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Jordan School District is preparing to open three new schools in the 2021-22 school year. Kings Peak High School, Kelsey Peak Middle School and Rocky Peak Elementary School are part of the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, giving students more options in their education and the way in which they learn.

On this episode of the Supercast, we hear from principals of the three new virtual schools. They explain how the schools will work, who can enroll and how this personalized learning will focus on the individual student. Find out how the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy is different than anything we’ve done before.

If you have questions regarding the new schools please call 801-567-8131 or visit connect.jordandistrict.org.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It's a very exciting time here in Jordan School District as we prepare to open three unique new schools for the 2021-22 school year. Kings Peak Virtual High School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School and Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School are part of the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, which will give students more options in their education and the way in which they learn on this episode of the Supercast we hear from principals of the three new virtual schools. They explain how the schools will work, who can enroll and how this personalized learning will focus on the individual students find out how the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy is different from anything we've done before.

With the three newest principals in Jordan School District, we have three administrators who have just been appointed to be principals of our online schools that we'll be starting in the fall. So let's introduce these three new principals, and then let's talk about their schools and how you can get signed up. If you're interested, Ross Menlove, Principal of Rocky Peak Elementary School. Tell us about you a little bit.

Ross:
I'm Ross Menlove and I'm excited to be the new principal at Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary. My background is elementary. I've taught first grade, third grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, and also been an instructional coach. And I've been working a lot with the teachers this year to ensure our online program that we're currently doing. It's very successful and it's meeting the needs of students and helping kids progress in their learning.

Superintendent:
We also have Spencer Campbell who will be the Principal of Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School.

Spencer:
Hi, my name is Spencer Campbell. I'm super excited to get this program started for the virtual school. My background is in middle school, taught seventh grade and ninth grade, and obviously have a background in technology and what that it looks like for students at home and at school. We're super excited to get this started.

Superintendent:
And then we have Ammon Wiemers who is the principal of Kings Peak High School.

Ammon:
I'm Ammon Wiemers, Principal at Kings Peak Virtual High School. Prior to that, I was working as the administrator of the online program for the district. And my background is in a high school English. And so I taught at West Jordan High School for nine years.

Superintendent:
We're really excited to have all three of you on board, moving this forward. It's a big leap for us to move to having three separate online schools. Now you all fall under the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, but they are individual schools and are hiring right now. I want to start with talking about what the difference will be between these online schools and maybe the online learning that was experienced in the spring and through this year for those students who chose that option. Let's start with you Ross.

Ross:
This upcoming virtual elementary is going to be pretty awesome because it's going to be very student centered and student specific. As parents consider what they want to look for in this program in this virtual dimension, they're going to be able to choose between two different types of curriculum. Currently all of our online program is synchronous, live with the teacher. What we're going to be offering next year is asynchronous, meaning that the student can log in and they can complete their coursework for that day, any time, any place, any pace. And it's gonna be very individualized for that student. So that's the asynchronous option.

The synchronous option is similar to right now. They're gonna have a live teacher, but the difference is going to be those teachers are going to be a lot more strategic in the activities they have to do. They are a lot more intentional in their planning and in their instructional design because they have experience now. They know what works, they know what doesn't work.

And so we'll be able to offer those two options if I may put in a plug out there. The wonderful thing about this for elementary is all of our online instruction, all that core instruction, those students need to be successful as fully online.

We're also going to have an option where kids can come in a couple of days a week at our satellite location to come and do some project-based hands-on learning with certified teachers and also receive some extra help if a student struggles with a math assignment that day, or they need some help with their reading, they're going to be able to come in and have a live teacher, hands-on face-to-face right there with them to be able to provide that instruction at the elementary level.

Superintendent:
That's one of the big questions that we get is how synchronous this will be and what the alternatives will be. It is a good reminder that this is not pandemic learning. We do have an in-person component now. Will that in-person component be required or will it just be an option?

Ross:
The in-person requirement is fully optional. We're guaranteed through our curriculum that every student has the core instruction and the learning that they need to be successful by fully being online or ensure that they have what they need to be able to progress in their learning and go to the next grade level

Anthony Godfrey:
Can you describe for everyone, what you anticipate class sizes will look?

Ross:
The wonderful thing about this is that our class sizes are going to be very similar to our in school class sizes. That means that the teacher will have the time and intention they need to dedicate that personalized learning to each and every student, able to work together as a team to make sure that every student is progressing in learning. If a student is doing the asynchronous option, the wonderful thing is they're going to have a licensed and certified teacher who can modify their instruction each and every day, to make sure that student gets exactly what they need. If they're doing the synchronous learning, live with the teacher, that teacher's going to build up and automatically respond and have live feedback to give that student the feedback they need to progress in their learning and to ensure they progress and do their best.

Superintendent:
What's exciting for me is the number of options. There's an in-person component. If you'd like, it can be asynchronous. In other words, it can be time-specific or you can have a high level of flexibility. So I think this can meet a lot of needs that maybe have even emerged as a result of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, I think for some people online education would have sounded like an option that was not right for their child. But sometimes when you try it, you realize this is actually working really well. I know you've seen some great success at the elementary level, even just this year. Can you talk about that?

Ross:
Our current elementary program, the current online program, the wonderful thing about it is it's very student centered. Each and every day, we have teachers that are creating content and creating activities that are directed for that student. So the wonderful thing about our online program, it's not a pre-determined curriculum that is in essence, designed by a company. This is teachers in Jordan School District, working with Jordan School District students, creating very specific content and curriculum and activities that are directed to them. These teachers, who know these students, who build these relationships virtually, are able to direct that content right for that student, to be able to provide that student what they need. They don't have to go through some algorithm or anything like that. We have the live teachers that are behind the scenes, creating this content, ensuring the student has a path of learning so that they're going to be successful.

And the great thing about online is this year is we've shown that kids and teachers can build very effective and very connected relationships. Everyday I have teachers that reply back to me when I asked them about how things are going. They mentioned how they have even better relationships with some of the students. And also, especially with the families, because the parents are right there. The parents are watching some of the sessions. The parents are involved in their homework. Teachers have great relationships with the parents because it's more of all the stakeholders and all the parties are coming together for the success of the child. It's not just the teacher being in a classroom with the student is the teacher, the parent and the child all coming together virtually to ensure that that student is being successful and making those modifications and shifting on the fly  to ensure that kid has what they need to be successful.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's exciting. Spencer, let's talk about Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School. What can a parent expect from Kelsey Peak Middle?

Spencer:
So a few things they can expect are flexibility and predictability. And that's something that Ammon will talk about as well with the high school. But the idea is that kids have a flexible option. Currently, we have students in a variety of situations throughout the District. So for example, we have a student that has high anxiety and coming to school is difficult for them. Or maybe they want to take their core classes online and they want to take their extracurricular or their elective classes at the school. They have that option. But the predictability part is they're going to have certified teachers teaching those classes, whether the student attends live or watches a recording after the fact. They have that ability to take those classes when they can, or when they fit into their schedule.

Superintendent:
The way that it had to be structured this year at the secondary level made it impossible for synchronous learning to be available because teachers who were teaching online were serving students who maybe did have a partial schedule or they were teaching students from a number of different schools. So creating a schedule districtwide just was not possible. The advantage here with Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle is that we actually will be offering synchronous learning for all of our classes. Is that correct?

Spencer:
That is correct. In a sense, if they take the full online option and they have their classes full, we're building a schedule out right now. The nice thing about that is those classes will be recorded. So students that are in a partial or hybrid schedule at their home school can come back and watch those recordings later. And they would get all the same interactiveness as the kids asking questions that are in that virtual option.

Superintendent:
So if they're full at Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle, that means they can have a completely synchronous schedule, but if you're trying to coordinate with a local school that might not match up, so they can watch the video and they can interact with the teacher. There'll be office hours and availability from the teacher.

