Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Brighton High Marching Band
Brighton High is proposing to start a marching band to capitalize on growth in student interest in the school’s music programs. A survey of parents showed 99 percent approve of the idea, and the school’s Music Director Mikala Mortensen is committed to building the program, says Principal Tom Sherwood. Already, under Mortensen’s guidance, participation in Brighton’s Jazz Band has quadrupled and its orchestra has tripled in size. In addition, the school recently started a drum line, which has performed at graduation, the first day of school and sporting events. Mikala also collaborated with Alta High to spearhead a Canyons District mega-band, which drew students from throughout the District to participate in summer parades. A marching band would add to school spirit, enhance academics and provide students with another outlet for engaging in school, Sherwood says. Starting a band would require a seed investment of $296,000 to purchase and maintain instruments, uniforms and equipment. If approved by the Board, the marching band also would be supported by student fees. The Board will take up the matter at a future meeting.

Technology Plan
Over the past 10 years, Canyons has worked to get technology and computing devices into the hands of school staff and students. A number of schools are to the point where every student has access to a computing device, says Information Technology (IT) Director Scot McCombs. Districtwide, McCombs’ team is maintaining 50,000 computing devices, up from 10,000 in 2009. The District last year also launched a grant-funded technology check-out program to make filtered hot spots and Chromebooks available to an estimated 3,500 students who don’t have access to the Internet or computer at home. With another grant, the District purchases rights to software to help students with reading and pays for upgrades to its network infrastructure and professional development for employees. Major IT projects for the coming years include the implementation of a new Internet filter, point-of-sale devices for school lunchrooms and disaster recovery systems as well as cyber and network security upgrades.

Curriculum Approval Process
Canyons’ Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward explained a proposal for standardizing and making more predictable the selection and implementation of new curricular tools and resources. The proposed 25-step process would be overseen by a committee to include teachers and administrators and begin 18 months prior to bringing final recommendations to the Board of Education for consideration. It involves a thorough review of research and best instructional practices, seeking input from national experts, schools and parents.  

Special Education Update
Inclusive schools and the availability of instructional coaches to support teachers in working with students with disabilities are among strengths identified in a routine state audit of Canyons’ special education programs. In January, 2019, four state teams reviewed hundreds of files, surveyed 23 schools, conducted 158 interviews and staged 16 focus groups with students and parents with the goal of ensuring compliance with federal standards. Among areas for improvement identified by the monitoring teams was the need to provide general education teachers with more training in special education, says Canyons’ Special Education and Related Services Director Misty Suarez.

Elementary Boundary Adjustment
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox proposed a small boundary adjustment to accommodate a new subdivision and 120-unit apartment complex being built at the corner of Highland Drive and Traverse Ridge Drive in Draper. The boundary line that currently defines areas served by Draper Elementary and Oak Hollow Elementary currently cuts through the center of the new apartment complex and subdivision. Wilcox proposed extending Draper Elementary’s boundary to include those new residences. The Board will take up the matter at a future meeting.
Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational Thought
Altara Elementary students led the Pledge of Allegiance and Principal Nicole Svee-Magann provided the inspirational thought. Propelled by a belief that every student is important and part of the community, Altara’s staff and faculty have worked hard to boost student achievement. Buoyed by the gains in test scores for low-income students and English language learners, Altara now ranks among the top 10 percent of elementary schools in Utah.  
Consent Agenda
The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the approval of the minutes of the Sept. 3, 2019 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; August financial reports, a plan to move two portable classrooms from Corner Canyon to Alta High during Alta’s renovation, and the hire of an Administrator of Technology Support.

The following students and employees were recognized by the Board of Education for their achievements: 
  • Noah Ripplinger, Butler Middle student, Best In Show and first-place prizes for artwork at Utah State Fair
  • Luke Ripplinger, Ridgecrest Elementary student, first place for artwork at Utah State Fair
  • Brent Markus, Canyons Custodial Specialist, Utah School Employees Association’s ESP of the Year
  • Charlotte Graham, Administrative Assistant at East Midvale Elementary, Utah School Employees Association ESP of the Year
Volunteer Report
Last year, more than 13,000 patrons and parents devoted more than 180,000 hours to volunteering in Canyons District schools. That’s the equivalent of $4.6 million in labor, as measured by national estimates for the hourly value of volunteer time, says Canyons Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards. The PTA alone contributed about 57,000 of those hours, and presented the Board with a ceremonial check to represent their involvement in Canyons’ schools. Region 17 PTA president Tonya Rhodes thanked the Board and administration for their leadership and support.

