New Academic Officer Discusses PCSD Goals And Priorities

Sep 5, 2019


Credit PCSD

Now that Park City School District’s new Chief Academic Officer Amy Hunt is in place, she’s focused on learning about the school district and formulating goals for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Jill Gildea says Chief Academic Officer Amy Hunt is uniquely qualified to improve instruction and student learning in the Park City School District. As we’ve reported, Hunt comes from a varied background in laboratory research, math and science teaching and organizational management. 

Utah’s math and science standards have been rewritten in the past couple of years. They’ll be fully implemented next year. Hunt wants to be sure the district is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching the STEM curriculum especially in the younger grades.

“Students now are focused on doing more than just learning science independently. They’re learning it now in conjunction with engineering practices. So, they’re looking at scientific phenomenon and learning how to ask and answer questions at the same time that they’re developing a model that would be able to simulate potential answers.”

For many years, the Park City School District has worked to close the achievement gap and it continues to be an ongoing challenge with English language learners. Having worked in a district in South San Diego for 20 years, Hunt has an understanding that providing equitable instruction for all students is the starting point. Developing those systems is one of her goals. She says students need the best instruction from the beginning of their learning experience rather than providing remediation later down the road.

“Good practices are good practices. That means the more systemic we can be, making sure that we provide training and discussion of student data, individual student data around what’s happening in a classroom, the more effective we can be with students.”

Universal Pre-K is not offered yet in Park City, but it is a consideration in the master planning discussion. Park City’s elementary schools offer limited programming for three and four-year-old children thanks to a large grant from the Park City Education Foundation. Research shows that children who attend preschool graduate from high school, attend more years of college and have higher lifetime earning potential.  When asked about the focus of closing the achievement gap:

“I think it should be everyone’s number one goal. We should be helping every student meet their potential. And that’s really our mission in the school district is to make sure we’re helping student’s meet their potential.”

Hunt will use information compiled by Data Specialist Kaitlin O’Connor to look at testing trends.

“We’re looking at how is the progression of math taught over time. Helping those students be successful in those area of the ACT exam. Kaitlin and I have also looked at our K - 3 data to look at some literacy. When we’re looking at students trying to decide how we can best help our youngest readers become very fluent and efficient readers.”

Go to the Park City link on KPCW to learn more about the three and four-year-old programs offered in the school district. Sliding scale tuition is available.