Spencer:
Absolutely. That's a great question. One of the difficulties with the middle school is we have 13 middle schools to coordinate schedules and classes. And so you're correct in the way that stated if a student is taking virtual classes, they will have synchronous learning all day long. If they're taking a partial or a hybrid schedule, they will be able to watch those recordings after the fact.

Superintendent:
And I know we've described this a couple of different ways, but I think it's an important point to distinguish this from the pandemic learning experienced in the spring and the fall. There will be a full video class for every course that a student would normally be taking that they can watch where that has not been the case this fall, simply because of the logistics.

Spencer:
Correct every recording of the secondary level, and I know Ammon will talk about it too, is going to be recorded. So when the teacher is giving the initial instruction, whether that's at the synchronous moment or the night before that they're sharing with students, every lesson will be recorded so students will have the opportunity to go back and watch and participate in that lesson.

Superintendent:
I liked that description, flexibility and predictability, which is really the combination that we're looking for. Is there an in-person component to the middle school and talk to us about the grade configuration?

Spencer:
So the middle school is actually seventh through eighth. We talked about this before, to move ninth grade to the high school. And as far as the in-person, this would be more small group instruction or labs because we're going to have students in a partial schedule. We may only have 25 kids that are in the virtual session with the two satellite offices or satellite buildings that Ross talked about. That teacher will have the ability to run labs or activities and invite students to come in to those sessions or activities that aren't required, but just an added bonus to virtual instruction in the middle school.

Superintendent:
We've mentioned a couple times the physical locations that will be Hidden Valley Middle School and Majestic Elementary School. Hidden Valley is next to an elementary. Majestic is next to a middle school. So there will be a variety of facilities available and all three levels will be available at both locations. One of the things I'm really excited about is that these physical locations will not only allow for interactive lab work and support from teachers in-person, but students can come in and just work at the computer in a quiet place with reliable wifi and great equipment.

Spencer:
Correct. So as of right now, we actually have that set up currently where students can come in to a writing lab or a math lab and get extra help. We ask students, obviously, to set appointment so there's an adult there that can help them through that process. But there are those resources available if the students that need them during the day that can come in and just work through on a computer, like you said, with the internet.

Superintendent:
Stay with us. When we come back, we'll hear from Ammon Wiemers, Principal of the new Kings Peak Virtual High School.

Break:
One of the most prestigious academic achievement programs available for high school students, and we're proud to say, it's coming back to Jordan School District. We're talking about the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which will be located at West Jordan High School. The IB program supports personal and academic achievement for students at the very highest level. IB diploma courses take place during a student's junior and senior year in high school. All sophomores are invited to consider the IB program for next year. There are no pre-requisites for IB and interested middle school students can start preparing now students with the IB diploma have a better chance at getting into some of the most prestigious universities in the world. In order to find out if your teen is a good candidate for IB, visit http://ib.jordandistrict.org, or call West Jordan High School.

Superintendent:
Ammon, let's talk about the high school. What are some of the things that you would like parents to know about? What's going to be available through Kings Peak High School?

Ammon:
When we were thinking about how to design the curriculum and the courses at the high school, some of the guiding principles that we think are important are what we've talked about before. Having some flexibility and also predictability. And when we see what those choices entail, we want students to have choices not only in when and where they learn, this is the virtual component, but also within the courses, what they learn. And so student choice in all three areas are what's important to us. We're building a schedule around that. With that in mind, students don't necessarily have to learn at the same time and in the same place as others. However, it's good to know when and where to get help if you need it. And so within the design of every course, we started to think about it not as a class period, but as an instructional week. Within that week, we have both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for every student in every course. By the time that students are in high school, we want them to be making intentional decisions about their own learning. If a student is in need of additional support, we have some support in place for them to go and get that help. Teachers will be available throughout the day to zoom or to come in and get help individually. And so it's the level of support at the student level, as the student needs it. And so we have a structure built in that supports the student choice in their learning. In every course, like I said, there's going to be synchronous learning opportunities each week. And then from that, students make intentional decisions about their own learning.

Superintendent:
They have supports to get that help when and where and how they need it. Tell me about a partial schedule at the high school level. It's a question that we get a lot. I'm excited at the prospect of a student being able to fill their schedule with the classes they'd like to take, even if there's a conflict at their home high school, that perhaps they can take an online class. That opens up a class period for them to be able to take an elective, perhaps that was otherwise going to create a conflict. That's a really critical component of this virtual school. Our partnerships with all of the local high schools. And so what we're essentially doing is expanding the offerings and the flexibility of all of the schools where students are enrolled at their high school and they want to get ahead, or they want to take a course that's not offered during a certain period. We offer some flexibility in expanding the course offerings in all of the high schools. And so they will be able to participate in that course in a virtual setting while still maintaining their enrollment at their high school and still being eligible to participate in all the activities that the high school has offered under UHSA rules. Any of those sanctioned sports or activities are still available to students who participate at Kings Peak High School, even if it's full time. Because Kings Peak does not offer any sports teams or any activities of that nature, students are still eligible to participate at their boundary. So we see Kings Peak High School has two options. One is to be fully enrolled at Kings Peak High School. And then the second option, we hope, is to be seen as an extension of the high school. The local high school, when our students participate in the services and receive the support there. And then we offer additional curriculum options, additional course options that they can engage in.

Superintendent:
Let's talk about who's going to be teaching these courses. Spencer, talk to us a little bit about that.

Spencer:
I think the current situation, the pandemic situations placed a lot of teachers in different situations that they never saw themselves in. And the teachers that we're interviewing currently are teachers that have been waiting for this moment for a long time. These are teachers with a strong background in technology. These are teachers with a strong curriculum base, but also design. When you're designing courses online, it's a little bit different than teaching a class or creating lesson plans in person. There are added components to those lessons. And so these teachers are the best at what they do as far as what we've seen in the interviews. And so to say that these are just teachers that are moving from in-class to online is not the case. These teachers have been preparing for this and waiting for this for a long time. And they're exceptional from everything we've seen so far.

Superintendent:
Many parents are wondering whether they can switch back and forth. There's been some switching back and forth, of course, because of the pandemic. As things change over time and the way that things are set up, parents sign up for a virtual school in the same way that they would sign up for a brick and mortar school, and really are committing to that school for the year because their spot is not staffed for at their boundary school. However, we want students to learn in the environment that suits them best. And if there does need to be some switching back and forth, that can happen, in certain circumstances. But essentially the expectation is that when you sign up, you're signing up for the year. But of course, we work very hard to provide flexibility. As you've said before, that's at the center of what we're doing.

Spencer:
Yeah. That's a wonderful comment. The wonderful thing about this virtual program elementary up through high school is it's personalized. It's designed for the students. It's designed to meet their individual needs. Now, as a student enrolled in the school, they're enrolling in the program, they're growing in the school, just like you have their school, but you know, and I know in parents listening to this and students listening, we all know there's different things that happen in life. And that's where we come together. And we have that flexibility with predictability. Now, being able to change back and forth between schools comes with its own challenges, comes own concerns, and we'll face those when we get there. But as we get into this and we get going, we start learning. If you have concerns, you have questions, all of us would love to talk to you. Come in, give us a call, whatever, it works to send us an email, let's get together. Let's talk, let's figure out what works best for your student. This is a very personalized program, very individualized and we're here. We're committed, just as the rest of Jordan School District. We're committed to what's best for our students and our families.

Superintendent:
I'm just going to go around the room and ask each principal to explain, how will a parent or student know that your school is the right school for them next year?

Ross:
One of the big differences between our current online learning and Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary is that this is more parents making the choice about where their child learns best. If your child learns best inside your home with you being aware of what's happening in their curriculum and what their learning needs, this is a great option for you. If your child learns best by having some flexibility throughout their day, and be able to have a different schedule than normal, this works best for them. As a parent, you need to be aware that this option works extremely well as we all come together and work together. And so parents are an active member of the learning process. As they work with teachers to ensure what is best for students, what is best for their child and what works best for them?

