Thursday, 20 July 2017 17:10

Is Your Child Ready for School?

When does school start? Where does my child meet the bus? What’s on the lunch menu?

You've got back-to-school questions. Canyons School District has answers. Parents can stay in the know by frequently checking canyonsdistrict.org, but following are a few key dates and pieces of information for families to keep in mind.

For Your Calendar
Aug. 3 Online Registration Opens
Aug. 22 Sixth-Grade Orientation
Aug. 23 First Day of School
Aug. 25 Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto Stadium
Aug. 28 First Day of Kindergarten
Sept. 4 Labor Day

How to Register for School
Point, click, register, it’s that easy. Starting Aug. 3, CSD families can register their children for school online. If your child has attended CSD in the past: You will use your Guardian Skyward Family Access ID and Password to begin the online-registration process at http://skyward.canyonsdistrict.org/. If your child is new to CSD:  You will need to begin the enrollment process at your child’s school. Click here for a list of walk-in dates.

How to Sign Up to Volunteer
Last year, more than 12,500 volunteers — about one volunteer for every three CSD students — registered to lend a hand in CSD schools, be it to read with a child or help a student master multiplication tables. Be a part of something great, and join our volunteer team. Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are now being accepted. To sign-up, click here and follow the prompts.

Information on Bus Routes
Click here for an interactive database to find out if your child is eligible for busing, and where to find the bus stop.

What Time Does School Start and End?
A complete list of bell schedules for all CSD schools can be found here.

Lunch Menus
What's for lunch? Check here throughout the school year for weekly school breakfast and lunch menus.

For Everything Else: A-Z List of Parent Resources

Canyons District’s summertime fundraising luncheon has gone countywide!

Each summer, Canyons District employees collect food, clothing and back-to-school supplies for students in need—and this year, we're inviting everyone to participate.

Join us as we take part in Z104's three-day, “Tools for School” donation drive. Giving is easy. Just drop off your donations in the south-end parking lot of The Shops at South Town any time August 8-10, and say hello to Z104 radio personalities Dave and Deb who will be spending three nights at the shopping center in Canyons District buses. The event will benefit students throughout the Salt Lake valley.

Out of town that week? No matter. You can contribute cash or in-kind gifts any time to the Canyons Education Foundation. For more information email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Here's a list of needed items: Canned food, clothing and shoes (all sizes), personal hygiene items, school supplies, and backpacks.

Fifteen-year-old survives lung surgery to compete in national bowling championship 

Emily Pelzer was just 7 years old when she first saw a school flier inviting kids to come bowling. It seemed like it could be fun, so she asked her mom if they could go.

Eight years later, the soon-to-be sophomore at Hillcrest is still bowling — but the sport has become much more than a hobby. It’s a lifeline.

It turns out Pelzer is a natural at the sport. One year after she showed up to the bowling alley for the first time, the 8-year-old won her first national title, representing Utah in the national competition. Now that she’s 15, Pelzer has earned seven national titles in all, and this weekend she is going for another.

To face 4,500 competitors in the national bowling competition is a challenge of its own. But Pelzer has an ace up her sleeve. To her, bowling isn’t just a fun way to pass the time. It’s a metaphor for life. “You can learn a lot from it,” Pelzer says after finishing a long day working at Fat Cats bowling alley.

The last time Pelzer took her title to the countrywide competition, she placed 21 out of 450 competitors — and unbeknownst to her, she was playing with a partially collapsed lung. Pelzer’s mother, Sheri Harding, found her daughter on the floor not long after that game, lethargic and blue from the lack of oxygen reaching her system.

Pelzer, they later discovered, had three dime-sized holes in her right lung, caused by a chain of events that occurred when she had an allergic reaction to something she ate in the sixth grade, which caused her to go into anaphylactic shock. To stop the shock, paramedics gave her a different medicine, which triggered a second allergic reaction. Pelzer aspirated the medicine, which burned her lungs as soon as the medicine made contact. Harding didn’t know her daughter’s lungs were damaged, but at the time, she was just focused on helping Pelzer survive.

“They didn’t really give her much hope to actually live after she had that (first anaphylactic shock),” Harding says. “She was pretty much gone, and they brought her back, and it was really scary.”

Since then, Pelzer has had extreme allergic reactions to other common ingredients, but she was unaware of the extent to which her lung had been damaged four years ago. In the last year, the teenager had reconstructive lung surgery to correct the problem. The recovery process nearly took over her life, but there was one thing that kept Pelzer going: bowling. 

“I said, ‘All right, I’m not going to give up just because my lungs are giving up on me,’” Pelzer said. “I’m not going to let that happen because I know my body is more comfortable doing this sport than any other sport.”

So, Pelzer resumed her training, working on her spares and strikes nearly every day, preparing for the national championships that take place this weekend in Ohio. Pelzer already has a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M because of her bowling skills, but she has her eye on the top prize: a $300,000 scholarship and registration on Team USA for the next summer Olympics.

Canyons District will be cheering this Husky on, but no matter what, she is already a hero to us.
A summer academy created to put entering Hillcrest High freshmen on the path to excel their first, make-or-break, and beyond, has earned CSD the honor of being named a 2017 District of Distinction by District Administration Magazine. The award recognizes districts for leading the way with educational innovations “that are yielding quantifiable benefits, and that could be replicated by other districts.”

