What would you do if you had to break up a fight between inmates?  Or if an inmate was threatening self-harm?  Or asking you to bend rules of the in exchange for a favor? These are all situations that a corrections officer could face upon arriving for the first day of work at a jail. 

Students in the criminal justice program at the Canyons Technical Education Center put their skills and knowledge to the test when they faced simulations of real-life jail incidents that were done by “actors” who were given direction on how to talk and act by local law-enforcement agencies. 

The simulations, held Oct. 10-11, 2019 at CSD’s Crescent View building, 11150 S. 300 East, were eye-opening for students who are in the class and are mulling a career in law-enforcement.

The focus of the exercise was to help the 17- and 18-year-old students see first-hand what kind of situations they would need to handle in the real world of criminal justice.

The groups of students were asked to de-escalate physical and verbal situations between inmates, handle issues that could require medical assistance, and face inmates who are expressing suicidal tendencies. 

 “We’ve never done this kind of a simulation before,” says instructor Edwin Lehauli, “but we want our students to get a pretty good look at what it is like to be a corrections officer.” 

One simulation caught Alta senior Braedyn Sendizik by surprise. He said he wasn’t quite sure how to respond to the actors playing the inmates.  “They kept trying to draw me in — and I got too drawn in instead of shutting it down” and insisting that directives be followed, he said.

“I learned from it,” he said, “and next time I will know better.”

Fellow Alta student Garrett Boland, who is eyeing a career as a lawyer, faced a simulation that required him to get inmates in their cells at the end of a day. “I learned to be aware of just about everything,” he said, noting that his instructor had tipped the class off to manipulation techniques often used by inmates so students would be prepared in the simulations.

“This definitely taught me a lot. It’s a learning experience for sure but it’s also a lot of fun,” Sendizik said. “It’s like the real world. You have be ready for everything.  You have to know what you are walking into.”
Canyons District student-athletes from all five of Canyons’ comprehensive traditional high schools are acing serves and exams, scoring points both on the playing field and in the classroom, and persevering through tough quizzes and race courses.  

Twenty-four students who are vying for athletic victories in volleyball, football, cross country, girls tennis, girls soccer, and boys golf also have won honors for excelling in academics. The following have been named as Academic All-State Award recipients in fall sports sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association.

  • Cole Hagen, Corner Canyon 
  • Connor Lewis, Corner Canyon
  • Dallan Nelson, Corner Canyon
  • Randen Grimshaw, Corner Canyon
  • Steve Street, Corner Canyon
  • Jordan Falls, Alta
  • Ty Didericksen, Alta 
  • Blake Yates, Brighton
  • Douglas Smith II, Hillcrest
  • Emma White, Corner Canyon
  • Lauryn Nichols, Corner Canyon
  • Jessica Pike, Jordan 
  • Elle Wilson, Brighton
  • Quentin Cook, Brighton
  • Annika Manwaring, Corner Canyon 
  • Kenli Coon, Corner Canyon 
  • Caroline Murri, Alta 
  • Catherine Schumann, Alta 
  • Courtney Ebeling, Brighton 
  • Dylan Zito, Brighton 
  • Sarah Miller, Hillcrest 
  • Sydney Hurst, Hillcrest 
  • Camryn Young, Corner Canyon
  • Kate Marler, Brighton
  • Alexandra Paradis, Hillcrest
  • Cooper Gardiner, Corner Canyon 
  • Mark Boyle, Corner Canyon 
  • Caylor Willis,Hillcrest 
  • Dallin Moon, Hillcrest
  • Daniel Call, Hillcrest 
  • Nathan Diggins, Hillcrest 
  • Zakia Kirby, Hillcrest
  • Grace Poulson, Corner Canyon
  • Mia Affleck, Alta 
  • Laura Lundahl, Brighton
  • Kaitlyn Sterner, Jordan
  • Megan Fernandez,  Jordan 
  • Emily Rimmasch,  Hillcrest 
  • Emily Zhang, Hillcrest
Chemistry is a challenging discipline. There are up to 118 elements to commit to memory and a language to learn for expressing chemical equations, not to mention the math involved.

