Kierstin Draper was standing outside Canyon View Elementary’s Main Office when her walkie-talkie crackled to life with news of an immediate threat requiring the school to be placed on lockdown.

Class was in session, and most students were already in their classrooms where teachers calmly sprang into action, locking doors, turning off lights, and directing students to silently move away from the door and any windows.

Working with the school’s Resource Officer, Draper’s next course of action was to confirm that the school was secure and her students and employees were accounted for and safe. Fortunately, in this instance, the lockdown was merely an exercise—and she had at her disposal, the DIR-S app, which enabled her to perform a full sweep of the school in under two minutes. “We knew this was a drill, but just going through the exercise gets your heart pumping,” Draper says. lockdownsmall

Created by the Utah-based Tresit Group, the app—pronounced “duress”—was pilot-tested by Canyon View last year, and is now being implemented in all Canyons District schools. With a push of a button, it allows teachers and staff members 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 app speeds communication and allows everyone to be on the same page and working in lockstep to safeguard the school. It has provided my teachers with real peace-of-mind,” Draper says.

Improved communication is exactly why Tresit Group created DIR-S, which stands for Disaster Incident Response and Security. “During an emergency, 911 dispatchers often receive conflicting reports, which can sow confusion and slow emergency responders, who are sometimes coming from multiple jurisdictions and agencies,” says Preston Keller, the company’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This alleviates all of that.”

In a real life-threatening scenario, having immediate access to on-the-ground reports aids law enforcement in more quickly containing and investigating threats. It also provides teachers with the knowledge they need to make life-saving decisions in fluid situations.

When responding to an active threat, such as an intruder, Canyons employees are trained in the ESCAPE method, which entails taking the best course of action based on the circumstances of the moment. During a lockdown, the wisest choice, given a person’s proximity to the intruder, might be to evacuate the building or confront the intruder.   

“DIR-S helps to more quickly and accurately inform those decisions,” explains CSD Risk Manager Kevin Ray. “It’s one of the many ways, as we review and update our safety protocols, that we’re adapting to the evolving nature of threats.”

The app is equally valuable for responding to other emergencies, from fire drills and bomb threats to catastrophic disasters such as an earthquake, Draper says. “Knowledge is power and DIR-S puts that power in the hands of those who need it most when they need it most.”


Construction crews are busy working on projects throughout the District, and one more elementary school will soon be joining the list. The Canyons Board of Education voted unanimously on July 17 to begin rebuilding Midvalley Elementary as the first of three elementary schools in the District to be rebuilt. 

NJRA Architects will be designing the new building, and construction is anticipated to begin in April, 2019. The new school is expected to open for the 2020-2021 school year. As part of a $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017, three elementary schools in Canyons district will be rebuilt and a new elementary school in west Draper will be built. Peruvian Park and a White City school will also be rebuilt. 

Canyons’ administration proposed choosing Midvalley as the first project because it is the oldest of the three buildings, has ADA issues, needs roof repairs, and will be the easiest to build onsite while students are in school during the 2019-2020 school year. Also, it can help absorb growth in west Midvale. 

Midvalley originally opened in 1957. According to industry standards, an assessment of the school shows that the cost to repair the building exceeds 68 percent of the cost to replace the building. The new school will be built onsite while students continue to attend the old school.
Twenty-six more Canyons District athletes have been presented Academic All-State Awards this year for excelling in sports and in the classroom.

The awards are announced each sports season by the Utah High School Activities Association with this latest round going to students involved in track and field, boys soccer, baseball, softball, girls golf and boys tennis. This brings to 65 the total number of CSD honorees in 2017-2018. 

Congratulations to these sporting scholars:

5A Boys Soccer, Combined GPA, 3.999
David Brog, Brighton 
Thatcher Schwendiman, Brighton 
Jace Vance, Brighton

5A Baseball, Combined GPA 3.994
Zachary Larson, Brighton
Matthew Ebeling, Corner Canyon
Dalton Hagen, Corner Canyon

5A Softball, Combined GPA 3.991
Maguire Wright, Alta 
Erin Christensen, Brighton 

6A Girls Track and Field, Combined GPA 4.0
Madison Hooper, Hillcrest 
Madeline Martin, Hillcrest 
Jessica Ulrich, Hillcrest 

