There are a few names for what parents and teachers fear will happen to their students over the long stretch of summer. The summer slide, brain drain, and learning loss are just a few the terms referring to the tendency of students to lose ground academically over long school breaks.

But not on Allyn Cau’s watch. This year, the Alta View Elementary parent decided to tackle the summer slide head on and see what she could do to keep the Road Runners reading through the lazy days of June, July and August.

She volunteered to create a program, using the Partners in Dyad Reading method encouraged by the Utah State Board of Education, then worked with Alta View Principal Scott Jameson to develop a weekly opportunity for students to come to school and practice their reading all summer long. The result was a highly-organized community effort to keep students moving forward—not backward—so they could resume school this week without missing a beat.Cau

“We’re always told to read 15-20 minutes a day, but with a little change, you can make a big difference,” Cau said. “I saw students struggling in math and reading and I was just hoping to find a way to help them catch up, or at least not drop.”

Cau learned about Dyad Reading at a presentation at the state PTA convention. While there, she made connections with the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), United Way, Utah State Fair and the Reading Network Group, who each gave her donations, such as notebooks, resources and Spanish and English flyers on how to participate in Dyad Reading. Her initial inroads led to connections with the Salt Lake County library system, which agreed to support the program.

Next, Alta View’s librarians, teachers and reading interventionists were willing to volunteer their time for two hours once a week to help read with the students and allow the children to check out a book from the school library. Principal Jameson used school-based funds to pay for the electricity needed to open the school for the program, and fund the teachers and employees. Librarians from the Salt Lake County system also volunteered at the reading session, as well as other members of the community.

“The program had two purposes, to read with the kids and to train parents in how to be better at reading with their kids,” Jameson said. “This is an example of a way that we can come together and work really well to find the best thing for the kids, and it became a much better program than it would have been if we were working separately.”

Dyad Reading pairs adults and students together as they sit side-by-side and simultaneously read out loud books that are two grade levels higher than the student’s reading group. If the child doesn’t know a word, the adult repeats it, and then the entire sentence, then continues on. According to the USBE, the method can improve reading fluency and comprehension by 1.9 grade levels.

“I think if we teach the parents to do it and get them on board, it’s a win-win situation,” said Tami Malan, a second-grade dual-immersion teacher at Alta View who also wanted to find a way to give students access to the school library during the summer. Students can lose three or four months of reading levels during the summer when they don’t read, Malan said. She’s already thinking about how to improve the program next year—but she says it couldn’t have been done without Cau’s initiative. 

Cau regularly volunteers at the school, belongs to the PTA, and occasionally works as a substitute in the classroom. The reading program was a monumental effort, she says, but in the end, even if only one student benefitted, it was worth it. 

“I say, just do something. Start somewhere. Talk to somebody,” Cau said. “There are always people who are willing to help. You don’t have to know everything, you just have to get the ball rolling and other people will fill in with their strengths and expertise.”

The USBE has an online guide for parents who are interested in trying Dyad reading with their children at home. Here are some highlights:

What is Dyad Reading?

Reading with your children is one of the most important things you can do to help them excel at school. Children access the world of knowledge through reading, and, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” The Dyad reading method is one way of reading with your child that has been proven to deliver measurable gains. It’s simple, and involves sitting side-by-side with your child, and reading aloud together as you scan the words with your finger. Discuss your child’s instructional level with your teacher. Use grade-level texts for first-graders. For students in grades 2-6, use materials that are about two grade levels above their current reading level.

•  Share one book.
•  Sit side by side.
•  Use one smooth finger.
•  Read with two voices.
•  Keep eyes on words.
•  Problem-solve to break words into manageable chunks.
•  Don’t go too fast or too slow.
•  Write down words you don’t know and look up their definitions.
•  Discuss the characters and plot.
•  Summarize main ideas.
•  Have fun!
The robust cheers heard throughout the Salt Lake Valley on Monday, Aug. 19 were likely from the back-to-school celebrations held at Canyons District schools.   

Per an 11-year tradition, principals rolled out red carpets to welcome students to the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers, principals, and parents, as well as Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe and members of the Canyons Board of Education, lined up to snap photos, cheer and give high-fives and fist bumps to the students headed into school for the first time of the school year.

Adding to the festivities were players from Real Salt Lake and Royals FC, the professional soccer players who compete at Rio Tinto Stadium, located within the Canyons District boundaries.  The players, who encouraged all the students to set their sights on reaching their goals, were accompanied by Leo the Lion, who attracted a crowd wherever he went.  

Elementary and middle school students also received a free pencil for their backpacks.  Another tool Canyons District is providing students is “social-emotional” training to make good decision, manage emotions and solve problems. After all, children can’t learn at high levels if they feel insecure, anxious, stressed or scared. 

