It’s been said that a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. This month, some 2,600 seniors of Canyons District high schools will end this part of their educational journey by confidently advancing across graduation stages and toward the direction of their dreams. 

Two of those students, Jordan High’s Tallyn Grossaint and Hillcrest High’s Abel Hagos took vastly different paths to arrive at Graduation Day. But their struggles, both physical and emotional, forged their steely determination to succeed against the odds.

While the teenage Tallyn was raising his little sister because turmoil in his family often left them fending for themselves, Abel was staking out his sleeping spot in a refugee camp in Ethopia, the country to which he fled from his poverty-stricken home country of Eritrea.

It’s been a few years since Tallyn bounced around houses and schools, and suffered the painful feelings that come from a topsy-turvy early life, but Tallyn and his younger sister now have safe place to call home. An aunt stepped in to provide security and stability — and within the Jordan High theater department he found the acceptance and support of a second family.

“Jordan High is my reason for living,” says Tallyn, who plans to study theater education at Weber State University in the fall with support from Pell Grants and the Alvin Malstrom Behind-the-Scenes Scholarship. “When I come here every day to the Jordan High theater program, I don’t feel alone. These are the brothers and sisters I have never had.” 

Abel’s family in Eritrea is never far from his thoughts. The Hillcrest senior sends $200 a month from his check as a shelf-stocker at Wal-Mart to his mother and sister, even though he has not seen them since he left his village at 12 to flee to Ethiopia. Abel says he swam through a crocodile-infested channel and walked for miles before he found the first of the refugee camps in which he lived. A little more than two years ago, a humanitarian group arranged for him to leave the camp and come to the United States, where he could work and pursue an education.

This spring’s rainfall is incredibly new to him, as was snow, which he’d never seen before arriving in Utah. He loves soccer, macaroni and cheese, Burger King and buffet restaurants. He’s learned English by attending school — but admits that he’s learned more by watching action movies and television shows such as “Ellen.”  While he misses his family, he wants to stay exactly where he is.  “I love the freedom,” he says.  “You can do and say whatever you want.  If you need anything, you can just ask.”

Regardless of how they arrived at this moment, the students who make up the Classes of 2019 at Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest, Jordan, Diamond Ridge high schools, and Entrada Adult High School and the South Park Academy at the Utah State Prison, can look back at their secondary-school paths with pride.

The list of accomplishments is lengthy. Among the students are seven students who earned perfect scores on the college-entrance exam, the overall winner of the Sterling Scholar competition, three $2,500 National Merit Scholar honorees and 18 finalists for the prestigious scholarship, Sweepstakes award winners at the Utah High School Shakespeare Competition, and 80 Academic All-State Recipients. CSD student-athletes this year also claimed 16 team and individual state championships in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned events. 

Of this year’s Canyons graduates, 1,640 earned one of Canyons’ differentiated diplomas. Canyons was the first district in Utah to provide these honors to students who went above and beyond the state graduation requirements. This year, 813 earned a CSD Advanced Diploma and 827 received the District’s Honors Diploma.

Alta High School
Conner Corina says the past four years at Alta High can best be described with the words of Dickens: It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. The spark and spirit of pep rallies and dances with friends were often AltaHighmugdampened by the stark realities of high school studies and school rules. Still, by experiencing disappointments and laughter together, the Class of 2019 learned what it really means to be a Hawk. The seniors who were celebrated during Alta’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday at the Utah Community Credit Union Center at Utah Valley University have packed a lot of life into the past 700 days, said senior Jessica Medina. While it may be bittersweet to realize that their time at the high school is over, she urged the graduates to “never forget the value of the moments” experienced at Alta. Alta’s Principal, Dr. Brian McGill, said the Class of 2019, which earned some $7 million in scholarship offers, is ready to fly high. Eighty-five percent of the graduating class has made plans to attend post-secondary education, including the 36 students who completed the “Step2theU” academic program, a unique-to-Alta partnership with the University of Utah. Those students saved $75,000 in tuition by finishing nearly two years of U. studies while still a student at Alta High. Dr. McGill also urged the students to favor personal, face-to-face connections over digital, distant relationships, and to never forget that compassion and humility are traits that will help them develop deep and lasting relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Canyons Board of Education member Amanda Oaks said this generation — commonly referred to as “iGen” — have never known life without smart phones, texting, live-streaming, and social media. Yes, technology makes our life easier in many ways, she said, but it’s also made us less connected. How many of us have felt left out after seeing Instagram posts of parties to which we weren’t invited? How many have hundreds of Facebook “Friends” but still feel lonely? And how many struggle to maintain a healthy self-image because of the constant stream of glamorous selfies? However, Alta’s Class of 2019, known for having built an inclusive and accepting school community, has what it takes to help build a more-connected, less-divisive society, she said. "I call on you, the Alta iGen-ers, for your help" in building a more united world, she said. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle also urged the students to embrace kindness as they make their way through life. It may not always be the easiest path to take, he said, but it will aid in professional and personal growth. “In how you treat your fellow man," he said, "I invite you to always choose civility.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page

