Weekly District Update - Sept. 23, 2022

Weekly District Update - Sept. 23, 2022
Posted on 09/23/2022
This is the image for the news article titled Weekly District Update - Sept. 23, 2022Recent incidents at Vernal Middle School have raised questions about the district’s continuing efforts to keep students and staff safe, and about what can be done to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Some of these questions can be answered. Others cannot, due to laws and policies that protect student privacy.

To be clear, it is never good when a student chooses to bring a weapon to school. This choice is wrong, illegal, and potentially deadly. When a student makes this choice, the consequences are severe. The Uintah School District and the law enforcement agencies who protect our students and staff take a zero-tolerance approach to kids who bring weapons to school.

Over the past two years our district has focused on improving student culture at all our schools. As part of this focus, the district has hired a board-certified behavior analyst, a school psychologist, and a number of school social workers. We also have school resource officers assigned to more of our campuses than in past years. Both these groups work daily with administrators, teachers, staff, and students to build relationships that promote safer schools.

These relationships are already paying dividends, as shown during both the Sept. 6 and Sept. 22 incidents at VMS. In both cases students believed it was safe to talk to school staff about a dangerous situation. They also believed their information would be acted upon and it was. After receiving the student reports, administrators and the school resource officer followed established protocols. They immediately identified and addressed the reported threats without the need to place the campus on lockdown. This minimized disruption while still protecting students and staff.

After any incident at one of our schools, we do an after-action review to identify areas where we can do a better job in the future. Communication with parents/guardians is one key area that can regularly be improved. The district uses SchoolMessenger to send communications by text message, email, and phone to parents/guardians.

The text message option is offered on an opt-in basis each year during registration. Data from yesterday’s text message blast shows that about half of parents/guardians of VMS students either didn’t opt-in to receive text messages or have blocked the number sending the messages.

To ensure that you are opted in for text messages from SchoolMessenger, please click HERE. You can also download the SchoolMessenger app from the app store for your specific mobile device and sign up to receive communications from your child’s school.

Another important resource for students and parents/guardians is the SafeUT app. This app provides a way to connect to licensed counselors who are ready to listen to any sized crisis or concern. Help is immediate and confidential, available 24/7/365, and is as easy as reaching for your phone and sending that first message.

Finally, the district has already made additional support services available to any student or staff who may need them after the incidents at VMS. These services will be available next week as well.

Terrace Metrics Survey

As part of its ongoing effort to assess how well our schools and children are doing, Uintah School District will be administering a survey provided by Terrace Metrics.

In the elementary schools, the survey will ask about several areas: Positive School Experiences, Social Ostracism, School Victimization, Children’s Hope, Bullying, and Global Satisfaction.

In the secondary schools, the survey will ask about these areas: Positive School Experiences, Social Ostracism, School Victimization, Children’s Hope, Global Satisfaction, Grit, Anxiety, Depression, Resiliency, Leadership, Personal Standards, Bullying, and Self-Criticism.

Parents/guardians will receive a report of their child’s results along with any recommendations. Your child’s results are confidential and will only be seen by the school’s response team (administrators, school counselors, and school social workers). The results won’t be included in your child’s educational file and won't be given to your child’s teacher. Your child’s results won't be reported to anyone outside the school.

In addition to gauging your child’s social and emotional health, information from this survey will be used to gauge how the district and individual schools are doing in providing a healthy and safe environment for your children.

If you have any questions about the survey, contact the district’s licensed clinical social worker, Keith Beard, at 435-781-3100, ext. 1036, or [email protected]. You may also contact your child’s school counselor or school’s social worker. There is also more information at this web address: https://www.terracemetrics.org/consent-form/

If you don’t want your child to participate in this survey, you must indicate this by signing the opt-out form and returning it to your child’s school. The form has been sent home with your child or it can be found HERE for elementary students, and HERE for secondary students.

If you want your child to participate in the survey, you do not need to sign anything, and no further action is needed.

School Meal Menus Online

Uintah School is excited to offer MealViewer. This online menu service provides a quick and easy way to view our schools’ daily menus along with additional nutritional information. SchoolMealviewer is available 24/7 on the web at schools.mealviewer.com or through a mobile on your smartphone.

MealViewer allows parents/guardians to create profiles for students and select their allergens. You can receive an alert each time that allergen is on the menu. Students can also rate certain meals so the district ensures we are serving meals they enjoy.

To sign-up, go to schools.mealviewer.com or download the mobile app and register for a free account; create a profile for you and your students by first selecting their school; and set up your student’s profile by selecting the appropriate allergens.

If you have any questions, contact MealViewer directly at [email protected] or (866) 351-2248.

Changes to Friday Bus Schedules

Changes have been made this week to Friday bus schedules for almost every school in the district. These changes are necessary due to the number of new students entering our district and/or to the movement of existing students from one school to another during the summer.

To check your student's bus pick-up and/or drop-off time, please click HERE.  

Friday schedules for secondary buses show pickup and drop off times. Elementary school pick up times are the same on Friday as they are the rest of the week.

Times posted may vary based on the number of riders. Please have students arrive at their stop 5 minutes ahead of the posted time to ensure they don't miss the bus.

Upcoming Events

Uintah High Football takes on the Timpanogos Timberwolves at Coach Belcher Stadium in a region game tonight. Tailgating in the stadium parking lot begins at 5:30 p.m. with kickoff at 7 p.m. The powderpuff football game will be played at halftime. Tickets are still available at www.uhsutes.com under the Tickets tab.

Good luck to the Uintah High Girls Tennis Team as they compete in the divisional round of the 5A state playoffs tomorrow at Brighton High School. Maurlee Luck (first singles), Anna Baumgardner (second singles), Alexa Merrell (third singles), Kaylee Jo Huber and Olivia Pope (first doubles), and Kayloni Raymond and Harli Williams (second doubles) have all qualified for divisionals.

Finally, good luck to the Uintah High Marching Band as they compete tomorrow at the Oquirrh Mountain Band Invitational in Herriman.

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No district employee or student shall be subjected to discrimination in employment or any district program or activity on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The district is committed to providing equal access and equal opportunity in its programs, services and employment including its policies, complaint processes, program accessibility, district facility use, accommodations and other Equal Employment Opportunity matters. The district also provides equal access to district facilities for all youth groups. The following persons have been designated as Title IX coordinators to handle inquires and complaints regarding unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation: Dr. Mistalyn Leis, Human Resources Director (435) 781-3100 and/or Dr. Dean Wilson, Student Services Director (435) 781-3100. You may also contact the Office for Civil Rights, Denver, CO, at (303) 844-5695.