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Thank You Ken Platt

-The Superintendent’s Corner-

At the regular meeting of the Garfield County School Board on December 12, Ken Platt was recognized for his past service to the citizens of Garfield County.

Ken was elected to the Garfield County School Board in November of 2006 representing the Bryce Valley area.  Ken served in various capacities including a regional representative with the Utah School Boards Association and also President of the Garfield County School Board.

A grateful board presented Ken with a plaque and also congratulations for his 12 years on the Board of Education.  Thank You Ken!

School Facility Safety

-The Superintendent’s Corner-

In addition to my article a couple of weeks ago, once again I would like to reference school safety and state expectations of local school systems.  Based on correspondence out of the Governor’s Office, please be assured that everyone is working to remedy issues brought forward concerning safety issues in our district.  Locally, we have been getting information on individual school concerns and have addressed these issues during school board meetings and also administrator meetings. The State Board of Education is in the process of reexamining their safety based administrative rules and compliance procedures.

State Rule R277-400 requires that each district establish an emergency response plan to prevent and respond to violence on school grounds, in school vehicles, and in connection with school-related activities or events. These plans must include prevention strategies, along with intervention, and response procedures.  I know the sheriff and others in law enforcement are eager to work with the district to make sure we are all working together to place student safety at the highest priority.

In the past, you and your children should have been participants in emergency drills held at school.  We routinely have fire drills or earthquake drills. Back in the 60’s it was not uncommon to have procedures to deal with the cold war and atomic weapons.  It is sad, but today we are forced to deal with the newest safety concern, an active shooter.  

In Utah, teachers and administrators are allowed to have concealed weapons in their possession at school as long as they meet the requirements outlined in state code. There is no requirement that administrators ask their teachers whether or not they are permit holders and/or whether they carry within the schools.  It would never be the district’s mandate to force employees to carry a firearm; however, the current law allows them to provide for their own safety. Coordination with local law enforcement could hopefully build an acceptable safety plan at all schools concerning active shooter issues and the role school employees would play.

Another requirement for LEAs is to provide annual training for district and school building staff on employees’ roles, responsibilities, and priorities in the emergency response plan.  Garfield County School District participates in continued training via an online training system called Safe Schools. Effective immediately, all district personnel will be assigned an additional component of Active Shooter training.  As we work together to continue to provide a safe haven for learning to take place in Garfield County, we want everyone to look to our schools as that safe place to be.

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District

The USS Bryce Canyon (AD-36)

-The Superintendent’s Corner-

I have had several individuals comment to me about the USS Garfield County so I decided to also introduce the USS Bryce Canyon.  The Bryce Canyon, aka. AD-36, belongs to the family of ships known as Destroyer Tenders. She was launched on March 7, 1946. Being a casualty for a successful win in WWII, the Bryce Canyon sat with little activity until the start of the Korean conflict.  Commissioned on Sept 15, 1950, Captain MR Gerin took command and steered the vessel towards the Panama Canal for entry into the Pacific Fleet in San Diego.

From San Diego, the Bryce Canyon went to Japan to service ships harbored in the Japanese ports of Yokosuka and Sasebo.  AD-36 arrived in San Diego on November 18, 1951 for a 6-month port tour before heading once more to Pearl Harbor, then back to her home port.  In February 1953, the Bryce Canyon again headed for Japanese waters, only to return home in 1954.

During a fourth tour, AD-36 arrived in the Philippines before returning to Japan one more time.  Finally returning to the US west coast, she was given the home port of Long Beach where the Bryce Canyon continued to tour the US West coast.  She was decommissioned on June 30, 1981.

The USS Bryce Canyon was a Shenandoah class Destroyer Tender.  There were 6 ships completed at the end of WWII including the USS Yellowstone and the USS Grand Canyon.  Four ships were canceled with the end of WWII. With a maximum speed of about 21 mph, the Bryce Canyon was about 500ft long and 70ft across.  The duty of a Destroyer Tender was to provide maintenance to active warships. On any given day, 1035 crew members called the Bryce Canyon home.  Due to the services she provided, the Bryce Canyon usually dwarfed those ships her crew worked on and repaired. This photo shows the Bryce Canyon servicing several US Destroyers.

