As the sun sets on Midvalley Elementary's 60th year, a new dawn arises for the Junior Huskies.

Built in 1957 when a piece of candy cost .5 cents, frisbees were all the rage, and most of the area surrounding the school was farmland, Midvalley now serves a diverse and growing suburban population, and is in need of an upgrade—which it will soon be getting when it’s rebuilt with proceeds from a $283 million, voter-approved bond.

No time is being wasted on the project, the first of four elementary schools to be constructed with the bond funds. NJRA Architects have been busy designing the new, two-story school with input from teachers, students, and patrons. Families and neighboring homeowners were invited to preview the preliminary plans this past week. 

Small180926 KG PlaygroundThe architects intend to use a similar design to that deployed in other communities, which saves taxpayer funds. The plans include large skylights that allow for natural light to reach all floors, technologically-equipped classrooms, a brightly-colored kindergarten playground, and a faculty lounge that opens onto an outdoor courtyard. small180926 Faculty Patio

Safety is a big factor in the design and great care will be taken to situate the building in such a way as to provide administrators with a clear view of entrances and exits while also making it easy for emergency responders to access the campus. The new school will have a security vestibule that will require all visitors to be seen by school staff before they enter the building. In addition, the building will be equipped with state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems and voice amplification equipment for teachers in the classroom.

The building will be built on the southeastern edge of the campus so as to minimize disruptions for students and allow them to stay in the existing school building during construction.

Crews are anticipated to break ground this coming spring, and the projects is expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year.

The future is bright with young leaders like these.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, the Board of Education empaneled Canyons’ 2018-2019 Student Advisory Council. This is the sixth year the Board has selected students from all five of Canyons’ traditional high schools to serve in an advisory capacity. 

When the Board of Education debates policies or procedures that could impact students, the members of the school board turn to the Student Advisory Council for input. It’s truly a direct line from the students to the policy-makers in Canyons. 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle, the adviser for the student group, on Tuesday night introduced the students, who were selected after an application process. Two representatives are chosen from Alta, Brighton Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools. They will meet six times throughout the school year 

The students are Alta's Brooklyn Bacher and Noah Ogden, Brighton's Ellie Anderson and Ethan Van Drimmelen, Corner Canyon's Josee Haycock and Luke Warnock, Hillcrest's Lizzie Moss and Landon Nipko, and Jordan's Daizha Jake and Michael Manhard. 
All of Canyons District’s administrative departments will soon be housed in one centrally-located campus.

Paving the way for the consolidation is the Sept. 28 sale of the District’s western administrative building at 9150 S. 500 West in Sandy, the proceeds of which will be used to expand the Canyons Administration Building at 9361 S. 300 East to provide space for all administrative functions.

The move is a money-maker for the District, says Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. Not only will proceeds from the $9.4 million sale almost fully fund the design and construction of office space for the relocating employees, the sale will add an estimated $400,000 to $475,000 in annual tax revenue to the District’s ongoing budget. “As it is now, the property isn’t generating any property tax revenue. But the Park City-based buyer Synergy Development intends to develop it into an industrial complex, creating 200 to 300 jobs and generating tax revenue,” Wilcox explains.

What’s more, consolidating all central functions will provide patrons of the District with more of a “one-stop shopping” experience, says Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “Having two administrative buildings has been confusing for patrons. The synergy of bringing all our departments together to work side-by-side will not only lead to better customer service, it will improve productivity by sparing employees from having to travel between locations, and has the potential to improve communications and make life easier for everyone.” CABeast

The consolidation may also save on electricity, and heating and cooling costs. In addition, the planned construction of an onsite cafeteria will generate revenue for the District and be used to provide low-cost catering for professional trainings and other District-sponsored events.

If all goes as planned, construction of the new administrative space is expected to begin in October and be completed in August, 2019. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Board of Education awarded the construction contract to the lowest bidder, Copper Valley Construction. 

Wilcox stresses that this project is completely separate from the school improvement projects made possible through passage of a 2017 bond.

