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The student voice can be heard loud and clear in the Canyons District.

To the end of creating a direct avenue for student input, the Canyons Board of Education has empaneled a Student Advisory Council made up of representatives from all five of Canyons’ traditional high schools.

This is the fifth year a council of Canyons students has been selected to serve in this capacity.

The members of the council, who were introduced during the meeting of the Board on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, were chosen through an application process.  They will meet at least six times throughout the year for leadership training, discussions with senior staff members of the District, and to give feedback to Board members on proposals that could impact students.   

The 2017-2018 members of the Student Advisory Council are Alta High’s Sydney Pexton and Taylor Wood; Brighton High’s Bradley Sullivan and Sophie Yates; Corner Canyon High’s Hope Broman and Logan Orr; Hillcrest High’s Boston Iacobazzi and Sierra Metzger; and Jordan High’s Conner Tait and Gabby Marz.

Board of Education 1st Vice President Nancy Tingey welcomed the students to their advisory role.  She says the Board looks forward to “sitting down and discussing the things” that are important to the students.  “If you see things that we could do better,” she said, “then don’t hesitate to contact us.” 

The council is facilitated by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle.
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 04:13

Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 3, 2017

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


Alta High's Step2theU Program

Last summer, Alta High enrolled its first cohort of juniors in Step2theU, a program that allows students to earn two years of college credit at the University of Utah while still in high school. Forty-six students applied and the program was able accept 36, said Alta High Principal Brian McGill. Grades, academic awards and extracurricular achievements all factored into the review of the applications by an admissions committee. The committee also took into consideration the applicants’ participation in Honors, Advanced Placement or concurrent enrollment courses. The committee also looked for an ability to contribute to and benefit from a culturally and intellectually diverse learning community. So far, 100 percent of the students who started the program last summer have stuck with it, McGill said. “Not one student has dropped out of the program, to date, which is pretty remarkable,” he said. Those who complete the program will graduate with the equivalent of an associate degree for a fraction of what they would pay in college tuition. It’s a life-changer for some of these kids, McGill said. 

Brain Boosters Update

Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board of Education on the “Brain Boosters” part of the elementary-school schedule. Two years ago, the Board of Education approved an elementary schedule that sets aside time for students to participate in the arts, physical-education, engineering, technology and media library classes. At the time the schedule was OK’d, the Board directed the Administration to streamline the Brain Boosters curriculum, increase the productivity of IPLC teacher collaboration, and ensure a high level of quality in the Brain Booster classes. Dr. Roderick-Landward said her department has focused on extending grade-level standards with the courses, and, because the classes are mostly led by paraprofessionals, developing 30- to 60-minute interactive lessons with structured instructional sequences. Roderick-Landward said ISD provides professional development on a monthly basis for the instructors who teach the arts, library media, and physical-education classes, and three times annually for engineering and technology. At the school level, she said, Brain Booster teachers and technicians have the support of the building administrator, the Achievement Coach, the Building Leadership Team liaison, and the lead technician. At the District level, there are specialists for arts, library media, Playworks, engineering and technology, as well as a District-based coach.  Board members reported hearing positive feedback about the Brain Booster program.

Policy Reviews 

The Board adopted a Special Education policy as required by state and federal law. Following a thorough review of CSD’s Section 504 Policies and Procedures, the District Administration and the Board of Education’s Policy Committee determined no substantive changes are needed.

Pledge of Allegiance and Reverence

Boy Scout Troop 788 and Cub Scout Pack 3788 posted the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The reverence was given by Alta View Principal Karen Medlin. The 600 students enrolled at the school hail mostly from White City but also live in other Sandy neighborhoods. The school has a Spanish-English Dual-Language Immersion program, and 28 licensed staff, including teachers from Spain and Mexico, and enjoys a supportive and active community of parents. Medlin thanked the Board and community for her new school building, which was the 12th major construction project completed with proceeds from the $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. 