Brighton High School
Curiosity can get you into some trouble. “But in the grand scheme of things, curiosity is a virtue,” believes Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood. It opens news doors, to paraphrase Walt Disney, propels us forward down new BrightonHighmugpaths and directs our gaze ahead. As teachers, administrators and family members gathered at the Maverik Center on June 5 to honor Brighton High’s 50th graduating class, Sherwood told the graduates that he couldn’t help but be “curious to know what great things you’ll accomplish, curious about how you’ll live your lives and curious what impact you‘ll leave.” A reverent silence fell over the auditorium as Sherwood named the first graduate, Ashtyn Poulsen who died this week of kidney complications as a result of seven years of cancer treatment. Several students spoke of other personal losses and trials faced, along with the resilience it takes to carry on. Audrey Allen, Senior Class President, suggested that the best way to honor the past is to make the most out of the future. “This is the most accomplished graduating class in Brighton’s history, if we choose to be,” she said. Canyons District Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie, and Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey and Vice President Amber Shill attended the event along with Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Peterson. The Bengals’ class of 2019 leaves big shoes to fill. Seventy-percent of the school’s 450 graduates earned Honors or Advanced Diplomas and 28 attained perfect 4.0 grade point averages. Together, they earned $6.5 million in college scholarships, and with two team state championship wins this year in boys swimming and boys soccer, Brighton earned bragging rights as the first high school in Utah to claim 120 team titles. Now, as the students take one step closer to fulfilling their educational and career aspirations, Board Vice President Amber Shill offered this advice: “Follow your passion. If you can find something you enjoy doing, and find joy doing it, your life will be filled with purpose.” And wherever that takes you, never lose your sense of curiosity. A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page. 

Corner Canyon High School
Luke Warnock started his time at Corner Canyon High like most freshman boys — focused on friends, fun times, and being fashionable. Fast-forward to senior year, however, and he’s developed a new outlook on life. “ExperienceCornerCanyonmug has taught me that being kind is far more important than reputations,” he said during his address at the Chargers’ commencement exercises at the Utah Community Credit Union Center at Utah Valley University. “We can be the change” that is needed to address such social ills as depression and divisiveness, he said. “And that change can start today.” Corner Canyon High’s Class of 2019 is poised to make a tremendous impact in the world, if their achievements in high school are any indicator of future success. Throughout the year, said student Baylor Jeppson, the Chargers proved “they will not settle for average.” But Jeppson also reminded the students that the school’s greatest honors came as a result of working together. Principal Darrell Jensen called the outgoing seniors “the most decorated class in school history … You have set a legacy that will be tough to follow.” In addition to the five 5A team state championships — girls soccer, boys cross country, basketball, football and boys track and field — nine students earned individual state titles in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned sports. Nearly 60 percent of the graduating class earned at least one scholarship offer, and the total amount in scholarships earned by Charger reached $8.7 million as of graduation day, he said. Six students also earned associates degrees at the same time they graduated from high school, and four have enlisted to serve valiantly in the U.S. Armed Forces. In the performing arts, student musicians earned the highest scores possible at year-end competitions and all performances of the two major theater productions sold out every night. In addition, the students raised $80,000 for charity this year. Jensen said such a robust list of accomplishments led the U.S. News and World Report to declare CCHS as the second-best public high school in the state. Canyons Board of Education member Chad Iverson congratulated the students for their accomplishments while in pursuit of a high school diploma. In fact, he said, they’ve left “Rudy Gobert-sized shoes” for the Class of 2020 to fill. “No matter where life takes you next,” he said, “I ask you to be true to the spirit of Corner Canyon and, in the words of the school motto, always go higher.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page. 

