Canyons District is accepting new-student applications for available spots in the preschool programs at Altara, Butler, Jordan Valley, Quail Hollow and Willow Springs elementary schools. 

In addition to serving students needing special education services free of cost, schools with space for tuition-paying students have morning and afternoon sessions.

Morning sessions are 8:20-10:50 a.m. Afternoon sessions are 11:30-2 p.m. Students can enroll in a two- or four-days-a-week program. Cost is $70 for two days a week; and $140 for four days a week.

Availability for the program in the coming academic year is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Acceptance letters will be mailed the first week of April. Students who are not accepted are placed on a waiting list and parents will be notified when space is available.

The enrollment window for the Title I school preschools doesn’t open until March 1. There is no fee associated with the Title I programs, which are held four days a week. Students must live within the boundaries of the schools to attend the programs.

Questions?  Call the CSD Early Childhood Department at 801-826-5112.
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 22:32

Board Meeting Summary, Dec. 6, 2016

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

Middle School Schedule Update

In order to squeeze two extra core subjects into the middle school day, as required by the Utah State Board of Education, Canyons District must revisit its middle school schedules. On the table are a range of options, from sticking with the current six-period schedule to moving to a seven-period or a 10-period schedule — and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, explained Director of Elementary and Middle Schools Mike Sirois. Following months of review, which involved input from parents, a 35-person task force made up of principals and teachers representing all of CSD’s middle schools has settled on a menu of options that offers individual schools the flexibility to meet their unique needs. The task force’s recommendations were based on guiding principles: support team-teaching and collaboration; maximize instructional time; provide students with educational choices; and allow time for remediation. At issue is the addition of a Digital Literacy course and the expansion of the College and Career-Readiness core to a full year, which limit the amount of time available for students to take electives. While not a binding vote, Board members indicated a willingness to let individual schools decide what works best for their communities. The six-period schedule works well for some schools because it affords time for team-teaching while preserving instruction time and class sizes and still allowing time for one elective in music, the arts or another subject. But for students whose one elective is already eaten up by a world language or remediation course, the six-period schedule leaves no time for another elective. The Board directed schools to submit their preferred schedules to the Administration, which will bring a proposal to the Board for consideration at the Board’s January 17 meeting. The new schedules would take effect with the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Review of Finances

Utah law requires school districts to publish within five months of the close of the fiscal year a complete set of financial statements. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox on Tuesday summarized highlights of the statement for fiscal year 2016:
  • The District retired $16 million of general obligation school building bonds during 2016.
  • Actual revenues were $1.5 million more than budgeted for the General Fund and actual expenditures were $3 million less than the amount budgeted for the fund.
  • The 2010 bond has funded 13 scheduled projects, 10 of which have been completed. The remaining bond projects include the under-construction Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary schools. The Indian Hills Middle project is in the design and planning stages. .
  • The District has been able to strengthen its unassigned general fund balance from $11.2 million in 2010 to $20.6 million in 2016.

Board Vision and Mission Updates

The Board of Education approved a revised mission statement and indicators of achievement regarding the District’s mission.  The motion to approve the changes was made by Robert Green — his final action as a member of the Board. 

Farewell to Green

Members of the Canyons Board of Education honored Robert Green, whose four-year term on the Board ends this month. President Sherril Taylor read a statement that commended Green for his service. "While his input has been valuable on so many levels, we have especially admired and appreciated his advocacy of students in Title I schools," Taylor’s statement said. "Time after time, Robert has reminded us about the needs of this population, and has worked tirelessly to ensure that we were giving the necessary supports to students who need just a little help to do big things." Green's tenure spanned a time of great progress for the District. In the past four years, Canyons has been named to the AP Honor Roll twice; implemented new boundaries to balance enrollment around the District; successfully put into place grade reconfiguration; opened the new Corner Canyon High, Draper Park, Butler, and Mount Jordan middle schools, and Butler Elementary.  The District also has started construction work on a new Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary.  It also was noted that Green helped the Board conduct a national search to hire Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe.

Patron Comments. 


Parent Laura Rupper commented on potential schedule changes in middle schools, and asked the District to present information to parents for feedback and input. She also expressed concern about the trimester schedule at Brighton High. 

Rand Rupper also commented on the middle school schedule. He also voiced concern about the Brighton High trimester schedule. He asked for the involvement of parents in deciding school issues.