But Gretchen Carr believes the reason most students find it difficult is they’ve been told it’s difficult. “Chemistry is notoriously hard. But so are a lot of things,” the Jordan High Chemistry teacher says. Trouble is, while some students shrink from challenges and seem devastated by small setbacks, others persevere and view setbacks as part of the learning process, exhibiting what’s become known in education circles as a “growth mindset.” It’s a term coined years ago to describe how some people perceive learning and intelligence as acquirable through hard work, instead of believing we’re born with fixed talents and abilities. It’s also something Carr is striving this year to teach her students along with the Periodic Table and acid-base reactions.

“I find a lot of kids are afraid of failure and they don’t want to go through the learning process of trying it and revising their work, and trying it again and revising it again,” Carr says. “So, I’ve made it a goal to make all students feel more welcome and free to make mistakes without people, including their classmates, coming down on them.”

Teachers have long understood that there’s more to school than reading, writing and arithmetic. So much of what students glean from their time in the classroom, the lunchroom, or interacting with peers has to do with developing the life skills and character traits they’ll need as adults. Increasingly, however, schools are becoming more sophisticated in how they approach these life lessons.  flop2

As students bustle into Carr’s classroom, they’re greeted by a sign that states, “Chemistry is hard. You can do hard things.” It’s Carr’s go-to statement with the going gets tough. Only this year, to help set the tone, she also shared with students a TED talk by Carol Dweck about the power of the word “yet” to reframe feelings of inadequacy.

“Instead of saying, ‘I’m just not good at math or chemistry or sports,’ you say, ‘I’m just not good at chemistry, math or sports…yet,’” Carr explains. It’s a word that can trigger confidence and renewed enthusiasm for learning, and build character-traits, such as the resilience to persist through failure, Dweck and her colleagues have found. The growth mindset, in other words, is teachable, and science is a surprisingly natural starting place.

Iteration is integral to the scientific process, which is an important lesson for students to learn in preparation for college and the knowledge-based careers of the future, believes Carr who has come up with some creative ways for students to comfortably practice observing, experimenting, revising and trying again.

On the second day of school, she tasked teams of students to build Go Karts from a handful of straws, Life Saver candies and some paper and tape. “It was an engineering exercise, and most of the students would call the first running of the Go Karts their great first flop,” she says.

But that’s the point. Initially, students assumed they were racing. But when they learned they would get a chance to improve upon their designs, and were told it was a success if their second design went further than the first — even if by a few inches — that’s when they got excited, Carr says. “Now, when I talk in class and mention the growth mindset, maybe they’ll recognize it’s time to take courage, experiment and not give up.”

Discussing the growth mindset in class is something that happens to be outside Carr’s comfort zone. “I’m no expert in this,” she says. “A psychology or English class seems like more of a forum for teaching this kind of thing.” But she’s feeling pretty positive about the experience and believes it’s making a difference for some students.

It takes some forethought and planning, but doesn’t take anything away from her daily instruction, Carr says. Like any good scientist, she’ll continue observing how different strategies work and make adjustments as needed. “We’ll see how it plays out throughout the year,” Carr says. “I’m sure there are ways I can build on it.”
It’s the parenting dilemma of the digital age: How do we encourage our children to take advantage of all that technology affords while protecting them from the documented dangers of too much screen time? How do we model a healthy use of technology when we, too, fight the allure of smart phones and social media?

At Canyons District, the safe and responsible use of technology — or, good digital citizenship — is promoted every day in our classrooms, and it’s not just about teaching students to safely navigate the Internet. We empower students to put their smartphones, tablets and computers to best use to explore the world, gain knowledge and connect — and we invite parents to participate.

October has been designated Think Safe Month in Canyons District, which kicks off with Digital Citizenship Week, Oct. 14-16. CSD’s Internet safety effort started with School Community Councils, which have been given statutory responsibilities regarding digital citizenship in their respective schools — responsibilities that are now growing to encompass other safety measures. October

The Utah Legislature, through HB213, has asked SCC's to “engage” with school administrators around the topics of school safety. In the coming weeks, principals will invite their Councils to become familiar with the District’s safety protocols, discuss school safety needs, set goals and share highlights from their discussion with the District. To help spark these conversations, the District has prepared an online report detailing all Canyons does in the name of keeping schools welcoming, secure and prepared.

