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Monday, 03 July 2017 17:36

Happy 8th Birthday Canyons District

When Canyons, the first new school district in Utah in 100 years, opened its doors in 2009, the mandate was clear: Do what it takes to help students achieve their highest potential. If that means creating programs whereby middle schoolers can get a jump on high school and high schoolers can get a jump on college, so be it. If that means harnessing resources to pay teachers a professional wage, consider it done. It that means partnering with the community to spark innovations in the classroom, we’ll make it happen.

July 1, 2017 marks the successful conclusion of another year — Canyons District’s eighth — and with the community’s support, we’ve reached some significant milestones. The Board of Education approved the largest teacher pay raise in the District’s history, and crews broke ground on the 13th  and final construction project promised to voters as part of a $250 million bond, and that’s just the beginning.

The teachers, staff and principals here care deeply about what they do and how they do it, and it shows. Year eight has set a high bar for the future, but we’re confident it marks the beginning another extraordinary era. Happy birthday CSD!

2016-2017 Highlights

  • Three CSD high schools ranked in Utah’s top 10 for AP participation or pass rates: Brighton, Corner Canyon and Hillcrest.
  • Two CSD students won 2017 National Merit Scholarships.
  • A Hillcrest Husky was named a 2017 Sterling Scholar in the computer science category, and 22 CSD students were finalists in the state academic competition.
  • A Corner Canyon Charger earned a perfect 36 on the ACT, stretching the streak of at least one perfect ACT score every year since the creation of the District in 2009.
  • In their rookie year, Jordan High’s robotics team won the 2017 Utah Regional FIRST Robotics competition.
  • Thirty-one sporting students won Academic All-State Awards for excelling in athletics while maintaining high GPA’s (a combined average of 3.9).
  • Two athletes, Brighton High volleyball phenom Dani Barton and Alta High football standout Josh Davis, were named Utah Gatorade Players of the Year.
  • CSD student athletes won 21 team and individual state championships in girls golf, girls and boys tennis, wrestling, girls and boys swimming, track and field, boys soccer.
  • Hillcrest High took the state crown in 4A theatre.
  • Twenty-four students representing all five of CSD’s traditional high schools won “superior” honors at state choir, band and orchestra events. This is in addition to Hillcrest High’s string quartet, mixed vocal ensemble, and clarinet choir, and Corner Canyon’s wind symphony and orchestra, which also earned superior ratings.
  • Thirty-four CSD students took first place at state career and technical education competitions such as, Future Business Leaders of America.
  • The late Gretchen Murray, a teacher at Peruvian Park Elementary, was the second runner-up for Utah Teacher of the Year.
  • Altara Elementary School’s Joani Richardson was chosen to receive a $10,000 Huntsman Award for Educational Excellence.
  • Alta High soccer coach Lee Mitchell was named Gatorade Coach of the Year.
  • For his efforts to shrink the District’s carbon footprint, Christopher Eppler was honored as an Energy Pioneer at the Utah Governor’s 2017 Utah Energy Development Summit.
  • Crews broke ground on a remodel of Indian Hills Middle, and put the finishing touches on two rebuilds — Alta View Elementary and Midvale Middle — the last of 13 school improvement projects promised by the Canyons Board of Education with the passage of a $250 million bond.
  • The District maintained its sterling, “AAA” bond rating, which translates to low interest rates and millions in savings to taxpayers on school upgrades and new construction.
  • On our buses, we installed cameras and Child Checkmate systems to increase the safety and security of our students as they ride to and from school. Through the Child Checkmate system, drivers are reminded to check every seat to make sure students have exited the bus at the end of their routes.
  • Canyons was named a District of Distinction by District Administration Magazine for a coordinated, $416,000 effort to bridge the achievement gap at Hillcrest High. Committed to being a place where all students achieve, Hillcrest created a summer academy to give entering freshmen a jump on high school and put them on the path to excel that first, make-or-break year, and beyond. The program, coupled with daily mentoring and social and behavioral supports, has contributed to a 10 percent increase in the number of Husky freshmen on track to graduate.
  • Alta High accepted its first cohort of students into Step2theU, a novel program that will give hard-working juniors a chance to earn early college credit at the University of Utah. By the time these students graduate, they'll have two complete semesters under their belts, about $10,000 worth of university credit for the cost of $150.
  • The District expanded a successful pilot program to provide supplemental hours of instruction for kindergarten-age children. The tuition-based program has dramatically boosted student achievement across-the-board.
  • The Board of Education boosted CSD’s starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 while also providing pay raises for mid-career and veteran educators, significantly improving their lifelong earnings and retirement. 
Canyons School District parents and guardians can now view their children's SAGE test results online.

Results are available via a families' private Skyward accounts, the same account used for annual online registration. The portal is a secure site that provides parents more immediate access to their child’s SAGE results once school lets out for the summer.