Jenni Perkins, a member of the Middle School Schedule Task Force and a music teacher at Albion, commented on potential changes to the middle school schedule.  She addressed concerns about not having enough time with her students and the impact the state-required courses will have on opportunities for students to take electives.

Shelley Allen, a teacher and International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at Midvale Middle, said she served on the Middle School Schedule Task Force.  Allen also said that teachers across the District have been able to give feedback throughout the process of designing proposals for the Board. She encouraged the Board to give options to schools to meet the unique needs of their communities.

Erica Bradshaw, Mount Jordan Middle teacher and Vice President of the Canyons Education Association, expressed appreciation for being able to serve on the task force.  She encouraged the Board to allow respective communities to choose schedules that will best suit the needs of their schools. 

Melinda Colton, chairwoman of the Draper Park Middle School Community Council, encouraged the Board to allow each school to establish its own schedule. 

Andrew Shaffer, teacher at Union Middle, part of the task force, also commented on the middle schools schedule proposals discussed during the Board’s study session.  He said CSD faculties have had a voice in the schedule proposals made to the Board.   

Parent Ladd Johnson also commented on the middle school schedule. He urged the Board to consider the ability of students to be able to take electives. 

Parent Michelle Lowry expressed concerns about some of the socio-economic issues facing Midvale Elementary. She asked the Board for additional support to help address the issues that are inherent with a Title I school.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent calendar, including the minutes from the Nov. 15, 2016 meeting of the Board of Education; hire and termination reports; student overnight travel; revised LAND Trust plan for Mount Jordan Middle and Granite Elementary; and the acceptance of the 2015-2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 

Calendars

The Board of Education confirmed a school-year calendar for the 2017-2018 school year, and tentatively approved the school-year calendars for the 2018-2019 as presented the Board. 

Policy Update

The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing substitute staff employment, school volunteers, early retirement for administrators, and phased retirement. 

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked the Board, District administrators and middle school principals and assistant principals for the productive discussion regarding potential middle school schedules. He expressed his appreciation to Robert Green for his service to the Board, and especially his advocacy of the CSD Title I communities. He also credited Green for CSD’s partnership with the United Way. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked Green for his service to Canyons District. He mentioned Green’s dedication to such projects at the Hillcrest summer academic initiative and the rebuild of Midvale Middle. He also thanked District administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and community partners for their response to the fatal car accident that claimed the lives of two students and injured three others.

Board Member Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson said the tragedy in Draper had a ripple effect throughout the CSD community. The deaths of the two students and injuries of three others reminded many of what is truly important, he said. He expressed appreciation for his opponent in the November election, Tracy Bennett.  He said it was a civil campaign. He also expressed appreciation to Green for his service.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold lauded Mr. Wilcox and his team for receiving recent awards for budgeting and financial reporting.  She also congratulated Jordan Principal Tom Sherwood, a doctoral student at Brigham Young University, for receiving a School Leadership Award from the university’s Educational Leadership and Foundation’s Department.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending CSD’s Arts Consortium meeting, the audit meeting, and a Town Hall for patrons. He said he attended the musicals of all five CSD traditional high schools, and commented on Jordan High’s new Medical Innovations Pathways program. He also remarked on how the community came together in the aftermath of the car accident involving Corner Canyon students.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey said she attended the musicals of all CSD high schools and a lunch for the Brighton feeder system.  She mentioned that the Canyons Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to perform at the January meeting of the Utah School Boards Association. 

Mrs. Amber Shill said she attended the production of “West Side Story” at Corner Canyon High.  She was on the committee that planned the new-member workshop for the Utah School Boards Association. She also remarked on how the fatal accident affected all parts of the District, and how the community seems to band together to give aid to those who need it most.  She mentioned various holiday projects undertaken by schools, including a Festival of Tree entry by Brighton to help a student with cancer. 

Mr. Robert Green also mentioned the tragedy involving Corner Canyon High students.  He said it’s been an honor serving on the Canyons Board of Education. 

Board President Sherril Taylor remembered the Corner Canyon students who passed away in the car accident. He expressed concern for their families and friends.  He also bid a fond farewell to Green, and thanked the Sandy Police for providing security at the meeting.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 23:57

Board Meeting Summary, Nov. 15, 2016

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


Board Honors Union Middle Faculty, Staff for Quick Actions

The Canyons Board of Education recognized seven educators who played an instrumental role in de-escalating a traumatic incident that occurred at Union Middle on Oct. 25, 2016.  The Board of Education honored Union Middle teachers and staff who, without thought to their own safety, intervened to protect students and mitigate a critical situation that could have been much worse without their action. “You’ve all done so much, not only for the students of Union Middle, but for the entire community,” Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor said in a statement. “If anyone ever wonders if their children are safe in our schools, they need to look no further than your examples. You disarmed the armed, provided aid to the injured, and prevented others from hurting themselves.” Taylor recognized Union Middle Principal Kelly Tauteloi and her staff, including Erin Hemingway, Genny Poll, Ginger Perry, Lynn Nelson, Michelle Erb, Brooke Rauzon and Taylor Hansen.