BJ Weller, Canyons’ Responsive Services Director, appeared on ABC4 and KUTV on the first day of school to talk about how the District is helping children develop the confidence and character traits needed for success in life and school. This includes things like teaching students who to set and achieve goals, make and keep friends, and make responsible decisions.   

“We’re still teaching math, science, reading and writing … but we’re now cognizant of how, say the simple act of reading, can teach children empathy by exposing them to different perspectives or persisting with a math problem can teach perseverance,” he says.  “As a parent, you may hear your teacher refer to this as social-emotional learning. But it’s really best described as life skills, which, research suggests can significantly increase a student’s chances of graduating from high school and college.”

In Canyons District, the Board of Education has invested in the hiring and training of psychologists, social workers and counselors for every school. These professionals are there as a resource for families and to help maintain environments where children feel connected and safe to raise their hands, try hard things, and reach out to new friends. Also, starting this fall, and over the next few years, Canyons schools will be rolling out a new, social-emotional learning curriculum to help teachers and staff speak the same language when talking about things like problem-solving, focusing in class, and working as teams.

“Again, much of this is just part of everyday learning. For example, while reading a book in kindergarten about a boy who loses his dog, the teacher might prompt students to talk about how the boy feels or discuss steps he might take to begin searching for his pet. A failed science experiment can serve as an important lesson about it’s OK when things don’t work as planned, it’s part of the learning process. It’s kind of a new way of thinking about book smarts.”

Parents can support, Weller says, by modeling a positive attitude about education and showing interest in their child’s classes, teachers and friends.
As one of the first employees of Canyons School District, Susan Edwards has had a front-row seat for many of the District’s defining moments.

Even before the vote on Nov. 6, 2007, Edwards was deeply involved in community discussions that led to the creation of the first school district in Utah in 100 years. From building a vital bridge of connections throughout the community to choosing the District’s first computers, Edwards has played a key role in Canyons’ history — and, after a decade of devoting day and night to its success — Canyons has played a key role in hers.

“It feels like Canyons’ history is part of my family’s history,” Edwards said recently as she reflected on the District’s upcoming anniversary. “My family sees what you can accomplish, they see the relationships and the strength it takes just to battle through. They’ve learned a lot about community service, and how important education is to me.”

Click here to see Edwards talk with ABC4 anchor Brian Carlson about Canyons District's first 10 years.

Since community was essential to Canyons’ creation, community is at the heart of Canyons’ 10-year anniversary celebration on July 1. Nearly 700 people attended a free community party from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandy Amphitheater splash pad, 1245 E. 9400 South.  At the event, the District served more than 600 hot dogs, bags of chips, and bottles of water. Attendees also sang “Happy Birthday” and cheered as the Board of Education cut birthday cakes decorated with the District’s logo.

Partygoers included students and their parents, current and former employees and dignitaries, including leaders of Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale and Sandy cities. Families stayed cool with water from the splash pad while picnicking on the lush grass of the park.  A live DJ turned up the volume to popular tunes. 

Canyons would not exist without the support of the community and family members throughout the District. For Edwards, the support of her family was essential in undertaking her role to help Canyons thrive. As one of the first CSD employees, Edwards wore many hats to help Canyons get off of the ground. She helped forge relationships between city leaders and district leaders, she acted as a business manager, IT director and human resources aide until those positions were filled by the experts in their fields.   

When Canyons’ first computers were to be delivered to the District, it was Edwards who waited at the building every day over Christmas break, only to discover they were marooned at the airport, because they believed all school districts would be closed, unaware Canyons was currently in an office building. Whatever the task, Edwards, now the District’s Public Engagement Coordinator, is ready to step in and help make it happen. 

“In many regards, Susan is the go-to person in Canyons District,” said Canyons School District President Nancy Tingey. “Her dedication to the District is unparalleled. Through her connectedness to the community, she is both an ambassador for the District, as well as a valuable link to bring community matters to the attention of the District.” 

Over the course of a decade, for every meeting and service opportunity, Edwards was there, but she wasn’t alone. Her four children were all in school at the time, and as they supported their mother, attending school events and more, they experienced their own firsts in Canyons history. Her son was a graduate in Canyons’ first commencement ceremony in 2010, he also was a flag bearer at Canyons’ first opening ceremony. A daughter was part of the first class of seniors to graduate from Corner Canyon, Canyons’ first brand-new high school. Another daughter was part of the first class to graduate after spending all four years at Corner Canyon. They all watched as the first middle school was built in Draper, and learned about their mother’s grit as they saw her dedicate time and energy to the District even after they all entered college.

Before Canyons was created, Edwards was involved in her children’s school community as a member of the school community council and PTA president. After Canyons’ creation, Edwards continues to devote her time and energy to supporting the District and its students, even if her own kids have moved on. 

 “I still want Canyons to be the best it can be,” Edwards said. “We’ve got 34,000 other kids. Our staff, our teachers, our children, our communities, they all rely on Canyons doing a good job. It’s not really a job we get to fail at. If we do, we’re failing a classroom of kids, and their whole education is impacted. We don’t get to fail because we are producing the people who will run our world for the next many years.”

