Superintendent's Newsletter - November 11, 2021
Dear Salt Lake City School District families and community,
November is here already, and I can’t thank you enough for the valuable role you have played in helping us keep our schools open and our children healthy. There have been a few challenges and bumps in the road, but you, the Salt Lake City School District village, continue to make a difference in our children's lives.
Inclusive input is essential as I listen to and learn from all stakeholders and strive to increase my understanding of our school district and community. I welcome the voices of all members across our Salt Lake City School District village. Correspondingly, I have directed district leadership to form advisory groups, and currently, we have established Teacher, Classified Employee, Student, and Parent Advisories. The Parent Advisory group is co-chaired by parents Mary Catherine Perry and Gaylene Dawes.
These advisory groups will meet with me quarterly throughout the school year. We have just recently held our first meetings with the Classified Employee and Parent Advisory groups.
The Classified Employee Advisory group worked together to develop a list of district-related topics they would like to discuss. Our October meeting discussion focused on ways to improve district efficiency and effectiveness, from their perspectives, for students, parents, and their work areas, and how we can better recognize our employees and their work.
The Parent Advisory group collaborated to create a list of focus areas where we might need to increase or allocate resources. They also discussed volunteering/support for sister schools, training for staff, training for parents, and removing barriers to equity, access, and student achievement. The parents identified areas and ways that we can provide much-needed information to parents.
I am thankful for the time, energy, and effort of those who continue to provide their input to school-based leaders, district leaders, and directly to me. You are helping us better understand what we need to do more of and improvements that you hope to see and how we can better align services and resources to do what is best for students, families, and our community.
During this time when we reflect and give thanks, know that I am thankful to be a part of this remarkable Salt Lake City School District village, and I am thankful that you allow me to lead in this community. For what are you most thankful?
Be sure to take some time for yourself and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Timothy Gadson, III, Ph.D.
Salt Lake City School District
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages 5-11. We are working in partnership with the Salt Lake County Health Department to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics for anyone in the community, age 5 and older. At these clinics, COVID-19 booster shots (third dose) are also available for individuals age 18 and older. You can visit our website to find the dates, times, and locations for the clinics near you.
We are grateful for our partnership with the Salt Lake County Health Department. The school vaccination clinics are more convenient for our families and help them avoid the long wait times often seen at other vaccination sites.
Mental Health Support for Parents and Families
We are pleased to share that we are offering a new resource to support mental health and wellness. ParentGuidance.org is free to all parents and families in our district. It is a service developed by licensed therapists that provides trusted and specialized courses, professional support, and a safe community to learn how to support our children and get answers to mental health questions.
We hope that ParentGuidance.org will give concerned parents a place to go for answers to support and help their children struggling with depression, anxiety, and family strife, as well as provide tools for forming stronger bonds between parents and their children. Look for the ParentGuidance.org logo in the footer of every page on our website.
We are hosting a Mental Health Night to share ways we can support our families and their children, as well as understanding the ParentGuidance.org tools. Our Family Mental Health Night virtual event will be held on Wednesday, December 8. from 6-7 p.m. Use this link to register: https://CookCenter.info/Dec8. The ParentGuidance.org clinical director, Kevin Skinner, is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He will be joining live on Zoom to answer any questions you may have.
Nominations for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Leadership Awards
The University of Utah’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Division is looking for nominations for the upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Leadership Awards. This award honors outstanding students from across the State of Utah, grades 7 through 12, for their dedication to the beliefs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through community service and leadership. This year’s celebration theme is “Becoming the Beloved Community.”
More information about the nomination process and the nomination form can be found on the University of Utah’s website. Nominations may be submitted by teachers, guidance counselors, employers, or community members. However, you may not nominate your own family member.
Great things are happening in our schools, but often you may not hear about them. We wanted to share of few of the recent highlights with you. You can see many of these stories featured on the district website. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We regularly post important information and good news from our schools.
- Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert and Smith’s have joined forces with Northwest Middle School and the Salt Lake Education Foundation to ensure that students and their families do not go hungry with the Northwest Family Center’s food pantry. The pantry will provide students and their families with access to emergency food and the ability to learn about other community resources.
- West High School’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) unit recently conducted its annual Area Manager Inspection. Cadets from West, East, Highland, and Innovations High Schools were assembled in formation and inspected in uniform. Following the inspection, a Pass-In-Review ceremony was conducted. The event included the presentation of the colors by the NJROTC Color Guard, a performance by the drill team, as well as the ceremonial Pass-In-Review.
- Mountain View Elementary has been selected as a National ESEA Distinguished School. Each year, the Utah State Board of Education has the opportunity to nominate two Title I schools that are doing exemplary work to be recognized at the National Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Conference. Mountain View was nominated for recognition this year based on its work with multilingual students.
- Two Nibley Park K-8 School students, Takarah Parker and Kadence Gholson, won the Big Idea Category for the Salt Lake County Coalition Water Science and Engineering Competition. Here is the YouTube link for Takarah and Kadence's stormwater video they put together for the competition.
Superintendent’s Listening and Learning Tour
Thank you to those who have attended our Superintendent’s Listening and Learning Tour town hall meetings. We have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and being able to answer your questions. For those who have not been able to attend, there are three more meetings, one today and two more in the next few weeks. Each meeting will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- November 11 – Precinct 3 - Washington Elementary (420 N. 200 W.)
- November 18 – Precinct 4 - SLCSE-Bryant (40 S. 800 E.)
- December 2 – Precinct 2 - Glendale Middle School (1430 W. Andrew Ave.)
We hope to see you there!
Being able to clearly see words on a page and follow a teacher’s lesson at the front of the class is critical for learning. Our school nurses have done a great job vision screening students this fall, with many families learning for the first time that their students may need an eye exam and glasses. Fortunately for our students, the Salt Lake City School District and Salt Lake Education Foundation have a great partnership with Friends for Sight, a local non-profit that provides access to free eye exams and glasses at our two Community Learning Center Vision Clinics and SightFest.
If your student needs help accessing vision care - or any other healthcare - we have a team of community partners who are here to help. Please contact your student's counselor or family support advocate.