Principals Gives Update on Plans to Renovate Indian Hills Middle

Principal Doug Graham updated the Board on the upcoming remodel of Indian Hills Middle. At its last meeting, the Board of Education voted to relocate Indian Hills Middle, 1180 E. Sanders Road, to the former Crescent View Middle building, 11150 Green Ridge Dr., during construction. The renovation of the middle school is being funded by a $250 million bond issuance approved by voters in 2010. This will be final project to be completed with proceeds from the bond. Construction should start in spring 2017 and the school is slated to re-open in August 2018. Improvements include a redesign of the parking lot and bus lanes and two major additions to the building. For safety purposes, the administrative area will be moved to the front of the building and a security vestibule, which will require visitors to check in at the Main Office, will be installed. A student commons area will create more open space and allow for more natural sunlight. Among other planned amenities: more windows; a weight room adjacent the gym; a meeting room; updated library; a centralized music area with optimized acoustics; enlarged art classrooms and high-tech, fully functional CTE classrooms.

Review of Data Related to Hillcrest Summer Academic Bootcamp

Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt unveiled data supporting Hillcrest’s Summer Bootcamp program. The 47 students who completed all requirements of the intensive program conducted over the summer months showed progress in the first quarter of the school year. The average grade-point average of those who finished the Unit 1 standards in English arts, mathematics, biology and geography during the summer was 2.57. Those who were invited but didn’t complete the program finished the quarter with an average GPA of 1.84.  For the first quarter, the average GPA for Hillcrest’s freshman class was 2.79.  Seventy-seven percent earned a 2.0 GPA or better.  Last year at this time, 66 percent of Husky ninth-graders earned a 2.0 or better.  Leavitt said parents reported that the Summer Bootcamp was a valuable experience for their children, regardless of whether they completed the program.  Students also reported feeling more confident as they started high school.  In all, bootcamp participants earned an average of 1.75 credits, which means most are on track to graduate. As an incentive to encourage students to give up their free summer time, the United Way paid them stipends for participation. Many of the students used the money to purchase groceries for their family or help pay household bills.

CSD Seeks State Technology Grant Money

Canyons is well underway with a technology pitch that’s required as part of HB277, a multimillion-dollar state grant that can be used to pay for Digital Teaching and Learning.  Dr. Darren Draper, Canyons’ Director of Education Technology, said the District’s most recent 68-page application for three years of grant funding, which would help support the District’s education-technology efforts, was submitted on Nov. 11.  The Utah State Board of Education will review the applications Dec. 1-2 and will award grants on Dec. 31. Draper said CSD, which is seeking about $700,000, aims to improve Canvas, CSDDocs, and Nearpod use in the District; build teacher capacity in their knowledge of technology-facilitated pedagogy; maintain high levels of technology-related professional development. The District also wants to improve technology access and improve its academic use by students and maintain the infrastructure necessary to meet the technology-related needs. Anticipated grant-money spending includes stipends for teachers to earn CSD-specific certifications and convert classes to Canvas; funding for a teacher specialist for summer professional development; and new Chromebook labs in elementary and secondary schools. They also will be eligible for university credit.

Policy Updates

Assistant General Counsel Jeff Christensen updated the Board on proposed changes to District policy. The policies, if approved, would govern professional staff vacations; substitute staff employment; school volunteers; and an early retirement incentive for administrators. Christensen also presented information about a proposed policy regarding phased-in retirement, which the District is required to have and is designed to help address the state’s teacher shortage. Under the proposed policy, which defines phased-in retirement as defined in statute, newly retired employees would be able to continue working for the District on a half-time basis. The retiree would receive a reduced retirement allowance and 50 percent of the retiree’s monthly salary. The Board will continue discussing the proposed policy. During the business meeting, the Board gave approval to changes in policies regarding the Local Professional Improvement Committee; criminal background checks, nondiscrimination; and employee conduct and professionalism. 

