Christmas came early to the Canyons Education Foundation with a $20,000 donation from Larry H. Miller Charities, the nonprofit arm of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. The money will fund a Sub-for-Santa effort benefitting students in every corner of the District.

"We have pockets of need throughout our District, and this generous donation will make it possible for schools to assist families in making the holiday season truly special for students in need," said Foundation Officer Denise Haycock.

The money was presented by David Blain, President of Saxton Horne Communications, a Larry H. Miller company, and his colleagues Jon Menousek and Jaime Alcock with Saxton.

The donors want the funds to be widely dispersed. To that end, the Foundation is asking principals to submit gift requests on behalf of students in their schools who could use some holiday magic (think a special item of clothing, a new coat or pair of shoes). Requests can be small or large, and principals may ask for assistance on behalf of more than one students.

Every effort will be made to share this money across the District. Principals who would like to take advantage of this charitable program are encouraged to complete a Holiday Assistance Form and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
When Jordan Valley PTA President Betty Shaw applied to receive a $1,500 grant from Mountain America Credit Union, she asked all of the school’s teachers to make a wish list of items that could help them in their classrooms.

After Shaw officially received the grant Tuesday at the school in a presentation that included representatives from Mountain America Credit Union, Canyons Director of Special Education Misty Suarez, Principal Stacey Nofsinger, Canyons Education Foundation Development Officer Denise Haycock and PTA Region 17 Associate Director Terri Francis, she was emotional with gratitude. 

“It will do so much good for the school,” Shaw said. “It makes me cry and makes my heart happy because it can do so much good for these students and teachers. If we can help students transition here, what a great life they can have.”

Some of the items on the teachers’ lists included a ball pit, a shelf for a ceramic oven and items that help with sensory development for Jordan Valley’s population of students with severe special needs. Now that the money is certain, Shaw says the school will be able to determine exactly how best to use the funds for things that can’t be funded through federal, state or District money. 

Mountain America offered the grant to PTAs throughout Utah as a way to give back to the community. This year, the credit union distributed 10 grants. 

“In the credit union world, it’s about people helping people,” said Mountain America Credit Union’s Eric Buchanan. “This is a win for everyone. It’s humbling and exhilarating.”

Teachers at Jordan Valley use a wide variety of tools to help their severely disabled students, said Nofsinger.

With students who have such a wide range of special needs, solutions that may help one student with a challenge don’t necessarily help another. Grants like this help teachers expand their resources and add a meaningful contribution to the school.

“It just gave me goosebumps,” Nofsinger said. “Out of the goodness of people’s hearts, they just want these students to experience the most they can. People have a special spot in their heart for this school, and that’s just awesome.” 
For every four students who can’t wait to hit the slopes over Winter Recess or enjoy feasting with family and friends, there’s a child living in a near-constant state of worry or fighting the thick fog of depression.

“Too many of these children suffer in silence,” says Canyons District’s Responsive Services Director BJ Weller, “and the vast majority, an estimated 80 percent, don’t receive the help they need.”

Because no parent should feel helpless to combat a child’s feelings of hopelessness, Canyons District is dedicating its annual holiday Gathering for Good donation drive to covering the costs of mental health services for uninsured and underinsured student families. In lieu of a holiday office party, central office staff and administrators will come together on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 12 to enjoy a donated lunch and raise money through a silent auction to be pooled with matching funds to help CSD’s student families pay for needed mental health referrals and services.

Patrons also can participate through the non-profit charitable arm of the District, the Canyons Education Foundation, which accepts tax-deductible donations.

Anxiety and depression are on the rise among America’s youth, an issue that seven-in-ten teens characterize as “a major problem,” according to the Pew Research Center. The roots of the problem, including the scarcity of available care, are complex and not something schools can shoulder alone.

But left unaddressed, mental health and behavioral problems can pose challenges for schools in realizing their educational mission and goals. “Students struggle to learn when they’re feeling anxious, fearful or depressed,” Weller says. “If a child is too sad or mad, they can’t add.”

Canyons has invested heavily in new behavioral supports and counseling staff. School counselors, psychologists and nurses work hard to fill students’ emotional buckets, build their resilience, and equip them with coping mechanisms. But too many families lack adequate access to mental health care, barring them from getting the extra help their children so desperately need.

In addition to covering the costs of behavioral care, proceeds raised through the donation drive also will benefit students and families residing at The Road Home homeless shelter in Midvale by covering services and supports that aren’t covered by federal funding. Many CSD schools also sponsor charitable campaigns to which anyone can contribute (see list below).

How can you help? 
  • Donate items for our silent auction (gift baskets, branded merchandise, gift cards) by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Checks, cash and gift cards may be given at any time to the Canyons Education Foundation and earmarked for the Gathering for Good fundraiser: 801-826-5171, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

School Holiday Fundraisers

Altara: canned food drive
Bell View: coat drive and clothing and toy exchange
Bella Vista: food and coat drive
Brookwood: raising money to fund vaccinations through the Ouelessebougou Alliance
Crescent: canned food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank
East Sandy: food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank
Granite: food drive benefitting Utah Food Bank
Lone Peak: collecting pennies for leukemia and lymphoma patients
Midvale: “Community Candles of Light” campaign to combine monetary and in-kind donations benefiting families in need.
Oak Hollow: book drive
Oakdale: food drive
Park Lane: collecting plush animals with Bank of American Fork for children in crisis
Ridgecrest: winter clothing drive benefitting The Road Home shelter
Sunrise: food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank
Willow Springs: stuff-the-stocking drive benefitting residents of The Road Home shelter
Albion Middle: cereal drive for neighboring elementary school
Draper Park Middle: October sock drive benefitting neighboring elementary schools
Indian Hills Middle: contributing to the Make-A-Wish program
Mount Jordan Middle: canned food drive
Corner Canyon High: contributing to the Make-A-Wish program
When Tyler Allred wrapped up his work at Union Middle on the evening of October 23, the floors were polished, the windows were washed and the hallways looked clean and tidy — just like usual. As the facility manager of a 50-year-old school, Allred always made sure his building was as well-maintained as it could possibly be; so much so, that visitors were known to say that they couldn’t tell the building’s age because it was so impressively spotless.

