South Sanpete School District amends back to school date to Jan. 3

South Sanpete School District amends back to school date to Jan. 3


By Lloyd Call

Associate publisher



MANTI — Despite what the published South Sanpete School District calendar said previously, school will start after the Christmas vacation on Tuesday, Jan. 3, instead of Monday, Jan. 2. Jan. 2 is the official holiday for New Year’s Day, which falls on Sunday this year.

District superintendent Kent Larsen apologized for the scheduling oversight at the district board meeting in Manti last Wednesday. The board voted to use one of its discretional legislatively mandated “days” and will use the Monday, Jan. 2 for professional development, rather than make other drastic changes to the school schedule.

“This means students don’t come to school until Tuesday, Jan. 3,” Larsen said.

The South Sanpete School District continues to graduate nearly 90 percent of its high school students, compared with the state rate of about 85 percent.

For the state, high school graduate rates went from 83 to 84 to 85 percent in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively. By comparison, Gunnison Valley High School had rates of 95 percent, 91 percent, and 92 percent, respectively. Manti High School rates were 90 percent, 94 percent, and 92 percent over the same time period.

Board members complimented both high schools for maintaining high graduation rates.

The board also bid farewell to Kathy Frandsen, who has served as on the board for eight years. The resolution by the district reads, “Resolved that during Kathy Frandsen’s  tenure as board member, student academic achievement in the South Sanpete School District has steadily increased to a level that is outstanding for any Utah School District.”

“Other significant accomplishments over the past eight years include the completion of a more than $25-million building program, which has resulted in two modern state-of-the-art elementary schools in both Ephraim and Gunnison; a $5-million stand-alone addition and remodel to Manti Elementary; a $2.5-million kitchen/cafeteria addition to Manti High School; a design and completion of the new soccer complex at Manti High School; and implementing the 1-to-1 Device Initiative.

“Kathy Frandsen has made a lasting impact toward ensuring a school system dedicated to excellence and leaves behind a rich legacy of competence and concern for the school children of the South Sanpete School District,” read the resolution.

Board member Gary Olson told the board that Craig Oberg, with CO Building Systems in Ephraim, had approached him about the possibility of funding or helping fund drafting classes for high school students. Oberg said that the area was seeing a lack of qualified and trained people in an area critical to his business. The board considered several options to take back to Oberg.

Manti Elementary principal Karen Soper reported to the board that the district’s elementary schools were using the “Power Hour” program to improve student performance. Comparing benchmark DIBEL (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) test results, all schools showed steady progress through the school year.

The percentage of students who were performing below accepted benchmark levels went from 17 to 14 to 11 percent over the course of last year at Ephraim Elementary. At Gunnison Valley Elementary, the percentage was 16, 16 and 9 percent over each of the three semesters. At Manti Elementary, the percentage went from 23 to 16 to 13.

The board also congratulated students (published in last week’s Messenger) who were named to the Academic All-State list.