Canyons’ Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards encourages SCC’s to begin reviewing this report now. “The safety and welfare of children is a communitywide effort. Our patrons, parent volunteers and law enforcement agencies are valuable partners in this endeavor and we value their input.”

Lockdowns copySchool safety has always been a topic of discussion — and action — in Canyons District. Some safety measures are obvious, such as the emergency drills schools practice throughout the year. Other safety measures are less obvious, such as the Internet filters used by schools to prevent students from inadvertently accessing inappropriate content online (see infographic below).

In partnership with SCC’s during Digital Citizenship Week, schools will reinforce what it means to behave safely while online and participate responsibly in our digital world through lessons, activities and assemblies. Parents, teachers and students can join the online conversation about Digital Citizenship Week by following the hashtag #usetech4good on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tips also are available on Canyons District’s website for reinforcing these teachings at home. 

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

Brighton High Marching Band

The Board of Education approved a proposal by the Brighton Bengals to start a marching band — an idea that is supported by 99 percent of Brighton parents. Brighton High is experiencing a uptick in participation in instrumental music, and Principal Tom Sherwood said the community has responded positively to the performances of the school band at recent public events. To aid in the launch of the new marching band, the Board approved an investment of $296,000 to purchase and maintain instruments, uniforms, and equipment. The band is expected to begin in the 2020-2021 school year. Brighton will join the Alta as the only two schools in Canyons with marching bands. 

The New Canyons District Office

Crews are expected to complete work at the new Canyons District Office by the end of October, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said. The construction of the addition at the District Office at 9361 S. 300 East was funded primarily by the sale of land and a District-owned facility at 9150 S. 500 West. When complete, all but two of  Canyons District’s administrative departments — Facilities Services and Transportation — will be housed at one centrally located campus. Wilcox said carpet is now being installed in the new wing, and the security and fire systems have passed inspection. Work on the parking lot improvements have already started and will continue for the next few months. Patrons and employees will be informed about the opening of the new building through a series of mailers and newsletters. The Office of Public Communications is designing new maps of the new Canyons District Office and also will plan an Open House of the new offices on Oct. 31. As children trick-or-treat, the public and employees can tour the building. Other tours for the Board and school administrators also will be held.   

Brain Booster Update

A survey of Canyons elementary school principals indicates strong support of the Brain Booster program, which provides for technology, physical education or art instruction while classroom teachers plan and collaborate. On average, CSD elementary schools allocate 20 hours to the Brain Boosters. In the survey, principals said media technicians were not allocated enough hours to do both their day-to-day tasks and Brain Booster instruction, and also suggested that salaries for all Brain Booster positions be increased to keep and attract qualified employees. In addition, survey results indicated a need for Brain Booster-teacher training in student-behavior management. School Performance Directors McKay Robinson and Alice Peck will review each schools’ use of the Brain Booster employee hours, address the media technician workload concern, and continue conversations with Beverley Taylor Sorensen arts specialists regarding workload and how to promote more collaboration with classroom teachers.

District Calendar Update

Office of Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud provided an update to the Board about the 2020-2021 school year calendar and the tentative 2021-2022 and 2022-2023  school year calendars. In addition, he said, Presidents Day is the preferred day of teachers for a make-up day in the event of a Snow Day in future years, according to a survey of certificated CSD employees.The second most-popular option is the day after the last scheduled day of the school year, according to the survey. Respondents also suggested having late-start days instead of Snow Days, holding school electronically, or building a Snow Day into the calendar that, if not used, could be a teacher-preparation day. The Board also discussed leaving the policy as is — with Presidents Day as the No. 1 option as a make-up day — with the understanding that an emergency meeting could be held if the Snow Day happens close to or after Presidents Day. 

Student Advisory Council

The Board of Education empaneled the 2019-2020 Student Advisory Council, made up of representatives from all five of Canyons’ traditional high schools. This is the seventh group organized to advise the Board of Education on proposals that would affect students.  The formation of the group also creates a formal link students can access if they have concerns about policies or practices of the schools. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle meets regularly with the council to discuss education-related issues and provide leadership training. 


