Sterling Scholar, check. National Merit Scholar, check. Presidential Scholar, check, check, and check.

Hillcrest High’s Alexander Cheng has won the equivalent of the triple-crown of academic achievement, a feat matched by only one other student in Canyons District history: his brother, Anthony.

Throughout their educational careers, Alexander Cheng and Anthony Cheng broke educational ground with top awards at science fairs and other scholarly competitions. But the past few months have been particularly productive for Alexander, as were the culminating weeks leading up to his brother's graduation in 2016.

A senior at Hillcrest who has been accepted to Stanford, Alexander Cheng was selected as a Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar and a regional finalist in the national Coca-Cola scholarship. He also won first place in the Materials and Biomedical category at the University of Utah’s Science and Engineering Fair for his entry, “Determining the Role of Microvascular Pathology as Reflected by Changes in Primary and Secondary Retinal Vessels in the Pathophysiology of Diabetic Complications.”

In March, 2019, he won the science category of Utah’s Sterling Scholar Competition and, like his brother before him, was named the overall winner of the 57th annual competition. Now, to cap the year, he was named one of three U.S. Presidential Scholars from Utah, and announced as a 2019 National Merit Scholar.

Joining him in earning the National Merit Scholar distinction are two of his peers at Hillcrest, Emily Langie and Bryan Guo. Eighteen CSD students were named as semi-finalists in the prestigious scholarship competition, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors. Presidential scholars are invited to name a distinguished teacher who supported them along the way, and Cheng chose Hillcrest’s International Baccaulareate coordinator John Olsen.

Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. The White House chooses scholars based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Photo credit: The photo of Alexander Cheng receiving his Sterling Scholar award is courtesy of the Deseret News. 
Electronic devices—from smart phones to smart watches—afford us many conveniences. But what are the consequences of us becoming more and more reliant on these devices? What are we sacrificing in exchange?

Would you believe, brain power, health and human connection? According to Christy Kane, Ph.D., a counselor with the organization TotumLink, too much screen time is rewiring our brains and leaving a lasting impact on our children’s biochemical and emotional health. But it’s possible through moderation to strike a healthy balance between the use and over-use of electronic devices, she told students and families at a recent Youth Protection Seminar at Jordan High. “Electronic devices are a part of our world and aren’t going away. But we have to be smarter than our smart phones."

Last month, the World Health Organization announced that infants under 1 year old should not be exposed to electronic screens, and children under the age of 5 should not have more than one hour of “sedentary screen time” a day. The guidelines aim to prevent obesity by helping children to adopt more active lifestyles and better sleep habits. ChristyKane

There’s also growing concern about the impacts of TV, video games, computers and smart phones on children’s developing brains. The National Institutes of Health is bankrolling a $300 million Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study to explore just that. Researchers involved in the study have correlated heavy screen use with changes in the brain and lower scores on some aptitude tests, though the findings are preliminary and experts urge caution in drawing conclusions about causality.

Researchers don’t know how much access to technology is safe for any age group, but based on what’s known about how our brains develop, there’s good reason for concern, Kane says.

To bring the point home, Kane asked the adults assembled in Jordan High’s auditorium, “How many of you have memorized a phone number in the last week? And how many can recite your child’s cell phone number?” Very few raised their hands, whereas 20 years ago, the response would likely have been much different.

“Memorization creates neurological growth, but we don’t memorize anymore. We have become accustomed to having a device be our memory,” Kane says. Neurological growth also happens through tactile activity, such as building puzzles and playing sports and games, through deep human connection and through learning. But so much of what we do, learn and how we connect is now happening through a device.

Getting likes on Facebook or playing a videogame stimulates the brain, but it takes activities, such as learning math or learning to walk, to create the long-term neurological connections needed for our brains to develop, posits Kane. The question families should be asking, she says, is why the devices that have become so integral to our lives are so hard to put down.

Kane will be speaking again at Indian Hills Middle School on Tuesday, May 14. Doors open at 6 p.m. Credit toward "no grades" will be given for high school students who attend with their parents. In addition to Kane’s presentation, educational, counseling and law enforcement professionals will be available at tables to discuss such topics as vaping, school and digital safety and community resources.

Kane will share tips on how families can disconnect from their devices to connect with each other. Among other topics, she’ll discuss:

·      Is social media bad for you and your family?

·      Are electronics neurologically addictive?

·      Rates of suicide, depression and anxiety.
Canyons School District announces the sponsorship of the Summer Food Service Program. Free meals will be made available to attending children 18 years or younger.  