5A Girls Track and Field, Combined GPA 4.0
Claudia Caten, Brighton 
Emily Johansen, Brighton 
Olivia Liu, Brighton
Nicole Critchfield, Corner Canyon 
Makenzie Easton, Corner Canyon 
Raili Jenkins, Corner Canyon 
Hannah Sanderson, Corner Canyon 
Madison Westerlind, Corner Canyon 

5A Boys Track and Field, Combined GPA, 4.0
Aaron Jackson, Corner Canyon 
Trevor Lawson, Corner Canyon 
Michael Petty, Corner Canyon 

5A Boys Tennis, 3.997 GPA
Trek Lewis, Corner Canyon

6A Girls Golf, 3.986 Combined GPA
Jessica Ulrich, Hillcrest 

5A Girls Golf, Combined GPA 3.990
Mia Montgomery, Brighton 
Katherine Pearson, Brighton
They go out of their way to make students feel special. They recognize and encourage greatness in children. They give of their free time to support teachers. They find resources for schools, forge creative paths around big problems, and have worked shoulder-to-shoulder to build Canyons into the school district it is today.

For their countless contributions, these inspiring individuals were named Canyons School District's 2016 Apex Award winners, the highest honor given by the Board of Education and CSD administration.

Celebrated at a by-invitation-only evening event were: Gretchen Murray, who was named a runner-up in the state Teacher of the Year contest and selected as Canyons Teacher of the Year; Corner Canyon High's first principal Mary Bailey, who was selected as School Administrator of the Year; CSD's District Administrator of the Year Mike Sirois, who helped reconfigure CSD's middle schools and bring teachers out of isolation to work as teams; Judy Ward, the beloved and nurturing nutrition clerk at Lone Peak Elementary, who was selected as Education Support Professional of the Year; Katie Blunt, a driving force behind the success of Canyons Education Technology wizards, who was chosen to receive the Student Support Services Professional of the Year award; Ron Konnick, Sunrise Elementary's 'resident grandpa', who won the Volunteer of the Year award; Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, who champions education for homeless children, and was selected as Canyons' Elected Official of the Year; Valley Behavioral Health, which provides aid and care to students in crisis and was chosen to receive the Community Partner of the Year award; and Jennifer Toomer-Cook and Jeffrey Haney, the first communications team of Canyons District, who were chosen to receive the Legacy Award.

To see video profiles of the award-winners, click on the links above. Congratulations to all of the honorees, and thank you for all you do to provide a world-class education for CSD's students. 


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  • More than $180 billion in college aid is available to students for the 2017-2018 academic year—and the time for applying is now.

    Starting on Oct. 1, 2016, families can go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Think you won’t qualify for a needs-based scholarship? Don’t let that stop you from filling out an application. A FAFSA is required for many school-based scholarships. It also can open the door to work-study jobs, low-interest loans and grants.

    “Don’t leave money on the table, and act quickly as funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis,” says Ann-Marie Proctor, a Guidance Counselor at Jordan High. Last year, Utah students lost out on a whopping $45.5 million in free federal money because they didn’t complete a FAFSA.

    The good news is that FAFSA is now easier to fill out than ever before, because families can use their prior year’s taxes. Following is a list of documents required for FAFSA:

    • Your Social Security card or Permanent Resident Card
    • Your parents’ Social Security card(s) or Permanent Resident card(s)*
    • Most recent tax returns for you and your parent(s)
    • Most recent untaxed income records
    • Most recent W-2 forms for you and your parent(s)
    • Bank account balances for you and your parent(s)
    • Current business/investment/mortgage information (student and parents)
    • Your driver’s license
    (*note: if your parents don’t have a social security number, you can still file your FAFSA)

    To help spread the word so that all students can access this historic investment in financial aid, Canyons District’s high schools are hosting free FAFSA completion nights where counselors will guide families through the application process.  Anyone can attend these free events, and there are scholarship opportunities just for attending. Visit StepUpUtah.com/events for a statewide schedule. Following are the events to be held at Canyons District schools.

    Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016
    Brighton High, 5-8 p.m.

    Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016
    Jordan High, 6-9 p.m.

    Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016
    Alta High, 5-8 p.m.
    Hillcrest High, 5-8 p.m.
    Corner Canyon High, 6-9 p.m.






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