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

Standards-Based Electronic Grading System

The Instructional Supports Department presented information about a possible e-tool to aid in the implementation of an elementary Standards-Based Report Card. In 2013, the Board adopted a standards-based report card, and that started the process to find an electronic gradebook and assessment tool that would meet the needs of educators and ease communication between teachers and parents. ISD Administrator Kenna Sorensen presented the benefits and limitations of the systems piloted by 47 teachers from two dozen schools. Information about another system, which is a product of Instructure, which operates Canvas, also was presented. Once a gradebook is selected, the Instructional Supports would spearhead a districtwide roll-out, implementation, and professional development.

Canyons Education Foundation Update

The Canyons Education Foundation’s Development Officer presented information about the organization’s recent efforts. Denise Haycock says the foundation, which supports the mission of the District through private fund-raising, is focused on engaging with the community and building relationships. Haycock said the Foundation’s major events are the fall Golf Tournament and the Spring Gala. Last year, the Foundation awarded some 100,000 in Teacher Innovation Grants. It also provided up to $250 to every elementary school teacher for classroom materials, $70,000 in teacher classroom projects through Fuel Your School, and $10,000 for Utah College Application Week. The Foundation also gave scholarships and supported McKinney-Vento-classified students. 

Diamond Ridge High Update

Diamond Ridge High Principal Amy Boettger updated the Board on progress toward developing a comprehensive school improvement plan for Canyons’ non-traditional high school. The plan is required of all high schools with a graduation rate of 67 percent or lower by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Diamond Ridge’s graduation rate exceeds that of many other alternative high schools, which cater to students who seek a different learning environment. By reaching students at risk of dropping out, the school has directly contributed to Canyon’s District steadily rising graduation rate. But the ESSA law doesn’t differentiate between traditional and non-traditional high schools. The improvement plan involves implementing differentiated instructional strategies, providing additional professional development opportunities for faculty, and refining the use of data to guide instruction. 

Annual Report of CSD Committee on Human Sexuality

Instructional Supports Administrator Jesse Henefer provided a required update of work completed by the Canyons District Sex Education Instruction Committee for the 2018-2019 school year. The report informed the Board of any complaints or concerns received by the District related to the CSD’s sex education instruction or instructional programs. 

Early Literacy Program

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward presented the required Early Literacy Plan, as required by SB194.  Utah law requires schools to meet a state growth goal and at least one of two local growth goals. The report also establishes the literacy goals for Canyons teachers and students for the school year.

Patron Comments

Citing concerns about traumatic brain injuries, Dr. Steven Hummel asked the Board to consider stronger regulations on student activities, particularly soccer, during which students could suffer neurological damage.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education voted to approve the Consent Agenda, including approval of minutes from the Aug. 6, 2019 meeting of the Board;  approval of minutes from the Aug. 6 Truth-in-Taxation hearing; hire and termination reports;  purchasing bids; student overnight travel; July financial reports; Foundation Board members; Diamond Ridge High’s plan for Comprehensive School Improvement; and the K-3 Literacy Report.  The Board approved a request from Jordan High cheer to travel to a Florida competition in February. This request was discussed during the study session.

Beverley Taylor Sorenson Partnership Update

Sharee Jorgensen, the arts consortium chair and ISD Teacher Specialist for the Arts, led a conversation with the Board of Education about Canyons’ BTS partnership programs. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked District staff, teachers and administrators for doing the behind-the-scenes work in preparing for our schools for the first day of school.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board on construction projects at Alta, Jordan, Corner Canyon, Brighton and Hillcrest. Crews also completed daylighting projects at eight elementary schools, and are completing major overhauls of Front Offices at three schools, he said. The addition at the central office could be done by the end of October, as well.  A federal lawsuit settlement with Volkswagen, which was accused of intentionally violating emission standards, will provide funding for half the cost of 13 alternative-fueled school buses.

