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.
Be a classroom helper, mentor and tutor students, collect school supplies, or contribute to fundraising activities: The volunteer opportunities in Canyons District schools are only as limited as your imagination. 

Even the most time-pinched parents can find ways to support their child's teacher and neighborhood school—and many do. Over the past 10 years, more than 126,000 parents and patrons have contributed an estimated 1.6 million hours of service to Canyons District schools. 

Each year, in accordance with state law, all Canyons District volunteers must submit a Volunteer Application, which can be found on the District’s website and completed by online by following the prompts.

Because it can take up to 72 hours for applications to be processed, it’s recommended that prospective volunteers apply well in advance of their scheduled volunteer shift. School visitors, such as family members attending a school event, are not considered volunteers and are not required to complete an application.

Information about the screening requirements for volunteers can be found on the Canyons Education Foundation website.


Questions? Please call the Canyons District Education Foundation at: 801-826-5171.
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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  • There’s no looking back now. You’ve crossed the finish line, donned your cap and gown and received your diploma.

    But graduating doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship with Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Diamond Ridge, Hillcrest or Jordan high. Canyons, the first school district to be created in Utah in 100 years, turns 10 on July 1, 2019, and to commemorate this milestone, we’re launching an alumni directory to help our high school graduates stay connected, communicate and collaborate as only they know how.

    “The directory has revealed how we have alumni living all over the world, from Australia and China to Israel and Sweden. They range in age from 18 years of age to over 100. But wherever they call home, and no matter how they’ve chosen to make a difference, they still identify as proud Hawks, Huskies, Bengals, Beetdiggers, Chargers and Raptors,” says Canyons Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards. “This online directory will make it easier than ever for us to keep our alumni informed of homecoming events, class reunions and other opportunities to reconnect with their alma mater.” alumnimap

    The directory is live, and in the coming weeks, Canyons will be emailing alumni with instructions on how to verify the information in their online profiles. The process is as simple as logging in to the portal using your first and last name, graduation year and the school from which you graduated—no matter how recently or long ago. From there, just follow the prompts to pull up your profile and make any needed adjustments. Do it by July 15, and your name will be entered in a drawing for some nostalgic prizes.

    When you update your profile, you can update your personal settings to control how and when you’d like to receive information.

    All information in the database will be kept secure and private. Canyons does not sell alumni data or grant access to outside entities. This is merely a tool to assist Canyons in getting out the word about important news, events and opportunities to give back to support the educational mission of your alma mater. 

    If you have questions about the directory and how it will be used, please see further details below, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The directory can be found at alumni.canyonsdistrict.org.

    What information is contained in the directory?
    Information contained in the directory is similar to what you might find in an old-fashioned telephone book, including, your name, home address, email address, and phone numbers. You are free to include as much or little as you want, but keep in mind that the purpose of the directory is to keep you informed. 

    How will this information be used?
    All information in the database will be kept secure and private. This is a tool to assist Canyons District in getting out the word about important news, events and opportunities to support the educational mission of your alma mater. It will be used exclusively for:
    • Sharing invitations to class reunions and other major events
    • Communicating important school and District news
    • Connecting alumni with volunteering, mentoring, guest speaking and scholarship funding opportunities
    • Contacting alumni for feedback on how we can better utilize the network to serve them 
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