Checkmate! The Mount Jordan Mountaineers raised a flag of victory at the summit of Canyons District’s Middle School Intramural Chess Tournament.

At the end of the Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 tourney, the team from Mount Jordan Middle, coached by Stephen Gordon, ended Midvale Middle’s five-year win streak at the annual competition for the district’s best teen players of the Royal Game. 

The Midvale Trojans finished in second place. Third place was captured by the Butler Middle Bruins. All eight Canyons District middle schools fielded teams for the contest. 

Union Middle Assistant Principal Taylor Hansen, who is overseeing the middle school intramurals competitions this year, said the competitors were well-prepared and displayed exemplary sportsmanship. “There was spirited competition during each round and on every board,” Hansen said.

The following are individual board winners: 
  • 1st Board: Midvale Middle’s Conner Nelson
  • 2nd Board: Mount Jordan Middle’s Asiah Collinson
  • 3rd Board: Midvale Middle’s Cooper Nelson
  • 4th Board: Butler Middle’s Jack Baird
  • 5th Board: (Tie) Mount Jordan’s Oliver Page and Midvale Middle’s Jason Mun
  • 6th Board: Mount Jordan’s Alan Zamora

The CSD middle-school intramural contests were created in 2009 to encourage sixth- through eighth-grade student participation in athletic and extracurricular competitions. The District also sponsors a cross-country meet, a 3-on-3 hoops tournament and a soccer championship.
A new school year brings lots of changes and challenges for kids of all ages. But if there’s one year that’s especially critical — and often the most unsettling — for students, it’s the 9th grade.

Ninth grade has become known as the “make or break” year of high school, because how students perform in the first months of their freshman year can determine whether they drop out or graduate. But the stakes don’t have to be that high, believes Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt who test-piloted a summer boot camp this year to ease the transition for entering freshmen and put them on the path to excel their first year and beyond.

About 80 students attended the inaugural program where for 30 days they received four hours of daily instruction in math, science, English and geography. The voluntary program was a commitment for students and teachers who had to forgo their summer breaks. But students who completed the coursework will start high school ahead of their peers, with a quarter of an elective credit under their belts. On Friday at a special ceremony, they received certificates of completion. Those with perfect attendance, or who finished all their work on time, also received cash incentives of up to $400 provided by the United Way of Greater Salt Lake.

“A high school diploma is the ticket to the show of life,” Leavitt told students and their families. “There’s not a parent in here who doesn’t want their child to succeed.” But 9th grade is a period of struggle for many students.  There’s the newness of the school, and teachers, and the fact that for the first time, students have to earn passing grades in some pretty tough classes. As a result, studies show, freshmen have lower grade point averages and more absences, failing grades and behavior referrals than their older peers.bootcamp4.jpg

In a house editorial, the Deseret News called the boot camp a cost-effective, "smart, sensible and innovative" fix for a persistent problem in education. “Improving the quality of public education in Utah has and will forever present unique challenges. Our demographics make it difficult to fund schools on a per-pupil basis as generously as do other states, even though we contribute a proportionately large percentage of public funds to education," reads the opinion piece. "The Canyons School District’s boot camp experiment is a commendable example of a tactical approach to dealing with a specific problem — one that happens to be at the heart of any education system’s principal mission — to make sure students who show up on the first day of school are still there when the bell rings on graduation day.”

Hillcrest worked with middle schools in its feeder system to identify students who would most benefit from the boot camp, and invited them to sign a contract saying they would show up each day. Roughly 88 percent honored the contract and finished the program. “The fact that these kids who face a lot of challenges in their lives came here and completed the rigorous coursework is a testament to their character,” said Leavitt. Some students gave their stipends to their parents to supplement family food budgets.

The boot camp is part of a larger, Board of Education-approved initiative to boost student achievement at Hillcrest by identifying struggling learners before they reach high school and offering them early supports. The investment is tangible proof of the Board’s commitment to Canyons School District’s mission of preparing all students for the rigors of college and careers, said Superintendent Jim Briscoe who advised students at Friday’s celebration to put aside the goal of graduation for now and focus on more immediate tasks. 

“All I want you to do is get to school on time and get through the first eight weeks with no failing grades,” he said. People often set big college and career goals for themselves, and then get overwwhelmed by them because they neglect the intermediary steps, Briscoe explained while urging students to focus on the now. With small successes will come bigger successes, he added. “You came here during the summer while your buddies were skateboarding and at the swimming pool. Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that you have what it takes to succeed.”