Student Advisory Council

The 2017-2018 members of the Student Advisory Council were officially introduced. The members are Alta High’s Sydney Pexton and Taylor Wood; Brighton High’s Bradley Sullivan and Sophie Yates; Corner Canyon High’s Hope Broman and Logan Orr; Hillcrest High’s Boston Iacobazzi and Sierra Metzger; and Jordan High’s Conner Tait and Gabby Marz. Members of the council, selected after an application process, meet regularly to advise the Board on proposed policies that could impact students. The first meeting of the council, to be led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle, is Wednesday at Jordan High.  

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the following students and staff for their accomplishments: 
  • Katie Blunt, Education Technology Specialist, who was chosen to be featured on a nationally broadcasted segment for American Graduate Champion Day on Oct. 14. 
  • The 14 Canyons high school seniors who are semifinalists in the National Merit Scholar competition. The students are Alta High’s Nathan L. Brown; Brighton High’s Joshua Brodbeck: Corner Canyon High’s August Burton and Aaron Jackson; Hillcrest High’s Richard Abbott, Bryson Armstrong, Mohammed Khan, Chu Un Kim, Kara Komarnitsky, Madeline Martin, Joshuan Raty, Alexander Sun and Vivek Vankayalapati; and Jordan High’s Daniel Ross.
  • The Board also recognized the CSD Office of Public Communications, which received the Best Communications in a Major Incident Award from the Utah Public Information Officers Association. The award stemmed from Canyons’ efforts to communicate with the Brookwood community after a fatal shooting in June. 
Patron Comment

Draper Park Middle Kelli Davey spoke to the Board about the six-period schedule at the school.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the approval of minutes from the Sept. 19 meeting of the Board of Education; the hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; and a Memorandum of Understanding with Cottonwood Height’s Summer Theater Program. 

Bond Proposal

Director of External Affairs Charlie Evans presented information about the effort to inform the public about the District’s $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot. The Friends of the Canyons District Bond, an organization of parents who support the bond proposal, also gave the Board “vote yes” signs for their yards.  The signs were paid for with private funds. Parent Suzanne Walker said residents who want a lawn sign can contact the group at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or through a Facebook page, Friends of the Canyons District Bond.

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe spoke about the public and personal impact of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. He said he knew people who were the event, and expressed gratitude they were able escape unharmed. However, he also noted the ways in which people pull together in times of a crisis and the many examples of good works, not only in our District but across the nation and world. For an example, he noted a Midvale Middle teacher who applied for a grant to help non-English speakers at the school.  He also pointed out the anti-bullying effort that Alta and Corner Canyon high school students will hold before the upcoming rivalry game.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board that a voter information pamphlet about the bond proposal will be delivered to homes later this week.  He also congratulated East Midvale Elementary for raising to from a D to a B in the state’s school-grading program. He also thanked teachers for working so hard to prepare for Parent Teacher Conferences.

Board Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg also remarked on the press event to announce this year’s round of Chevron “Fuel Your School” teacher grants. The event was held at Midvale Middle where English-language development teacher Shelley Allen demonstrated tablets she was awarded that are able to translate classroom lectures for students in languages ranging from Swahili to Arabic and Chinese. Mr. Millerberg also commended the citizens group of grassroots supporters who have volunteered to help spread word about CSD’s proposed school-improvement bond. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked on the growing lack of civility and social pressures facing school children and the teachers who are working hard to help them achieve. He said he would like the Board to discuss the role of schools in promoting behavioral health and emotional wellness. 

Mrs. Amber Shill attended her Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation meeting and provided them with an update on CSD’s proposed bond. Parks and Recreation has just come off a successful bond election, which is reaping dividends throughout the community, she said. Mrs. Shill also accompanied Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe to a recent Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting during which they discussed the bond measure. She said the council is supportive and eager to see Brighton High rebuilt.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey encouraged School Community Council members to take advantage of the many trainings being offered by the District. She also attended the Cottonwood Heights City Council where Dr. Briscoe presented information on the proposed bond. She also commended the District for providing resources to support the emotional well-being of its students and employees.