Bell Schedule Update

The Office of School Performance has been meeting with School Community Councils to receive feedback on proposed changes to CSD’s bell schedule. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle summarized their feedback. Parents generally appreciated how changing school start and stop times would save money and help the District recruit and retain bus drivers. Piggybacking bus routes would make it possible to offer more fulltime, benefitted positions, and one school — Copperview Elementary — stood out as favoring the idea. But many parents voiced concern about earlier starts for high school students when research suggests teens would benefit from later start times. Some worried about how the changes would affect before- and after-school programs. And some teachers expressed concern about later end-times negatively affecting younger grades due to their limited attention spans. The general consensus of the Board was to not move forward at this time, but urged the Administration to continue to look for other fiscally responsible remedies to the bus-driver shortage.  

Student Advisory Council Empaneled

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle introduced this year’s Student Advisory Council, a panel of high school students who are asked to give feedback to the Board throughout the year. The 10 members are from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools. They plan to meet in January, February, March and April. 

Patron Comments

Patron Dan Hayes, whose son attends Union Middle, thanked the school’s teachers and staff for their quick thinking and rapid response during the traumatic event on Oct. 25.  Mr. Hayes said his son attends Union Middle. He also expressed concern about student safety at school and asked the Board for information about the District’s security plans.  He also asked questions about the District’s position on the state’s gun laws.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent calendar, including approval of the minutes of the meeting on Oct. 18, 2016; the hiring and termination reports; requests for student overnight travel; October’s financial reports; 18 small-capital facility projects; the start of the Code to Success program; changes to LAND Trust plans at Brookwood Elementary and Jordan High; and the appointment of Hillcrest Assistant Principal Rachel Hill as the new United Way Partnership Facilitator.  Sara Newberry, an administrative intern, will replace Hill in the administration at Hillcrest. 

Proposed Calendars for Future Years

Dr. Floyd Stensrud, the Director of the Office of Planning and Enrollment, presented options for the 2017-2018 academic calendars, per discussions by the District’s Calendar Committee. Option No. 1 is the calendar that was tentatively approved by the Board of Education in 2015.  On this calendar, the first day of school would be Aug. 23, 2017.  The school year would end June 7, 2018.  An eight-day Winter Recess would start Dec. 21, 2017 and extend to Jan. 1, 2018.  Option No. 2 is the Calendar Committee’s preferred calendar.  On this calendar, the first day of school would be Aug. 16, 2017.  The last day of school would be June 1, 2018.  An 11-day Winter Recess would start Dec. 18, 2017 and extend to Jan. 1, 2018.  The Board also discussed the calendar guidelines that are now being reviewed by a policy committee.  The Board also was presented with tentative calendars for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school year. The Board did not take action on those calendars. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Union Middle faculty and staff for coalescing during a crisis. He commended all principals, teachers and staff across the District for their efforts to provide safe and welcoming environments for students. He also asked the entire CSD community to be vigilant in the endeavor to maintain safe schools. Dr. Briscoe reported on attending the 4A semi-final football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. He congratulated the Alta Hawks, which lost a tough game to Springville High, on a stellar season.  He congratulated all the CSD teams who made the playoffs in fall sports.  He also congratulated the students who participate in fine arts.  Jordan High’s fall musical, “Once Upon a Mattress,” he said, was good, and he’s looking forward to attending Alta’s musical, as well. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox discussed the phased-in retirement policy that was presented during the Board’s study session.  He also expressed appreciation for the Insurance Department’s oversight of the annual mandatory health insurance Open Enrollment process.  In all, 2,800 employees were enrolled during a two-week period.  He also said the District is closing on 13 acres in west Draper.  The land, per a Board decision in August, may be the site of a future elementary school. 

Board of Education Reports

Ms. Clareen Arnold reported on attending a committee meeting regarding the District’s fine arts programs. She reflected on a conversation she had with her students, who told her they considered their parents to be heroes.  Her heroes, she said, include her fellow Board members and the educators who are in the classroom every day, working with students. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley said he’s grateful for arts programs in the District. By the end of the fall musical season, he said, he will have seen five productions, including Brighton’s “The Little Mermaid.”  He invited patrons to a Town Hall meeting.  He also mentioned the ongoing construction at Alta View Elementary and Jordan High’s new Medical Innovations Pathways Program. 

Ms. Nancy Tingey also commended student thespians for their work on the fall musicals. She’s attended two and looks forward to seeing others this weekend.  She also welcomed the members of the Student Advisory Council to their roles, and reported on attending the Veterans Day event at Canyon View Elementary.

