Denmark isn’t a socialist utopia where everything is free, as Bernie Sanders is wont to describe it. Nor is it an example of the pitfalls of socialism as portrayed in a recent White House report that compared Denmark’s standard of living to that of Venezuela.

In fact, the Nordic country isn’t socialist at all, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States Lars Gert Lose explained to a group of Brighton High students on Friday. “We are a social-democratic country.”

It’s a nuance that may be tough to describe on a bumper sticker, or in 140 characters or less, but it wasn’t lost on the Model UN and Advanced Placement students who gathered in Brighton’s auditorium to hear Lose speak. The Ambassador’s appearance was arranged by social studies teacher Jim Hodges through Brigham Young University’s Kennedy Center.  The Kennedy Center sponsors several ambassadorial visits each year, and arranges to have the dignitaries meet with as many student groups as possible. danishsmall

At Brighton, Lose spoke of life as a diplomat and of Denmark’s long and valued ties to the United States. The two countries may not agree on everything, he said, but “there’s much more that binds us together than separates us.”

Denmark’s diplomatic relationship with America dates back to 1801 due, in part, to historically large Danish migration to this country. Economically, the two countries are important to one another. “The U.S. is the third largest market for Danish companies, bigger than France or the UK,” Lose said. And the two regions share common foreign security philosophies with their investments in military defense.

Culturally and politically the two countries may sometimes seem worlds apart, but the distinctions aren’t as black-and-white as is commonly thought. Among the surprising facts that Lose shared:
  • Denmark is part of the European Union but has its own currency.
  • The country has a democratic political system and free and open-market economy, but also could be described as a welfare state due to its government-funded health care, higher education, and robust social supports.
  • The vast majority of Danes are affiliated with trade unions because the government doesn’t regulate employment standards, such as setting a minimum wage. Liberal employment regulations also make it easier to hire and fire workers who can always fall back on the country’s safety net, creating more job mobility. But unemployment is low, and currently at about 3.6 percent, and productivity high. 
  • Lose described his homeland as a “very pragmatic and compromising country” with nine political parties in Parliament that have had to learn to work together in order to get work done.
Of course, the Danes devote nearly have their wages to income tax. Social supports “come at a price,” Lose said, “but it’s true that we have a great quality of life.”

Denmark’s foreign policy priorities include the fight against terror and climate change. The country began innovating in the area of renewable energy in the 1970s in response to an oil crisis. Renewable energy sources now meet half of the country’s energy needs, Lose said.

The country also would like to see free-trade alliances and agreements preserved. There’s nothing wrong with Trump Administration’s America-first stance, Lose said. “We have a Denmark-first policy as well.” Lose also agreed that the World Trade Organization has allowed China to compete unfairly.

But Lose questioned the logic of “blowing up” fair-trade rules and structures in an effort to improve them. “That won’t play well in the long-term. Look at Utah. I think 25 percent of all jobs here are dependent on global trade,” he said. “The point is how you pursue America’s interests. Playing a zero-sum game and having to win every single time, makes it difficult to find compromise.”

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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.
With nary a whiff of the white stuff in the forecast, it may seem premature to be discussing Canyons District’s snow closure guidelines. But, as the saying goes in Rocky Mountain country, a region known for extreme temperature fluctuations: “If you don’t like the weather, give it a few minutes and it will change.”

We all know that wintry weather will come our way eventually. To the end of preparing our community, here is a guide to how Canyons District will communicate information about school cancellations or delayed starts. Bottom line: No public announcement means schools will be open and operate as usual. Unless extreme weather creates unsound traveling conditions, schools operating under the Canyons District umbrella will remain open on scheduled school days.

Why keep schools open during snowstorms?
About 34,000 students count on us to deliver a quality education in a safe, welcoming environment. Unscheduled school closures disrupt learning and place a burden on parents who work full time and can’t easily be home to supervise their children. Neighborhood schools also are a primary source of breakfast and lunch for many of our students. 

What if I’d prefer to keep my child home? 
While school-closure decisions will be made in the best interest of a school community, the District respects the rights of parents and guardians to decide what’s best for children in their care. 

How will I know if school is canceled or delayed?
Canyons District has established the following communications policies in the event of a school closure:

Announcements and information: Canyons District will employ its website, the Skylert emergency-communication system, and Facebook and Twitter (@canyonsdistrict) to alert parents about school closures. Parents and employees should listen to Wasatch Front radio and television stations for school-closure information.

What we will tell you: The District will communicate one of three messages: 1) Day and date a school is closed; 2) Day and date a school is starting late; 3) and day and date schools will be dismissed.