Hillcrest High School
Because there’s no shortage of adults with words of advice for the Class of 2019, Principal Greg Leavitt chose to deliver his in song. “Good morning, Baltimore. Every day’s like an open door. Every night is a fantasy. Every sound’sHillcrestHigh like a symphony,” he crooned to the thousands of parents, teachers and administrators assembled for Hillcrest High’s June 5 graduation ceremony. Amplified by the musical talents of one of Hillcrest’s vocalists, Leavitt’s performance, and the message behind it, met with cheers and applause. Be like the protagonist in “Hairspray,” and whatever your dreams or aspirations may be, pursue them unapologetically and with strength of purpose and heart, he said. “Tracy Turnblad didn’t let bigotry, meanness or tough circumstances stand in the way of her dreams. She overcame them with a dynamic attitude, and in the process helped to transform her world.” By all evidence, Hillcrest’s 450 graduates, 309 of whom earned Advanced and Honors Diplomas, are poised to do the same. Among their ranks are eight Utah Scholars, 65 Regents’ Scholarship recipients, 11 Sterling Scholar finalists, 10 National Merit Scholar Finalists, and a student who was named Utah’s overall Sterling Scholar as well as a Presidential Scholar. Three graduating Huskies received a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college-entrance exam, 12 achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and 43 earned Seals of Biliteracy on their transcripts. Combined, the students have earned $6 million in college scholarships. They’ve excelled in the arts, music, theatre, dance and in sports, and together, have contributed tens-of-thousands of hours of service to their communities. “Even though we’re just setting out into the world, we’re already changing it by finding and pursuing our passions,” said Student Body President Landon Kent Nipko. Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe encouraged students to continue doing just that. Looking back on their lives, what most adults regret most is not becoming the person they wanted to be, he said. “It’s not enough to encourage people to do the right thing. We need to encourage people to pursue their hopes and dreams. Go learn that language you always wanted to study, travel to far-away places, walk on remote beaches, find a way to serve, meet new people, write a book, live your life’s dreams—and don’t leave it for tomorrow. There’s only one today.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page

Jordan High School
Excitement was in the air as Jordan's Beetdiggers gathered at the Maverik Center on Wednesday, June 5, for a graduation ceremony that celebrated a host of their school's accomplishments — and some key losses. Jordan Jordanmug copyHigh administrators and members of The Canyons Board of Education reflected on the ups and downs of the past four years at the commencement ceremony, which was attended by Canyons' Board of Education President Nancy Tingey, Vice President Steve Wrigley and Canyons' Board of Education member Clareen Arnold, as well as Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie. Of the achievements garnered by Jordan this year, Principal Wendy Dau highlighted the fact that the student body earned a combined $3.5 million in scholarship offerings, with 13 seniors earning a 4.0 GPA and 60 students earning an advanced diploma. Jordan's boys basketball team did not win the state championship, but they came close. “We lost the state championship basketball game,” Dau said. “But it’s been a long time since Jordan has made it to the playoffs.” Jordan’s girls basketball team also made it to the state tournament for the first time in 13 years. Dau honored the school’s three Sterling Scholars, 173 students who earned a 3.5 GPA or above, and 14 students who earned a seal of biliteracy on their diploma by speaking, writing and reading two languages. Of the 463 graduates, 85 percent plan to attend college, and 86 of those students will be the first in their family to take that step. A whopping 77 percent of the student body has already earned college credit that, added up, amounts to a savings of $1 million in college tuition, and together, the school raised more than $15,000 to help refugees in the community. “We’ve seen the world around us, and we know we can be heard,” said Jordan valedictorian Jeddy Bennett. “Go be loud, make your Beetdiggers proud.” More information and a photo album from the event can be found on Canyons’ Facebook page.