Clareen Arnold was excused from the meeting.

Mr. Chad Iverson attended a National Honors Society induction ceremony, as well as sporting events.  He added that he’s excited about the bond proposal and the support that is building across the Canyons community.

Mr. Sherril Taylor thanked Canyons District patrons for all their support over the years. The District wouldn’t be anywhere without the supportive residents, he said.
The Canyons District Office of Public Communications has received statewide honors for its efforts to communicate with parents, teachers, students and the community at large following a fatal shooting near a Sandy elementary in June.

At the recent annual conference of the Utah Public Information Officers Association, the Canyons public-relations team of Jeff Haney and Kirsten Stewart received the award for the best communications in a major incident. The significant event was the June 6, 2017 domestic-violence situation that occurred blocks away from Brookwood Elementary just moments after classes let out for the day. It was the second-to-last day of school for the year.

The incident resulted in the slayings of a mother and her kindergarten-age child.  The man who police say fired the weapon then committed suicide in the street.

“A fatal shooting in Sandy put intense pressure on the Canyons District communications team,” the state PIO organization said in its presentation of the award. “Yet, they performed with grace and professionalism.”   

Haney and Stewart Immediately put into place the District’s established emergency-communications plan after hearing of the traumatic incident, which was witnessed by throngs of children who were walking home after school. It was also seen parents who were driving their children and neighbors who were outside enjoying the warm spring day. 

While keeping the Board of Education and District administrators apprised of developments, Haney and Stewart quickly crafted and sent notifications to parents, updated the community via social media, issued statements to news reporters, wrote and disseminated talking points for principals and staff, coordinated with law enforcement, and worked with the principal and Crisis Counseling teams to provide appropriate information to parents and employees. The demand for information about the incident continued for about a week.

“This is a well-earned award,” Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said.  The response of the communications team “allowed our principals and crisis-response teams to do what was needed to support students and families, instead of being in front of the camera,” he said.
It’s officially fall in Canyons District — that special time of year when the leaves start to change, the sun sinks out of the sky earlier each day, and the unmistakable sight of campaign signs dot the valley.

As Tuesday, Sept 26 marks National Voter Registration Day, the advent of fall means something new for Canyons students who are 18 — the legal age to vote. This November will be the first time 364 Canyons students will have the opportunity to make a choice in the upcoming election. From mayoral candidates to a $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal by Canyons District, those Canyons students will have their voices heard with their votes this year.

“I plan to register,” said Hillcrest High senior Boston Iacobazzi. “I think it’s just great to have a voice and know you can influence something with your right to vote rather than just experiencing it and not having any say in what’s going on.”

National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday that was first observed in 2012. It is always held on the fourth Tuesday of September. The aim of the holiday is to motivate Americans to register to vote before they miss the deadline and lose eligibility to vote in the election. Individuals can register online, at vote.utah.gov, or by mailing in a voter registration ballot available at city and county offices.

In Salt Lake County this year, the deadline for registering by mail is Oct. 10. Online registration is available until Oct. 31. Voters can request mail-in ballots until Nov. 2. The general election takes place on Nov. 7. 

One item on the ballot this year is a $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposed by Canyons District to rebuild and renovate its aging schools.

If voters approve the bond on Nov. 7, the District will rebuild Brighton and Hillcrest high schools; Union Middle; Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementary schools and a White City-area elementary school. The Canyons Board of Education also approved a plan to build a new elementary school in west Draper; renovate a significant part of Alta High, including the addition of a state-of-the-art auditorium and gymnasium; replace portables with classrooms at Corner Canyon High, remodel offices at six elementary schools; and install windows and skylights at 18 elementary schools. 

Canyons’ 18-year-old students have a special insight into the needs of their schools, says Corner Canyon senior Emily Boyce. Boyce says she is excited about making a difference with her vote.

