Joint statement from Park City Police and District on today’s incident

Park City Police Department responded at 9:30 a.m. today (Nov. 14) to a suspicious incident involving a man brandishing a handgun in the field between Park City High School and McPolin Elementary School. A high school student spotted the individual and immediately alerted school authorities.

The police located the individual at the 1700 block of Kearns Boulevard. Police identified and detained the individual at 10:09 a.m. Appropriate charges are being screened through the City Attorney’s Office.

The lockout at all schools was lifted by police at 10:12 a.m. All schools are back to normal operation.

Police remind parents to follow district protocol and stay away from the schools until law enforcement deems the area safe. Park City Police and district officials thank the student who utilized the “see something, say something” protocol to report suspicious activity to officials.

The Park City Police were assisted by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Utah Highway Patrol.

Parents are asked to review the PCSD Emergency Procedures with their students tonight (see below)

Procedures Flyer


Dr. Kathleen Einhorn appointed Interim Principal at Park City High School

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 1.03.09 PMPark City School District announced today, Nov. 10, the appointment of Dr. Kathleen Einhorn as the interim Principal at Park City High School. “As you can imagine, these changes are emotional, and our primary focus is to maintain stability in the high school for our staff and students,” said Superintendent Ember Conley. Dr. Conley has been in continual contact with Mr. O’Connor and his team as the district moves forward with this decision.  

To provide additional clarification, Dr. Conley said Mr. O’Connor’s personal leave is not because of any wrongdoing. The personal leave was requested by Mr. O’Connor. The timeline is indefinite. Mr. O’Connor continues to ask for privacy.

Dr. Einhorn, who currently serves as Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, has an extensive background in education, including more than seven years as a building level administrator. Additionally, she has announced her retirement for the Fall of 2018 after 34 years in education. “She will be a wonderful mentor to the assistant principals and her knowledge as an instructional leader will be of great assistance to our teachers and students,” said Dr. Conley.   

A meet and greet with Dr. Einhorn is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m in the PCHS Lobby.

Dr. Einhorn said she is excited to close out her 34-year-career back on the ground floor with teachers, students, and parents.

She spent 24 years working for the Department of Defense schools in Germany, Ft. Benning, Georgia, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She has taught at all levels of education in both core and special education classes. She also has 20 years administrative experience at the school, district, and regional levels. She has served as principal at Trailside Elementary and has served in her current position for the past three and a half years.

Dr. Einhorn holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership, an Ed.Sp. in Administration and Supervision, and a M.Ed. in Special Education—Specific Learning Disabilities.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in Special Education and Psychology.


PCHS Debate Coach Named Speech Educator of the Year

timthumbSharon Ellsworth-Nielson, an English and debate teacher at Park City High School, has received the  2017 Distinguished Service Award as Speech Educator of the Year from the Utah High School Activities Association.

Ellsworth-Nielson began teaching at PCHS in August 2011, where she also serves as coach of the Debate Team. Last year the PCHS Debate Team won the 3A State championship.

Prior to that she was an English teacher at Grantsville Middle and High Schools in Tooele, Utah, for 19 years.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Utah where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Board members holding informal meetings to engage community


In an effort to engage parents, employees, and members of the community, the Park City School District Board of Education has started holding informal monthly meetings.

The board’s first Information Exchange Meeting was held Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. Each month the meetings will be held at a different school. Some will be held during the day, and other meetings will be held at night to accommodate those who work.

The following items were discussed last night by the parents and teachers who attended the meeting with Andrew Caplan, board President, and JJ Ehlers, board Vice President:

Homework policy being piloted at Jeremy Ranch Elementary this year: A parent from Jeremy Ranch asked if the policy was really working. Sherry Barski, a reading specialist at the school, said they are already seeing a decrease in the stress level of students and parents.  Students are also accountable to read every night. “It has been a very positive thing so far,” she said.

The parent expressed concern that not having homework may “dumb down” school. She wondered how a student goes from no homework at the elementary level to taking AP courses at the high school level that require a great deal of homework. Superintendent Ember Conley said a lot of Professional Learning Communities in the schools are looking at their homework policies. Teachers are naturally looking at students individually and their different styles of learning.

One parent from McPolin Elementary said his child is dyslexic so they have to do homework at their house. He said a lot of students need socialization, creative time, and playtime. “You can’t fit all those things in a child’s day. I’d love to see the district get into more project-based learning.”

Study Skills: A parent expressed the need for an overall study skills class. “Our students need to learn how to learn,” she said.  “Learning how to study is essential for student success.”

Challenging Classes:  A parent said students need to be encouraged more to take challenging classes.  Jamie Weeks, a math teacher at the high school, said when students don’t do well in rigorous classes they drop the class.

Graduates: President Caplan asked the question, “What do we want our graduates to look like? What do they need to be equipped with as they leave high school? We need to make sure they are prepared with life skills.”

