Superintendent's Newsletter - September 16, 2021
Dear Salt Lake City School District families and community,
The Salt Lake City School District is under new leadership and management, and “We’re on the move.” Leadership is about a pattern of behavior, and I will always do what is best for the children in our district; likewise, I will always abide by the law. I took an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and the State of Utah, and that means following the law even when the resulting decision does not please everyone.
I believe strongly in the power of our individual and collective citizen voice and vote. I also believe in the strength of the Salt Lake City community, our village. So, it troubles me that as the pandemic looms and decisions are made to keep our children and staff safe and our schools open for in-person instruction, I have often been asked to sidestep the law to please one group or another. Emails often read “Do what is right.” yet, the right which is demanded is whatever decision or position will support or satisfy the requestor and the like-minded constituents they represent. The demands mentioned above frequently are beyond my authority, and the requestors know this, and they choose not to direct their complaints to the body or entity that can affect the change they seek. Some find it easy to direct their anger and meanspirited words at me, blaming me for inaction or lack of leadership. Nevertheless, my leadership and commitment to Salt Lake City, our school district, children, and families is unwavering.
Everything we do is a lesson. I encourage you to use your voice and vote to bring about the change you want to see. I challenge you to direct your voice to the individual, body, or entity with the rightful authority to do what you request and hold them accountable.
Salt Lake City School District is about a culture of trust and respect. We are about influence versus power. We focus on the children and families that we serve, and I refuse to allow district staff and myself to be distracted by the division some attempt to sow. Our work is the monumental task of providing a world-class educational experience for our children. Let’s show the nation that Salt Lake City is different.
I want to move mountains for our children to achieve their wildest dreams and reach their fullest potential, and it is an attainable reality through our collective passion, strength, and action. Therefore, I call upon you to stand up for our children. I call on you to use social media to help, not tear down, support and not criticize, influence and not exert power, unite, and not divide. Would you please help me help you by directing your voice and actions to make a difference for our children? Educating them is our priority.
We are all in this together!
Timothy Gadson, III, Ph.D.
Salt Lake City School District
Asynchronous Learning Days
Salt Lake City School District is committed to supporting its teachers and increasing their capacity to deliver world-class teaching by providing them with evidence-based learning opportunities. Correspondingly, the Board of Education has approved four at-home (asynchronous) learning days for students during this school year. On each of these days, teachers will participate in high-quality professional development to increase their skills in supporting students.
The approved asynchronous days are:
- Tuesday, October 5, 2021
- Tuesday, December 7, 2021
- Tuesday, February 15, 2022
- Tuesday, April 19, 2022
These four learning days originated from a new requirement from the Utah State Board of Education for our K-3 teachers to participate in professional development that wasn’t already scheduled into our school calendar. As we considered how to comply with this state requirement, we felt that the importance of helping all our teachers improve their practice, despite these days not being scheduled on our previously approved calendar, made adding four asynchronous learning days our best solution.
On the four asynchronous days, all K-12 students in the district will learn at home. Teachers will provide learning tasks and materials to students in advance. Many of these tasks will not be computer-based and will support students’ learning in the classroom.
COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing
The COVID-19 vaccine and testing for COVID-19 are essential parts of our plan to keep our students and employees safe and healthy. We are posting information on which of our schools are hosting vaccination and testing clinics on our district website. You can also find a complete listing of testing and vaccination sites throughout Utah at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.
Gifted and Talented Program Parent Information Meetings
Are you interested in enrolling your student(s) in the district’s gifted and talented program? These services are provided to meet the needs of identified gifted/talented and high-ability students. The coursework is extended beyond the general education classroom and is more abstract and complex, giving students greater depth of understanding. Skill development with higher-order thinking skills in both critical and creative thinking is an important part of the students' experiences. Certified teachers with a Gifted and Talented Endorsement teach the classes.
Starting later this month, we will be holding a series of parent information meetings where you can learn more about the program and how to enroll your student(s). Please visit the district website for more information.