Applying for college just got easier. Canyons School District is now partnering with Parchment, an online system for ordering high school transcripts.
Starting this spring, CSD high school students can order electronic copies of their official transcripts with a push of the button. They can also use the system to electronically send their transcripts to the college or university of their choosing and track the request to ensure the document arrives at its destination. For now, there is no limit to the number of transcript requests students are allowed. The service is free-of-charge for currently-enrolled students and available to graduates for a small fee.
“Applying for college is stressful and time-consuming enough without having to worry about whether the admissions office received your transcripts on time,” says CSD’s Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud. “Now our students can conveniently and securely order their transcripts online at any time, day or night, and receive an email once the transcript arrives at its destination.”
Parchment is used by roughly 98 percent of the country’s colleges and universities and should dramatically streamline the college application process for students. It’s also a time-saver for schools and will spare registrars from having to prepare and mail thousands of paper transcripts each year, says Eric Taylor, an engineer in Canyons’ Information Technology Department. “We’ve worked hard as a District to automate as many services as possible from registering for school and applying for programs to signing up to be a classroom volunteer.”
Parchment’s added features also make it possible for students to build a profile and compile and store other academic credentials, from their college-entrance and advanced placement exam scores to awards and extra-curricular program completion certificates. You can search for colleges and find those that are most popular among students with similar academic interests and backgrounds. Want to predict your chances of being accepted by a given university? Parchment can run the numbers based on the acceptance rates of students who, in the past, have voluntarily shared their admissions data.
“The system is really intuitive and easy to use,” says Taylor, noting that all high school students should have received an email with a link to the Parchment platform and information about how to register, build a profile, and request transcripts. Links to the Parchment portal can also be found on the websites for each of Canyons District’s high schools.
Following is a brief tutorial on using the system. School counselors can serve as a resource for parents and students who have questions. Technicians are also available at Canyons District’s Help Desk, 801-826-5544.
Jessica Beus is known as the “child whisperer” of Midvale Elementary.
With an exceedingly calm and patient demeanor, coupled with plenty of smiles and fist-bumps, Beus guides her students through the day’s lessons. In turn, her group of third-graders approach their days with eager eyes, grins, and an apparent desire to show their teacher they can do hard things.
“She is an amazing teacher,” says Midvale Elementary Principal Chip Watts, taking care to note that Beus can reach even the toughest of kiddos at the Title I school. “She has a gift that is rare.”
On Tuesday night, Beus, now in her fifth year of teaching, was honored for her teaching talents and skills — and a fierce commitment to student achievement at Midvale Elementary. In front of a cheering crowd in the auditorium at Butler Middle School, the Brigham Young University graduate, who has been a Mustang for two years, was named the 2019 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. She is the 10th teacher to be named the top educator for Canyons District. She will now represent Canyons District in the state Teacher of the Year competition.
At the Tuesday night celebration, which was hosted by the Canyons Board of Education, 47 teachers from Canyons District schools and programs were lauded for being named their school’s Teacher of the Year for 2019. Each was nominated by peers, parents and students for the honor, for which they received donated gifts and prizes from local business partners.
From that field, the District chose three finalists — representatives from elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition to Beus, the Board gave special honors to Eastmont Middle’s Anna Alger, who was named CSD’s Middle School Teacher of the Year; and Hillcrest theater teacher Josh Long as the Canyons High School Teacher of the Year.
All three received $500 checks from the Canyons Education Foundation. As the overall Teacher of the Year, Beus received an additional $500.
“There is nothing like coming to a school like this,” Beus says about her role at Midvale Elementary, which earlier this year was given an extension to exit out of turnaround status, which is reserved for schools struggling to increase student achievement scores on year-end assessments. “You know what you are up against. You know you are needed. You know you make a difference every day.”
For her part, Beus says she feels “called” to the teaching profession. “I feel an innate desire to teach,” she says. “I am passionate about the people I work with — both my students and colleagues. I simply adore them.”
At the event, Board President Nancy Tingey expressed appreciation for Canyons’ hard-working and dedicated teachers. Tingey joined Board members as they greeted and congratulated all the teachers who were honored on Tuesday night.
“As the highlights were read and we shook hands, I had a glimpse into each of your classrooms. I know that what is being celebrated here tonight is representative of classroom experiences throughout the district every school day, every year, for every student,” she said. “The positive influence and knowledge you and your fellow educators impart to young people strengthens our community and individual lives in immeasurable ways. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude we have for the wonderful work you are doing. So please accept this simple and heartfelt ‘thank you!’”
The Board of Education presented each of the school-based Teachers of the Year with a crystal award. The teachers also received a Real Salt Lake jersey and tickets to a May 24 Real Salt Lake game. On that night, which is Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto, all school-based Teachers of the Year will be honored on the field during halftime.
The Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 issued the following statement about a tentative agreement with the Canyons Education Association for the 2019-2020 school year.
The statement was read by Board President Nancy Tingey at the end of the ceremony to announce the 2019 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. The 7 p.m. event, held at Butler Middle School, was attended by all 47 Canyons District school-based Teachers of the Year and their friends and families.