A parent commended the PCCAPS program saying the project-based learning teaches skills not only related to the business world, but the real world. Dr. Conley said there is talk among the regional superintendent about the need for a technical center.  There are students who don’t succeed in a traditional classroom and the tech center would provide them with hands-on training, she said.

The board’s next Information Exchange Meeting is Dec. 13 from 1-3 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle School.




















Park City High Principal taking personal leave

boboconnorPark City School District Superintendent Ember Conley announced today that Park City High School Principal Bob O’Connor will be taking personal leave, effective immediately.

“We are cognizant of the many facets of this situation and working to ensure stability for our staff and students at the high school,” Dr. Conley said. “When we have information that we can share, we will provide it. We ask for understanding, and respect for Mr. O’Connor’s privacy.”

Principal O’Connor alerted the high school staff this afternoon. Counselors are on hand to assist students and staff with their concerns.

“Bob is a valued member of our community and a respected administrator,” said Dr. Conley. “We offer our support and will continue to do all we can for the staff and students at the high school.”

Mr. O’Connor has been with the district since 1997 and has served as principal at Park City High since August 2012.

Board Meeting Summary

Nov. 7, 2017 | Special Regular Session

District 5 Board Candidate Interviews

The Board interviewed two candidates who applied to fill the vacancy in District 5 due to Julie Eihausen’s resignation effective Feb. 5, 2018.

-Erin Grady has lived in Park City for 34 years and currently serves as co-president of the PTA at Parley’s Park Elementary. She is a board member of PC READS and  the Figure Skating Club of Park City. For 12 years she served as communications manager for Deer Valley Resort. “I want to look back and know that I did my part in securing a positive future not only for my kids but for the children of Park City as a whole,” she said.

-Betsy Ricks has lived in Park City for 24 years and is an educator at the Peace House teaching children from kindergarten through high school about personal safety, child abuse, and healthy relationships. “I am passionate about education and would love to play a part in helping our district continue to develop programs and opportunities that will benefit all our children and better our community,” she said.

The Board will announce its board member appointment at its Nov. 21 meeting.

Strategic Planning Update

Board member Anne Peters presented updated information based on additional feedback the Board received from employees and community members. The updated values include: Academic Success, Leadership, Excellent Personnel, Communication, and Community Alliances. The Board reviewed its major goals and next steps in updating the district’s strategic plan. Eric Esquivel, Latino Community Relations specialist for the district, reported on his outreach efforts to Latino parents, and the Board said it will incorporate their feedback into the plan. Once the major portions of the strategic plan are finalized, the Board will communicate that information to the community and employees.

Open and Closed Enrollment

Business Administrator Todd Hauber presented the Board with nine open enrollment scenarios. The Board discussed the options and their impacts on school enrollment capacities and whether or not it can close some of the district’s schools to open enrollment next school year.

Policies for Posting

The Board approved posting the following policies for review:

-Policy 7085: Employee Licensed Staff

-Policy 7160: Orderly Termination

-Policy 10001: Bullying

-Policy 10026: Home School-Dual Enrollment

-Policy 9091 (NEW): Student Data Privacy and Governance  

Board President Andrew Caplan said in the future the district’s attorneys will provide a brief summary of the changes to help make the policies more understandable to the public. The Board requested Policy 3005—Community Councils, be sent back to the attorneys for additional updates.

Survey indicates PCSD employees find their work meaningful


The best way to find out what people think of you is to ask them.  And that’s just what Park City School District did.  PCSD asked 625 employees what they thought of the school district.

With help from Profitable Engagements, based in Park City, a survey was sent to employees earlier this fall in hopes of helping the administration gage the level of satisfaction and dissatisfaction of its employees.

PCSD schools are steeped in the Professional Learning Communities, which focus on learning, building a collaborative culture, and focusing on results.  “As a district, we are committed to continuing to improve our collaborative culture,” said Superintendent Ember Conley.

Using a metric to measure our culture, Profitable Engagements used a Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of employees to recommend the district to a friend. PCSD scored a 42 NPS. The average NPS is 34, which reflects PCSD is above the national average among 3,599 districts nationwide.

“Employees create happy schools, and the climate in our classrooms becomes more positive and engaging for our students,” Dr. Conley said. “The results reinforce our shared leadership philosophy and our belief that self-directed change is the change that our employees are best suited to provide.”

The survey also found that 93 percent of PCSD employees find the things they do at work are meaningful. “We are truly fortunate to have some incredible employees who consider their work more than a job. They are here because they love education and they love the impact they have on our students,” she said.

The reason PCSD conducted the survey is to have a data point to begin reflecting on ways to improve the district, Dr. Conley said. “It creates the opportunity to seek insights on the data and solicit feedback.”

Schools and district departments have received their specific NPS and are in the process of brainstorming potential solutions for improvement and then assign team members responsibilities for goals and actions.

PCSD is the first school district in Utah to use this kind of metric. “It really is designed to elevate the school and the district culture and climate,” Dr. Conley said. “Research links a positive climate with student learning. We are committed to using this data on an ongoing basis. This is not just a one-time event, it a process.”