Meals will be served 8:30-9:30 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for  lunch beginning June 10 and ending Aug. 2 at Copperview, East Midvale, and Sandy Elementary Schools. Meals will also be served at Jordan and Hillcrest high schools June 10 through Aug. 2.  Meal times for Jordan High will be 7:45-9 a.m. for breakfast and 10:45-12:30 p.m. for lunch.  Meal times for Hillcrest High will be 7:30-9:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for lunch.  Lunch service only will be provided at Union Park from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  Adults may purchase meals at these sites for the price of $2 for breakfast and $3.50 for lunch.  There will be no meal service July Fourth or July 24 in observance of holidays.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.  To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.  Submit your completed form or letter to USDA at:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-941
The fax number is  (202) 690-7442
Email messages can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Copperview Elementary                                                                                        
8449 S. 150 West                                                   
Midvale, Utah 84047

East Midvale Elementary
6990 S. 300 East
Midvale, Utah 84047       

Union Park (lunch only)
7360 S. 700 E.
Sandy, Utah 84047

Midvalley Elementary
217 E. 7800 South
Midvale, Utah 84047

Sandy Elementary
8725 S. 280 East
Sandy, Utah  84070
*Hillcrest High
7350 S. 900 East
Midvale, Utah 84047

*Jordan High
95 E. Beetdigger Blvd.
Sandy, Utah 84070


*Note start-up dates and times above, as they vary by location.
The concept is really quite simple: If a student is feeling insecure, depressed or fearful, or any other emotion that is at the root of concerning behaviors, chances are they aren’t learning at high levels. To the end of helping all students feel a sense of balance, which could improve achievement, Canyons District proposes the implementation of a social-emotional curriculum. 

The “Second Step” curriculum, which is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), is being considered for adoption by the Canyons Board of Education. CSD’s Responsive Services Department, created to address the mental-health needs of CSD students, is spearheading the project.

Second Step’s evidence-based lessons would be for students ranging in age from kindergarten to eighth grade, and helps them manage their emotions, solve problems in a positive way, demonstrate empathy, and focus during class. 

Some 26,000 schools across the country have implemented the curriculum, which is said to have been the catalyst for culture changes in schools and has helped even the most challenging students make progress.

Colorful streaming lessons, family engagement resources, and staff training are all a part of the proposed curriculum. Canyons parents can review some sample lessons here.

If approved, the curriculum would be rolled out over a period of several years, says BJ Weller, Director CSD's Responsive Services. Teachers who have used this curriculum have expressed a stronger connection with their students, he said, which in turn has led to more in-depth and meaningful discussions about academic endeavors. 

"We need a system where we can speak the same language when it comes to talking to students about problem-solving, building relationship and conflict resolutions, especially as students transition from elementary to middle school," Weller  said.  "The lessons in this curriculum are designed specifically for each grade level and support each student at their appropriate developmental levels." 

Questions or comments about the curriculum can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
On a brisk, clear day on July 1, 2009, Canyons District made history. That was the first day of the first year of the first new school district to be created in Utah in nearly a century.

With a laser-like focus on helping every one of our students become college- and career-ready, Canyons District has been breaking barriers and raising the bar ever since its start.  

To celebrate the achievements of the past 10 years, the Canyons Board of Education and Administration are hosting a reception and a student-performance showcase for the Canyons District community.

The free event will be Monday May 13 at Jordan High, 95 Beetdigger Blvd. The reception, to be held in the commons area, will be from 6-7 p.m.  The District will serve refreshments and display memorabilia from the creation of the Canyons, including the time capsule that was filled at a morning ceremony on the first day of Canyons’ operations.

The performances, featuring student musical and dance groups from every corner of the District, will be from 7-8 p.m. in the auditorium.

“Students, parents, teachers, and the Canyons District community are invited to the celebrations to mark our 10th anniversary,” said Nancy Tingey, President of the Canyons Board of Education. “These celebrations are planned to recognize our community’s dedication to this noble endeavor of providing a world-class education to our children. During the festival, we will continue to spotlight the achievements and talents of our students, who are at the center of all we do in Canyons District.” 

In addition to receiving awards for budget excellence since our founding year, the District has built or renovated 13 schools since voters approved a $250 million bond issuance to pay for new and improved schools.

But the work didn’t stop there. Currently, with proceeds from a $283 million bond approved by voters in November 2017, construction work has started at five schools, including Hillcrest, Brighton, Alta and Corner Canyon high schools and Midvalley Elementary.

Academically, our students started soaring in 2009 and they haven’t stopped.

The Class of 2018 earned more than $30 million in scholarship offers, Canyons is home to this year’s General Scholar in the Sterling Scholar competition, we have 18 National Merit Scholar finalists, and seven students last year earned a perfect 36 on the ACT. 

So far this year, student athletes have won state championships in girls tennis, swimming, girls soccer, football, and boys basketball.

With every year, the bar keeps getting set higher and higher — and our students continue to soar
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