Friday, 21 December 2018 16:40

Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Building the Future

The past year has been a period of momentous change and milestones achieved for Canyons District.

The fall of 2018 marked the start of CSD’s 10th school year and the conclusion of a fiscal year that ended $6 million under-budget. Canyons completed the 13th and final school improvement project promised to the public in 2010 when voters approved a $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond, and broke ground on the first three projects promised to voters with passage of a new bond in 2017. The Board added another pay raise to an already progressive salary schedule to aid in hiring and retaining the best teachers, and invested in new safety measures and tools to keep our classrooms welcoming, safe and secure.

We celebrated Peruvian Park Elementary's designation as a Blue Ribbon School, honored inspirational colleagues and cheered our students who graduated in greater numbers than ever before and excelled in sports and the arts.

Reflecting on the past decade, Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor said in a farewell message to Canyons District patrons: “With every passing year, we've continued to build, strengthen, and fortify. Student achievement and new schools have risen, improved school-to-home connections were established, and student performances on stages and athletic fields drew cheers and championships. Looking back, I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to realize, walking hand in hand and standing shoulder to shoulder. ”

Here are a few of the most memorable moments from 2018:

•   The Board funded the districtwide implementation of a new school safety tool known as DIR-S, or “duress.” With a push of a button, the app allows teachers and staff members in an emergency to give an immediate update on their status through a mobile device or computer, providing everyone, including administrators and law enforcement officers, with the real-time information needed to ascertain the source and location of a threat.

•   The District hired more counselors and school psychologists, and opened a youth academy for secondary students who need extra academic and behavioral support.

•   CSD students outperformed their Utah peers on most year-end SAGE tests, in some areas by as many as 12 percentage points. Four students earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college entrance exam. The District’s graduation rate rose three percentage points to 89 percent, and the number of students who take and pass Advanced Placement exams for college credit continued its upward trajectory.

•   Peruvian Park Elementary was named by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.

•   The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages honored CSD’s Dual Language Immersion Program with its prestigious Melba D. Woodruff Award for exemplary elementary Foreign Language programs.

•   Midway into the school year, individual student athletes and teams have claimed five state championship titles: Corner Canyon won 5A football, 5A boys cross country, and 5A girls soccer; Alta High’s Emilee Astle won the 5A state championship in girls singles tennis; and Corner Canyon’s Lizzie Simmons and Emma Heiden won 5A girls doubles. Additionally, Corner Canyon’s mountain biking team took first place at a non-sanctioned state championship event.

•   The Theatre Departments at Hillcrest and Corner Canyon shared the podium as sweepstakes winners in the Utah High School Shakespeare competition.

•   Twenty-six students earned Academic All-State honors in fall sports for excelling athletically and academically.

•   Eighteen high school seniors were named National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists.

•   Midvalley student Ashlyn Phillips was named Utah Playworks’ Junior Coach of the Year.

•   A major renovation of Indian Hills Middle was completed in time for the start of school, the 13th and final project promised to the public in 2010 when voters approved a $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond.

•   Crews began work on rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools and a major renovation of Alta High, the largest and most complicated of many more projects financed by the $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017.

•   A record number of volunteers (12,952) contributed hundreds-of-thousands of hours of service to CSD’s classrooms, and 6.3 million people visited Canyons District’s websites.

•   Five CSD employee were applauded for their extraordinary work: Morgan Brown, Alta High Athletic Director, 2018 Athletic Director of the Year; Stephanie Johnston, Hillcrest High counselor, Rookie Counselor of the Year; Connie Crosby, CSD homeless student liaison, Utah School Counselors Human Rights Award; Mark Mataya, Diamond Ridge and Entrada Assistant Principal, Outstanding Adult Educator Award; and Kevin Ray, CSD Risk Management Coordinator, and Kierstin Draper, Canyon View Elementary Principal, Think Safe Award.
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