Spencer:
I think ultimately it's about flexibility. Parents know their students best. And the option at Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School is, let me give you an example of three types of kids that we see. One, maybe you have a student that needs an extracurricular class to fit in their schedule because they're in SBL and they don't have room in their schedule. This is perfect for them. Maybe you have a son or a daughter that's on a dance team or an Olympic ski team or a hockey team and they have to leave early every day and they need to take that fifth, sixth, seventh period online. This is perfect for them. And as mentioned earlier, maybe you're a student that has an IEP or struggles with anxiety and the large crowds and large group classes make you a little bit nervous.

Ammon:
This is the place for you because of its flexibility and predictability, just like choosing any school. This is a decision that parents need to make with their students. And while it is a new high school, we have some idea of who might be successful here. We have a situation where students have been learning how to learn online through Canvas and through the last year students who have shown that they can work independently, work at their own pace and make good choices on their own are going to be very successful in this setting.

Superintendent:
We offered virtual high school classes even before the pandemic and the pass rate in Jordan District was double that of some districts that are comparable. And so I know we have the people and the program in place for students to be very successful. Really the bottom line here is, if this sounds good for you and your student, it's worth giving it a try. It's worth signing up because we have outstanding principals with a great background, but are interviewing and hiring the best teachers around with not just the skills, but the passion for teaching students in this way. So thanks to all three of you for moving this vision forward. I'm excited to have an additional alternative available to students beyond the pandemic. And we look forward to great things. Thanks for joining

For more information about the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School, or King's Peak Virtual High School, call (801) 567-8131 or visit connect.jordandistrict.org. Thanks for joining us for another edition of the Supercast. And remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see ya out there.

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A new program in Jordan School District has middle school students preparing right now for future careers in technology. They are learning how to code in the classroom - creating computer games and perfecting a skill that could land them great paying jobs in a high demand industry.

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside some classrooms where kids are learning to code. Find out why coding is making math fun in a unique way for so many students and teachers right now and how parents can support their kids who want to code.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. A new program in Jordan School District has middle school students preparing right now for future careers in technology. They're learning how to code in the classroom, creating computer games and perfecting the skill that could land them great paying jobs in a high demand industry. On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside some classrooms where kids are learning to code. Find out why coding is making math fun in a unique way for so many students and teachers right now, and how parents can support their kids who want to code.

I'm here in Mr. Nielsen's Creative Coding Class, where they've been learning how to do some graphics here at Hidden Valley Middle School. Eric, tell me about what you coded.

Eric:
Currently, I programmed a little game here. Whenever you hit the space bar, hit up the number by one and you can just get little upgrades. Took me awhile to code, fill the background, put the numbers on the screen.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, that's cool. So what did you learn by programming this?

Eric:
I learned how to get numbers and thoughts on the screen. That was an issue for me before I learned how to put little boxes of color words, how to get input from the player.

Anthony Godfrey:
How many of you, raise your hand if you want to continue with coding in some form after this class? That's great. That's a lot of you.

Student:
I have been interested in coding for a while now. And it's interesting in coding because you have to tell the computer exactly what you want it to do, step-by-step. If you told the computer, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it would be like okay, what do you want me to do? You would have to take out the bread, take out the peanut butter, take out the jelly. Take out two slices of bread and put them next to each other. And then each step step-by-step. So you have to think about what goes into the process.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oaky. I forgot to tell the computer to take the lid off the peanut butter. We're in trouble now. Yeah. Tell me your name. I say you may talk, Isaiah. Tell me about the project that you have going right now.

Isaiah:
I made this one. He lets us do our code at your own stuff. Yeah. Where we make our own code. And I made one like a game. It started by your grandmother asking me to go and get groceries. Kind of a choose your own adventure. Yeah. See, will you go and get some for me? Some groceries and I put it. So if you put yes or no, it doesn't matter. And she makes you go and get them.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you say no, grandma. I'm not sure.

Isaiah:
That's not too bad. So you left to go to the grocery store, but on your way, there is a fork in the road in your path. What will you do? Go left? Go right? Or pick up a fork.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, you pick up. So let's pick up the fork.

Isaiah:
We picked up the fork and pick up the fork and decide to keep going straight. In your way is a mountain range. Will you go, what will you do? Go around it, go over it, go through it or go up under the mountain.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let's go under the mountains.

Isaiah:
Do you turn into Steve from Minecraft? Dig straight down and you find diamonds, but as soon as you find them, you fall into Lofa. First of all in Minecraft.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. So I digress, but quickly say something. They programmed that so they could show me. Okay. What's your name?

Issac:
Isaac Lawrence.

Anthony Godfrey:
Isaac. What do you have here?

Issac:
I have a pretty basic code here where I just write out all this stuff and he just prints out a basic picture.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yeah.

Issac:
And I mean, he would like create images with it. It's pretty cool.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here with Steve, one of the two coding teachers here at Hidden Valley Middle School. What got you interested in teaching this class?

Steve:
They had an opportunity to show up. I think programming has been a lot of fun over the many years. And they said, Hey, do you want to teach coding? And we have an opportunity for you. So I get to show these students how to write code. It's very a logical approach and it shows them step by step how to go from point A to point B.

Anthony Godfrey:
What progression have you seen in these students from the start of this school year to now?

Steve:
Oh, they have gone so far beyond my ideas and imagination. It has been amazing. They've gone from knowing that coding exists, but not much more than that, to be able to write a code, to make a game, ask questions, do things like Mad Libs. They can draw images, which are really amazing. And they've learned a little bit on how to animate them.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, thank you very much for your time. I sure appreciate it.

Steve:
Yeah. Thank you so much.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me your name.

Kevin:
So my name is Kevin Peterson.

Anthony Godfrey:
All right Kevin. What do you have here?

Kevin:
So while we were learning about different things, you can do, kind of like his, choose your own adventure. But for this specifically, we were learning about incorrect input. So you can miss the bus, ride the bus, or you get some driving me, but if you press like an extra option or try to press one, and then there's not one that says you get hit by the bus, your morning was ruined by invalid input.

Anthony Godfrey:
My morning has been ruined by invalid input more than you know. Can I see the code? Can you show me backstage here?

Kevin:
This is just like a little title area. These print statements are how you learn what's happening and stuff. Then there's input, which is user choice. And that's when they choose ABC or anything else. And then there's the "if then statement". So do the F and then if you choose A, you get, you missed the bus but your friend comes by just then. If you do B you take the bus all the way down, then there's our statements. Which means if none of this happens, this happens. And that's how the invalid input happens.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see. Are you kind of amazed at how much code it takes to accomplish things? And do you think about what you see out in the world and how much work it must've taken?

Kevin:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here with Ryan Nielsen, one of the computer programming teachers here at Hidden Valley Middle School. What do you teach through the rest of the day Mr. Nielsen?

Mr. Nielsen:
I teach seventh grade science currently.

Anthony Godfrey:
Had you ever taught coding or been involved in coding before this?

Mr. Nielsen:
Yes. I have a decent background in it. I used to be a Systems Administrator for a company and did some minor coding and HTML paid webpage and stuff like that.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm really excited that you and other teachers have taken this on. What was involved in being trained and prepared to teach computer programming this year?

Mr. Nielsen:
So the company set us up with some training sessions and we basically went through the exact same programs that the kids are doing this year. And the nice thing about it is the TechSmart Program has everything laid out there so that you can get help on your own.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how long was that training?

Mr. Nielsen:
I think it was two weeks in the summer. And then we've done another week here during the year. Just bit by bit.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what is the ongoing support that's provided by TechSmart?

Mr. Nielsen:
Again, they have during the class help desk that I can just message and they'll get straight back to me. I've never had to wait. But also I email or message after school if I have any big questions.

