Superintendent's Newsletter - May 12, 2022
Dear Salt Lake City School District families and community,
As I have researched what makes a school effective and successful, some common elements are apparent.
Whether a school principal or a district superintendent like me, leaders must focus intensively on one major priority: student achievement. Many issues pop up while leading a school or district, which can sometimes overwhelm leaders. Still, an effective leader can quickly handle those issues or delegate them to someone who can, so they can maintain their focus on student achievement.
We know that teachers need to be connected. New teachers need mentors. Experienced teachers need the strength of their colleagues. All teachers need to collaborate as a team to find the best methods of instruction, and they need opportunities to sharpen their skills and dedicate themselves to being lifelong learners. We always want our teachers to be at the top of their game.
A successful school is more than a principal and teachers. There are paraprofessionals, volunteers, counselors, secretaries, food service workers, custodians, and even the building itself. All serve as a collective to create the learning community affectionally known as “the school.” We want all of our students to feel welcome and safe. We strive to hire the best people we can find for each position and build and maintain safe, clean, and welcoming school buildings.
Decades of studies show that when parents are involved in their child(ren)’s education, it improves academic achievement. But beyond academic achievement, parent involvement is also associated with better behavior, social skills, and mental health.
- Encourage your child(ren) to apply what they learn in school to real-life situations to help them grasp the importance of what they are taught.
- Be positive! Maintain positive attitudes about the school and education in general.
- Respond to your child’s academic struggles in an empathetic and supportive way, and frame them as an opportunity for growth
- Check in with your child(ren)’s teacher(s) and attend parent-teacher conferences, family nights, and other events.
Thank you for all you do to support our students and your children. I promise that we, as a school district, will continue to look for ways we can improve our services for our students and our community, and I hope you will take every opportunity you can find to be involved in your child(ren)’s education. Success depends on all of us!
Timothy Gadson, III, Ph.D.
Salt Lake City School District
Reminder: We Have Moved
The district administrative offices have moved to a new location: 465 South 400 East, SLC, UT 84111. We will be in this location for a couple of years while we tear down and build a new District Administration Building.
The age of the old building led to a growing number of maintenance problems and did not meet seismic standards, which posed a significant danger to employees in the event of an earthquake. Fortunately, we have been saving and planning wisely for this new construction for many years, and there will be no need for bonds or tax increases to pay for the new administration building.
District Surplus Sale
The old District Administration Building will be torn down in the next few weeks, but we will be holding a public surplus sale before that happens. All items left in the old building are available for purchase - desks, whiteboards, furniture, etc. The sale will run Monday and Tuesday, May 16 and 17, 2022. The hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
All purchases are final, and delivery is not available. All items must be removed from the building by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
While there are no longer daily updates on the number of COVID-19 cases in our city, county, and state, the disease is not gone. There are still a large number of cases diagnosed each week. The Salt Lake County Health Department has changed the method of reporting these cases in our schools and getting information to parents. We have updated our COVID-19 FAQ to reflect these changes.
Please visit our website and review the updated procedures - https://www.slcschools.org/resources/covid-19-and-schools.
Emergency Food Assistance
The Utah State Board of Education, Child Nutrition Programs, and Utah Food Bank today announced household size and income criteria used for determining eligibility for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
What is TEFAP?
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. USDA provides 100% American-grown USDA Foods and administrative funds to states to operate TEFAP.
Household Eligibility Guidelines
The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only to determine TEFAP eligibility. Families whose household income is at or below 185% of the current year Federal Poverty Income Guidelines are eligible to receive donated foods for home consumption by self-declaration.
Household eligibility is based on total household income, not more than the State-established income levels. The Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) are effective from July 1 through June 30 every year. The Income Eligibility Guidelines are located at https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/income-eligibility-guidelines.
Where can I find a TEFAP site?
There are approximately 100 sites throughout Utah that participate in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). To locate a TEFAP site and operation dates and times in your area, contact the Utah Food Bank at the contact listed below or locate a pantry online at https://www.utahfoodbank.org/find-a-pantry/.
One of the main concerns we’ve heard from schools this year is about student attendance. During the 2021 legislative session, the state legislature temporarily suspended the enforcement of truancy laws to provide flexibility during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this left schools without many options to enforce student attendance.
We wanted to make sure you know that the moratorium will expire on June 30, 2022, which means for the 2022-23 school year, we will be able to use the same tools we used pre-pandemic to encourage and enforce student attendance at school.
Social and Emotional Learning
The Salt Lake City School District Board of Education has made Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) a priority to promote our students' social, emotional, and academic learning. SEL is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.
SEL will look different from school to school based on the ages and needs of the students. It may consist of practicing mindfulness, welcoming students to schools and classrooms, learning strategies to address anxiety or stress, organizing schoolwork and grade checks, or making goals and action steps to reach those goals.
To measure how effective our SEL efforts are, students will take a short SEL survey twice next year, once in the fall and once in the spring. The questions ask students to reflect on their skills and growth in the five competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Here are three question examples for elementary, middle, and high school. Students mark their responses as Never, Think About It, Sometimes, or Always.
I know how I feel and why
I can name my different emotions and what causes them.
I understand my different and complex emotions and what causes them.
I know how others feel from their faces, bodies, and voices.
I am aware of other people’s emotions and perspectives.
I use verbal, physical, and situational cues to identify what others are feeling.
When I have made a mistake, I say sorry and try to make it better.
I take personal responsibility for my actions.
I take personal responsibility and hold myself accountable if I’ve made a mistake.
Complete question sets will be sent out in the fall.
Salt Lake City School District is committed to honoring and respecting the rich diversity of our families and community. In sharing cultural and religious observances, we intend to highlight only those that may impact student learning and attendance. We use the Anti-Defamation League's Calendar of Observance and Resources to inform schools of these events for planning purposes.
- May (Full Month) - ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Recognizes the contributions and celebrates the culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
- May (Full Month) - JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Recognizes the history of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievements of American Jews.