Board Member Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending Alta High’s Silver and Black Game, a Highland Invitational Cross Country Meet, and several parades to watch the All-District Marching Band.   He joked he’s getting ready for Superintendent Briscoe to call another Snow Day. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked the faculty and staff for their work getting the school year started

Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked Dr. Hummel for his remarks. He reported on attending the social-emotional learning conference in Salt Lake City, during which President Nancy Tingey participated in a panel discussion.  He also attended New Teacher Orientation, visited schools and cheered for students at first-day Red Carpet Events. He said teachers have told him they feel valued by the Board’s decision to implement a new salary schedule.   

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Utah School Boards Association delegate assembly where members voted on legislative priorities for the year. She attended first-day-of-school events, including Bella Vista Principal Sandra Dahl-Houlihan’s first day as principal of the school.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on participating in first-day-of-school Red Carpet Celebrations.  She expressed thanks to employees for their hard work in preparing for the school year.  

Mr. Mont Millerberg thanked the patrons who spoke during the Truth-in-Taxation hearing. He said the excitement at the Red Carpet Celebrations was just as palpable today as it was 11 years ago on the first day of school. He looks forward to the first day of kindergarten on Thursday. 

President Tingey wished the community a great school year. 
The robust cheers heard throughout the Salt Lake Valley on Monday, Aug. 19 were likely from the back-to-school celebrations held at Canyons District schools.   

Per an 11-year tradition, principals rolled out red carpets to welcome students to the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers, principals, and parents, as well as Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe and members of the Canyons Board of Education, lined up to snap photos, cheer and give high-fives and fist bumps to the students headed into school for the first time of the school year.

Adding to the festivities were players from Real Salt Lake and Royals FC, the professional soccer players who compete at Rio Tinto Stadium, located within the Canyons District boundaries.  The players, who encouraged all the students to set their sights on reaching their goals, were accompanied by Leo the Lion, who attracted a crowd wherever he went.  

Elementary and middle school students also received a free pencil for their backpacks.  Another tool Canyons District is providing students is “social-emotional” training to make good decision, manage emotions and solve problems. After all, children can’t learn at high levels if they feel insecure, anxious, stressed or scared. 

BJ Weller, Canyons’ Responsive Services Director, appeared on ABC4 and KUTV on the first day of school to talk about how the District is helping children develop the confidence and character traits needed for success in life and school. This includes things like teaching students who to set and achieve goals, make and keep friends, and make responsible decisions.   

“We’re still teaching math, science, reading and writing … but we’re now cognizant of how, say the simple act of reading, can teach children empathy by exposing them to different perspectives or persisting with a math problem can teach perseverance,” he says.  “As a parent, you may hear your teacher refer to this as social-emotional learning. But it’s really best described as life skills, which, research suggests can significantly increase a student’s chances of graduating from high school and college.”

In Canyons District, the Board of Education has invested in the hiring and training of psychologists, social workers and counselors for every school. These professionals are there as a resource for families and to help maintain environments where children feel connected and safe to raise their hands, try hard things, and reach out to new friends. Also, starting this fall, and over the next few years, Canyons schools will be rolling out a new, social-emotional learning curriculum to help teachers and staff speak the same language when talking about things like problem-solving, focusing in class, and working as teams.

“Again, much of this is just part of everyday learning. For example, while reading a book in kindergarten about a boy who loses his dog, the teacher might prompt students to talk about how the boy feels or discuss steps he might take to begin searching for his pet. A failed science experiment can serve as an important lesson about it’s OK when things don’t work as planned, it’s part of the learning process. It’s kind of a new way of thinking about book smarts.”