Anthony Godfrey:
So even if you have a question in real time during class, you can get a quick response from them. And the curriculum is all laid out by TechSmart. Is that correct?

Mr. Nielsen:
Correct. Yes.

Antony Godfrey:
So what have you liked about being able to teach computer programming this year?

Mr. Nielsen:
Some of the kids were saying it's, well, I had one student say I didn't have anything else on and I don't know how they got in here. I don't know if it was recommended by the counselor or not, but he said it's been so fun. Typically the kids love coming in here and doing their coding projects. It's a lot like a puzzle. You have a certain situation that you have to create and then they go and figure out the code, the language to make the computer understand what they're trying to say.

Anthony Godfrey:
I could tell, just talking with a few students in your class that they really liked getting to grapple with that and think things through. And I can imagine in ways that they probably don't even realize their ability to think logically and to problem solve is greatly enhanced by going through these exercises.

Mr. Nielsen:
Yes. When we get into loops and conditionals, it's very easy to take a program that could be a hundred lines of code and change it into 10 and they see that you can make solutions in many different ways. I think that really helps them learn how to solve real life problems differently to be creative.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see you have a flyer here on your desk available for students that outlines some of the companies that use Python, which is the program that's used in these classes: Google, Netflix, Reddit, Instagram, Dropbox, Facebook, everything. We use Spotify, a personal favorite of mine. And that is coding jobs. They start out at $80,000 a year. So it's pretty awesome that a seventh or eighth grade student can be starting to learn something that can lead them to such a profitable and an in-demand career.

Mr. Nielsen:
Yes. And a lot of these companies will take you on and help you get to where you need to be. If you've got a good foundation, they can bring you on and pay for some of your education. So it's a great area to be in. We're just expanding from the tech companies are expanding from here. So, wow.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's a crazy year in every way. And I just want to thank you for taking on the task when so much else is going on. We have to keep moving forward and this is a big step forward for our students. So thank you very much.

Mr. Nielsen:
You're welcome. It's fun to teach.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, find out about the job opportunities for kids who code and why it's a skill that can set students up for a lifetime of success in the workplace.

Break:
It is one of the most prestigious academic achievement programs available for high school students. And we're proud to say, it's coming back to Jordan School District. We're talking about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, which will be located at West Jordan High School. The IB Program supports personal and academic achievement for students at the very highest level. IB Diploma Courses take place during a student's junior and senior year in high school. All sophomores are invited to consider the IB Program for next year. There are no pre-requisites for IB and interested in middle school students can start preparing now. Students with the IB Diploma have a better chance at getting into some of the most prestigious universities in the world. In order to find out if your teen is a good candidate for IB visit http://ib.jordanditrict.org, or call West Jordan High School.

Anthony Godfrey:
Bruce Levin, the Founder and CEO of TechSmart. Thanks for being on the Supercast.

Bruce:
It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have been working with Bruce and we've been working with Bruce as a District for about a year now getting the Computer Science classes in place. And I wanted to tell you, Bruce, I don't know if I've told you this story, but I saw this email from you about TechSmart. It was a brief, fairly nondescript explanation of the basis of your company and the way you wanted to approach bringing teachers to Computer Science instead of bringing Computer Science teachers to the classroom. Can you tell us a little bit about that approach?

Bruce:
Yeah, absolutely. So, our approach really is to work with districts like yourselves that are really committed to getting students to higher outcomes in coding and Computer Science by implementing pathways, secondary pathways in middle and high school.

And a big part of that is really helping districts build teaching capacity by providing really in-depth professional learning for the teachers. So each of your teachers at middle schools this year, nine teachers participated over the summer in the school year in very intensive, what we are calling Teacher Coding Bootcamps. These are professional learning experiences where teachers are learning the software development skills, which are preparing them to teach the students. And the goal really is to help teachers build the knowledge and skills to teach with the fidelity of a software engineer as they're working with their kids in the classroom.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have spoken with a few students at the middle school and I visited a couple of classes. And when I asked them, a lot of hands shot up saying that they want to pursue this more beyond this class, most hands in fact.

And when I talk with them, they had a deeper appreciation for the games they've been planting and the websites they've been visiting now that they know all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make that possible. So it really opens up their understanding of the world around them in ways I don't think they expected.

Bruce:
Yeah, absolutely. It's funny, you know, this generation is really known digital natives using technology, playing games, using apps, phones. I think what these classes have really done is unlocked a vision of, what does it look like to actually design and develop the types of technology they're starting to use? So, you know, it's great. It's great to hear that and really understanding the science or the computer science behind, the technologies that they use.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think that is probably one of the most important goals early on, and they have the opportunity to take this class if they have a passing interest, and they just want to know more. But they also, if we continue along the path that I'd like us to, as the District, we'll have that ability to move right into a job and a profession, if that's what they would like.

Bruce:
Yeah. Yeah. That's a really great way of looking at this. This is really a pathway to jobs. One of the things that the State of Utah really identified about a year and a half ago is the demand for software developers in the State of Utah. Specifically, there's almost 7500 software development jobs that are open in 2020. So the way that we've envisioned this pathway is really generating a great deal of student interest in getting them engaged in the coding classes in middle school. And ultimately the idea is to build capacity at the higher level at high school, with the goal ultimately of helping students compete for these jobs directly from high school.

So the two classes that are being offered at the middle school or one class this year is the Creative Coding Class. Next year, that's going to extend to the second class, which is going to be a Python Programming Class. Hopefully at some point, that will lead to increasing the number of students at the high school level and really getting students that have higher depth of knowledge, level building portfolios, earning certifications, and really, preparation for ultimate workforce outcomes in this area, which is really in high demand.

Anthony Godfrey:
Of the top cities in the country, I think Utah's ranked 14th in the country in terms of demand for software developers. So yeah, really important work that's being done at the middle schools. We have some international superstar programmers on the way out through this program. Bruce, thank you for your support in making that possible.

Bruce:
Yeah, absolutely. We are happy to partner and support the district and I appreciate it.

Thanks for joining us on the super cast. Remember, education is the most important thing today.

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If you ever feel like you need just a little extra support in your life or your child’s life, maybe it’s time to visit the Jordan Family Education Center.

The center, located inside River’s Edge School, provides support services, counseling and classes free of charge for families and students in Jordan School District.

On this episode of the Supercast, we find out what classes like “Blues Busters” or “Superhero Social Skills” can do for students and how families can benefit from the free short- term counseling offered by school psychologists and counselors.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Do you ever feel like you need a little extra support for your family or your child? If that's the case, maybe it's time to visit the Jordan Family Education Center. The Center located inside River's Edge School, provides support services, counseling and classes free of charge for families and students in Jordan School District. On this episode of the Supercast, we find out what classes like Blues Busters or Superhero Social Skills can do for students and how families can benefit from the free short-term counseling offered by school, psychologists and counselors. I'm here speaking with Fulvia Franco, Program Specialist at the District level who works with school psychologists and our elementary counselors and Sarah Robbins, the School Psychologist from Daybreak Elementary School to talk with me about the Jordan Family Education Center. Thanks to both of you for being here with me. Let's start with you Fulvia. Can you just give me a quick overview? What is Jordan Family Education Center?

Fulvia:
The best way is to explain the kind of services that we offer to families and children in the district, students in the district. First of all, we provide short-term child centered family counseling for families, and that's up to 10 weeks. There's no additional charge to families for participating in the services. We also have a variety of parenting classes that are offered three times a year during fall winter and spring quarter. Classes typically go for six weeks and they target a number of areas, including social skills. We have classes like Making and Keeping Friends, a class called Blues Busters for children who may be sad or worried. We have Effective Parent Training for parents who want ideas on parenting their children. We have classes for parents who might have a child with autism, and we have Anger Management Classes for elementary, middle school, high school and adults.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a great variety of classes. Now, Jordan Family Education Center, you go way back. Let's talk about when did the Jordan Family Education Center start?