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District

Building Projects Update!

The new Bryce Valley Elementary School (BVES) plans are getting close to going to bid.  Staff are reviewing the plans to make sure their needs are addressed and that the future for learning at BVES is well addressed in the new building.  District staff and Tropic town officials are working to remedy easements where the school borders town parcels. Currently Bryce Valley residents are being surveyed to show their choice for the masonry patterns and colors for their new building.  Plans are available for review at both the district office and at the BVES office.

The district just received the results from an engineering study which was performed on the gymnasium adjacent to the Panguitch Elementary School (PES) campus.  There have been questions about the stability and life of the building. The engineering study came back in favor of the existing facility. The report gave the gym a recommendation of at least 40+ years provided some immediate action is taken to remedy water problems found in the study.  Preliminary cost reports show needed fixes will come in way under projections. With this bit of good news and a savings of up $1.5 million, the new PES will not need a full gym and will save on construction costs immensely. The district is planning on starting the replacement process for PES as soon as BVES is under way.  In an effort to make sure all district students have adequate facilities for their education, the Board of Education has worked long and hard to make sure as much money as possible is on hand prior to the building projects.

The board has also voiced approval allowing the newest structure at PES to become a Kindergarten Center.  This would take the building located at 200 S 100 E or the South East corner and making its 4 classrooms suited for Pre-K and Kindergarten students.  This would eliminate the need for Kindergarten classrooms in the new construction. With no gym and no need for K classrooms, the PES bids should come in considerably lower allowing construction to begin much faster.

It is a great time for Garfield County School District and our students.  Watch as our progress continues.

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District

If You See Something, Say Something!

With some of the terrible things happening in our country right now and even worse the fight for solutions, it appears it is time for our citizenry to band together to solve our immediate issues and remember to police ourselves for the benefit of us.

Our society has long shared an opinion that with age comes knowledge.  I always told my kids to not do what I did to learn my lesson, just listen to me and you’ll save a lot of heartache.  While some of us can learn from others mistakes, there are also those of us that have to learn from experience.

On September 12, 2001, after a dark time with the attack on the Twin Towers, New York Advertising Exec Allen Kay invented the phrase based on the World War II jingle “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”  By 2002, others came up with phrases like “Be suspicious of things that look suspicious.” The MTA of New York adopted the “If you see something, say something” for city buses and subways. Since then, it has run rampant among agencies to spread the word to make the public aware of things that seem out of order.

In July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security launched a national “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign – a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities.

With more and more school involved incidents, the time is now to “question what looks questionable.”  It doesn’t matter what you see or where you see it, tell someone else so word can get out. If it is nothing, no worries.  If it is something, it may save someone from having to deal with a loss. While not all “suspicious activity” is created equal, when someone is acting out of the norm, chances are something is wrong.  You may be a friend to help them but you may also be a friend to turn them in. As you travel through the county, keep your eyes open for those suspicious events and if they are questionable, Say Something!

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District

Bryce Valley Elementary Construction Info

The USS Garfield County


During World War II, thousands of ships were built and many hundreds were lost.  The war effort caused a major buildup of ships for many different purposes.  Most of us are drawn to the aircraft carriers or the battleships but without the support ships, most major battles would never have even taken place.  The support ship LST784 was also known as the USS Garfield County.  The LST classification of craft is for Landing Ship, Tank.  This class of ship was specifically designed for transporting troops, vehicles, and supplies to beaches for offensive military operations.  Their uniqueness allowed them to off load on the beach without the need of dock facilities.  This is the craft that took the troops and vehicles in then followed up with the support materials.  Most ships of the LST class were about 300 ft. long and usually sported a flat keel, which allowed the ship to be beached and still remain upright.  Most bows of LST class ships had a large door that opened directly on the beach to offload supplies. During WWII,1051 LSTs were built.