Ms. Amber Shill reported on attending a visit to Draper Elementary by a delegation from China. She also participated in a visit to Butler Elementary by a French Minister of Education.  Shill, who also attended Brighton High’s production of “The Little Mermaid,” congratulated Canyons District for again being named to the AP Honor Roll, and mentioned Brighton High for finishing in the state’s top 10 for its AP success rate.  As the Board’s representatives on the Utah High School Activities Association, she mentioned the progress of Rule 277409, which addresses student-athlete transfers, among other issues. 

Mr. Robert Green thanked the Union Middle faculty and staff for their response to the Oct. 25 incident on campus. Parents, like himself, are grateful for their actions. He also reported on speaking to students at Peruvian Park Elementary. He also mentioned the Veterans Day events held throughout the District and thanked U.S. soldiers for their service. 

Mr. Taylor thanked Board members for their remarks. He said Canyons District is like a family, and the familial feeling is part of the District’s culture. He thanked all teachers, staff, administrators and parents for their hard work.
With a late start once a week, students at Eastmont Middle usually choose to sleep in on Fridays, but not today. Today, Nov. 11, 2016, they had something special in mind —more important than sleep.

In honor of Veterans Day, students came to school early on Friday to make sure everything would be perfect for the 170 veterans and their families they expected to attend the school’s third annual Veterans Day breakfast and presentation.

Students lined the sidewalk with American flags, prepared food, set up the cafeteria, and took their posts on either side of every door. Then, at 8 a.m., whenever anyone approached the doors — especially their VIP veteran guests — the students shook pom poms and cheered, “Hooray! Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for your service!”

The school’s National Junior Honors Society organized the event, which was run entirely by students. Students sang patriotic anthems, announced the program, served the food, bussed the tables, chatted with the veterans, wrote thank you notes and created a video presentation.

“I’m so grateful for your service to this country,” one student said. “It is so easy to take our rights for granted, but we should not take those who fought for our rights for granted.”

The entire student body wrote thank you letters to the veterans, who received the letters as a parting gift. The event was conceived as a way to contribute to the community, a goal of NJHS members.

“These students genuinely want to thank these veterans,” Eastmont NJHS advisor Sarah Exon said. “It’s not that they’ve just been conditioned to be grateful.”

For Doug Sorensen, a member of the Air Force who served for 20 years — “and five days,” he adds — the school’s presentation was a humbling and encouraging experience. Sorensen flew a bomber aircraft for 16 years, served one year in Vietnam, and finished his career by flying a cargo airplane all over the world.

 “This has been so nice,” Sorensen said. Sometimes I wonder if the youth nowadays know what military is and what it does.” Then, his wife, Janice, chimed in.

 “After today, it seems like quite a bit.”
Before anything, Alexander Graham Bell once said, preparation is the key to success. It took more than 120 hours of preparation time for Corner Canyon High Aaron Jackson, but the hard work certainly has paid off.

The junior recently received word he earned a perfect 36 composite score on the ACT, the most commonly accepted U.S. college entrance exam.

This summer, as other students lounged by the pool or went boating at the lake, Jackson pulled out his books to bone up for his maiden attempt at the exam. He estimates he studied three hours a day for the English, math, reading and science sections of the rigorous test. “I wouldn’t say that I was 100 percent expecting” a perfect score, Jackson says, “but I was hoping. It was my goal."

His father woke him up at about 5 a.m. on the day the scores were released so the they could check the results. “We had to reload the page a few times to make sure I was seeing it right,” he said. His parents were ecstatic. He kept his enthusiasm checked so he didn’t wake his siblings.

Since the news spread in the community, his cross-country team has given him high-fives, fellow students offered their congratulations — and, he says, his parents have been a little more lenient on time spent hanging out with his buddies. He doesn’t plan to take the test again — “I mean, I can’t get any higher," he says — but he’s put into place a solid academic pathway that may lead him to one of the colleges of his choice.

This year alone, for example, he’s enrolled in five Advanced Placement courses. “I like learning,” he says. “I take the classes because they are enjoyable to me.”

The schools on his short list: Harvard, Yale and Stanford. Now that he has earned a sterling score, he’s sharpening up his college application.

On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all test-takers earns the top score. In the class of 2016 that took the test, only 2,235 of the 2.1 million who sat the exam earned a composite score of 36. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of one to 36.

A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score. ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.
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