IMG_5596
IMG_0433
IMG_5598
IMG_5583
IMG_0418
IMG_5580
IMG_5570
IMG_5563
IMG_5561
IMG_5562
IMG_5556
IMG_5553
IMG_5551
IMG_5550
IMG_1144
IMG_1138
IMG_0458
IMG_0457
IMG_0452
IMG_0451
IMG_0449
IMG_0444
IMG_0441
IMG_0428
IMG_0427
IMG_0420
IMG_0408
  • IMG_5596
  • IMG_0433
  • IMG_5598
  • IMG_5583
  • IMG_0418
  • IMG_5580
  • IMG_5570
  • IMG_5563
  • IMG_5561
  • IMG_5562
  • IMG_5556
  • IMG_5553
  • IMG_5551
  • IMG_5550
  • IMG_1144
  • IMG_1138
  • IMG_0458
  • IMG_0457
  • IMG_0452
  • IMG_0451
  • IMG_0449
  • IMG_0444
  • IMG_0441
  • IMG_0428
  • IMG_0427
  • IMG_0420
  • IMG_0408
  • From the first sunrise on the day Canyons District was born to now, CSD schools have welcomed 28,031 bright-faced kindergartners and proudly awarded 22,426 high school diplomas.

    Canyons’ teachers have imparted 18.3 million hours of instruction, cafeterias have dished up 28 million nourishing lunches, and CSD bus drivers have logged 15.7 million miles transporting students to and from school. That’s the equivalent of 630 journeys around the Earth or 66 trips to the moon, and behind the wheel for each of those miles were drivers trained to shoulder the responsibility of safely transporting students to learning environments where they're encouraged to reach for the stars. 

    Canyons, the first school district to be created in Utah in 100 years, is a community of many talents—and behind every student achievement and success story are parents, faculty, staff, and community partners selflessly sharing those talents to enrich the lives of children. July 1, 2019 marks a decade of distinction for the District, and the Canyons community is celebrating with free hot dogs and cake from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandy Amphitheater splash park, 1245 E. 9400 South. This is a free public event for the whole family.

    “This District simply wouldn’t exist without the community’s support,” says Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “This is but a small token of thanks for all the people who make Canyons such a wonderful place to live, learn and work.”

    A decade may not seem long, considering some of the schools within Canyons’ boundaries have celebrated 50th and 60th anniversaries this year. But a lot can happen in 10 years.

    Canyons came into being through a vote by residents in five Salt Lake County municipalities who sought a school a district that was responsive to the community, emphasized career-and college-readiness, embraced innovation, and prioritized customer service. The year the District opened, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American President. The country was just emerging from the Great Recession, and a technological transformation was afoot, driven largely by the Internet and other advances in communication technologies.

    Since its first day of operations, Canyons’ employees and the Board of Education have kept the revolutionary vision of those voters at the heart of everything the District does. With a laser-like focus on helping each student become career-and college-ready, the District has been breaking barriers, raising the bar, and setting new standards for public education. It’s through the caliber of Canyons' teachers, the discipline of students and the uncommon levels of community support that Canyons schools enjoy that the entire community rises to new heights in education.

    A Decade of Distinction • By the Numbers
    • Canyons’ five traditional high schools have staged more than 50 fall musicals, cheered 43 team state sports championships, and prepared graduates for roughly $300 million in college scholarship offers.
    • Seven new schools and special programs have come into being.
    • The Board of Education has approved some kind of employee compensation increase every year of the District’s existence, including a proposal this year to bring the starting teacher pay to $50,000.
    • The Canyons Education Foundation has fueled teachers’ ideas for improving instruction through the award of $708,000 in Innovation Grants.
    • Canyons' students have outpaced their peers on year-end tests, in some cases by as many as 13 percentage points.
    • Canyons’ graduation rate has reached an all-time high of 89 percent.
    • With two, tax-neutral voter-approved bonds, we have built, rebuilt or renovated 13 schools with plans for major upgrades to eight more—all while maintaining the Canyons’ AAA bond rating.
    • Canyons has welcomed the contributions of 126,000 volunteers in our classrooms.
    The Board of Education on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 approved the following administrative appointments for the 2019-2020 school year: 
    • Christie Webb, currently Principal at Copperview Elementary, will be the new Principal at Sandy Elementary. She will replace Cory Anderson, who recently had been transferred to Sandy from Bella Vista Elementary before resigning to pursue another professional opportunity.
    • Jeri Rigby, currently Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, will be Principal at Copperview Elementary.
    • Sara Caldwell, who had been assigned to be an Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle, will replace Rigby at Midvale Elementary.
    • Sierra Eastmont, currently a Title I specialist, will become an Intern Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle to replace Caldwell.
    Page 1 of 39