South Park Academy 
For proof of the value that South Park Academy students place on the opportunity to earn a diploma while at the Utah State Prison, look no further than the Class of 2019. Instead of accepting early parole, two of this year’s graduates asked to stay a few days longer so they wouldn’t miss out on their June 6 commencement ceremony. Among them: Angela Mulder who explained, education is freedom, the freedom to become the person you always wanted to be. “I hope I can be an example to my son that even if you fall short at times and make mistakes, it’s never too late to pick up the pieces and better ourselves,” SouthParkmugshe said, thanking school staff and faculty for “never giving up” on her. More than 100 men and women received high school and GED diplomas this year from South Park, an educational institution overseen by Canyons School District and located at the prison in Draper. The school, which caters to students of all ages and in all stages of their education, held its commencement exercises in the presence of friends and family members in a recreational building at the correctional facility. Four students received special recognition as “Students of the Year,” and a fifth was awarded a college scholarship. “You are no longer a non-graduate. You are a high school graduate,” Juvenile and Adult Corrections Education Administrator Todd Bird told the students. “This is a significant change, one that will have lasting impact on you and those around you.” An education opens doors, both personal and professional. But in achieving their diploma, South Park’s graduates have also proven something to themselves. “In the future, you may face challenges that may seem too big or too difficult. It is in those moments that you can look back on today, at this time, and remember that you can do hard things,” said Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey. Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe offered some practical advice, encouraging the students to continue setting goals post-graduation while also keeping them manageable. Graduating from college is an admirable ambition, he said, “But start by saying, ‘I’m going to begin by taking three classes, because I know life’s going to be rough for me right now.’ You set those smaller goals, and after three years go by, lo and behold, you are graduating.” CSD Board of Education Vice President Steve Wrigley, Board member Amber Oaks, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Katherine McCarrie, and Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling also participated in South Park's commencement ceremony. A photo album of the event can be found on the District's Facebook page. 

Diamond Ridge High School
Our dreams give us focus, hope, and a sense of purpose, but it’s education that fuels their realization. “Education is power. It gives you the control to make of your own life what you will,” said Canyons District Student DiamondRidgemugAdvocacy and Support Director Karen Sterling while addressing the graduates of Diamond Ridge High at the school’s 2019 commencement ceremony. “What you have earned, you’ve gotten for yourself, and no one can ever take it away from you.” Diamond Ridge, a smaller, closer-knit alternative to Canyons’ conventional high schools, awarded diplomas to 50 students this year—each with a story to tell about what it takes to triumph over adversity. “To all the people who thought we couldn’t make it, here we are. We made it!” said Rebecca Nevarez who says her experience at Diamond Ridge taught her that “nothing is impossible if you show up and do the work.” Canyons Board of Education Vice President Steve Wrigley commended graduates for their passion and grit and encouraged them keep aiming high, dreaming big and learning. “Take courage and aim high in life. Though you may not always achieve your dreams, don’t stop dreaming,” he said. “Become the person you always knew you could be. The only person stopping you from becoming that person is you.” Joining Wrigley in presenting diplomas to the Class of 2019 were Board of Education member Mont Millberg, Canyons Assistant Superintendent Kathryn McCarrie, Responsive Services Director BJ Weller, and Diamond Ridge Principal Amy Boettger who was greeted with hugs and tearful words of thanks as graduate after graduate crossed the stage. “Whatever personal setbacks we’ve faced to get here,” said graduate Carson Ekins, “our hearts beat as one as we take our first step into reality.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons’ Facebook page.