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An information night for parents of students in middle school dual-language immersion programs will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Mount Jordan Middle, 9351 S. Mountaineer Lane. Parents will be walked through all the opportunities of dual-language programs in middle school and beyond. Data gathered from a recent survey and focus group also will be discussed. Canyons District is home to eight middle school dual-language immersion programs.
 

Mandarin Chinese
  • Butler Middle 
  • Draper Park Middle
  • Indian Hills
French
  • Butler Middle
  • Draper Park Middle
Spanish
  • Midvale Middle
  • Mount Jordan Middle
  • Union Middle
Parents of fifth-graders enrolled in Canyons District's Dual-Language Immersion Programs have been invited to a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20 to learn about the transition from elementary school to middle school.

At the 6 p.m. event at Mount Jordan Middle, 9351 S. Mountaineer Lane (300 East), the Canyons curriculum team that oversees the dual-language immersion programs also will share information about DLI instruction in secondary schools.

In addition, information will be presented about the online intent-to-continue process parents will be asked to complete in order for their children to continue in the programs. 

At the middle school level, Spanish programs are being provided at Mount Jordan, Union and Midvale; French classes are being taught at Draper Park and Butler; and Mandarin Chinese is being offered at Draper Park, Butler and Indian Hills.

Students who seek to participate in a dual-language immersion program at a school other than the one assigned to them by geographic boundaries should submit an open-enrollment application to the school they wish to attend as soon as possible. Per state law, the Standard Open Enrollment Application forms will be accepted by Canyons schools until Feb. 19. Filling out the permit request does not guarantee placement in the DLI program at that school.  

Questions?  Please call the CSD Instructional Supports Department at 801 826 5045
The doors are shuttering for good at the old Midvale Middle, which has welcomed students into its corridors and classrooms for six decades. While the end has come for the two-story, red-bricked building on Pioneer Street, a recent groundbreaking party celebrated the start of work on a new 203,000-square-foot school that is scheduled to open at the start of the 2017 school year.

Some 150 students, teachers, administrators, and neighbors attended the Thursay, June 11, 2015 ceremony hosted by Canyons Board of Education member Robert Green, who represents schools in the Midvale area. Green, alongside fellow Board members Nancy Tingey and Amber Shill, Superintendent Jim Briscoe, Assistant Superintendent Kathryn McCarrie, Midvale Mayor Joann Seghini, and Utah Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, among others, participated in the ceremonial turning of the dirt.

A photo album of the groundbreaking ceremony is on the Canyons District Facebook page.

At the event, Green said that the designs for the new school call for a 650-seat auditorium, collaboration spaces, a gym and fitness area, indoor and outdoor student commons areas, and classrooms built for the high-tech demands of the 21st century. “So many people have such great memories of going to school here. My own wife went to Midvale Middle, and she learned to swim in the pool here, and many of my neighbors have great stories about the friends they made and the lessons they learned in these classrooms and hallways,” Green said. 

“From the outside, this building may not appear to be more than brick and mortar.But this building is so much more than that. It represents six decades of education in our city. It’s an important part of our history and the traditions of our residents,” he said. “Kids in our neighborhoods can’t wait to leave the fifth-grade so they can follow in the footsteps of their brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, and in some cases their moms and dads, to start going to school at Midvale Middle School.”

Demolition at the site begins this summer. A community Open House on Friday, May 29, 2015 drew hundreds of former students and teachers who wanted to visit their old haunt, take pictures, and reminisce. 

While crews work on the new Midvale Middle, students and teachers will be housed in the old Crescent View Middle, 11150 S. 300 East. They will be welcomed in the new home of the Trojans by new Principal Wendy Dau and Assistant Principals Karen Moore, Kerry Schroeppel and Kip Carlsen. 

“It’s exciting to think that in a few years, we’ll be in our new school. Right after the Board of Education voted on a timeline of construction for our new school, our teachers, parents, students and other members of the community met with some of the architects from VCBO,” Dau said.  “The architects truly focused on what’s really important: Our students and teachers. From day one, the focus of the design has been about creating the best learning environment for our students and a great work environment for our hard-working teachers.”

The new school, which is being built by Hughes General Contractors, is funded with proceeds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in spring 2010. Since its founding in 2009, Canyons District has completed the following bond-funded projects: Corner Canyon High; Midvale Elementary; Albion, Butler, and Draper Park middle schools; academic wings at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools; a new entrance and renovated classrooms at Alta High; and seismic renovations at Sandy Elementary. The newly rebuilt Mount Jordan Middle opens this fall, and work on a new Butler Elementary started this month.

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