Five CSD schools — Midvale Middle School and Sandy, Copperview, East Midvale, and Midvale elementary schools — have opted to provide all parents with paper copies of SAGE test results. These will be mailed to parents on June 19, the same day they are posted to Skyward Family Access. Parents whose children do not attend the above schools but who would like a paper copy of results should contact their school’s office by June 4, 2017.

SAGE exams are administered in late spring to all Utah students in grades 3-10, and to high school seniors enrolled in chemistry and physics courses.

SAGE test results are expressed in terms of proficiency. Proficiency means that a student has a strong understanding of challenging content in math, science and English language arts, and that the student is on track to be prepared for college and careers.  The SAGE proficiency levels are expressed in four levels: Highly Proficient; Proficient; Approaching Proficient; and Below Proficient.

Your student’s performance also will be expressed in a scaled score, as assigned by the Utah State Office of Education. The scaled score will allow you to compare your student’s subject test results from year to year. It also will allow you to compare your student’s subject test results to school district and state averages.

On an individual level, it’s important to remember that SAGE results are among many student performance indicators, including class quizzes and tests, homework assignments, and projects.

To access Skyward:
  • Click here to access Canyons District’s Skyward portal
  • Click on the Family Access tab
  • Log in to Skyward Family Access with your username and password
  • Click on the SAGE Results tab

If you have questions about your child’s SAGE results, please call the school principal or the District Office of Research and Assessment at 801-826-5090.  

Need help accessing Skyward? Please call 801-826-5202 for assistance, or Click here for Skyward Family Access login instructions.

To learn more about SAGE, please visit the State Office of Education’s SAGE guide for parents: http://www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/SAGE-Communication/FamilyGuide.aspx.
Anthony Cheng has been making headlines for his academic exploits since 2010, when he took sixth place in the National Geography Bee. The Sandy resident — schooled at Peruvian Park Elementary, Midvale Middle and now Hillcrest High — went on to become the first student in the geography contest’s 25-year history to make it to nationals three times. Since then, he has earned top prizes at regional science fairs and myriad other events.

But even by Cheng’s standards, 2016 has been a banner year. In the past few months, the Hillcrest Husky was named a National Coca-Cola scholar, the mathematics category award-winner and the General Scholar of the Utah Sterling Scholars Program — and now, to top it all off, the honor of being named a National Merit Scholar and recipient of a 2016 Presidential Scholar Awards.

This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began in October 2014 when more than 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semi-finalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition. From that group, 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the "finalist" level of the competition.

The Presidential Scholar Award is just as prestigious. Cheng is among 160 high school seniors nationwide, including four in Utah, chosen by the U.S. Department of Education for its most coveted award. “This year’s class of Presidential Scholars continues a more than 50-year trend of honoring students who have shown excellence in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John King in a May 4 statement.

As prolific as Cheng’s academic accomplishments may be, just as impressive is his focus on community and service. Cheng tutors middle school students and devotes time to studying the environment and climate change.

It’s safe to say that the world better get used to hearing his name. We certainly can’t wait to see what he does next.

Photo Courtesy: Ravell Call/Deseret News.

What started as a childhood love of horses has turned recent Alta High graduate Madison Bigler into an award-winning champion.

After five years of riding and training her horses to compete in dressage competitions, Bigler has won several prestigious awards, including first place in the country at her level in her age group and the bronze medal from the United States Dressage Federation.

Beyond all of those awards, Bigler says her favorite part of competing and training her two horses is having a connection with her animals. She rides four or five times a week, and visits her horses every day, rain or shine. For her, taking care of them is a labor of love.

“I love the fact that each of (the horses) has their own personality,” Bigler said. “And you’ve got this thousand-pound animal that will listen to you. … I look forward to going to the barn every day and hearing them talking. They know who I am, and that is very cool.”

Bigler, who plans to attend the University of Utah this fall and study to be an animal doctor, knows her horses so well she can tell when one is having a good day — or if one is feeling stubborn. Dressage is a highly disciplined sport that requires the animal to be attentive to its rider, so knowing when to push and when to back off can be key.

“When the communication (between horse and rider) is right, it helps the horse get through the harder parts of the training,” Bigler says. “A lot of it is ‘speed up, slow down,’ … but it’s based on the rider and what horse you’re getting on.”

Bigler started riding horses when she was 7 years old, thanks, in part, to her father’s love of animals. At one point, he owned a pet store. Now, her parents are firmly on “Team Bigler,” attending each of their daughter’s shows — despite the fact that her mother is allergic to all of the hay and dust that come with horses and horse competitions.

“I was the horse-crazy kid and I never grew out of it,” Bigler said. “My parents were really hoping I would grow out of it … but I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. They’re my big support system.”