District Newsletter – November 7, 2022
Dear Salt Lake City School District families and community,
Hello! It’s good to be back. I started with the Salt Lake City School District – the first time – in 1972 in Mrs. Allred’s kindergarten class at Highland Park Elementary. I returned a few years after graduation to be an assistant principal at Hillside Middle School, and I can tell you my former teachers were surprised to see me back. Now, after a couple of decades in a neighboring district, I’m back in a position I never imagined. My title is “Interim Superintendent,” which means one of my biggest jobs in the next few months is to help the Board of Education find a permanent superintendent.
As I’ve been visiting with many of you in our schools and in the community, I have been so pleased to meet so many great people doing such great work on behalf of kids and families in the district. I thank and honor each of you. I believe that education is one of the greatest and most honorable professions. We care for, teach, and are positive examples for, our children. There is no greater or more important work. I look forward to serving the students and families of the Salt Lake City School District.
Martin W. Bates, Ph.D.
Feasibility Study Public Meetings
Work is moving forward on the feasibility studies currently being done to explore the future of Highland High School and West High School. The next public meeting for West High will be held Wednesday, November 9, and the next public meeting for Highland High will be held on Thursday, November 10. Both meetings will start at 6 p.m. and will be held in the respective school libraries. Spanish translation will be available at the meetings. We can provide translation into other languages by request. Please call (801) 578-8378 to request translation into a language other than Spanish..
For those who cannot attend the meetings, they will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel in English and Spanish. You can also provide feedback here for Highland High School and here for West High School.
Starting this month, our interim superintendent will be launching a weekly blog. This blog is a chance for you to ask questions and get answers you may have about the district. The blog will be public and is not an appropriate place to discuss personnel issues, individual student concerns, or other private matters, but it is a great space to learn more about district operations and the services we provide to students and families.
The blog will be published each week on the district website. Each post will be available in the News and Events section, and we will promote the blog on social media and at the top of the district homepage: www.slcschools.org.
If you have a question you would like to submit to the Superintendent’s Blog, please use this link: https://forms.office.com/r/akDjk4E8hL.
District Mobile Application
We have a new district mobile app! Our app, available for both Apple and Android devices, allows you to select your student’s school(s) and allows you to receive the latest news related only to those schools. App features include school calendars, lunch menus, news articles, links to Canvas and Parent Portal, and a staff directory for your child’s school.
Learn more about the app and get links to download HERE on the district website.
Board Report – November 1, 2022
On Tuesday, November 1, the Salt Lake City Board of Education (the Board) held its first public meeting of the month. The meeting began with two Board recognitions, one for Utah Teacher of the Year Finalist Elise Maxwell and one for recently concluded National Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Board heard a report on a proposed renovation of the Rose Park Community Learning Center. The renovation would improve services for the community and includes an option to build more classroom space. The Salt Lake Education Foundation anticipates the cost of the renovation can be covered by private donations and is not asking the Board or district for funding.
The second report was a proposal to build a student health center at West High School. The health center would be in partnership with the University of Utah and would provide physical and mental health services for students, with parent support. The school would move its existing family resource center to be near the health center. The district, the Salt Lake Education Foundation, and the University of Utah will work to get more information on costs and funding sources.
The Board reviewed a recommendation to increase athletic coaches’ salaries to meet current market levels. Board members moved the proposal to the action agenda and approved it, with funding to come from an unfilled administrative position.
The Board discussed a proposal to name a mascot for Salt Lake Virtual Elementary. The Board moved the proposal to action and approved the new mascot – the Salt Lake Virtual Elementary foxes.
Winter Weather Guidelines
As we approach winter and the stormy conditions that come with it, Salt Lake City School District schools will be open on all regularly scheduled school days unless circumstances create health or safety issues. Like any public service, people count on our schools to remain open. Our role in the community goes beyond providing educational services:
Many district students rely on their neighborhood schools for breakfast and lunch. These meals are not simply convenient; they provide nutritional needs for children who may otherwise go without.
A significant number of students in the district would remain home alone without supervision if their school had an unscheduled closure. Many families don't have the luxury of adjusting work schedules on short notice.
A functioning school building provides warmth and safety in addition to classroom instruction.
We fully expect our schools to be open and functioning normally throughout the winter, but weather conditions can vary greatly in different areas of the city. During adverse conditions, we encourage parents to make attendance decisions for their children based on their specific ability to get to school safely. We trust parents to make the ultimate call when it comes to their child's safety. Not all streets are plowed at the same time, and snow totals may differ throughout the city. If you do not think it is safe to send or take your kids to school during a weather incident, you have the option to keep them home.
If severe weather conditions force a late start to school or a switch to an emergency remote learning day, the district will inform parents as early in the morning as possible. Notifications will be posted on social media, the district website, via email, and we may also send phone calls to our families. Accordingly, if your contact information has recently changed, please call your school and provide them updated information. This will enable the school and/or the district to reliably notify you.