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Joani Richardson is the kind of teacher who can breathe new life into words, pull magic from a page, and spark wonder in the eyes of eager-to-learn children. “I love to teach children to love to read,” says Richardson. “I have failed if I have not taught a child to love to read.” For her dedication to inspiring her first-grade students at Altara Elementary to learn and grow, Richardson, who is beloved by scores of students, parents and fellow educators, has received one of the most prestigious awards given to public-school educators in Utah.  On Friday, April 28, 2017, in…
Family is important to Vinnie Vala’au, though for most of his youth, the stable home life he yearned for, and wanted to provide his two younger siblings, remained just out of reach. “Growing up, I faced a lot of trials,” says the Alta High senior. But sometimes home is where you find it, and Vinnie found it in Sandy, Utah, miles from his Samoan homeland, and in the caring, supportive teachers and counselors at Alta High. “Their expectations were high for me, and I’m so grateful for that,” he says. Vinnie first enrolled at Alta two years ago as a…
Has your child watched the trending Netflix show "13 Reasons Why?" If so, it may be an important time to start a discussion about any challenging emotions he or she may be feeling, according to counselors and psychologists who provide supports to school-age children. Based on a 2007 young adult novel of the same name, the series is raising concerns of student-support and mental-health specialists, says Tori Gillett, Canyons District’s Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Program Coordinator. Gillett says school counseling centers have seen an uptick in students seeking support after watching the popular show, which premiered on March 31 and,…
Deploying the tactics of history’s great orators, from Pericles and Cicero to Winston Churchill and Frederick Douglass, four Canyons School District students claimed victory at the 2017 Utah State Middle School and Elementary School Debate Tournaments. More than 250 middle school and 180 elementary students participated in the tournaments, which were held at Alta High. Canyons District students won three of the four middle school events, and earned a first-place finish in one elementary event.  In all, 36 Canyons’ students earned awards. Here’s a full list: Middle School Winners Oratory 1st Place: Juseong Kang, Albion3rd Place: Raunya Barakat, Albion5th Place:…
The bell at Union Middle is about to ring, but Drew Fosse’s class has a tough task at hand: Don’t smile. Everyone is silent as Fosse slowly walks around the room with a fake scowl. The challenge — to make eye contact with Fosse and stay serious — carries a reward, which students redeem at the end of class by choosing to participate in one of their teacher’s zany activities, from karaoke to walking like a pro-wrestler. Fosse’s creative approach to keeping students motivated and engaged is just one of the reasons he was selected as Canyons School District’s 2017…
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