Fulvia:
The Jordan Family Education Center was established by the district in 1979. They initially had a coordinator there for five years and then had person, an interim person. And now I've been the coordinator every since.

Anthony Godfrey:
Before we talk about classes specifically, let's talk a little bit more about the counseling that's available for families. Sarah, let's talk with you about how that counseling works. Can you tell me what are some examples of when a family might choose to participate in that and what they can expect if they sign up?

Sarah:
We have families that come to seek counseling services for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the issues are a little more acute and have just come up and sometimes they're a little more long-term. Some examples of things we see students for are maybe adjusting to a new divorce or a new move. Maybe they're experiencing some anxiety or depression and the family's not really sure how to help them, and the student doesn't really know what to do. At the Family Education Center, we can provide a little more in-depth services than we have time for at school. It's more family centered to address their specific problem. What they can expect is, if they call our phone number, which is (801) 565-7442, they can ask to have an intake. And when they do an intake, they meet with one of our school psychologists and can talk to them about what's going on and get a little more information. The school psychologist will then meet with our staffing committee and help generate some recommendations for the family. Sometimes we refer them to a specific class that might meet their needs. Sometimes we refer them for short-term counseling and sometimes, depending on the nature of the problem, if it's bigger and more long-term, we can help them find community resources. We also partner with the Health and Wellness Department and we'll make referrals. They can help us access private providers if that's something that the family needs as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
And then private providers, for those listening that may not be aware, can be funded for a limited time through some funds that were made available from the State. So really the idea, it sounds like, is that when a family comes, they call that intake number and they ask for a consultation about their specific circumstance. There is a wide variety of resources available that they can be connected to. Maybe a class, maybe a counseling right there at the Jordan Family Education Center, maybe some outside counseling, and any of those could lead to another step, depending on how things go. So it's a great place to start and to get connected to lots of resources that families may not otherwise be aware of.

Sarah:
Yes. In fact, just last week I had a conversation with a parent who had come for her own child, and while she was there, she thought about a neighbor and the neighbor had been through a recent divorce. And some of her children who are school age were having some difficulty processing that it was a big move and a big change. And so she stayed after and came and talked to me for a while and said, where else can I send her? I have no idea. I've never done any of this before. And between me and two of our other staff members who happen to still be there, we were able to give her several ideas within the district and also within the community, including our own Health Services Department, because the family no longer has health insurance. So that was a place we could start to help them as well. We definitely partner with all the resources here in the district and in the community.

Fulvia:
We definitely partner with all the resources here in the district and in the community. One of the strengths of the program is that it is funded and staffed entirely by individuals who work for Jordan School District. As such, we're an extension of the local school. So when we do an intake assessment with a family, we're able to give them resources, not only through our center or the district, but perhaps through their school. If we identify a need for testing, we can use a Child Find Referral to make a referral to the Special Education team or develop a 504 at the school level. We send information to the school to let them know a family is accessing services through the Center and families are informed of that. So they agree to have the school be a partner in this. So we do partner together to be the most effective in providing all the services that a child or family might need.

Anthony Godfrey:
And that's a really important point. This is a network of support that's connected directly with the school. So it's not a one and done. This is ongoing support for lots of different issues and lots of struggles that students and families may be dealing with. And as a part of that, what I referenced earlier is that the list of classes is really quite remarkable. Superhero Social Skills for grades one through four, Anger Management that you referenced, Surviving the Death of a Loved One, Calming the Storm Within, Anger Management for adults. So there are really a lot of great classes that can help with issues that may pop up. What can someone expect if they sign up for one of these classes? What does that look like? How frequently do they meet, for what period of time, and how large are those classes? Just what are some of the details of what those classes would look like?

Fulvia:
So our classes, due to the pandemic, we're limiting size of classes to eight participants and two instructors. Many of our children's classes like Making and Keeping Friends and Blues Busters, we have quite a few parents who want to sign up. There's a parent class that goes along with the children's class, but they meet in a separate room. We've added additional instructors so that we can reach more children. And so we now have limited numbers for the participants, but when there aren't restrictions such as with COVID-19, then we can have up to 15 students in a class.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell us about the location of these classes. Where do folks go if they want to sign up online? What's the number again to call and then tell us about the location?

Sarah:
So the Jordan Family Education Center is located over at River's Edge School. inside the school. And if a parent or a family wanted to sign up for either an intake or for a class, or we actually even have a parent lending library over there with several parenting books, but they would just call to register. And the number is (801) 565-7442. We actually just started our second group of classes last week, and the classes run for six week. Each class is an hour and a half long. We have some classes that start at 6:00 PM and some classes that start at 7:00 PM and we'll be starting our third set of classes the week after spring break. So if there's something a parent is wanting to sign up for, but doesn't have time for right now, or maybe a second class they'd like to, they can take it again in the spring.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, more on free services provided by the Jordan Family Education Center and how counselors and psychologists are supporting students and families in a multitude of ways during the day.

Break:
It is one of the most prestigious academic achievement programs available for high school students, and we're proud to say it's coming back to Jordan school District. We're talking about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, which will be located at West Jordan High School. The IB program supports the personal and academic achievement for students at the very highest level. IB diploma courses take place during a student's junior and senior year in high school. All sophomores are invited to consider the IB program for next year. There are no prerequisites for IB and interestingly, middle school students can start preparing. Now students with the IB diploma have a better chance at getting into some of the most prestigious universities in the world. In order to find out if your teen is a good candidate for IB. visit ib.jordandistrict.org, or call West Jordan High School.

Anthony Godfrey:
How has the pandemic impacted what you do? Are there some classes that have become more popular because of that? And what are some of the needs that you've seen arise out of that.

Sarah:
I have noticed some of our classes are more popular this year than they ever have been. In particular, the Blues Busters class has been very full every time. So Blues Busters is a class for kids who are either sad or worried. And this year we see a lot of anxiety in kids. Kids are worried about things that they never have been before, like earthquakes, for example. And we offer that class for elementary age, and then we have a second one for teenagers. That's taught by middle school and high school staff members. And then there's a third parent class that's taught at the same time. So that one has been very popular this year. We also have another one called Mindful Kids and it teaches kids relaxation strategies. And that class we have had to add a second session for students because it's been so popular because everybody needs to relax. That one's been really popular. And then Making and Keeping Friends is always a really popular class. We always have students who are struggling to make friends and it's a great place for them to learn. We started a new class just last year called Supporting Your Child with Autism. And we've had really good feedback for that class. That's for parents of children who might be somewhere on the autism spectrum, and we're able to help them have ideas of how to parent their child and also to link up with community resources.

Fulvia:
We've also been doing intake assessments in the family counseling. We've offered virtual counseling for those families who would prefer that. We've had very few families request that. In fact, we have had families that started that way, that said that their children did better in person. So we sanitize everywhere we can in between sessions and we've done our best to try to keep it safe. But families have let us know that they prefer to come and get the services in person.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's good to know those services are available. And these classes just seem made for some of the issues that have popped up during the pandemic. But as you said, it's been going since 1979, it's a really well-established program and carefully thought through, the curriculum and these classes. And when you've been doing it for 40 years, you get a knack for what student needs are and are responsive to those over time. I'm very proud of this program in Jordan District and how successful it is and the number of people that are helped. Are there misconceptions about the Jordan Family Education Center or questions that you get frequently? That you'd want to clear up?