The following students, faculty and staff were recognized by the Board of Education for their achievements:
  • Butler Elementary Principal Jeff Nalwalker and students Aggy Deagle, Liv Deagle, Evelyn Fisher, Annabelle Cheney for encouraging the District to adopt more eco-friendly lunch trays.
  • Entrada High School’s Stephanie Nicolaides, who was named 2019 Adult Education Educator of the Year by the Utah Association for Adult, Community and Continuing Education.
  • Mike Sirois, School Performance Director and a founding administrator of Canyons District, for his years of service. Sirois is retiring this week.
Long-Range Planning, Meeting Schedule

President Nancy Tingey and Board members Chad Iverson and Mont Millerberg updated the Board on the progress of the District’s Long Range Planning Committee. In particular, the Board discussed the size, acreage, enrollment and condition of White City-area schools Bell View and Edgemont. The public was promised a new White City-area elementary school at the November 2017 passage of a $283 million bond. The Board also discussed Dr. Briscoe’s proposal to hold a Tuesday, Nov. 19 study session to review teacher and parent feedback on a pilot program of Mastery Connect, a software the CSD Instructional Supports Department would like to use to facilitate a standards-based gradebook for elementary schools. In addition, the Board will adjust the Board’s meeting schedule to accommodate a roundtable discussion on Aug. 4, 2020 instead of June 23, 2020.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, which includes hire and termination reports; student overnight travel requests; an interlocal agreement with Sandy City for school resource officers; and a TSSP amendment for Peruvian Park Elementary. 

Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational thought

The American and the state flags were posted by students at Bella Vista Elementary. Principal Sandra Dahl-Houlihan thanked the Board for the opportunity serve as the instructional leader at the Cottonwood Heights-area school. At Bella Vista, she said, every Tuesday is “Tiger Tuesday,” a time set aside to recognize students for positive behavior. Dahl-Houlihan reports that 14 percent of Bella Vista Tigers receive special education services. Twenty-six percent are low income and 10 percent are English Language Learners, she said. The school also has three preschool classes, two ABS units, and an Supplemental Hours of Kindergarten Instruction class. Dahl-Houlihan said the school enjoys a tremendous amount of community and parent support.

New Housing Complex Issue

The Board of Education continues to review a proposal to include a 120-unit apartment complex at Highland Drive and Traverse Ridge in Draper Elementary's boundaries. The Board asked the Administration to follow applicable state law regarding public notification. 

Policy Updates

The Board approved changes to policies governing fiscal accountability and school fundraisers and the solicitation of schools by vendors. The Board continues to review policies regarding the acceptable use of technology at school, including personal electronic devices.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Report

For National Custodian Day, Superintendent Dr. Briscoe thanked custodial and maintenance employees for all of their efforts. He also lauded the additional staff and Board member work that has been done on various Canyons District committees. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said all 24 classrooms in the new wing at Corner Canyon are open and being used by students and teachers. The portables at the school will soon be removed. The first phase of Draper Elementary’s parking lot is complete, he said.  The next phase will be undertaken in the summer. Wilcox also thanked teachers for their efforts during Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg said he was touched at the letters of appreciation sent to the Board by several winners of the 2019 Apex Awards. He congratulated Brighton High on its successful proposal to start a marching band, and wished teachers and students good luck as they begin the program. He also thanked the Butler Elementary students who asked CSD to consider using eco-friendly lunchroom trays in Canyons schools. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks said she enjoyed attending the 10th annual golf tournament of the Canyons Education Foundation. She said she visited the District’s Costume Warehouse, and expressed appreciation to teachers for their work during Parent-Teacher Conferences. She noted the positive impacts of the completion of the Corner Canyon classroom wing and the parking lot at Draper Elementary.

Mr. Steve Wrigley expressed appreciation to his fellow Board members.  He said his service on the Board adds to his life in a positive way.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold remarked on the meetings that have been held to discuss various initiatives, including CTESS. She lauded teachers for their work during Parent-Teacher Conferences, and expressed appreciation for Canyons custodians.

Mr.  Chad Iverson attended football games and cross country meets and asked President Tingey for a future discussion among Board members about coach and adviser compensation. 

President Tingey thanked District specialists for updating the Board on important issues and noted the start of School Community Council training meetings.  The aim is to provide training for every SCC member in Canyons District.
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