Parents can also coordinate device return with their school principal or they can contact
  • If a student needs a device for the summer, they may check out a different device at the Liberty Community Learning Center during the same times listed above.

TECH SUPPORT FOR STUDENT DEVICES

  • We will have technical support for student devices Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Liberty Community Learning Center (1078 South 300 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111) during the summer.
  • Students who need to check out a device during the summer may also do so at this location. 
  • If your student still needs to return a device used during the 2019-20 school year, they may return them to this location also.

VIRTUAL SUMMER CAMPS: “SUMMER IN THE CLOUD”

This summer, we will offer a Virtual “Summer in the Cloud” Summer Camp experience for Salt Lake City School District students in grades 3-8. Our “Summer in the Cloud” camps will help students have fun outside this summer, exploring nearby nature and discovering science at home while keeping students engaged and supporting the Utah Department of Health guidelines for high-risk individuals to stay home as much as possible.

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Summer in the Cloud – Bonneville Camp

  • This camp is perfect for students entering grades 3-6 this fall.
  • Students will embark on a four-day adventure with two of our camp leaders and other young explorers. Eight four-day sessions will be offered throughout the summer.
  • Each themed experience includes engaging science challenges, art experiences, virtual field trips, mindfulness practices.
  • Adventures start at $50 ($20 non-refundable registration fee).

Summer in the Cloud – Elementary Discovery Camp

  • This camp is perfect for students entering grades 3-6 this fall.
  • This camp experience will be located on a private YouTube channel only dedicated to Salt Lake City School District’s Community Education Afterschool Program students.
  • Adventures will start at $0 (free for all Afterschool Program students).

Summer in the Cloud – Middle School Discovery Camp

  • This camp is perfect for middle school students entering grades 7-8.
  • This camp experience will be located on a private YouTube channel only dedicated to Salt Lake City School District’s Community Education Afterschool Program students.
  • Adventures will start at $0 (free for all Afterschool Program students).

The Community Education Department will keep you informed as soon as possible via email and through our website with additional information about afterschool programs and summer programming. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact (801) 578-8275 or email Maxine Gilmore at .

Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week.

Sincerely,
Lexi Cunningham, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Salt Lake City School District

P.S. If you haven’t already, to see photos of some of our graduation celebrations.

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