Sarah:
The one thing that is unique is not everybody has time to attend a six week class. Most of our clients are parents with younger children and it's hard to get away. So we do offer a session called Timely Topics and that's on Thursday night and they are one session classes. So many of our instructors have other classes will come and do an abbreviated version so if a parent can't make it to a six week class, they can come for just one night and those cover a variety topics. For example, there's one for Co-Parenting through Divorce. There is one for Internet Safety. There's one for Coping with Depression and helping your children cope with depression. There's one called Video Gaming Addiction that went really well last quarter that has probably become a bigger issue during the pandemic. We also have one called Study Skills and it's for supporting your teenager. That is also a popular class because most parents can come for one night. And ultimately our goal is to help kids to be successful in school. We want them to go to school. We want them to be able to focus while they're there. We want them to graduate all of our classes and the counseling services are designed to support the family in helping their child navigate the school and be able to finish.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's an extraordinary program. And I love the focus on students and families because families really are part of helping support students through difficult times and are an important element of student success in school. Tell us again, the phone number and the website and how we get signed up.

Fulvia:
The phone number (801) 565-7442. We're available from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Monday and 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday,  and Thursday. More information about our classes or services can be found right on the Jordan District website in the Guidance Department, which is in Student Services. So the website is guidance.jordandistrict.org/jfec. And the address of River's Edge School is 319 West 11000 South in South Jordan.

Anthony Godfrey:
Great. Well thank you for spending the time. I know you're both very busy.

Fulvia:
Thank you for your support as well. Thank you for having us.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see out there.

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to store everything needed to run a district that spans 6 cities, with 64 schools and more than 56,000 students? Where do we safely store food for our kitchens and cafeterias or furniture, paper and cleaning supplies for our classrooms?

On this episode of the Supercast we take you inside the District's Central Warehouse on a fun and fascinating tour with a man who has taken care of business there for 39 years. Find out what Randy Gray has seen come and go throughout the years.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Have you ever wondered what it takes to store everything needed to run a school district that covers six cities with 64 schools and more than 56,000 students? Where do we safely store food for our kitchens and cafeterias or furniture, paper, and cleaning supplies for our classrooms. On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside the District Central Warehouse on a fun and fascinating tour with a man who has taken care of business there for 39 years.

We're here at the Jordan School Cistrict warehouse with Randy Gray, the Distribution Coordinator. Good morning, Randy.

Randy:
Good morning.

Superintendent:
We're here at 7:30 AM, which is early for me, but you start your day very early. What time does the warehouse get rolling?

Randy:
I get here about 4:20 AM. My guys show up around 5:00 AM.

Superintendent:
4:20 and 5:00 AM. Why does everyone start at that unearthly hour?

Randy:
Because we have to get all the food to the schools before they are ready to cook. So if they need it for the schools, they need anything for the lunch that day, they have it before they need it.

Superintendent:
So everything starts with you really here in the morning at 4:20 AM. So tell me, you've got a stack of calendars here. How long have you been coming in to work at Jordan School District?

Randy:
In one form or another 39 and a half years.

Superintendent:
39 and a half years. And we're about to lose all that 39 and a half years of experience from what I understand.

Randy:
Right.

Superintendent:
When do you retire?

Randy:
December 22nd.

Superintendent:
And how does that feel after so long?

Randy:
I'm going to miss a lot of guys, but I got a lot of other stuff I want to do, so it'll be fun.

Superintendent:
Well, you're certainly going to be missed. There's no question about that. Your stack of calendars goes back to the nineties.

Randy:
Yeah, 1996. I've got another door that has the other ones on it. That's about how long you and I go back right to one of those calendars. And I saw a long, long time ago.

Superintendent:
We met a long time ago. Tell us a little bit more about the warehouse. What what does that involve?

Randy:
We do all the food supplies go out of here, every day produce.

Superintendent:
So that's the main bulk of the load in the morning?

Randy:
That's my big crew. So that's getting everything to the school programs. Anything that they may run out of, they are short on, we get it to them as soon as we can in the day, as early as we can.

And then I have separate crews when we do the school supplies, custodial supplies and the maintenance supplies. And we picked orders every single day.

And then we do all the receiving for everything that comes in and clean books or any non inventories that come into.

Superintendent:
When you say picking, is that just pulling what the order is from the inventory that you have, what the schools have requested?

Randy:
Yes.

Superintendent:
Okay. So you have regular orders and then when they run out, then you run stuff out as needed as well.

Randy:
Yeah. If we do run out of things, we tried really hard not to. If we do run out, it goes into a back order system and then we pick back ordered tickets as soon as we get them in. And then they go out, as soon as we can get them to out.

Superintendent:
How many employees do you have?

Randy:
We have 14 people in here.

Superintendent:
I know with all the PPE, there's been a big shift to get all of that out to the school. So that's probably been one of the main impacts of the pandemic.

Randy:
Right, right. It has really impacted us. My guys were working overtime, breaking down masks and everything and anything, hand sanitizer. Kurt was out here helping us everyday on that. So they were delivering nonstop.

Superintendent:
Well, I've talked with Kurt, the Director of Purchasing who's with us here today about that.

But I just want to thank you personally for that, because that sure made a big difference when people have that the first day. And I know you guys just pulled out all the stops, so thank you for that.

Randy:
Yeah. The crew really jumped together. It's a good team out here. They work really well together and they just jumped on it and got it done.

Superintendent:
Part of what fascinates me about the warehouse is just the sheer volume of stuff that you guys have moving through here. It makes Costco look like a convenience store.

Randy:
Absolutely.

Superintendent:
Tell me about some of the volume of the items that you just have coming through here in big quantities.

Randy:
For instance, like if you take the white copy paper, we do around 23,000 cases of that a year. And we'll do like 12,000 to 15,000 cases of towels, toilet paper or tissue handy.

So you know, those quantities, they rotate and they never stopped. So because we don't have an unlimited space, we have to gauge how much we can bring in at a time. And hopefully your next order hits you before you run out. And we've been really lucky. We really haven't run out of much of anything. It is a large space, but like you said, it's not unlimited. So you have to gauge when to bring it in. And then the demand hits and in the front is the beginning of the school year. Just the craziest time. You're pulling everything for the startup of next year.

Superintendent:
Okay. So you have massive orders.

Randy:
We have to get them out and into the schools because when food start ups come in a week and a half before school. Then we resupply all the schools, lunch rooms with all their foods that are frozen. And then for the next two weeks, it's all food. It's getting all their produce to them. They're frozen. They're dry. I mean, it's just chaos. But the guys are very organized.

Superintendent:
Stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, more of our fun and fascinating look at what's in the warehouse.

Break:
If you ever feel like you need just a little extra support in your life, maybe it's time to visit the Jordan Family Education Center. The Center, located inside River's Edge School, provides support services and classes for families and students in Jordan School District. Free of charge classes like Blues Busters for Children who are sad or worry. Take a Preteens Communication Class for parents and teens or Superhero Social Skills, a class that helps children with social skills. The Jordan Family eEducation Center also offers short-term counseling and all services are provided by the district school, psychologist and counselors. For information about classes and counseling, call 801-5657.

Superintendent:
Okay, let's walk through the warehouse. And I definitely want to visit the freezer. The freezer is really something. So let's head out.

We have Kurt Prusse, Director of Purchasing with us here, walking through the warehouse as well. We've got gloves, just sitting here on, what is this, transformers? Why is that warming them up here? This is like a hot potato or something like that, but they put these on gloves.

Randy:
Yeah, the freezer, they're in there for an hour or so each time. And then you get reinforcement. So that's why there's six pair here. He's got another pair on right now and he just rotates. So when those gloves get cold, he can just grab another warm pair off the transformer.

Superintendent:
Let's go check out this freezer. When you come here, people say, well, have you seen the freezer? Because it's really something. How cold does it get in the freezer?

Randy:
Usually around minus 12 to minus 15, I tried to keep it in the 10 to minus 10 range.

Superintendent:
And how many pallets can we fit in the freezer?

Randy:
We're about 900 right now. 900 pallets and 900 talents shopping at Costco. They're 900 pounds.

Superintendent:
Oh my gosh. And you gotta be a real good operator and make this work.