Canyons Transitions Academy
The eleven students who received Monday certificates of completion for the Canyons Transition Academy were told to keep reaching for their dreams by always learning something new. At the beginning of the year, said Special CTAmugEducation Programs Administrator TIfny Iacona, it seemed too big a task for the students to confidently use the public-transit system for their transportation. But day after day, little by little, lesson by lesson, the students learned how to broaden the horizons of their lives by riding the bus and the train, she said. "It's amazing what the students are able to do," Iacona said at a ceremony at Mount Jordan Middle School. The auditorium was filled with family, friends and faculty who cheered for each of the graduates of the program, which was created with the aim of helping adult special-education students earn skills to live happy, healthy independent lives. Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe told the students he was "so proud of the fact that you are graduating today." He urged the students to b e happy, love the people who support them, and be as healthy as possible. "You can go to McDonalds -- but only every once in awhile and if your parents say it's part of your diet," he said. "When you leave here you are going to do great things." Dr. Briscoe also thanked parents for supporting their children and the faculty for their hard work and commitment to the success of CTA students. The certificates were handed out by Iacona, Dr. Briscoe, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and Special Education Director Misty Suarez. A photo album of the event can be found on the District's Facebook page.
The announcers at graduation ceremonies of Alta and Brighton High schools will have several opportunities to get the last names of three families correct. It might not be so difficult to correctly pronounce the last names of “Davis” or “Cooper” — but they’ll have three chances to get “Folau” just right.

A trio of triplets are set to graduate June 5, 2019 from Canyons District schools. Three sets of triplets — one at Brighton and two at Alta — are among the estimated 2,600 students who have earned enough credits to be awarded a high school diploma as part of the Class of 2019.

Conner, Tyler and Braidon Cooper are preparing to walk across the stage with their fellow Bengals, and Bennett, Carter and Keenan Davis and Brandon, Eric and Erin Folau will march with the Hawks.  Brighton's rites will be at 2 p.m. at the Maverik Center.  The Hawks will hold the school's 10 a.m. graduation ceremony at the Utah Community Credit Union Center at Utah Valley University. 

Can you imagine the level of activity every morning before school? Three times the amount of cereal bowls, misplaced backpacks, homework in folders, and missing shoes. Three times the time spent at school activities — and three times the expense. But, of course, the families of the Canyons triplets get three times the enjoyment of Wednesday’s graduation ceremonies.

For their part, and like most high school seniors anxious to begin their next adventure, Conner, Tyler and Braidon are excited to walk in a fast, straight line away from the circular halls of Brighton High. They are ready to make their own, individual marks in the world — and to not have the notoriety as class triplets. And no more doubling (or tripling) up in classrooms. “We have been there for each other through the good and bad,” said Conner. “We were there for each other until the end.”

This is not the first time three sets of triplets have graduated in the same year from 34,000-student Canyons District. In 2016, six sets of triplets graduated from CSD schools. In 2017 and 2018, three sets graduated. While there have been multiple years of multiples in recent Canyons graduating classes, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate a triplet or higher-order birth rate is rare. It occurs 101.6 per 100,000 live births.
At first glance, the students in Jonathan Hale’s class at Sprucewood Elementary look like they are engaged in their art lessons just like any other fourth-or fifth-graders. They are gathered around their projects, weaving fabric on a loom, painting creations they’ve made and working with different materials — but the true masterpiece they are building isn’t made out of acrylic and cotton. Their true achievement is working with each other. 

Hale’s students are participating in a “peer partner” research program that pairs students from a general-education class at Sprucewood Elementary with special-education students from Jordan Valley, Canyons’ school for students with severe disabilities. The disabilities include communication impairments, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injuries.

Together, the students participate in the same art projects, each learning important lessons and growing in ways that are achievable only by peer interaction, Hale says. He presented his findings last summer at the 2018 Kennedy Center VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference and has since seen even more growth in his students.

“It is really cool to see how they find ways to help each other and that they are OK if their job is being a peer partner, and they are OK with adapting (the project) and turning it into something else that works for everyone,” Hale says. “It's true collaboration. If you go into another art room, the focus might be different. I like that community feel, when kids are thinking about people other than themselves, so it’s more about a process and the learning that occurs than a final product, per se.”

Hale, who is a Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program visual arts specialist at both Sprucewood and Jordan Valley, joined with a research team from the University of Utah to study how the students learn differently from each other, versus learning only from adults.

Their research focuses on how peer partnerships can be used to help students succeed. An art setting provides more latitude and flexibility for accommodating a variety of cognitive levels, but after seeing the monumental growth in students while learning art techniques in a peer setting, Hale says peer partners could be beneficial in other class settings, as well. Since presenting their findings at the Kennedy Center conference, Hale says his team’s peer partnering model has been adapted in Art Access programs in Washington, D.C. and California.