Policy Updates
The Board considered changes to policies governing fiscal accountability, the acceptable use of school technology and the solicitation of schools by vendors.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe complimented the Board for their rigor in their review of policies and budgetary matters, and said he looks forward to participating in the 2019 Canyons Education Foundation Golf Tournament.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox introduced a new administrator in the IT Department. Ryan Neff will be replacing Dean Glanville who left for a job opportunity in the private sector. Wilcox also commented on the high morale at CSD schools, which, he says, is owing to the investments the Board has made to upgrade schools and increase salaries.

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg remarked on what a good time he had catching up with old friends at the 2019 Apex Awards. He thanked Midvale Mayor Robert Hale for attending the Board meeting and for the spirit of collaboration Canyons enjoys with the city. He applauded Canyons Education Foundation Officer Denise Haycock for her work in planning the upcoming golf tournament fundraiser, and remarked on value of this year’s Utah School Boards Association (USBA) Leadership Academy.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks also attended the Apex Awards, and says she was inspired by the stories of the awardees. She also attended an Alta High School Community Council (SCC) meeting and remarked on the importance of providing SCC’s with training to understand the rules governing the use of TSSA funds.

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked the External Relations staff for the work that went into planning and staging the 2019 Apex Awards. She said she attended Brighton High’s first SCC meeting and was recently given a signed cardboard lunch tray by Butler Elementary students as a token of their appreciation for the Board’s willingness to replace the school’s Styrofoam trays with a biodegradable alternative.

Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked the External Relations Department for staging the 2019 Apex Awards, which he says was the best one yet, and remarked on how much he enjoyed the USBA’s Leadership Academy.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold said it is a privilege and honor to learn from and work with members of the Board, CSD administrators and teachers who all bring unique expertise and talents to the table.

Mr. Chad Iverson said he attended several school events, including a cross-country meet and Friday, Sept. 13 Corner Canyon and Alta High football game.

President Tingey echoed Board member comments about the well-organized USBA Leadership Academy and hard work that goes into the Apex Awards. She remarked on progress being made with the Brighton High rebuild and thanked members of the Board for their time and attention to detail in updating the District’s Policy Manual.
Parents of middle and high school students enrolled in Canyons District's Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Programs have been invited to a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18 to learn about DLI instruction at the secondary-school level.

The 6 p.m. event will be in the Media Center at the Crescent View Building, 11150 S. Green Ridge Dr. in Sandy. The building is best accessed from 11400 S. and 300 East.

Canyons curriculum specialists will be on hand to discuss program basics, such as, course pathways and the required forms that families need to complete and sign. They’ll also be sharing data from last year’s Advanced Placement exams and reporting on a review now underway of the District’s dual-language programs.

Following the opening presentation, language specific breakouts will be held in separate rooms where DLI teachers will share and explain curriculum and resources, as well as answer any curriculum-related questions. A representative of the Mandarin Matrix Chinese curriculum will join the Chinese breakout to explain the in-classroom and at-home resources available through this tool.

More information about Canyons’ DLI program can be found online. Questions? Please call the CSD Instructional Supports Department at 801 826 5045.
The 2019 Apex Awards, the highest awards given by the Canyons Board of Education and Administration, were presented to 17 educators, administrators, community supporters, leaders, and public education advocates on Tuesday, Sept, 10, 2019.  

The honorees, accompanied by friends and family, as well as District officials, mayors, state legislators, and other dignitaries, were feted an a by-invitation-only banquet and ceremony at Corner Canyon High, one of the first new-building projects undertaken by Canyons after the public approved a $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond in 2010 to address building needs.   

The four winners of the 2019 Legacy Award, which is CSD’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, were not only instrumental in the development of the District’s ambitious construction schedule, including the construction of CCHS, but also the establishment of CSD’s current vision, mission and academic and financial plans and frameworks. 

As they were announced as the Legacy Award winners, the nearly 400 attendees of the ceremony gave a standing ovation to Tracy Scott Cowdell, Sherril H. Taylor, Kim Murphy Horiuchi and Ellen Wallace.

The four were serving as members of the then-Jordan School District's Board of Education when the people in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta voted to create the first new school district to be created in Utah in nearly a century. 

As a result, Cowdell, Taylor, Horiuchi and Wallace served in their duly elected posts on the Jordan Board of Education while also laying the groundwork for the operations and mission of the school district that would eventually come to be known as Canyons, which has quickly become one of the largest and most innovative school districts in Utah.