What might the new offices look like? Who will occupy them and when? The Office of Public Communications will publish regular updates on the project and welcomes questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Kierstin Draper was standing outside Canyon View Elementary’s Main Office when her walkie-talkie crackled to life with news of an immediate threat requiring the school to be placed on lockdown.

Class was in session, and most students were already in their classrooms where teachers calmly sprang into action, locking doors, turning off lights, and directing students to silently move away from the door and any windows.

Working with the school’s Resource Officer, Draper’s next course of action was to confirm that the school was secure and her students and employees were accounted for and safe. Fortunately, in this instance, the lockdown was merely an exercise—and she had at her disposal, the DIR-S app, which enabled her to perform a full sweep of the school in under two minutes. “We knew this was a drill, but just going through the exercise gets your heart pumping,” Draper says. lockdownsmall

Created by the Utah-based Tresit Group, the app—pronounced “duress”—was pilot-tested by Canyon View last year, and is now being implemented in all Canyons District schools. With a push of a button, it allows teachers and staff members to give an immediate update on their status through a mobile device or computer, providing everyone, including administrators and law enforcement officers, with the real-time information needed to ascertain the source and location of a threat.

“The app speeds communication and allows everyone to be on the same page and working in lockstep to safeguard the school. It has provided my teachers with real peace-of-mind,” Draper says.

Improved communication is exactly why Tresit Group created DIR-S, which stands for Disaster Incident Response and Security. “During an emergency, 911 dispatchers often receive conflicting reports, which can sow confusion and slow emergency responders, who are sometimes coming from multiple jurisdictions and agencies,” says Preston Keller, the company’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This alleviates all of that.”

In a real life-threatening scenario, having immediate access to on-the-ground reports aids law enforcement in more quickly containing and investigating threats. It also provides teachers with the knowledge they need to make life-saving decisions in fluid situations.

When responding to an active threat, such as an intruder, Canyons employees are trained in the ESCAPE method, which entails taking the best course of action based on the circumstances of the moment. During a lockdown, the wisest choice, given a person’s proximity to the intruder, might be to evacuate the building or confront the intruder.   

“DIR-S helps to more quickly and accurately inform those decisions,” explains CSD Risk Manager Kevin Ray. “It’s one of the many ways, as we review and update our safety protocols, that we’re adapting to the evolving nature of threats.”

The app is equally valuable for responding to other emergencies, from fire drills and bomb threats to catastrophic disasters such as an earthquake, Draper says. “Knowledge is power and DIR-S puts that power in the hands of those who need it most when they need it most.”

The Panthers have clawed their way to the top. Peruvian Park Elementary has been named by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.

The 2018 recognition, given to only two other Utah schools, was based on the school’s overall academic performance as measured by state assessments. The school celebrated the announcement today at an assembly, during which they watched a video by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and waited patiently to see if their name would appear on the screen. 

When the school's picture popped up, the students and teachers roared in delight. Blue balloons bounced around and confetti was sprayed into the crowd of cheering youngsters.

The prestigious award, earned by 349 public and private schools across the country, affirms the hard work of Peruvian Park’s administration and faculty in building a culture of excellence at the school. In fact, the results of test scores for neighborhood students has nearly doubled, and the students in the magnet SALTA advanced-learner program are achieving at highly-proficient levels.

"We asked you to be brave enough to make goals that would be hard for you," Principal Leslie Jewkes told the students while congratulating them on achieving their goals. She also thanked the "fearless" teachers who committed themselves to collaboration and stellar classroom instruction.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe also congratulated the students, 30 percent of whom qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches, for earning the coveted national honor. "We are really proud of what you have been able to accomplish and to bring this kind of recognition to our community," he said.

This is the 36th year the federal education department has announced National Blue Ribbon honors for schools that are achieving at high levels or doing strong work in closing the achievement gap. DeVos will honor the winning schools during a ceremony Nov. 7-8 in Washington, D.C.

See the District's Facebook page for a gallery of photos and a video of the cheering children and teachers.
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