“There is a connection between the students that is almost magical,” Sprucewood Elementary Principal Lori Reynolds said after observing Hale’s class. “It is an absolute joy to see how the arts can bring our students closer together, and is a perfect way to bridge the divide and benefit both groups.”

Hale and his research team, which includes Kelby McIntyre Martinez, Assistant Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, and professors Kristen Paul and John McDonnell, started the program at Sprucewood in 2016 with only three classes. This year, the students from Jordan Valley came to Sprucewood 12 times to work with their peers. Over the course of the year Sprucewood students opened their circles of acceptance and assumed leadership roles they might not have normally experienced.

The Jordan Valley students also progressed. Students who had difficulty sitting for more than a few minutes during adult instruction could sit independently with a peer partner for 45 minutes and engage in periodic self-initiated interactions, such as raising their hands and participating vocally even if they were non-verbal. That is a huge accomplishment, Hale says. 

As Hale’s team continues to research students’ interactions, they have plans to expand the peer partner program to include dance and music this coming school year, to see how kids benefit.

“Some people might say students with severe disabilities don’t fit in a program like ours," Hale said. "I like to acknowledge growth in lots of different ways. I truly believe this is a way of accessing different abilities, and a way to provide social opportunities for students and let them rise to the occasion.”
They are the people on the front lines. They teach, lead, volunteer, inspire.  

From sunrise to sunset during the school year, a dedicated corps of top-notch teachers, first-rate administrators, careful bus drivers, and hard-working lunch and custodian staffs, technology experts and financial wizards, as well as scores of classroom volunteers, work together to run Canyons’ schools.

The day-to-day operations may appear to be seamless: Buses roll on schedule, bells ring to start classes, teachers engage with students, meals are served, counselors provide support, and custodial and maintenance crews make sure the buildings are cleaned and readied for the next day. But it wouldn’t happen without the good work and expertise of the people who make Canyons strong. 

For their contributions, hard work and dedication to advancing the mission and vision of Canyons District, the Board of Education and Administration seek to recognize the best of the best with the highest awards given in CSD. 

Canyons District is now taking nominations for the 2019 Apex Awards, the annual recognitions given by CSD leaders to teachers, administrators, district office personnel, volunteers and community partners.

The District is accepting nominations for the following award categories:   
  • School Administrator of the Year 
  • District Administrator of the Year 
  • Business Partner of the Year 
  • Volunteer of the Year 
  • Elected Official of the Year 
  • Student Support Services Professional of the Year
  • Education Support Professional of the Year 
  • Legacy Award
Use this easy-to-use online tool to read more about the categories and to submit nominations. Nominations can be submitted until Aug. 2, 2019.

An Apex Award is also given to CSD's Teacher of the Year.  The Canyons District’s Teacher of the Year is selected in the spring and is CSD’s nominee in the state Teacher of the Year competition. This year's winner is Jessica Beus, a third-grade teachers at Midvale Elementary. She was selected from a field of 47 teachers from every CSD school in the District.

The winners of the 2019 Apex Awards are celebrated at a by-invitation-only banquet and awards ceremony. This year’s event will be Sept. 13, 2019 at Corner Canyon High, 12943 S. 700 East.

Questions? Call Jeff Haney or Kirsten Stewart in the Office of Public Communications at 801-826-5084 or 801-826-5050 or send a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Employment Contracts Approved for 2019-2020