Randy:
Yeah, you do. You're not really happy if you don't know what you're doing.

Superintendent:
I could see that I will never drive a forklift in here. Tell you that. That would not be a good idea.

Randy:
I'm very picky about who brings in forklifts in here. And I have to say we haven't made it here very long. That cold kind of slows your heart down.

Superintendent:
Yeah. So what are we looking at here? What do we have?

Randy:
Oh, this is why a lot of your produce stops right here. This would be government that the Nutrition Services Director has had processed, breaded chicken chicken nuggets, you know, items like that. So it's like a lot of chicken. We tried to keep this together.

Superintendent:
So this is going to be all your process. And then we have to purchase and we have just regular government contracts, like  Kung Pao chicken.

Randy:
They're right here. They taught he's one of my top operators as far as the uprights and reconstruct. And that's why he's in here. I trust him in here.

Superintendent:
So he does me a very good job and he does the right stuff and tips the button. Oh, there we go. Now there's a frozen bag of chicken fajita. All right. Hungry working in here? All you do is work with food all day.

Worker:
Yeah. Once in a while, I gotta say you are ready for the Arctic band, your iron chop. That is a refrigerator where you don't last long, especially when you're grabbing boxes. Even with these six gloves on five, six times, pick your time up. You're out changing. We got two different sets. Your brand of Coke has the word refridge in it. That means that you are set to work in the freezer.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Wow. This is something. Wow.

Randy:
Even in the winter, the guys will go out of here and they'll go outside in the snow to warm up.

Superintendent:
That's a lot of paper. That's probably not a lot of paper to you, but we're walking by pallets and boxes of paper.

Randy:
This is all the colored paper right here. This is really our small volume paper right here.

Superintendent:
That may be more paper than I've seen over the course of my entire life.

Randy:
All the paper that we buy, we buy it on a reverse auction. So I kind of have to gauge how much space I have, what my need is. And then I'll average 840 cases a month.

Superintendent:
You guys have a great reputation for just having things on hand, just making things available because schools do have emergencies and we can't really shut down. We've got kids sitting there waiting for a lesson or a meal.

Randy:
Yeah. And I've been doing the requests.

Superintendent:
You know these warehouses.

Randy:
Pretty much. I started there as a driver. I drove for seven years and then started moving up.

Superintendent:
So have you been in the warehouse Most of the time that you've been at Jordan?

Randy:
The entire time. I started over there under a Superintendent Wittenberg.

Superintendent:
Oh, wow. So, you've been under four superintendents.

Randy:
I have.

Superintendent:
I think you started in the Reagan era.

Randy:
I did. Yeah. A lot of our drivers, we sit and talk and they go, you started at like a Lane one? Oh, us Lane three. And then some of them say, yeah, I wasn't born yet. I said, well, Reagan was not just president. He was a new president. He got voted in, which makes me is really old.

Superintendent:
Now you've mentioned the reverse auction on the paper. That's fascinated me when you've talked about that in Board Meetings before, tell us about the reverse auction for buying tapes.

Kurt:
Right. It's  something that we do as a cooperative purchase with other school districts. We've had the opportunity last two years to do that. What a reverse auction is, is kind of what you think of when you were at an auction, the prices go up and in a reverse auction prices go down. So everyone has the opportunity to outbid the lowest provider until someone says uncle. Basically, he says we can't go any lower. And that's the winner. And typically there's a lot of time. There's some rules with the reverse auction, but it's something we have done in the past. And it's been very successful in that you ensure the lowest price because really the competitors or the vendors really can compete with each other in real time.

Superintendent:
And that's just one of the ways that the Purchasing Department works hard to save money and the Warehouse Department, you know, when you've got the right quantities and they move out at the right time, that saves us a lot of money as well.

Randy:
Right. And when they send it, you know, I'll get a paper. Right now I'm getting them from Brenda, one of our buyers. And it just says, okay, here's three months. How many trucks do you want for this month? And then I just look at what I've used, what I have on hand, and then how much can I bring in? How much can I house? And it's worked out great.

Superintendent:
I can't even do that with my family. I cook way too much or not even close to enough when people are coming over. To do that for 58,000 students is something else.

Randy:
Yeah. If I run out, I'm not very popular. So I try not to run.

Superintendent:
Well, you are very popular and you do a very good job. So are people surprised when they come through here and see just the scope of what you do?

Randy:
You know, they come in and a lot of them say, don't you have time to do this. And I say, well, no. And you know, when they come in and they look and they say, we just didn't understand that. We didn't understand what you guys do. And we will give anybody a tour through here. And they come through and they're just absolutely baffled by how big it is, the amount of products we carry.

Superintendent:
Thank you so much for all your years of service, your decades of service. They just don't have any idea this is back here.

Randy:
Yeah. They just say, we never knew this was behind the building.

Superintendent:
Right. So this is behind the scenes in every way. Thank you so much for all your years of service, your decades of service. And we'll sure miss you, but we wish you the best.

Randy:
Oh, I appreciate Jordan District. They helped me support my family the whole time. It's been great. When I started here, I had one child.  had four kids and now I have six grandkids. So it's offered me a great opportunity. So I appreciate it. And I've always had a job. I've never been laid off. So it's been great.

Superintendent:
Well, congratulations on your retirement and I wish you all the best.

Randy:
Thanks.

(15:48):
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you.

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As we head into the new year 2021, Jordan School District is following some new State COVID-19 guidelines, quarantine procedures and plans for students who want to participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. On this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey helps students, teachers, staff and parents understand the changes in COVID protocol that will impact our schools moving forward.


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Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast and to a brand new year, 2021. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. As we begin the new year, Jordan School District is following some new state COVID-19 guidelines, quarantine procedures, and plans for students who wish to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities. On this episode, I'm joined by several colleagues involved in our ongoing COVID safety plans together. We hope to help students, teachers, staff, and parents better understand the changes in COVID-19 protocol that will impact our schools moving forward. All right, we are here with Caleb Olsen, our Planning and Enrollment Consultant, Brad Sorenson, the Administrator of Schools over High Schools, and Mike Anderson, our Associate Superintendent to talk about moving forward and where we stand with the pandemic in a new calendar year. It's amazing that we're in 2021. And there's just been a little bit of a mind shift as we look toward the remainder of the year.

There've been some changes in procedure at the District level and at the State level, since we last talked about this on the Supercast. So I invited these gentlemen back to talk about some of the changes and how they're impacting students, families, and employees. Caleb, let's start with you and talk about the Dashboard.  First off, the Dashboard has been very popular. We have a lot of visits to the Dashboard, that updates case counts and quarantine counts. Tell us about that.

Caleb:
Absolutely. We've had the Dashboard up since about the end of September. And right now we're seeing between 1,002 thousand views a day of patrons and community members coming to get information on their schools altogether. The Moving Forward site with the Dashboard and all of the Districts COVID-19 information has been viewed just under 370,000 times since it went live in August, that's a higher level of engagement.

Superintendent:
And I really appreciate all the work that goes into providing and updating information on that site. There have been some changes to the way we report that. And one of the big changes that we've had questions about is the reset after we've been out for two weeks for the holiday break. Can you tell us about the reset and some of the ways that the information on the Dashboard has evolved?

Caleb:
Absolutely. The reset happened because of our return from winter recess. And I think everyone in the District needed that winter recess and that time off to kind of recover and recharge. But what that winter recess meant is there were no classes being held. So there were no opportunities for students to interact with those who might've had positive cases. There were no situations where we needed to quarantine new students.

Because of, and at the direction of the Salt Lake County Health Department, when we came back from winter recess, we reset all of our quarantine and our case totals to zero because any of the existing quarantines would have ended and any of the existing positive cases would have run through their course. It would have been more than 14 days and they would have been able to be back in school or back to work. So when we returned, we reset all of those numbers to zero. That meant the Dashboard had a few changes in the way it looks, and it may be a little different to people. But the main information is still there prior to winter recess, because we had schools who were going to virtual learning for a two week or a 14-day period. There were two sets of numbers on the Dashboard, one for current cases and one for the last two weeks.

