The first-ever members to join Alta High’s marching band will be graduating this year — and they’ll be celebrating in a big way.

After four years of high-stepping, twirling and drumming, Canyons District’s only marching band will be taking their talent across the country to represent Utah in the 13th annual National Memorial Day Parade, held annually on Constitution Avenue to honor the men and women who have served valiantly in the U.S. Armed Forces.  The parade starts at 2 p.m. Eastern on Monday. 

This is the first time the award-winning band will perform in a different state, and they will be the only Utah marching band in the event. The parade is one of the country’s largest Memorial Day event.

“I had no idea we would be marching in this parade,” said Alta bandleader Caleb Shabestari, who led the band to 2A division state championships in 2013 and 2014. “I think it’s cool we’ve doubled the size of the band in four years and we’re taking a trip across the country. We couldn’t have done that last year.”

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan nominated the marching band to represent Utah last March and the group has been preparing ever since. These days, the students attend practice two days a week to put the final touches on their patriotic program. The songs they will perform will highlight an immigrant’s journey to the United States.

“Just for the parade we’ve probably practiced for 40 hours straight,” Shabestari said. For those who won’t be able to see the parade in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 29, the band will perform the same numbers at parades this summer in Sandy and Draper. 

The parade also will be streamed live on military.com.  

In June, the Alta High marching band will begin rehearsals for the summer band program, which includes flashy performances in Fourth of July and city celebration parades. The students range in age from seventh- to 12th grades and hail from all parts of the District. 

In the fall, the group will start working on their fall competition program, which will feature a theme of air, flight and planes, with completely original music. Students from all over Canyons participate in the District band located at Alta.

 “My goal at the end of five years is to have a band with over 100 people,” Shabestari said. “We are well on track to do that.”
The Board of Education on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 unanimously voted to approve a negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association for 2017-2018 school year.

The agreement contains a small adjustment to the Conversion Placement Table approved at the April 25, 2017 meeting of the Board of Education. The new, single-lane salary schedule represents the largest pay hike in the District’s history, bumping the starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 to $40,500, while also funding raises for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, significantly improving their lifetime earnings and retirement payments. It’s a big investment and tangible proof of how much the CSD community values education, says Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor.

"We have said it before and we will say it again: Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions," he said. "With the intention of bringing the best and brightest to Canyons District classrooms, and to give teachers a chance to earn more over the length of their careers, the Board of Education moved singularly and decisively to make an important and positive financial impact in the lives of our teachers."

CEA President Jen Buttars also said the association appreciates "the nearly $11.5 million investment in teacher salaries and believes that the Board has truly demonstrated a commitment to not only recruit, but also retain educators."

"The CEA believes that (the Board's) commitment to listening to the concerns of educators, recognizing professional judgement and attending to salary, benefit and working condition concerns, allows educators to focus on their
efficacy for the benefit of all Canyons School District students," she said.

As part of the agreement, the District will cover 83.7 percent of the 11.33 percent hike in health insurance premiums that takes effect in January 2018. One Personal Leave Day will be converted back to a Sick Leave Day. Also, under a policy change, the provisional status of experienced transfer teachers may be shortened if they have:
  • Successfully taught for at least three consecutive years in an accredited school or district
  • Completed at least one year of provisional service with Canyons District
  • Successfully met the criteria outlined in GCOA-Evaluation of Instructional Staff (Licensed)
  • Been recommended by their principal/supervisor for a Provisional Status Exception
  • Received approval by the Director of Human Resources

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 14:56

CSD Honors Nine Outstanding Educators

Paraeducators provide behavioral supports, one-on-one tutoring, and the extra instructional time and attention that some students need to thrive. These champions of children support teachers and form a vital communication-link to parents.

Schools simply can't operate effectively without them, and to show our appreciation, Canyons District's Department of Special Education each year honors thebest in the business. Congratulations to the winners of CSD's 2017 Outstanding Paraeducator Awards:

Tessa Marrelli, CTAGary Ren, Jordan Valley
Kelsey Edman, Early Childhood
Carlito Lucero, Accommodated Core Classroom
Lisa Hammer, Academic Behavior Support classroom
Kendra Plant, Extended Core classroom
Bonnie Healy, middle school resource
Julie Mickelsen, elementary resource


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Canyons School District is home to two 2017 National Merit Scholars.

Eric Jackson of Corner Canyon High and Brian Johnson of Jordan High, are among 2,500 high school seniors chosen nationally for the prestigious academic honor.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, students had to complete a detailed application with an essay and provide information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. They were judged by a panel of college admissions officers and high school counselors who looked at students’ academic records, including grades and rigor of the courses they completed.   

But first, students had to score high enough on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Of the 1.6 million American teens who took the test in their junior year, only the top 1 percent, or 16,000, made the cut. That list was then whittled further to 7,500 finalists.

Jackson and Johnson will receive $2,500 scholarships to use toward their college education.
Bon boulot, gong xi and felicitaciones to students throughout Canyons District who are making waves with their language skills. 

On Friday, May 5, 2017, Draper Park Middle students Ariel Harp and McKay Larsen took first place at the Chinese Bridge Language Contest at the University of Maryland. Harp and Larson represented Utah for the first time in the competition, where they competed in the Cultural Performance category. 

Harp also won first place in the Level 4 Speech Contest at the Chinese Language Fair at BYU in April. She was joined by 11 other Draper Park Middle students who received superior and excellent awards at the fair, as well as students from Corner Canyon and Hillcrest high schools and Midvale Middle, who also placed first at the BYU Language Fair.

The students are all part of Canyons Dual-Language Immersion program, which features programs in Mandarin Chinese-English, French-English, and Spanish-English. Parents and their Dual-Language Immersion students in all grade levels are invited to attend a secondary=school information night on Thursday, May 11 at 6 p.m. in the Professional Development Center at Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East.

The purpose of the event is to discuss how students transition from elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school, in the DLI program. Course pathways and descriptions, bridge courses, university collaboration and program locations will also be discussed.

More than 300 DLI students from Alta, Corner Canyon, Brighton, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools recently tested their skills at the BYU Language Fair in Provo on April 20, 2017. Students from Midvale, Mount Jordan and Draper Park Middle also participated in the half-day event that tests language ability in Chinese, French, Spanish, German and Russian.

A group of students at Hillcrest took first place in the Language Bowl at the Spanish Foreign Language Fair at BYU. The students were tested on grammar, geography, history, culture, current events, and vocabulary. The students were asked questions in Spanish and teams of five had 10 minutes to answer the questions and receive points according to their answers. At Corner Canyon, students received superior marks in Show and Tell, Speech and Conversation.

Midvale Middle participated in BYU’s Chinese Language Fair and took first place in the Character Bee portion of the competition. In the Character Bee, students match words, written in Chinese, with their correct definitions. The first team to match 12 words in a row correctly wins. 
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