“Unlike the adults that make the decisions, we actually go here and we have classes in portables,” Boyce said. “We actually know what is going on in this school and that could help future classes have a better place.”
Friday, 22 September 2017 00:43

Board Meeting Summary, Sept. 19, 2017

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

Public Hearing for Bond Proposal


The Board of Education held a public hearing on the $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal. If the majority of residents vote Nov. 7 in favor of the proposal, the District will rebuild Hillcrest and Brighton high schools; significantly renovate Alta High; rebuild Union Middle; rebuild Peruvian Park Elementary, Midvalley Elementary and a White City-area elementary school; replace the portables at Corner Canyon High; build a new west Draper Elementary; build new front offices at six elementary schools; and complete natural-lighting projects at 18 elementary schools.

The following residents addressed the Board during the public hearing: 
  • Corner Canyon High PTSA President Kathryn Myers said she supported the proposal.
  • Patron Steve Van Maren said he does not disagree with addressing the building needs in the District. However, he said he disagrees with the way the finance plan is structured.
  • Darrell Smith, former mayor of Draper, said the bond proposal address both facilty needs and growth. The impact to taxpayers is always a concern, he said, but voiced support for the proposal.  
  • Patron Betty Shaw said that although she doesn’t have any children in schools, she supports the bond so the community’s children are provided the best-possible education. She urged the Board to act now before interest rates and construction costs go up.   
  • Parent Angie Overbaugh said she’s an advocate of the bond proposal. She said the Board was fiscally responsible with the $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. She said the 2017 bond proposal will provide secure and modern schools. New and improved schools also will increase property values, she said
  • Parent Lisanne Pepper told the Board she supports the bond proposal and urged the communities that benefited from the 2010 bond to help provide those same kinds of facilities to other parts of the District. 
  • Region 17 PTA Director Tonya Rhodes said the PTA has taken a position to support the bond.  She read the statement of support. 
  • Teacher and CSD resident Jerry Christensen said he supports the bond proposal.

Progress Report on Board’s Vision and Mission

Research and Assessments Director Dr. Hal Sanderson updated the Board of Education on the Board’s vision and mission. In the Board’s guiding tenet of Community Engagement, in 2016-2017, the District counted 12,672 volunteers who logged 257,380 hours of service. This tally increased from 11,675 volunteers in the previous school year. In addition, 100 percent of CSD principals, 71 percent of School Community Council chairs, and 53 percent of SCC members attended the District-provided professional development for SCCs. In the tenet of Customer Service, 3.7 million people visited the Canyons website and spent an average of 3.2 minutes on each web page visited. Sanderson also reported that, in last year’s Parent Satisfaction Survey, 89 percent of CSD parents responded favorably to the question “I am pleased with how much my child in learning,” and 86 percent agreed with the statement “I am pleased with how this school supports my child’s emotional well-being.” Some 6,816 parents completed the survey.  As for students, of the 858 graduating seniors who responded to the District’s survey, 78 percent said they were satisfied with the quality of education they received in CSD. In last year’s Teacher Satisfaction Survey, of the 887 teachers who responded to the poll, 71 percent said they were satisfied with their jobs in CSD. This is up from 63 percent in 2015-2016. In the tenet of Innovation, 26 percent of teachers have earned level-one certification in the instructional use of technology, which is about halfway to the point the Board would like the District to be in 2019. Last year, 74 percent participated in opt-in district-level professional development, and 25 percent of those were in PD classes for one to 10 hours. Eight percent participated in some 50 hours of PD to enhance their pedagogy. In 2016-2017, at least 92 unique PD opportunities were offered to CSD’s licensed employees. The Board also reviewed and discussed innovative programs that have been launched to positively impact student achievement. Those programs include the Supplemental Hours of Instruction for Kindergarten Students; the Husky Strong Academy; Alta High’s Step2theU; Elementary School Brain Boosters; Dual Language Immersion Programs; Canyons Virtual High School and Diamond Ridge High; and the District’s United Way partnership. In the tenet of Fiscal Accountability, the Board was updated on the District’s AAA bond rating, the 100 percent compliance on the Annual Audit; and the national awards received every year since 2010 for the District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and budget book. 