Parents can support, Weller says, by modeling a positive attitude about education and showing interest in their child’s classes, teachers and friends.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Truth and Taxation Meeting Information

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented information to the Board of Education about the Aug. 6 Truth and Taxation meeting. Wilcox outlined the planned agenda for the hearing, which will include a presentation about the proposed adjustment and patron comments. Funds from a 13 percent increase would allow the District to put into place a new salary schedule for Canyons educators. The teacher-compensation plan, as negotiated with the Canyons Education Association, calls for a $7,665-per-year salary increase for every teacher. It also would raise the beginning-teacher’s salary to $50,000. This is the first time in Canyons District history that the District is proposing to increase the certified tax rate through the required Truth and Taxation process. The hearing will be in Board chambers at Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East. 

Apex Awards

Director of Communications Jeff Haney presented information about the upcoming 10th annual Apex Awards, the highest awards given by the Board of Education and Administration. The by-invitation-only event will be Sept. 10 at Corner Canyon High. Nominations for Apex Awards are being taken until Aug. 2. 

Patron Comments

Patron Steve Van Maren asked the Board to reconsider the agenda for the night of the Truth and Taxation hearing. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including approval of the minutes of the Board of Education from June 18, 2019; minutes from the June 25, 2019 meeting of the Board; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; requests for overnight travel; June financial reports; a revised organizational chart; and a revised Board meeting schedule for 2019-2020.

Board and Staff Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Board of Education for the constructive criticism given in his recent performance review. He also remarked that the recent roundtable discussion was productive and yielded a robust list of possible action item for the school year. He also mentioned Brighton High’s 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 20. 

Wilcox said he appreciated the feedback he received during his performance evaluation.  He also updated the Board on plans to start using biodegradable trays at all 29 elementary schools in the coming school year. The schools also are going to use silverware instead of disposable utensils. 

Board of Education Member Reports

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked the staff for planning the 10th birthday party for the District.  She also thanked those who are working throughout the summer to prepare schools and other facilities for the upcoming school year. 

Mr.  Steve Wrigley reported on participating in the Sandy City Fourth of July parade and the Jordan High summer academy graduation. He also said many teachers have approached him about the salary increase, saying they appreciate the consideration of providing a wage that’s comparable to other professions. 

Mrs. Amber Shill expressed appreciation to Wilcox and the Nutrition Services team for finding a solution to environmental concerns regarding the disposable lunch trays.

Mr. Mont Millerberg said the 10th birthday party for Canyons District “was killer.”

President Nancy Tingey noted the investment of parents, students, employees and community partners in the success of the District over the past 10 years.  She thanked the public for participating in the operations of the District. 
For now, summer is in full swing, with barbeques, popsicles, and sunny afternoons by the pool. Before we know it, however, Canyons District schools will hum with a back-to-school buzz — and yellow school buses will be a familiar sight in neighborhoods.

Parents are encouraged to be prepared for the Monday, Aug. 19 first day of school for first- through 12th-grade students and the Wednesday, Aug. 22 start-day for kindergarten and preschool students by taking a minute to review 2019-2020 transportation plans for students who attend Canyons schools in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the towns of Alta and Brighton.  

Updated information about pick-up and drop-off locations can be easily accessed on the Canyons District website. Click here for the e-tool the public can use to find out more about eligibility and the established stops for Canyons buses. 

In addition, parents are urged to note a Utah law governing transportation funding that may affect some Canyons District middle school students. 

Canyons receives funding for busing provided to students enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade who live at least 1 ½ miles from school and students enrolled in grades seven through 12 who live at least 2 miles from school.

This means that some middle school students who qualified for busing last year may not qualify again this year because they have advanced to the seventh-grade and must live more than 2 miles away from the school to receive the services.

Canyons has created a “space-available” permit program to help many students who no longer qualify for busing services. Non-qualifying students may submit a request for transportation services so they can ride with their qualifying siblings or neighbors — if there is space on the bus.  The space-available permits are granted on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. 

The permit-request forms will be made available to the public at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5.  The forms can be accessed at all Canyons District schools and must be submitted at the school where your child attends.  

During the first few weeks of the school year, transportation services will not be provided to secondary students who live within a 2-mile radius of their schools, even if they have submitted a space-available permit request.  The CSD administration realizes this may be an inconvenience for some families, but the CSD Transportation Department needs the time to verify the numbers of students who, according to state law, are guaranteed a spot on the bus. 

