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Halloween may be the spookiest night of the year, but not for the reasons many parents think.

While families fret about stranger danger and America’s sugar-fueled obesity epidemic, the most pressing danger is auto-pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian fatalities nearly double on Halloween, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation: 30 percent of all crash fatalities on Oct. 31 involve pedestrians, compared to 16 percent on an average day.

The heightened risk stems from the combination of having fewer daylight hours in the fall with still relatively warm temperatures, which translates to busier sidewalks and crosswalks, says Canyons District’s Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray. “These accidents are heartbreaking and 100 percent preventable, which is why we ask drivers and pedestrians to be extra vigilant this time of year.”

Ray recommends that trick-or-treaters wear brightly-colored costumes, carry flashlights or glow sticks, and be sure to make eye-contact with drivers before crossing the street. “When it’s dark, it can be difficult to see drivers’ faces, which is why it’s best to assume they haven’t seen you unless they’ve come to a full stop.”

Following are a few more tips to keep your costumed superheroes and princesses safe.

For drivers:
  • Put the phone down!
  • Stay well below the posted speed limit.
  • Pay attention to what’s happening on sidewalks and roadways. Watch for children darting across streets, especially between parked cars.
  • Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
  • Do not assume children can see you or are paying attention.
  • Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
  • If you are driving to a Halloween party, put that mask on after you park the car.

For trick-or-treaters:
  • Make sure drivers see the children. Give them flashlights and glow sticks. Dress kids in bright, reflective clothing or use reflective tape on their costumes.
  • Use makeup rather than masks, so children have a clear unobstructed view of their surroundings.
  • Be sure children know how to cross a street —look left, right, and left again before crossing.
  • Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
  • Accompany your children as they trick-or-treat.

School children on parade through the halls of elementary schools in the Canyons School District
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  • Can adding daylight to children’s daily diet of reading, writing and arithmetic boost student achievement?

    It may sound far-fetched, but “daylighting” — or the addition of windows, skylights and full spectrum lighting — is catching on as a powerful and relatively inexpensive way to improve the learning environment at schools. Motivated by research showing how light is critical for the productivity and well-being of students and school employees, the Canyons Board of Education has proposed a tax-rate-neutral bond that, among other things, would be used to add large windows and skylights to 18 elementary schools in all corners of the District.

    When Canyons was created, it inherited aging schools from a previous school district. Some have so many safety, seismic and other structural and technological deficiencies, according to a group of independent engineers, that they need to be rebuilt. “Learning can only happen in an environment where children feel cared for, secure and comfortable,” says CSD’s Facilities Director Rick Conger.

    Other schools still have years of life in them, but were designed in such a way that they don’t allow in much light. These schools were built in the 1960s and 1970s at a time when open classrooms were in vogue, explained CSD’s Facilities Director Rick Conger. Classrooms back then were divided by partitions or bookshelves, instead of walls, giving them a cozy living-room-like atmosphere conducive to hands-on, collaborative learning. As such, light was able to easily filter through the school. Screen_Shot_2017-10-04_at_1.13.40_PM.png

    But over the years, as teachers found the open design to be noisy and disruptive, walls were added, thereby closing many classrooms off to fresh air and natural light. “Open designs still have a place in education,” notes Conger. “There’s actually been a resurgence of interest in group learning and experiential forms of instruction. But the key is building classrooms to support all types of instruction, including group learning and traditional lectures. Today’s designs feature moveable partitions and modular furniture. They are built for flexibility.”

    Today’s schools also are constructed to infuse classrooms with loads of light. While research on non-traditional forms of instruction is mixed, there’s growing consensus on the benefits of light. 

    A recent study published in the Building and Environment Journal found that classroom design choices, such as lighting, can affect a child’s academic progress over a year by as much as 25 percent. In another 2003 study, cited by the U.S. Department of Education, classrooms with the most daylight had a 20 percent better learning rate in math and 26 percent improved rate in reading when compared to classrooms with little to no natural light.

    There’s also data suggesting large windows with views of outdoor greenery can lower the stress and mental fatigue of students and improve the productivity of teachers. And that’s without considering the indirect environmental health benefits of newer, more energy efficient lighting fixtures.

    Light, of course, makes it easier to perceive what’s going on around us. It controls the body’s circadian system, or sleep-wake cycles, and has an influence on the body’s secretion of hormones affecting cognitive performance, writes Anjali Joseph, Ph.D. for the Center for Health Care Design. For these reasons, and more, many states and municipalities require that inpatient hospital rooms have windows.

    “There's a lot of research to show that when paired with evidenced-based instruction, well-designed school environments can positively influence student learning,” says CSD’s Instructional Supports Director Amber Roderick-Landward.
    Wednesday, 28 October 2015 16:35

    Boo! 12 Tips for Playing it Safe this Halloween

    Boo! It’s the spookiest night of the year. But to avoid a night of real-life horrors this Halloween and keep your little ghouls and goblins safe, we offer these Trick-or-Treating tips, courtesy of Canyons District’s Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray:


    HALLOWEEN DRIVING TRICKS TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

    • Put the phone down!
    • Stay well below the posted speed limit.
    • Pay attention to what’s happening on sidewalks and roadways. Watch for children darting across streets, especially between parked cars.
    • Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
    • Do not assume children can see you or are paying attention.
    • Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
    • If you are driving to a Halloween party, put that mask on after you park the car.

    TIPS FOR THOSE ON THE ROAD IN SEARCH OF ‘TREATS’

    • Make sure drivers see the children. Give them flashlights and glow sticks. Dress kids in bright, reflective clothing or use reflective tape on their costumes.
    • Use makeup rather than masks, so children have a clear unobstructed view of their surroundings.
    • Be sure children know how to cross a street —look left, right, and left again before crossing.
    • Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
    • Accompany your children as they trick or treat.

    Note to CSD employees: Trick-or-treaters can start their night of sugar-fueled merry-making at Canyons District's two administration buildings, CAB-East and CAB-West. Employees can bring their costumed little ones to the District Offices between 2:30 and 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31 to make their way from office to office to fill their bags with treats.