Hillcrest is a place where achievement is possible for all students. It consistently ranks among Utah’s top 10 high schools in U.S. News & World Report rankings, which look at graduation rates and test scores with an emphasis on the performance of disadvantaged students; more than 40 percent of Hillcrest’s students are from low-income households.

But in the summer of 2016, Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt began asking what it would take to ensure every student reaches his or her potential. His answer: a rigorous summer preparatory academy to give incoming ninth-graders a jump on high school. How students perform in the first months of their freshman year can determine whether they drop out or graduate.

Working with the family of elementary and middle schools that feed into Hillcrest, Leavitt identified students most likely to benefit from the inaugural Husky Strong Summer Academy where, for 30 days, 80 students received four hours of daily instruction in math, science, English and geography. Students had to forgo their summer breaks, but those who completed the coursework started school with a quarter of an elective credit under their belts. They also were eligible for cash incentives of up to $400 sponsored by the United Way of Greater Salt Lake.

The program, coupled with mentoring of students throughout their high school careers, has contributed to a 10 percent increase in the number of Husky freshmen on track to graduate. The strategy is now being adopted by Jordan High, which on June 12 welcomed about 45 freshmen to its inaugural summer academy.

The idea of paying kids to go to school has its detractors. But the stipends aren’t meant as a reward for performance, explains Jordan High Principal Wendy Dau. They’re a means to remove barriers. “Many of these kids have summer jobs or other responsibilities at home, such as looking after younger siblings, and we’re asking them to put those aside in order to come to school. We know that the biggest barrier to successful summer programs is that students do not attend regularly.”

huskystrongstudent.jpgAt an orientation event this past June to introduce students to the program, Husky Strong graduate Chris Allen encouraged his peers to take advantage of the opportunity, which he credits for helping him earn a recurrent spot on the Honor Roll and achieve a 4.0 grade point average last semester. “I know some of you are thinking this is a waste of time, but it’s the most valuable time you’ll spend all summer,” he told them.

The benefits of the program extend well past summer. Academy “graduates” are paired with mentors with whom they meet at least weekly throughout their high school careers to chart academic progress and set goals. “Being involved in the program taught me how much we need to teach students to do school. We need to teach them really specifically our expectations and we need to teach them how to be successful,” says Hillcrest Assistant Principal Sara Newberry. “You’ve got kid walking down a path. They can’t necessarily see the end of that path or the obstacles that are coming up in front of them. My job is to clear those obstacles so they can walk down that path.”

One of Utah’s largest newspapers called the initiative a "smart, sensible and innovative" approach “to dealing with a specific problem — one that happens to be at the heart of any education system’s principal mission — to make sure students who show up on the first day of school are still there when the bell rings on graduation day.” Parents who were surveyed agree the Academy was valuable, and student participants report feeling more confident.

“Students and parents know we’re on offense rather than defense,” says Leavitt. “We’re playing to win the game rather than just trying to cover up and come from behind.”

For more, see this Deseret News profile.

Recipe for Success
Every school faces unique challenges, and there is no one-size-fits all strategy for bridging the achievement gap. But here are a few key ingredients for a successful summer academy.

Adopt a Data Mindset: Using data from formative assessments, teachers are able to tailor their instruction and discern which strategies work or don’t work.
Seat-Time Matters: Ninth-graders who completed the Husky Strong Summer Academy continue outperform those who finished only a portion of the preparatory program.
Monitor and Mentor: Extra funding allowed Hillcrest Administrator Sara Newberry to get “off the alphabet,” the conventional way of assigning students to Assistant Principals, and focus exclusively on monitoring the progress of a select group of at-risk students. CARE teams at Hillcrest and Midvale Middle also collaborated to identify students in need of academic and emotional interventions, and choose students as best candidates for the Summer Academy.
Encourage and Motivate: Cash stipends were paid to student Academy participants as an attendance incentive. Each week, sometimes daily, either Hillcrest’s Assistant Principal, a counselor or an Americorps volunteer met with students to help them set goals and stay on track academically.
Connect with Family: Principals met with families at school and in their homes to explain the goals of the program, to help them understand the importance of their child’s attendance, and to better understand how the school can support them.
Strengthen Professional Development: Intensive coaching — sometimes as many as 10-25 sessions per teacher per year — has raised the quality of instruction at Hillcrest’s feeder schools and improved teacher morale.
Created by a vote of the people, Canyons District enjoys uncommon levels of community support. 

Last year, more than 12,500 volunteers — about one volunteer for every three CSD students — registered to lend a hand in CSD schools, be it to read with a child or help a student master multiplication tables. Together, they contributed more than 233,000 hours of service, and if trends continue, we expect an even greater showing of support next year.

Be a part of something great, and join our volunteer team. Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are now being accepted. To sign-up, click here and follow the prompts.

All volunteers in schools, including returning volunteers, and members of the PTA and School Community Council, must complete and submit a yearly application form for background screening. Approved applicants will receive confirmation by email along with information about volunteer opportunities. 

Questions? Please call the Canyons District Education Foundation at: 801-826-5171.
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