The Canyons Board of Education approved the contract with the Canyons Education Association for the 2019-2020 school year. The contract includes a $7,665 increase for every licensed employee in the Canyons District. This also results in the beginning-teacher’s annual salary being raised to $50,000. The District seeks to fund this 14.2 percent increase in salary costs with a tax increase equating to $139 on the average-priced home in the Canyons District. A Truth-in-Taxation hearing regarding the certified rate will be held in August. If the Board does not approve the proposed tax increase, which would generate $13.6 million, the CEA and CSD have agreed to continue negotiations. Under the terms of the contract, every teacher who works directly with students in an academic role will receive a $500 stipend from the Teacher and Student Success Act. Licensed employees who don’t qualify to receive the funds from TSSA will receive the stipend from District funds. Regarding health insurance, both the CEA and the District agree to recommendations by the CSD insurance committee. The premiums for all plans will increase 3 percent. The employee premiums will remain at the current level for the non-buy up plans. The District will cover the full premium increase less the employee’s premiums, thus absorbing the full increase. The District premium on the buy-up plans will be equivalent to the contribution on the base plans. Employees who elect this coverage will cover the difference. Because Education Support Professional and administrative employees are receiving a substantially less compensation package for the 2019-20 school year, negotiation preference will be given to those groups for the 2020-21 school year. The Board also approved contracts for the coming school year with Canyons administrators. For administrators, the District will fund increment steps for eligible employees and a 3 percent COLA to the base of the administrative salary schedule. The District also will fund a 1.25 percent stipend for the 59 administrators on the top step during the 2018-2019 school year. A salary-schedule review also will be conducted to ensure Canyons’ schedule is similar to those of neighboring districts. 

Proposed Budget

Nearly 62 percent of Canyons District’s proposed budget for 2019-2020 will be dedicated to paying for student instruction, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board of Education.  The proposed budget includes the $19.6 million cost of the proposed salary boost for Canyons teachers. The increase, which represents a double-digit percentage bump for CSD licensed personnel, will be funded largely with money generated by a $12 monthly tax increase on the average-priced home in Canyons District. Of the $19.6 million required for the salary increase, $13.6 million will come from the change in the certified rate, which largely allows the District to  capture inflation but will require a Truth-in-Taxation hearing in August. The remainder will come from attrition, cost-cutting, allocations from the Utah Legislature and new property-tax growth. The salary addresses the national teacher shortage, caused largely by low wages, according to recent reports. It also may attract the 14,000 women and men who are licensed to teach in Utah but are not in the classroom. Also included in the budget are cost-of-living increases for CSD administrators and Education Support Professionals, to be funded with money from the Utah legislature. Other budget highlights include funds for ongoing construction and additional Responsive Services staff members for mental-health supports. 

Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

The Board of Education approved the implementation of “Second Step,” a social-emotional learning curriculum. This will be put into place over the next three years, said BJ Weller, Director of Responsive Services. The program helps students as young as 5 years old manage emotions, solve problems in a positive way, and demonstrate empathy.  The curriculum is aligned to standards as established by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), satisfies character-education and bullying-prevention requirements, and creates common social emotional language in the schools. 

School Fee Policy

The Board of Education will continue review policies governing school fees, fines and waivers; school schedule changes, and the parameters for the TSSA allocations.

Health Data Review

As part of a data review by the Human Sexuality Committee, Instructional Supports Administrator Jesse Henefer reviewed such Salt Lake County health data as teen pregnancy, sexually-transmitted infection, and child sex abuse rates.  The Board also was given a report on the student pornography-related complaints in the District.

Immunization

The Board of Education reviewed the District’s policies governing immunizations for students and employees. The information was presented by Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen and school nurse Sally Goodger.

Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational Thought

Sandy Elementary Students in a Cub Scout Troop posted the American and the Utah flags. In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, Sandy Principal McKay Robinson spoke about the powerful impact teachers have in the lives of children. Every child deserve a champion who believes in their talents, skills and potential, he said. Last year, Sandy Elementary’s achievement scores increased in all three subject areas and the school’s overall percentage growth was higher than district and state scores.  A attendance-encouragement program also proved successful, he said, and fewer students are truant.