The USS Garfield County was named for counties found in Utah, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington.  LST784 was built in the US during June and July of 1944.  Once completed, the ship was sent to the Asiatic/Pacific Theater and was used in the battle of Iwo Jima and the occupation of Okinawa.  The remains of the USS Garfield County are unknown.  The first commanding officer of the USS Garfield was LT. Daniel H. Miner of the US Coast Guard.

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District



Pictured: Abbee Holman (left), this years Christmas Card Contest Winner, with Superintendent Tracy Davis as she accepts her prize, a new Kindle Fire 7.

Merry Christmas from Garfield County School District

With Christmas season upon us, the school district held their annual Christmas card contest for district students. After sorting through 145 entries, the school board selected their final drawing.  This year’s winner is Abigail Holman, an 8th grade student at Panguitch Middle School.  Abbee is the daughter of Kelly and Joann Holman.

Each year the district selects a student winner whose artwork is the centerpiece of the district Christmas card.  These cards are sent to all school districts in Utah as well as all employees and community partners.  Abbee received as her prize a new Kindle FIRE 7 to reward her efforts.

We would like to congratulate Abbee as this year’s Christmas card winner for this holiday season.

Merry Christmas from Abbee and Garfield County School District.


Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District


The District Office will be closed on December 23-26th, and Dec 29 – Jan 1st. 



Superintendent’s Corner

Pictured: Bruce Williams, the new GCSD Business Administrator.

Garfield County School District is excited to announce the hiring of Bruce Williams as the district’s new Business Administrator (BA).  Bruce comes to us with plenty of public education experience.  Almost his entire career has been spent in education finance serving in three districts as the BA and also at the Utah State Board of Education as an Associate Superintendent of Business and Operations.  Bruce also has several years in the banking industry serving as an investment banker and also in public finance.  Bruce has been an adjunct professor at Utah State University where he has taught school finance.

Bruce has a Bachelor Degree from Weber State University in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Utah.  Mr. Williams currently lives in Kaysville; however, he and his wife, Jamie, plan to relocate to Panguitch while he works as our new school BA in Garfield County. We would like to welcome Bruce and Jamie and at the same time offer Patty Murphy congratulations on her retirement and also thank her for her service to the patrons at Garfield County School District.


Welcome to Garfield County Bruce!

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District

Superintendent’s Corner

Our Schools Now

           Prior to April 15 of last spring, you were more than likely approached by someone to support the Our Schools Now ballot initiative.  Supporters were on a movement to secure 113,000 Utah signatures, so it could be placed on the 2018 ballot.

           So what is Our Schools Now?  The movement started in the spring of 2017 when Utah’s most successful business leaders, along with highly-accomplished classroom teachers, filed the Teacher and Student Success Act with the Lt. Governor, officially launching the Our Schools Now initiative.

          Proponents of the initiative stated “We must invest in the education of Utah’s children now by investing in teachers, classroom support, technology, early learning, and other proven drivers of student achievement. This initiative will increase funding for public education, higher education, and technical colleges by close to $1,000 per student. It puts the funds under the control of schools and requires those schools to develop plans to improve student outcomes.”

         The initiative as written will slightly increase the Utah Sales and Income taxes and funnel the money directly to education.  Funds will be distributed 85% to public K-12 students and 15% will be directed to higher education in Utah.  The funds are set to be controlled by the local boards of education and each school community council.  The funds will be spent according to each school plan.

          The question is, “Should I support such an initiative?”  The answer is somewhat complicated as most view the answer as somewhat loaded.  This is a movement independent of our state legislature, so some worry that if the people support this type of end-around legislation the legislature may be unsympathetic and reduce existing education funding.  Others feel the legislature is working as fast as they can to support the demands of our education system.  Our local school board will decide this this week, if they can support this as a group or if this is one that has to be “your own opinion.”  For more information, go to ourschoolsnow.com

Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District