Yes, the calendar may tell us that it’s snow-filled January — but it’s not too early to start thinking about where to send your 4-year-old child to preschool when the leaves of the trees start to turn golden in autumn. 

The application window for spots in Canyons District’s tuition-based preschools in the 2019-2020 school year is now open. Parents can click here to apply for high-quality preschool programs at Altara, Bella Vista, Butler, Edgemont, Jordan Valley, Oakdale, Quail Hollow, and Willow Springs elementary schools.

For the Canyons preschools, which follow an evidence-based curriculum the lines up with the core standards of learning at the kindergarten, the cost is $100 per month for students attending two days per week and $200 a month for students attending four days.  There’s also a one-time $20 registration fee.  Availability in the program for the coming academic year is based on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. 

Morning sessions are from 8:20-10:50 a.m. Afternoon sessions are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.  

Terri Mitchell, the programs administrator for CSD’s Early Childhood Department, gives this advice to parents who are looking for a preschool for their kiddo:  Pay particular attention to the safety, security, cleanliness and organization of the staff and the school. 

The children should be guided in play, she said, and their social development should be supported.  The staff ratio is important, too. No less than one adult for 10 children. In Canyons’ preschools, we have a higher adult-to-child ratio, she said. 

Parents also should spend some time preparing children for their first time in a classroom. 

“If parents talk to their children about how fun it will be for them to go to school, then the children will be more likely to be excited to go to school,” said Mitchell, who shared more tips during an appearance on ABC4. 

Mitchell tells parents to read books with their children and seek out story times at local libraries.  She also urges parents to show their children photographs of their first day at school and share experiences of what it was like to go to school for the first time. 

“Preschool can be an important part of early childhood development,” she said.  “The time spent at preschool may be the first time that a child is away from her or his mom and dad or grandparents, or without their siblings, for an extended period of time.  The kiddos learn a little bit of independence. They also learn their colors and their ABCs and 1-2-3s, which can help them as they start their kindergarten and first-grade years.”

In Canyons, free school programs also are provided at Title I schools. Students who turn 4 years old before Sept. 1, 2019 and live within the boundaries of Midvale, Copperview, Sandy and East Midvale elementary schools can apply to participate. CSD will being taking applications for spots in those preschools on March 1.
It’s been said that the influence of a great teacher can never be erased. To celebrate the indelible marks that educators make in the lives of children, the Canyons Board of Education and Administration are asking for nominations for the District’s 2019 Teacher of the Year. 

The community is invited to submit nominations for this year’s top-teacher award, which will be presented to one educator at a community reception and announcement ceremony on Tuesday, April 23 at the Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East.  The event, to be in the Professional Development Center, is free to the public. 

To nominate a stellar CSD teacher, fill out the nomination form and return it to your PTA/PTSA or the school where the teacher works. Click here for the form. Nominations for the prestigious award will be accepted until Friday, Feb. 1. 

Following a selection process established nearly a decade ago, Canyons District recognizes a Teacher of the Year at every CSD school. Forty-eight teachers are cheered for their outstanding instructional practices, positive engagement with parents, and professional approach to their craft.

From that field, the District selects one teacher to represent the District in the state top-teacher competition. That educator also will receive the 2019 Apex Award for Teacher of the Year — the highest honor given to teachers by the Canyons Board of Education. 

For the second year, the Canyons Board and Administration will announce one top teacher from the elementary, middle and high school levels. One of those three will be named the District’s top teacher. 

Every school-based Teacher of the Year will receive a basket of donated gifts, a banner with their name to hang outside the school. The Canyons District Teacher of the Year program is generously supported by local businesses and the Canyons Education Foundation. 

Last year’s top-teacher honoree, Corner Canyon High’s Amber Rogers, received a $1,000 cash prize from the Canyons Education Foundation. Previous CSD Teacher of the Year winners include Union Middle’s Drew Fosse, Peruvian Park Elementary’s Gretchen Murray, Alta High’s Matt Leininger, Brookwood Elementary’s Monica Rotermund, Sprucewood Elementary’s Michele Law, Eastmont Middle’s Amy Bateman, Quail Hollow’ Elementary’s Naomi Damron, and Brighton High’s Barb Scrafford.
A shutterbug at Jordan High is helping Canyons District send wishes of a picture-perfect yuletide.

A photograph taken by 17-year-old Shellby Carvalho shines bright on the cover of the District’s 10th annual holiday card, which is sent to local legislators, Utah’s members of Congress, and Canyons’ major supporters. 

The star of Carvalho’s photo is her snow-white dog, Cali, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees and Labrador mix she adopted from the Humane Society of Utah. 

“Because my dog is white, I thought that was a symbol of simplicity and purity, which is what the holiday season is all about,” says Carvalho, who takes Advanced Placement art classes and is the school’s Sterling Scholar candidate in the visual arts category.