Faced with a looming July 1, 2009 launch date, the group did double-duty and worked tirelessly, both individually and in concert with municipal leaders and community partners, to build up Canyons from an simple idea to full realization. With professionalism, courage and smarts, and against political challenges, they set the course and established a vision for CSD. Simply put, they made history. Canyons would not exist — or at the least be so successful in so many ways — if it weren’t for their commitment to building a rock-strong foundation for the District.

Cowdell and Taylor also served as the Board’s first-ever Board of Education President and Vice President. Taylor also served as CSD’s second Board President. While Cowdell and Taylor led the Board, CSD rebuilt or started construction or renovation work on 16 schools.

At the 10th annual event, which also served as the District’s Decade of Distinction Gala, Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey congratulated the all the winners for their contributions to Canyons, both while in its infancy and today.  The 2019 Teacher of the Year from all CSD schools also were recognized for their contributions to the success of CSD. 

“Eleven years ago, we started this historic journey of working together to build a world-class school district for our community,”  Tingey said. “This year’s winners of the Apex Awards certainly have helped Canyons District on our journey, and we are grateful they are part of the Canyons District family. Their commitment to the success of our schools, whether from the very beginning of Canyons District or in recent years, is very much appreciated and has made a difference.” 

She also recognized those who attended the events held in 2009 to celebrate the start of Canyons District, including banquets, sign-changing parties and bus parades.  

“Many of you here tonight were instrumental in the creation of Canyons District, and celebrated with us at our Kick Off Banquet the night before we officially became the 41st school district in Utah on July 1, 2009," she said. “This celebration tonight, a decade later, is a continuation of the traditions of community engagement that were established at the founding of the District and is our way of extending our heartfelt appreciation for that tireless dedication.”

Other 2019 Apex Award winners include: 

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  • When it comes to academic contests, there are few as rigorous or prestigious as the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of the more than 1.5 million high school students who entered the competition this year, only 7,600 will prevail to win an estimated $31 million in scholarships—and among those in the running are 15 Canyons District students.

    Students from Brighton, Corner Canyon, Jordan and Hillcrest high schools today were announced as semifinalists for 2020 National Merit Scholarship Awards. They are among 16,000 top scholars nationally and 155 in Utah to advance this far in the competition.  

    The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number of Utah semifinalists is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record and show participation in school and community activities as well as leadership qualities.

    The finalists and winners of the 2020 scholarships will be announced in the spring. The students and their schools are:

    Brighton High
    Grace A. Sheffield
    Jacob Simmons

    Corner Canyon High
    John Bodell
    Cooper C. Gardiner
    Camryn J. Young

    Jordan High
    Richard J. Barnes
    Isaac Christiansen

    Hillcrest High
    Horace Gao
    Luke Kim
    Advait Mahajan
    Victor A. Petrov
    Sraavya Pinjala
    Marcus J. Turnbull
    Laura H. Wan
    Emily Zhang
    Does your child thrive on complexity, master concepts with ease and show strong feelings and opinions — or even tend to be self-critical? It can be difficult to know if your child is a high achiever or exhibiting signs of being a gifted learner. Every child is unique and no two gifted children are alike.

    But there are tests to assist parents in determining whether their children would benefit from placement in an educational setting, such as, Canyons School District’s SALTA magnet program for advanced learners—and now is the time to sign up for testing.

    Students in kindergarten through the seventh grade can apply online to test into the SALTA program starting Monday, Sept. 9 through midnight on Thursday, Oct. 3. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept late applications. slide 1

    Due to the time-intensive and rigorous nature of the process for determining a student’s fit for the program, parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the testing requirements and characteristics of advanced learners (see below) before completing an application. 
    Testing is a two-day commitment, and results will be distributed in late December.

    Elementary-age applicants may choose between one of two possible dates per testing block and the following testing locations. More details as to the time and location of the testing will be made available through the application process.

    Elementary Testing Block A: October 25 and 26
    Midvale Elementary
    Canyon View Elementary

    Elementary Testing Block B: November 8 and 9
    Peruvian Park 
    East Midvale
    Willow Springs

    All middle school students are tested at Mt. Jordan Middle, with exception to Midvale Middle students who are tested at their school.

    Middle School Testing Block: November 5 and 6
    Midvale Middle
    Mount Jordan Middle

    Questions? More information, can be found at, or by calling the Instructional Supports Department at 801-826-5044.
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