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

Elementary School Rebuild

The Administration recommends that Midvalley Elementary be selected as the first elementary school completed with funds from the $283 million bond approved by voters in November. The 60-year-old school is the oldest of the buildings that are on the list for reconstruction with funds from the 2017 bond. The school also lacks ADA-compliant restrooms, is not built to seismic standards, has a high Facility Cost Index, and the campus is large enough to simultaneously accommodate construction and school operations in the old building. A new building in Midvale also could help absorb any growth in west Midvale. The District’s bond-construction timetable includes starting work on an elementary school in 2019. The other three elementary schools that will eventually be rebuilt with 2017 bond money are Peruvian Park, a White City-area school, and a new school in west Draper. The Board took the recommendation under advisement.  

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The District is studying how to make Parent-Teacher Conferences more effective at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels. Principals at Canyons school say access to technology has drastically altered the reason for conferences because families can contact teachers via e-mail and have continuous access to student work and grades. In elementary schools, teachers suggested allowing for more than 15 minutes per family. School personnel also suggest that conferences are too early in the school year. Among the proposals for changes at the secondary level included hosting a Parent Night during which parents are given tutorials on the software used by schools to maintain and monitor student grades. Secondary-school principals also suggest asking parents to set up appointments, either via Skype or face-to-face, considering that teachers often sit alone and wait for parents to come to the conferences. The Board asked for School Community Councils to weigh in, and asked the Office of School Performance to spearhead a survey project in every CSD school community. 

Budget Information

For the coming school year, Canyons District’s budgeted expenditures are expected to be $268 million, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board of Education. The proposed budget, which will not require a Truth-in-Taxation hearing, also includes the cost of the recently approved negotiated agreements for salaries and benefits, which make up 88 percent of the budget.  The budget also includes costs related to the completion of the Indian Hills Middle remodel; the start of construction projects funded by 2017 bond proceeds; East Midvale’s roof replacement; carbon monoxide detectors; three transportation bus lifts, the new parking lot at Altara Elementary; flooring and carpet replacement at Crescent Elementary; HVAC-controls upgrade at Lone Peak Elementary; a cooling system at Union Middle; irrigation upgrades at Mount Jordan Middle, and Brookwood and Granite elementary schools; and a Jordan High roof replacement and HVAC upgrades. Wilcox noted the budget is dependent on state funding for enrollment, through the Weighted Pupil Unit. Canyons District hovers at about 34,000 students, and that number is expected to hold steady. The Board will consider adopting the budget on June 12. Then, the Board also will adopt a revised FY18 budget and a tentative FY19 budget. The District is required to hold a public hearing and make the proposed budget available to the public for 15 calendars days before adoption. The certified tax rate, which will impact CSD’s projected revenues, will be made available June 22. 

Cottonwood Heights CDA 

The Board heard a request to extend the Canyon Centre Community Development Area (CDA) agreement that the District entered into in 2012. The redevelopment project to add commercial, residential and parking structures to an area at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon was delayed due to the recession and a legal challenge. The Board will take up the issue at a future meeting pending a review of a cost-benefit analysis.

