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Board Meeting Report - October 17, 2023

The Board of Education of Salt Lake City School District (the Board) met on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. You can watch the entire meeting on the district’s YouTube channel.

Fall Enrollment Review

In the state of Utah, every school district takes an enrollment count on October 1 every year, and that number is used as the district’s official enrollment count for that school year. The Board heard a report on Tuesday about our recent October 1 data. As predicted in two recent demographic studies, Chief Information Officer Sam Quantz reported that our official October 1 enrollment count shows a 2.5% decrease in overall enrollment, which translates to 481 fewer students in our district this school year. He emphasized that the most significant drops in enrollment have been in our elementary schools. Additionally, this year, 6th and 8th grades also saw decreases, suggesting a potential impact on middle schools and high schools for next year.

A few other quick facts:

  • 33.74% of our students are Multi-Language Learners
  • 3.30% of our students are experiencing homelessness
  • 53.41% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch
  • 58.93% of our students come from an ethnic or racial minority background

You can view the latest enrollment and demographic data on our website. (Note: there are seven pages, so make sure to use the navigation arrows to view all the data.) These new enrollment and demographic data will be taken into account in our Population and Boundary Study.

2022-23 End-of-Year Testing Data and School Report

Dr. Tiffany Hall, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Michelle Amiot, Director of Assessment and Evaluation, provided a comprehensive report on student data from the  the 2023-24 school year. Dr. Hall and Dr. Amiot's presentation included some highlights.

  • 92% of our kindergarten students were fully prepared for mathematics in first grade.
  • Students in grades K-3 met the literacy goal set by the state of Utah for 2023-24. Meeting this goal every year will result in 70% of K-3 students reading at grade level by 2027.
  • Students in grades K-3 demonstrated excellent growth in reading; 66% met their personal targets to help them achieve proficiency at grade level within three years.

Reading is a top priority for the Board, the district, and the state. The state of Utah has set a goal of having 70% of K-3 students reading on grade level by 2027. Our Strategic Plan for Student Achievement aims to have 80% of K-3 students reading on grade level by 2029. Early signs suggest that our efforts are paying dividends. Overall, district K-3 reading scores are on par with the state average and surpass districts with similar demographics. Another significant achievement is the commitment the district has made to ensuring that all K-3 teachers participate in Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), a two-year course focused on the science of reading instruction. While learning gaps persist for ethnic minority students, those with disabilities, and low-income students, Dr. Hall noted that these gaps, on average, were beginning to narrow.

Dr. Hall and Dr. Amiot also spoke about the district's pathway indicators, a set of benchmarks developed by the Board several years ago to provide insight into students’ progress through K-12 and beyond. These indicators serve as wellness checks along the path to student success.

School administrators and teachers use these data to inform classroom instruction and set goals for students, grade levels, and schools. Implementing data-driven approaches led by talented school leaders and excellent classroom teachers will ensure academic success for Salt Lake City School District students.

November Public Comment Periods for Population and Boundary Study

In November, the Board will have two public comment periods during Board of Education meetings to allow members of the public to comment on our population and boundary study. The first public comment period will be held on Tuesday, November 7, in the Board Room at the District Administration Building (465 South, 400 East, Suite 300, SLC UT 84111). The second public comment period will be held on Monday, November 20. For these two November board meetings, the Board will add 30 minutes of public comment time specifically for school closures and boundary adjustments.

If you want to sign up to speak during one of these comment periods, call April Johnson, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, at (801) 578-8351, to be placed on the public comment list. Ms. Johnson will begin taking requests to speak one week prior to each board meeting. Speakers can call Ms. Johnson beginning on October 30 for the November 7 meeting and beginning on November 13 for the November 20 meeting. Public input is a critical component of the Population and Boundary Study process, and we thank you in advance for making time to share your thoughts with the Board.

The Board voted to approve these public comment periods.

Superintendent’s Report

Having served as superintendent for a little over 100 days, Dr. Elizabeth Grant is convinced the Salt Lake City School District can lead the state in terms of student growth, equity, opportunity, and achievement. During her first months as superintendent, she has dedicated herself to listening to, and learning from, many corners of the community, engaging with district personnel, students, parents, city and state leaders, university leaders, business partners, and many others. The resounding message she's received is that there's an overwhelming wave of support for the district and its goals.

Dr. Grant firmly believes that our district possesses both the talent within, and the backing from our community, to serve as Utah’s flagship school district. She envisions a cohesive network of schools that collaboratively exchange ideas and successful initiatives, propelling all of them forward. Her aspiration is to cultivate a culture where schools are warm, welcoming environments, intolerant of bullying and harassment. In this pursuit, she shared that preparations are underway to launch a “Dignity Index” project in our district to elevate our discourse, ease division, and create more inclusive, welcoming environments in our schools.

Dr. Grant reiterated her commitment to building more opportunities for our students. The district is already a leader in offering apprenticeship opportunities, and she envisions expanding the array of college and career pathways offered in our district. She emphasized that the Salt Lake City area has the highest levels of economic mobility in the country, and, thus, provides an ideal backdrop for advancing and supporting our students on their educational journeys. With your support, the dedication of our staff, and under Dr. Grant’s leadership, our students will succeed, and Salt Lake City School District will become Utah’s flagship district.