“I’m so happy that I was able to make it happen,” she said about the photo shoot, which required stringing up colorful lights well before the holiday season and getting the dog to sit still long enough to snap the shot. She also edited the images and used a photo-enhancement program to complete the design.

Carvalho plans to major in environmental studies at Westminster College next fall.   

This is the fifth year Canyons District has asked students to create artwork for the official holiday card.  Students from Corner Canyon, Brighton, Alta and Jordan Valley School have provided artwork in previous years.
Planning a family trip for the holidays? Hoping to squeeze in a few extra days of vacation the week before or after Winter Recess?

‘Tis the season for reconnecting with faraway friends and family, and the timing of your travel plans can influence the cost of plane tickets and hotel stays. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education when they miss too much school.

Canyons District’s schools will be open, our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning right up until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the start of the winter break on Thursday Dec. 20—and we’ll waste no time starting up again after the New Year.

“When it comes to keeping kids on track academically, every day of instruction counts,” says Canyons District Responsive Services Administrator Colleen Smith who is working with schools to spread awareness of the hazards of absenteeism. “We don’t begrudge students the learning opportunity of traveling to new places. But absences tend to soar around the holidays, and families often don’t realize how quickly they can add up.”

Missing just a few days here and there can contribute to elementary students falling behind in reading, writing and math, a growing body of research shows. For example, four out of five students who miss two days per month, or 10 percent, of kindergarten and first grade are unable to read on-level by the third grade. By the sixth-grade, excessive absenteeism is a warning sign of a student not graduating from high school.

Put simply, too many absences—even excused absences—at any age can harm a student’s chances for academic success, Smith says. This year, Canyons District is encouraging students to “Be Great, Miss Less than Eight,” and schools will be finding creative ways to encourage good attendance habits, and reward students for coming to school every day, on time and ready to learn. 

Think your child’s school has avoided the naughty list? Think again. Last year, 7,111 students districtwide—21 percent—were chronically absent, or missed at least 10 percent of the school year. Zero in on individual schools, and you’ll find instances where as many as 32 percent of the students were chronically absent, says Instructional Specialist Jonathan Stewart, noting there are hotspots of absenteeism in every corner of the District.

Hitting the 10 percent mark is easier to do than it sounds, says Stewart. “That’s the equivalent of skipping just one day every other week.”

A bout with the flu, a midday doctor’s appointment, and extended family vacation can easily put a student over the threshold for the term, Stewart says. “We have had terms (quarters or semesters) where nearly half an entire school was chronically absent.”

And while such spikes may be an anomaly, large numbers of students missing class can affect the pace of instruction for the entire classroom, Stewart says. “It can really slow things down, creating extra work for the teacher and a missed opportunity to advance for the other students.”

What can parents do? Smith says it’s important to set firm expectations early in the school year, and early in a child’s educational career, and to be consistent in enforcing them.

“Sometimes life gets in the way. There will always be unforeseen illnesses and family emergencies—even rare special occasions—that pull kids from school,” Smith says. “But children, even teenagers, take cues from their parents, and it’s important to let them know that in school, work and life, showing up is important. It really comes down to establishing a daily routine, and reinforcing for your children how much you value an education.”

Attendance Tips for Parents
  • Let your children know that you think showing up for school every day is important.
  • Take an interest in your child’s school work and be involved in school activities.
  • Post the school calendar somewhere prominently in the home.
  • Establish a routine and healthy school-night habits, such as getting to bed early and reading before bed, instead of watching TV.
  • Set the morning alarm early enough to provide students ample time to get dressed and eat breakfast.
  • Support your children in getting to school on time: Give them a ride if they’re running late or they miss the bus, or arrange to carpool with other families.
  • Try to schedule doctor and dental appointments after school.
A cup of feedback, a dash of input, and a heaping slice of honesty. That’s what we’re asking for in a survey that is being sent to Canyons District parents about their experiences with their child’s school.

All nine questions on the short survey are vital ingredients in our efforts to make healthy school-to-home connections, sweeten our customer service, and improve our recipe for student success. 

A link to the online survey will be sent Saturday, Nov. 10 to parents and guardians of children in Canyons District schools. It will arrive via email to the contact information provided during the online registration process for the 2018-2019 school year. 

Parent and guardians are asked to check their email accounts for the link.

The District will take input through the online survey until Nov. 30.  Parents who did not receive an email link can call Canyons District’s Help Desk at 801-826-5544 for assistance. 

Parents will be asked to complete a survey for every school where their children are currently enrolled. Questions cover school climate, academic support of children, and whether the school communicates appropriately with the community. 

Parents also can provide comments after responding to every question. The answers are anonymous unless parents identify themselves for a follow-up by school administrators. 

By state law, Canyons District is required to survey parents as part of educators’ evaluations. District and school administrators use the data to address needs, hone processes and recognize improvements.
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