Calendar Committee Appointments

Board members Amber Shill and Mont Millerberg have agreed to serve on the District’s Calendar Committee, which crafts and proposes a calendar for every academic year. By policy, the Calendar Committee is made up of teachers, administrators, Education Support Professionals, members of the PTA/PTSA, and School Community Councils or at-large representatives.

Pledge of Allegiance

The colors were posted and Pledge of Allegiance led by Cub Pack 3230, made up of students who attend Quail Hollow Elementary. Quail Hollow Elementary Principal Shad DeMill delivered the reverence.

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized Midvale Middle students Abigail Slama-Catron and Eric Snaufer, along with two students from the Beehive Science and Technology Academy, Allison Drennan and Timothy Holt. The students won the regional President’s Environmental Youth Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Slama-Catron and Snaufer also advanced in Broadcom Master’s, the nation’s most prestigious science, technology, engineering and math science fair competition. The Board also recognized teachers, students, principals, Achievement Coaches, and administrators for CSD’s above-the-state-average scores on the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) tests. Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward, Director of Instructional Supports, was applauded for leading the District’s research-based instructional practices since the District’s founding in 2009. 

Report from the Canyons Education Foundation

Canyons Education Foundation Development Officer Laura Barlow reported on the progress of the fundraising arm of the District. Barlow reported that, last year, the annual spring gala raised $50,500, an increase of some $5,000 from the previous year. The golf tournament, held on Monday, raised some $62,000, an increase of more than $7,000 over the previous year.  Funds raised at the event goes directly to students and teachers in the District. She also reported on the new members of the Foundation Board; the creation of partnerships with local businesses to provide growth opportunities for students; and donation drives.  In August, the Foundation partnered with Z104FM to collect school supplies and raise money to help low-income students go back to school with full backpacks. She also updated the Board on the new members of the Foundation, including the CEO of Lone Peak Hospital and the presidents of the Sandy and Draper chambers of commerce. 

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe congratulated the winners of the 2017 Apex Awards. He also thanked the Canyons Education Foundation staff for planning and executing a successful golf tournament. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said that salary increases for teachers were implemented on the Friday, Sept. 15 paychecks. Wilcox also reported on the bond proposal presentation given to the Draper City Council. He also publicly bid his wife a happy anniversary. 

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson and Mrs. Clareen Arnold deferred their comments.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey mentioned her attendance at the SCC and PTA luncheon with Superintendent Briscoe. She expressed gratitude to the parents who volunteer in school-leadership capacities. She also attended the Albion Middle “Fun Run” and Ridgecrest Elementary’s 50th birthday party.  She also thanked Amber Shill, Mont Millerberg and Steve Wrigley for attending a leadership retreat hosted by the Utah School Boards Association.

Mrs. Amber Shill expressed appreciation for the administration for their hard work in overseeing the District. She also attended the Brighton High School Community Council. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on the bond-proposal presentation given to the White City Township Council. He also expressed appreciation for the winners of the 2017 Apex Awards. He also thanked the staff for organizing the event. He also reported on attending the USBA leadership conference. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on the bond-proposal presentation given to the Midvale City Council. He said Mayor JoAnn Seghini offered to write a message to residents in support of the bond proposal. He also reported on meeting with a group that is actively planning for the future of Hillcrest High. He also reported on attending the USBA leadership conference and the CSD Foundation Golf Tournament. 

Board President Sherril H. Taylor thanked staff for planning the Apex Awards.  He also expressed appreciation for the service of Board members. He wished employee Carolyn Larsen a speedy recovery after suffering an injury while working with students. He thanked central-office staff, teachers and Education Support Professionals for keeping the district running smoothly.
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