Patron Comments
  • French-English Dual Language Teacher Gretchen Givone expressed thanks to the Board for the proposed salary increase for Canyons educators.
  • Cottonwood Heights-area students and Butler Elementary teacher Annelise Slater spoke to the Board about discontinuing the use of Styrofoam lunch trays in Canyons District cafeterias. The students said it would be an environmentally conscious move on behalf of the District.
  • CEA President Erika Bradshaw expressed thanks to the Board for considering a salary increase for teachers. She said the compensation package will attract and retain the highest-quality classroom teachers, which in turn will benefit students. 
  • Teacher Anna McNamer, who also is a resident of the District, thanked the Board for considering a salary increase for Canyons teachers.
  • Amy Olson thanked the Board for the proposed salary increase for Canyons teachers.  
  • Albion Middle teacher Mary Simao invited the Board to attend a 5K to support Girls on the Run, an international non-profit that encourages preteen girls to engage in activities, such as running, that support physical, emotional and social well-being.  Albion’s chapter is one of the largest in Utah. 
  • Patron Betty Shaw congratulated the Board for the achievements of the District in the past 10 years.  She said she “was thrilled” when she heard about the proposal to increase salaries for teachers in Canyons District.
  • Patron Steve Van Maren would like the Board to consider increasing increment levels on the salary schedule so as to retain teachers. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the Board of Education meeting on April 23, 2019;  hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel, 2019-2010 LAND Trust packets. 

Policy Updates

The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing student-data governance, and school admission of homeless children and youth and unaccompanied minors. The Board also voted for updates to policies governing open enrollment, school admissions and school moratoriums; parent and family engagement in education; and student educational travel. 

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were recognized by the Board for their achievements:
  • Melissa Crandall, Union Middle School teacher, Utah History Teacher of the Year 
  • Traci Raymond, Alta High, Beverly Taylor Sorenson Legacy Award Winner
  • Danna Caldwell, Raschell Davis, Lisa Hubbard, Zackery Nesi, Gregory Platner, all from East Midvale Elementary; and Madaline Chilcutt, Debra Delliskave, John Henrichsen, Bethanne Lenhart, from Midvale Middle, who have been named Effective Teachers in High-Poverty School.
Career and Technical Education Competition Winners
  • Grace Cuttle, Haylie Heale, Alta High, first place in the DECA competition’s Sports and Entertainment Marketing Operations Research category.
  • Tiffany Brailow and Lauren Wilson, Corner Canyon High, first place in the DECA competition’s Start-up Business Plan category.
  • Kyla White, Alta High, first place in the DECA competition’s Restaurant and Food Service Management category. 
  • Emily Zhang, Hillcrest High, first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Health Care Administration category.
  • Rishab Balakrishnan, Justin Dong, Hillcrest, first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Management Decision Making category.
  • Eric Yu, Hillcrest High, two first place awards in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Network Design and Networking Concepts categories.
  • Madilyn Wallace, Hillcrest,  first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Virtual Business Finance Challenge Spring category. 
  • Meereaore Birima, Hillcrest High, first place at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America state competition in the Advocacy category.
  • Lindsay Bruner, Hillcrest High,  first place at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America state competition in the Recycle and Redesign category. 
  • Luke Kim, Hillcrest High, first place at the HOSA state competition on a Knowledge Test in the Transcultural Healthcare category.
  • Annabelle Warner, CTEC, first place at the HOSA state competition in the Physical Therapy category.
  • Warren McCarthy, Hillcrest High, first place at the HOSA state competition on a Knowledge Test in the Nutrition category. 
  • Noah Porter, CTEC, first place at the SkillsUSA Utah Championship in the Job Skill Demonstration category.
  • Rachel Lancaster, CTEC, first place at the SkillsUSA Utah Championship in the Prepared Speech category.
Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Briscoe thanked the Board members for the civility they show to each other and the public when discussing monumental issues such as the salary increase for CSD teachers. He also lauded the passage of the proposal to start the social-emotional learning curriculum. 

Mr. Wilcox thanked the negotiating team for working hard on the contracts with licensed personnel, administrators and Education Support Professionals.

Board Reports

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reflected on the transparency of the deliberations of the salary increase.  She also said the new salary schedule will help teachers, who often work two or three jobs to make ends meet. She thanked fellow Board members for expressing dissenting opinions, even when it’s not popular. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on Special Education Sports Day at Jordan High.

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on Canyon View Elementary’s cultural night and the trustee meeting of the Utah High School Activities Association.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks attended the luncheon in celebration of National School Nursing Day and the Middle School Honors Band, Orchestra and Choir Concert.

Mr. Mont Millerberg attended the CSD Warehouse’s Cinco de Mayo celebration and the Copperview Elementary School Community Council meeting.

President Nancy Tingey attended Canyons View’s cultural night and the Union Middle production of “Addams Family.
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