Recognitions

The Board of Education honored students, faculty and staff for their achievements: 
  • Hillcrest’s Unified Soccer Team, Hillcrest, will compete in the Special Olympics USA Games this summer
  • Debbie Delliskave, Midvale Middle, and Cory Christiansen, Copperview Elementary, earned $4,300 bonuses through the Effective Teachers in High Poverty School Incentive Program   
  • Hunter McKay, Corner Canyon, first place in the DECA competition’s Business Financial Services category
  • Lauren Wilson, Corner Canyon, first place, DECA competition’s Quick-Serve Restaurant Management category
  • Gabrielle Ciet and Eillie Runk, Hillcrest, won first place in the DECA competition’s Hospitality Services category
  • Josie Taylor, Makena Terry, Emily Bluemel, Jordan, won first place in the state DECA competition, and placed in the top 10 at the national DECA competition in the School-Based Enterprise category. 
  • Samantha Brockman, Alta, received first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Introduction to Information Technology category
  • Lindsay Bruner, Julia Elmer, Ariana Rhodes, Hillcrest, won first place in the Chapter in Review Portfolio category
  • Mercedes Jensen, Hillcrest, won first place in the Leadership category
  • Ashley Larson, Jordan, won first place at the FCCLA state competition in the Nutrition and Wellness category
  • Luke Kim, Hillcrest, won first place on a Knowledge Test in the Transcultural Healthcare category. Luke completed a 100-question multiple choice written exam with an essay portion covering cultural foundations; health, healing and family
  • Olivia Finlayson, CTEC, won first place in the Physical Therapy category. She completed a 50-question multiple choice written exam, then performed selected skills from a written scenario, including range of motion and ice pack application
  • Sieauna Vigh, Brighton, won first place in the Veterinary Science category. For this award, Vigh completed a 50-question multiple choice written exam, then performed selected skills, including lifting and restraining a dog and identification of companion animal breeds and species
  • Momina Sial, Rushmeen Tariq, Stephen Yu, Hillcrest, won first place tion in the Biomedical Debate category. The team completed a 50-question written exam, followed by a debate on the topic of whether teen use of social media should be limited
  • Jason Wiggins, Mitchel Pike, CTEC, won first place in the 3-D Visualization and Animation category

Policy Discussions  

In Study Session, the Board of Education heard a first reading of changes to policies governing middle-school education requirements; sick leave benefits and retirement; sex education instruction; Human Resource procedures. In the Business Meeting, the Board approved changes to policies governing student immunization; district nurses and mediation administration; vision screening; and home instruction. The Board will continue to review proposed changes to the student attendance policy. Policies also have been deemed obsolete. They include policies on student social events; identification, interventions and post-vention procedures for students; and student pregnancies

Pledge of Allegiance and Reverence

Cub Scouts who attend Park Lane Elementary led the audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Principal Justin Jeffery gave the reverence. A native Texan, he said his heart goes out to the students, school employees and families in Santa Fe. He thanked the Administration and Board of Education for proactive steps they’ve take to improve the safety of schools. It’s been said that Park Lane is the best kept secret in Sandy, Jeffery said. The school serves 400 “wonderfully diverse” students and takes seriously the full education of children, from academic advancements to social awareness.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the May 8, 2018 meeting of the Board; hiring and termination reports; purchasing bids; student-overnight travel requests; and April financial reports.  In a separate motion, the Board also approved the elementary and middle school bell schedules for the 2018-2019 school year.

Patron Comment

Riley Cox, seventh-grade student at Albion Middle, asked the Board to help schools provide more elective technology classes. 

Kristen Cox, a parent and current executive director of Utah Governor's Office of Management and Budget, encouraged the Board to provide more technology classes.  She said her son, Riley, conducted all the research for his presentation to the Board of Education.

Draper Park Middle parent Wendy Smith thanked the Board for their service. She urged the Board to consider other school schedules that would provide more time for electives. She voiced a concern that high-quality teachers in elective offerings will leave for other Districts.

Draper Park Middle parent Chad Smith said he worries Canyons District has prioritized science, technology, engineering and mathematics over the arts in Canyons District.  He also said SCC members at his school have expressed concern about the Board’s process for schools to select schedules. He said the Board and District should take oversight, instead of giving each community, through the SCC, a vote on the school schedule. 

Parent and Comcast representative Dan Conger encouraged the Board to invest more in robotics programs.

Superintendent Report

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the Canyons District Human Resources department for their work in recruiting and hiring licensed staff. Some 151 teachers have been hired for the coming school year. Twenty-five positions, mostly in Special Education, remain open for the coming school year.   

Wilcox said he appreciated the ideas of the patrons who spoke in favor of expanding STEM offerings in Canyons. He also thanked the school community for a successful school year.