Families of students who are granted a space-available permit will be notified by Sept. 16. 

Questions?  Please call Canyons District at 801-826-5000 or send an e-mail message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., A representative will be prepared to help you with your questions.
As one of the first employees of Canyons School District, Susan Edwards has had a front-row seat for many of the District’s defining moments.

Even before the vote on Nov. 6, 2007, Edwards was deeply involved in community discussions that led to the creation of the first school district in Utah in 100 years. From building a vital bridge of connections throughout the community to choosing the District’s first computers, Edwards has played a key role in Canyons’ history — and, after a decade of devoting day and night to its success — Canyons has played a key role in hers.

“It feels like Canyons’ history is part of my family’s history,” Edwards said recently as she reflected on the District’s upcoming anniversary. “My family sees what you can accomplish, they see the relationships and the strength it takes just to battle through. They’ve learned a lot about community service, and how important education is to me.”

Click here to see Edwards talk with ABC4 anchor Brian Carlson about Canyons District's first 10 years.

Since community was essential to Canyons’ creation, community is at the heart of Canyons’ 10-year anniversary celebration on July 1. Nearly 700 people attended a free community party from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandy Amphitheater splash pad, 1245 E. 9400 South.  At the event, the District served more than 600 hot dogs, bags of chips, and bottles of water. Attendees also sang “Happy Birthday” and cheered as the Board of Education cut birthday cakes decorated with the District’s logo.

Partygoers included students and their parents, current and former employees and dignitaries, including leaders of Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale and Sandy cities. Families stayed cool with water from the splash pad while picnicking on the lush grass of the park.  A live DJ turned up the volume to popular tunes. 

Canyons would not exist without the support of the community and family members throughout the District. For Edwards, the support of her family was essential in undertaking her role to help Canyons thrive. As one of the first CSD employees, Edwards wore many hats to help Canyons get off of the ground. She helped forge relationships between city leaders and district leaders, she acted as a business manager, IT director and human resources aide until those positions were filled by the experts in their fields.   

When Canyons’ first computers were to be delivered to the District, it was Edwards who waited at the building every day over Christmas break, only to discover they were marooned at the airport, because they believed all school districts would be closed, unaware Canyons was currently in an office building. Whatever the task, Edwards, now the District’s Public Engagement Coordinator, is ready to step in and help make it happen. 

“In many regards, Susan is the go-to person in Canyons District,” said Canyons School District President Nancy Tingey. “Her dedication to the District is unparalleled. Through her connectedness to the community, she is both an ambassador for the District, as well as a valuable link to bring community matters to the attention of the District.” 

Over the course of a decade, for every meeting and service opportunity, Edwards was there, but she wasn’t alone. Her four children were all in school at the time, and as they supported their mother, attending school events and more, they experienced their own firsts in Canyons history. Her son was a graduate in Canyons’ first commencement ceremony in 2010, he also was a flag bearer at Canyons’ first opening ceremony. A daughter was part of the first class of seniors to graduate from Corner Canyon, Canyons’ first brand-new high school. Another daughter was part of the first class to graduate after spending all four years at Corner Canyon. They all watched as the first middle school was built in Draper, and learned about their mother’s grit as they saw her dedicate time and energy to the District even after they all entered college.

Before Canyons was created, Edwards was involved in her children’s school community as a member of the school community council and PTA president. After Canyons’ creation, Edwards continues to devote her time and energy to supporting the District and its students, even if her own kids have moved on. 

 “I still want Canyons to be the best it can be,” Edwards said. “We’ve got 34,000 other kids. Our staff, our teachers, our children, our communities, they all rely on Canyons doing a good job. It’s not really a job we get to fail at. If we do, we’re failing a classroom of kids, and their whole education is impacted. We don’t get to fail because we are producing the people who will run our world for the next many years.”

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