But on October 24, as thick clouds of black smoke started billowing from a social studies instruction room, all of that changed. An electrical fire, believed to have started with a Chromebook charging station, was reported around 5 a.m. When Allred got the word, his blood went cold at the thought of what had happened.

While not every Education Support Professional (ESP) receives an early morning call of that nature, the more than 2,000 throughout Canyons District who drive buses, serve food and manage the phones — and every other aspect of education outside of the classroom — know exactly what it’s like to face a challenge. Whether they’re waking before dawn to prepare hearty meals or remove snow from parking lots, their role is to support Canyons’ students in becoming college-and career-ready. Canyons District celebrates ESP day on Wednesday, Nov. 20, we recognize that sometimes, the job of an ESP can mean the difference between students going to school that day, or staying home.

“I was nervous because when I got the call, I didn’t know the state of the building at that moment,” Allred says. “I went from a functioning school where everything was fine one night, and then the school is burned. It was very overwhelming thinking, ‘Well, we had just cleaned the floors last night and cleaned the building,” and then the worry of, ‘OK, how can we get this taken care of so we can have kids back in the building again.’”

Four classrooms were impacted by the fire and smoke, because of their close proximity to each other. The fire caused electrical and smoke damage, necessitating the closure of a section of the school so crews can clean and restore the area. Contractors have relied on Allred’s knowledge of the building and its infrastructure to move forward, and the head custodian has made himself available around the clock, whether it’s to answer a phone call in the middle of the night asking what breaker goes to what, or to reset an alarm. Allred always responds, rushing to help when needed.

“Tyler has been working almost double shifts daily because he is the one with knowledge of the inner workings of the building — the vents, the electrical — they are relying so heavily on him to proceed in the cleanup effort and the construction, and anything anyone needs, he is right on it,” Union Principal Kelly Tauteoli says. “He is just great that way.”

When Allred started as the head custodian at Union in 2013, he was motivated to play his part in helping students in Canyons District learn and grow. He makes sure the building is a pleasant environment for teachers to work. 

“I love the fact that if I do my job well, 800 kids have the chance to come to school in a clean environment and teachers are able to come have a job in a clean building and sanitary environment to teach the kids,” Allred says. “I’ve just taken this challenge one day, one hour at a time, and just roll with the punches. You just have to move on and let’s rebuild it.”
We’re cooking up plans to increase student learning — and the recipe can only get better with a healthy school-to-home connection. So spend a few minutes to dash off some thoughts about how Canyons schools are doing.

Don’t hold back, even if it’s a little salty.

But if we’re doing something right, give us some sugar, as well. 

We want to hear it all.  Only by working together can we find the “secret sauce”  that will lead to savory student success. 

This input can be provided on a survey seeking Canyons parent feedback. A link to the survey was sent on Monday, Nov. 11 to the contact information provided by parents during online registration for the 2019-2020 school year.

The District will take input through the online survey until Nov. 30.  Parents who did not receive an email link can call Canyons District’s Help Desk at 801-826-5544 for assistance. 

The nine questions on the survey cover school climate, academic support of children, and whether the school communicates appropriately with the community. 

Parents also can provide comments after responding to every question. The answers are anonymous unless parents identify themselves for a follow-up by school administrators. 

Canyons District issues the survey to parents as part of educators’ evaluations.  The data is used by District and school administrators to address needs, hone processes and recognize improvements. 

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RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY: For sharing your thoughts, Canyons District’s Nutrition Services Department is sharing tasty recipes for a successful Thanksgiving meal.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Cake
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2/3 t cinnamon
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 3/8 cup milk
  • 1 t vinegar
Frosting
  • 2 t butter
  • 2 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract
  • Milk as needed
Combine vinegar and milk.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Blend sugar, eggs, oil, pumpkin and milk mixture until smooth.  Combine dry and wet ingredients.  Mix on low speed of mixer and do not over-mix.  Combine just until blended.  Bake in 9x13 pan that has prepared with vegetable spray and floured.  Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Cooking time may vary.  When a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean it is done.  Cool cake completely before frosting. Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and as much milk as is necessary to make the frosting of spreading consistency.

School Bread Stuffing
  • 2.5 oz. yellow onion
  • 2.5 oz. celery
  • 2.5 oz. butter
  • 2 cups water
  • .5 oz. chicken base paste
  • 1/8 t. black pepper
  • 1/3 t. poultry seasoning
  • 5/8 loaf sandwich bread
Cube and dry bread ahead of time. The drying will take at least overnight.  Dice onions and celery. Sauté onions and celery in butter until tender-crisp.  Add water, chicken base and seasonings to sautéed vegetables, heat until hot.  Add vegetable mixture, toss lightly until thoroughly mixed.  Avoid over-mixing, which causes dressing to be soggy and compact.  Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Add stuffing to pan.  Cover will foil and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Yields 8 half cup servings.
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