Board Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg noted the Office of Public Communication’s quick response in communicating emergency situations to the Board, Administration and the public. He also commended Wilcox for crafting the District’s tentative budget, and Facilities Director Rick Conger for heading up the facilities-improvement plan. Millerberg reported on attending Special Education Sports Day and Brookwood Elementary’s kindergarten Day. He also attended Union Middle’s production of “Into the Woods,” which included about 250 students

Mr. Steve Wrigley attended the Canyons District Film Festival, the Latinos in Action end-of-year banquet, Special Education field day, and Hillcrest’s production of “Beautiful Game.” 

Ms. Amber Shill reported on attending the tour of Butler Middle of a delegation of dual-language immersion teachers; the RizePoint scholarship reception, Butler Elementary’s “World Night,” Brighton High’s spring sport competitions; Oakdale and Ridgecrest elementary SCC meetings and the LIA banquet and the Park and Recreation Advisory Board.

Ms. Nancy Tingey reported on meeting visiting teachers who were attending a DLI conference and Granite Elementary’s STEAM night.  She lauded staff, teachers, parents and students for working so hard on such enjoyable end-of-year events. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold expressed thanks to the school community for working so hard to make the school year successful.   

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending region and state track meets. He said he enjoyed the study session discussion on Parent-Teacher Conference. He remarked on the proposal to extend the Cottonwood Heights CDA, noting that he would still like to see how it would benefit CSD. He said he’s glad CSD continues the tradition of Lagoon Day for eighth-grade students.

President Taylor reported on attending Principals Awards Night at Alta High, and commended Principal Brian McGill for his work in emphasizing academic achievement. This year, 124 students received Advanced Diplomas and 134 students received Honors Diplomas, the unique-to-Canyons college- and career-diplomas. This means the students went beyond the state requirements for a high school diploma. He thanked the Board members and administrators for their hard work, and wished Board members good luck on their commencement addresses.
The goal is in sight!  The last day of school for the 2017-2018 academic year is rapidly approaching — and Real Salt Lake is helping Canyons kick off the summer break.

To celebrate the end of school, as well as the heights of success achieved by the Canyons community over the past nine months, Real Salt Lake is hosting Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Saturday, June 2 event, featuring a game against Seattle Sounders FC, will be a celebration of students, educators, parents, volunteers and community partners.   

Discount tickets to the 7:30 p.m. game can be purchased by clicking here. The reduced cost — $23 per ticket — is available to the Canyons District community so more people can attend to cheer all of the 2018 Teachers of the Year from every CSD school.

Halftime will be dedicated to honoring the excellence and commitment of the 46 top teachers from all CSD elementary, middle and high schools in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta. Right after the 35th minute of the game, the teachers will be escorted to the middle of the field at Rio Tinto to be applauded by thousands.

Special recognition will be given to Corner Canyon High’s Amber Rogers, who was announced last month as the District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. Rogers, who is the department head of Corner Canyon High’s social studies department, is Canyons’ official nominee in the Utah Teacher of the Year competition.  CSD’s top middle school teacher is Midvale Middle’s Lena Wood and the top elementary teacher is Alta View’s Jamie Richardson. 

Each of CSD’s Teachers of the Year were given complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest, courtesy of Real Salt Lake, in appreciation of their service to students and the larger community.
Three Canyons students who are preparing to walk across the graduation stage on June 5 have finished their high school years on an impressive academic milestone: They have been named 2018 National Merit Scholars.

Hillcrest High’s Kara Komarnitsky and Madeline Martin are joined by Corner Canyon High’s August Burton on the list of the $2,500 scholarship winners from Utah. They are among the 2,500 students who rose to the top of the field of 15,000 semifinalists to earn the honor. This year, 14 students from all five of Canyons District’s traditional high schools earned semifinalist status.   

National Merit Scholars are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. Applicants are judged on their academic records, including the rigor of the classes taken during their high school years; scores from standardized tests; contributions and leadership at their schools; and involvement in the community. Finalists also penned essays.

The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors

The awards mark the end of an arduous application process.  Students vying for National Merit Scholarships start the journey in October 2016. That’s when more than 1.65 million juniors in some 22,000 schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This served as an initial screen of the entrants.   

Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Of the 16,000 semifinalists, some 15,000 students met the academic standards and other requirements to earn finalist status in the scholarship contest.
They go out of their way to make students feel special. They give of their free time to support teachers. They find resources for schools, forge creative paths around big problems and have worked shoulder-to-shoulder to build Canyons into a world-class district.

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 them. 

Canyons District is now taking nominations for the 2018 Apex Awards, the annual honors given by CSD leaders to teachers, administrators, district office personnel, volunteers and community partners. The Apex Awards, started in 2010, are the highest honors given by Canyons District to the people who help make CSD the place to be. 

Award categories are: 
  • Teacher of the Year
  • 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. 3, 2018.

Nominations for Apex Awards can be submitted for all categories except 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 Amber Rogers, a social studies educator at Corner Canyon High.  She was selected from a field of 47 teachers from every CSD school in the District.

The winners of the 2018 Apex Awards are celebrated at a by-invitation-only banquet and awards ceremony. This year’s event will be Sept. 11, 2018 at The Gathering Place at Gardner Village, 1100 W. 7800 South.

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..
Five Eastmont Middle students received a surprise message this week from Albus Dumbledore requesting “the pleasure” of their company in the library after school.

Their mission, according to the headmaster, was to solve 40 puzzles to unlock hidden Horcruxes and Hallows and defeat “He Who Shall Not Be Named.” The fivesome donned wizard robes and sequestered themselves in an elaborately-designed broom closet where, by working together and drawing upon the knowledge of concepts they’ve learned throughout the school year, they followed a trail of clues to save Hogwarts — no spells or charms necessary.

Eastmont Middle’s Harry Potter-themed escape room, which debuted this week to an enthusiastic group of Potter fans, is the brainchild of English teacher Anna Alger and history teacher Richard Mellor. It took Mellor more than 300 weekend and holiday hours to design all the mind-bending puzzles and retrofit one of the school’s empty supply closets with flickering candles, wood flooring, hand-sculpted “rock” walls made of foam insulation, and clever artifacts.
Potterroom.jpg It was a labor of love undertaken with the singular goal of bringing a little wonder and magic back to learning. “We just wanted a fun, interactive experience where students could apply what they’ve learned in a different way,” Mellor says.

Game-based learning, or the “gamification” of education, is taking hold in classrooms across the country. Typically, the strategy involves deploying computerized tools or education-related videogames as a means to capture students’ interest. Nearly one-third of high school students play three or more hours of videogames a day, so why not leverage gaming principles for teaching and learning?

Whether gamification works to sustain student engagement is a matter of some debate. But Mellor’s motivation was more practical than theoretical. He was looking for a fun way to keep kids challenged, and in so doing, discovered that games don’t have to be high-tech to spark the imagination.

“The escape room is decidedly low-tech,” he says. “The students have to work by candlelight (battery operated), and there are no calculators to assist them in solving long-division problems. They have to use feather quills instead of pens to work through problems on paper.”

Mellor and Alger financed the project with a Donors Choose grant through the Chevron Fuel Your School program. “I’ve written many grants for books or STEM supplies, but Fuel Your School is the one grant where you can ask for funding for weird thing like wizard wands, potion bottes, and replica quidditch sets,” Mellor says.



He’s an unabashed Potter fan, but the escape room is rooted in the curriculum, not fantasy. The first group of students to enter took nearly two hours to complete all the tasks before enjoying a celebratory treat of “butterbeers,” or cream soda floats.

Mellor has since paired back the puzzles, but says, “it was fun to watch their excitement, and to see them work as teams” to solve anagrams and riddles, and to mix bubbling potions and translate hieroglyphic messages.

One of the biggest benefits of game-based learning, he says, is that it frees students to take charge of their learning and teaches them to push past failure as part of the process. “It’s truly independent learning,” Mellor says. “So much of what we do in class is guided learning. But with games, students have to figure it out themselves and rely on each other.”

Students are cuing up to give the escape room a try after school. Eventually, Eastmont will open it up to public use, free of charge. Interested families or youth groups will need to reserve a spot in advance by emailing Mellor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Soon, Mellor may undertake a second CSI escape room where students are tasked with solving crimes.



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