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The Utah Legislature and State Board of Education recognize the valuable contribution that can be made towards improving
education for school children at the most local level by empowering school community councils in every school. The school
community councils are charged with establishing a School Improvement Plan (SIP) that focuses on academic achievement for
the students. Recognizing that many factors influence student learning, this overarching plan may include actions that may not
be specifically tied to curriculum, including addressing the school and community environment. This plan provides a framework
for the other plans school community councils are responsible for.
To accomplish the task of creating a SIP, the councils are first required to review testing and other data to determine the
school’s most critical academic needs. Then an action plan is prepared to address those academic needs. Schools are expected
to be specific about how they intend to improve student achievement, including the programs, practices, equipment and
materials that will be needed to implement the action plan. Integral in the action plan is a means to evaluate performance and
accountability. Finally, a financial proposal is included that identifies the funds available to implement the action plan and the
specific expenditures planned. When those steps are complete and the council has approved the SIP, it is ready for review and
approval by the local school board. The SIP must be approved annually.

An important component of continuous school improvement is ongoing professional development of educators. In many
districts the professional development plan is an integral part of the School Improvement Plan (SIP). In most school budgets
there are funds specifically identified for this purpose, but other funds can augment the earmarked funds to accomplish the
purposes of the plan. At one time, the legislature appropriated funds specifically for professional development but during tight
budgetary times, state funding for professional development has been eliminated.
The professional development plan must be aligned with and support the goals of the school improvement plan. This action plan
requires that measurable objectives are set, specific actions identified that will be implemented, an assessment of the objectives
and the identified funding sources to carry out the plan. Professional development plans are to be systematic, comprehensive
and long-term and must be compatible with the district professional development plan. The local school board is responsible for
reviewing and approving the plans before they are implemented. The code, however, doesn’t require annual approval. As the
all-encompassing SIP is altered, the professional development plan will need to be revisited also. Some districts may require
annual approval.

Another component of the SIP is the School LAND Trust Plan. This plan must be focused on the academic goal(s) identified in the
SIP and must follow the same steps outlined in the preparation of the SIP action plan. Schools receive funding for this program
from an annual distribution from the permanent State School Fund. The revenues generated from school trust lands are
deposited into the fund and the entire fund is invested by the State Treasurer. The interest and dividends generated from the
fund become the annual distribution to schools. Funds from this source may only be used to implement School LAND Trust Plans
that are approved annually by local school boards.

The legislature recognizes the importance of reading as a fundamental skill necessary to learning and the importance of early
reading interventions for the success of students generally. The statewide goal is that all students will read on or above grade
level by the end of the third grade. To accomplish this goal, elementary schools are required to have a reading achievement
plan, a component of the school improvement plan. The plan must include assessment, intervention and reporting components.
The legislature and local boards have worked to provide financial support for the implementation of reading achievement plans.
The plan must support the district reading plan and must be approved prior to implementation, and reviewed annually by the
local board.

Local boards of education establish district school traffic committees. Among other duties, the district committee is required to
submit child access routing plans for the schools in the district to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) each year.
UDOT uses the term Student Neighborhood Access Plan (SNAP). Each elementary, middle and junior high school in the state
must have one. The plan must include a map showing the routes students will walk and bike to school with a written description
explaining the routes. Councils are encouraged to review the plan currently in place and make changes as needed, resulting from
many factors, such as vehicle rerouting, construction, and new subdivisions. There is federal funding available through
competitive grants that councils could apply for to implement components of proposed plans. The child access routing plans are
prepared and submitted to the district committee for review and submission annually.

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