When a high school or a middle school came back from virtual learning, they may or may have had cases that have been active in the last two weeks. But just like with winter break and our districtwide reset, there were no active cases at that moment because they would have run their course. So we showed on the Dashboard those two different sets of information so that patrons and schools could see what was happening right now, and  also a little bit of the history of what was happening since we've reset as a district. That last two week section has gone off of the Dashboard because it doesn't need it. Everyone's at the same starting level. Everyone went to zero on Monday and we've had a few cases and a few quarantines come back since then. So it's a little more simple, a little more clear to see the information about your school, but the same information is there and the same information is available. And as you said, hat reset comes countywide at all of our schools in any district in the County, because that comes from the County Health Department who reset protocol.

Superintendent:
Now you've talked about the changes to the Dashboard. What are just some of the things for people to keep in mind when to check when it's updated? Those are not live updates by the way. The Dashboard is updated once per day.

Caleb:
Absolutely. We don't update in real time, although our school nurses do and they are inputting information and reporting information to the District all the time. And they're hard at work, making sure those numbers are reported, but the Dashboard only updates once a day. We will always have it updated by 1:00 PM, but our goal is to have it done as soon as possible each school day. And as soon as we've been able to get the morning's information from the County Health Department and verify it and make sure it everything is correct and that it will display correctly, we push it out. So it's visible to all of the schools and all of our patrons.

So it will be available on the District website, jordandistrict.org, and at movingforward.jordandistrict.org everyday by 1:00 PM. As soon as it's ready to go, we push it out live. You'll be able to see the date and the time that it was updated last so you know how current and how accurate the information is you're viewing.

Superintendent:
Well, thanks for your hard work on that. I'm glad that you mentioned the nurses. Our nurses have worked constantly to get that information updated and to help coordinate quarantines that are put in place through the Health Department. And many staff members are working really hard at the school and district level to make those numbers available and to take the appropriate action. So thank you for that. One of those numbers that we talked about that's reported is quarantine numbers. We expect those to go down dramatically, based on the new procedures that were put in place just before the holiday break. Mike Anderson, Associate Superintendent, talk to us about that change to the quarantine procedure.

Mike:
Yes. Quarantines have now changed from 14 days to 10 days. And the reason behind that is because the schools started implementing the seven day test and return protocol. In other words, a student who was on quarantine could test after seven days. If they were negative, they could come back to school. The County has been crunching all of that data and they realized that less than 1% of the student population was being impacted with a positive COVID test after being quarantined. It's a very low number. And so based on that, they reduced the quarantine requirement. They count from 14 to 10 and that's going to significantly impact our quarantine numbers. In addition to that, you don't need to quarantine if there was a school exposure that was mask on mask.

In the past, you would have to quarantine if you were exposed to anybody that was positive for COVID-19 within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes. Now, if you're at school and you have mask to mask exposure to someone that has COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine at all. There are two important things to remember with this. It only is pertaining to school related exposures, and it's only pertaining to those exposures that were mask on mask. Any instances at lunch or participating at in athletics or in certain classes where masks aren't worn, there could still be quarantines as the numbers that we've seen previously. But mostly, this should dramatically reduce the number of quarantine.

Superintendent:
Yeah, it really should.

Mike:
And you'll see some quarantines on the Dashboard because of non-mask exposure. Some of those may happen also at lunch where students have removed their masks to eat. But we should see a significantly overall reduced number for quarantines. And hopefully that also translates into a lower absenteeism. There were also some changes at the District and State level concerning the threshold at which a school would be considered to be moved to virtual instruction and the process for doing so. Right before the Thanksgiving break, the Jordan School District Board of Education voted to change that process so that the District Administration and the School Administration have a conversation when the school meets one of three thresholds for two school days in a row. That means not over a weekend or over a break, but for two school days in a row.

The three thresholds are as follows:

  1. If there are 15 cases at the elementary or middle school level or 1 percent of cases at the high school level.
  2. If 10% of the student body is on quarantine.
  3. If 20% of the student population is absent.

And those are the thresholds at which there's a conversation about moving the school to virtual instruction. After that decision was made in December, the State threshold actually changed to match those.

Superintendent:
Would you describe that if you don't mind?

Mike:
Yes. Our patrons shouldn't notice much of a difference at all because they are the same protocols that our Board had implemented prior to Thanksgiving. And that is for schools with more than 15 of 1500 students, you would have to reached 1% of the population testing positive for COVID-19. Before, a school would be considered to go virtual for schools less than 1500 students. The threshold remains at 15 days before you would be considered to pull virtual. And that includes all of our elementary and middle schools.

And if a school reaches one of those three thresholds on a day where they could have a second weekday where they meet that threshold, then they'll receive a notification for what's called an alert day and be made aware that they've met that threshold one day. If they meet the second day, they would be seriously considered to be moved to virtual instruction.

Superintendent:
Stay with us. We're going to take a short break and when we come back we will discuss what you need to know about new COVID protocols for students involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

Break:
If you ever feel like you need just some little extra support, maybe it's time to visit our Family Education Center. The Center located inside River's Edge School. We provide services and classes for family and students in Jordan School District, free of charge classes, like Blues Busters for children to help them worry less. There is a Pre-teen Communication Class for parents and Super Heroes Build-a-Plan that helps children with habits.  Jordan Family Education Center also offers short-term counseling and all three are provided by the District School Psychologists and Counselors. For information about classes and counseling call (801) 565-7442.

Superintendent:
Now, another the impact is on athletics and there's been a big change there. So let's talk with Brad Sorenson, Administrator over High Schools. This is athletics, extracurricular activities, anything that involves practice or rehearsals outside of the school day. Can you describe that procedure to us? And it's been very efficient at our schools. I must say, people have really jumped in and worked really hard to make this protocol work effectively.

Brad:
Yes, since just after Thanksgiving break, it's been required that students in all of our extracurricular activities be tested within a two week window. That testing continues every two weeks for all students who are participating in an activity that is more than just a one-time event. So that includes all of our athletics. It includes a lot of our performing art groups. It includes dance. It includes any groups that are meeting after school. And now, each school has set up a protocol and a process by which those groups would be tested every other week. Our schools do testing mainly on Fridays, but we've also had schools testing on different times during the week in order to accommodate all of those groups. So it's been a huge effort by the schools, and support staff. And again, the nurses who now have come in. They're the ones actually swabbing our students as they go through the testing. And those testing results determine kids' abilities to continue in those extracurricular activities.

Superintendent:
I happened to be at one of our high schools when that testing was going on. Large numbers of students moved through that process very quickly.

Brad:
School staff have been very organized and have worked hard to make that process go smoothly. And there had been some positive test results, but it's also allowed for safe continuation of extracurricular activities.

Superintendent:
And that's a Statewide protocol that's in place with an expectation. We continue to receive shipments on a regular basement basis of tests from the State. They are the rapid tests. It only takes about 15 minutes to get a result.

Brad:
Yeah, correct. Students will come in and, based on their assigned time, are usually in and out of that testing in 15 minutes at the longest, and they'll know their results through the system that sends them an automatic notification after the test has been confirmed positive or negative.

Superintendent:
Well, a lot of families and a lot of employees at the School District and State level working very hard to provide the best experience possible for students. Things are shifting all the time. We encourage you to visit the District website for updates. We'll continue to send out emails, as we did this week, to provide the latest information that we have available.

Thanks to the three of you for joining us. Thanks to families and employees out there who have been working so hard. We'll continue to follow these protocols and provide the best education and experience for students, employees, and families that we possibly can.

Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. And remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you.

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