“Nothing in the public education system has a greater effect on a student’s learning than the teacher in the classroom. To the end of furthering the vision and mission of Canyons District through elevating the role of a teacher in our District’s success, we, the Canyons Board of Education, are looking to make a significant investment in teacher salaries. At the Board’s direction, the Administration has reached a tentative agreement with the Canyons Education Association proposing that, starting this fall, all Canyons District teachers would receive a $7,665-per-year salary increase, which will be presented for approval at the next board meeting. Representing a double-digit percentage boost for every teacher, this would put the starting teacher annual pay at $50,000 —elevating the teaching profession by bringing salaries in line with those of other professionals in Utah, and making it possible for teachers to pursue their passion, and do what they’re good at while also earning a living wage. This will be made possible with a community investment in our teachers in the form of a property tax increase, which will be presented for approval at a required Truth-in-Taxation hearing in August. In accordance with laws governing the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, there is reason to believe there is enough support on the Board to move forward. All of the funds from the proposed property tax increase would go exclusively to teacher salaries. We see this investment as a positive step toward inspiring college students to regard teaching as a viable career and reinforce the belief that teaching is a destination profession. Coupled with all the new and renovated schools, and the robust ongoing professional development opportunities in Canyons, this proposed new compensation plan will make Canyons stand out as a district of choice, not just in Utah but around the country. More information will be available in the coming days, and we’ll also have plenty of time to have a community discussion about this initiative. But tonight, with this announcement and the presentation of these richly deserved Teacher of the Year awards, we celebrate our teachers, their hard work, their dedication and their vital role in helping our students reach for their dreams through education.”
Due to heavy rain in the immediate forecast, the Midvalley Elementary groundbreaking ceremony has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 17.
The public is invited to the event, which had previously been scheduled for this Tuesday. As previously planned, it will start with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the ceremony at 6 p.m.
There are a lot of reasons to rebuild Midvalley Elementary. Built in 1957, the school is Canyons District’s oldest campus. It opened the same year as the historic launch of the world’s first unmanned satellite Sputnik, a full decade before dot matrix printers were invented, and at a time when the latest teaching tool was an overhead projector. Cleaning chalkboard erasers was regarded a privilege, and duck-and-cover drills were the staple of school safety plans.
But on Wednesday, April 17, as the community breaks out the shovels and hard hats for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of the new school’s construction, Principal Tamra Baker is insistent that “in embracing our future, we honor our past.”
The modernized building will be safer, more energy-efficient, and better able to support today’s teaching technologies. It’s also being built with Midvale’s growing population in mind to accommodate nearly double the number of students it serves now.
“I can’t tell you how much this rebuild means to our community, to our students, parents, teachers, neighbors and alumni,” says Baker. “Midvalley has a wonderful culture and history, and as a school community, we are going to plant that heart and spirit in every tree, bush and brick. We are really excited about this new building.”
Midvalley is the first elementary school to be rebuilt with proceeds from a $283 million bond approved by voters in November, 2017. It was chosen due to its advanced age, and need for seismic improvements and roof repairs. The new school will be built onsite while students continue to attend the old school.
NJRA Architects designed the new building, and crews with Bud Mahas Construction will start their work this spring. The new school is expected to open for the 2020-2021 school year.
“School staff collaborated on the design, and the architects found a way to bring their vision to life,” says Baker. Skylights and glassed-in walls allow natural light to filter throughout the building. Collaborative space within and outside classrooms will support team-teaching and group learning. The school features a large gymnasium, high-tech media center, and large cafeteria.
No detail has been overlooked. All that’s missing, in fact, is a stand-alone computer lab, which faculty agreed wasn’t necessary, since the school is well on its way to having one computing device for every student in every classroom. “We are high-tech’ing it all the way throughout the building,” Baker says.
While film critics around the country continue to debate whether “Green Book” was truly the year’s best picture, students in Canyons District schools have set their sights on becoming the next Steven Spielberg, Alfonso Cuaron, or Spike Lee.
Some 121 student-created entries from nearly every school in Canyons District, were submitted for the consideration of judges in the 10th annual Canyons District Film Festival, which culminates on Monday, April 15 at the Jordan Commons Megaplex Theater, 9335 State. A red carpet entrance for the nominees in six film categories and the poster-creation contest will precede the glitzy 6 p.m. awards ceremony.
Organizers also are hoping that connected-to-Utah stars of all kinds — film, TV, music, politics and literature — will use social media to send wishes of good luck to this year’s entrants and wish the festival a happy anniversary.
Canyons Education Technology Specialist Katie Blunt, one of the coordinators of the District’s festival, made a call for the social media messages during an interview on ABC4 on Monday, April 8.
“We wanted to make this 10th anniversary year extra special,” Blunt told anchor Emily Clark, “So we actually have a social media challenge …to get as many people as we can in Utah to wish our students luck” at the film festival.
Some of the best good-luck videos sent via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram may be shown during the awards ceremony at which the winners’ films will be shown. Some of those films, organizers say, were filmed on cell phones. The festival is one more way to urge students to use their phones in an educational way, not just to text friends or scroll through Instagram.
“Those phones have powerful cameras on them now,” Blunt said. “We encourage students to use those tools, either their own or some we have at school, to create films … It is exciting to see their creative side come out with this technology, instead of just getting ‘phone neck.’”
The film festival encourages students to think creatively and critically, Blunt said. For the students who produced a film as a group, the project also helped hone communication skills.
“There’s a lot to it,” she said. “More than you would expect.”
More than 300 students and teachers worked on films that have been entered the following categories: short film, documentary, animation, public service announcemen t, newscast, and teacher film. The top pick of a poster contest also will be announced at the ceremony. The winning entry will be used as the publicity poster for the 2020 Canyons District Film Festival. The nominated films can be seen on the festival's YouTube channel.