Telephones: Families are encouraged to call the District Office at 801-826-5000  for the latest decisions on school closures due to inclement weather. Please be patient, as the District Office may experience a high volume of phone calls on these days. Parents also may call their child's school.  

How we decide: School closures will be announced when authorized by the Canyons Superintendent of Schools or his designee after consulting with senior staff members. The National Weather Service and other state, county and city agencies also may be consulted.

Closures are for one day only: All announcements are for one day only. No announcement means schools will be open and operate as usual.

Emergency plans: Families are encouraged to establish an emergency plan for their children in the event that schools are closed, have a delayed start or dismissed early. Parents are urged to instruct their children where to go or what to do if a parent is not at home.

Bus stops: Parents are asked to meet their children at bus stops when buses are running on delayed or emergency schedules.

Make-up days: Days lost because of inclement weather are made up on Washington and Lincoln Day Recess days and/or Spring Recess.
Canyons District student-athletes are acing tests, quizzes and homework while also scoring big on the playing field.

In addition to the four state championship trophies won already this year in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned sports, 25 students from all five of Canyons District’s traditional, comprehensive high schools have earned Academic All-State Honors in fall sports. 

The UHSAA selects students on the basis of their athletic ability and academic proficiency.  

Boys Golf
  • Dylan Ricord — Alta High
Girls Tennis
  • Emilee Astle — Alta High
  • Elizabeth Simmons — Corner Canyon High 
  • Madison Lawlor —  Jordan
Girls Cross Country
  • Emily Liddiard — Hillcrest High
  • Ellie Anderson — Brighton High
  • Karlie Branch — Corner Canyon High
Volleyball
  • McKayla Kimball — Corner Canyon High
Girls Soccer
  • Megan Munger — Brighton High
  • Amelia Munson — Brighton High
  • Kaitlyn Conley — Brighton High
  • Megan Astle – Corner Canyon
  • Gwendelyn Christopherson — Jordan
  • Erika Oldham — Jordan
Boys Cross Country
  • Tavin Forsythe-Baker — Alta High
  • Declan Gleason — Brighton High
  • Joshua Johnson — Brighton High
  • Peter Oldham — Corner Canyon High
  • Michael McCarter — Corner Canyon High
  • Brandon Johnson — Corner Canyon
  • Jeddy Bennett — Jordan High
  • Samuel Bennett — Jordan High

Football
  • Baylor Jeppsen — Corner Canyon High  
  • Caden Johnson — Corner Canyon High
  • Austin Schaurgard — Jordan High
There’s never a good day to receive a bomb threat. But it’s hard to imagine worse timing for the threat lodged against Sunrise Elementary last year.

It was November on the first Tuesday after the long Thanksgiving weekend, and students were just settling back into a steady routine when the phone rang in one of the classrooms at Sunrise. The person fated to answer the anonymous, blocked call was a substitute teacher. “There’s a bomb set to go off in the cafeteria in five minutes,” was all the caller would say.

The clock was ticking, but Sunrise students were well practiced at evacuating the school. Within three minutes of the phone call and Principal Margaret Swanicke’s immediate evacuation announcement, all 650 students plus employees had exited the building and reassembled at a predetermined location. Everyone was safe and accounted for.

“The kids were calm. They assumed it was a drill and knew exactly how to behave and line up outside,” Swanicke says. “That’s why you do emergency drills, and why you should take them seriously, because you never know when something might actually happen.”smallbombthreat

In Canyons District, November is the month for elementary schools to practice responding to a bomb threat. Middle and high schools do lockdown and shelter-in-place drills.

Bomb threats are rare, affecting fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s nearly 99,000 public schools on any given year—and 90 percent are hoaxes—as was the case with Sunrise. But hoax threats are no joke.

Since 2014, there has been a 33 percent increase in these types of threats against schools, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, disrupting schools and wasting precious law enforcement resources. “We have to take each threat seriously and thoroughly investigate it to determine its credibility,” says Canyons District Risk Manager Kevin Ray. “What some students might think is an innocent joke can be very costly in terms of instruction-time lost and all the law enforcement personnel who have to respond.”

For this reason, law enforcement agencies are taking hoax threats more seriously and prosecuting them as federal crimes. Canyons District encourages parents to talk to their children about the risk of posting and sharing hoax threats on social media, and urges anyone who sees something unsafe to say something by reporting it through the anonymous crisis and safety tipline SafeUT.

The problem with sharing tips in public forums, such as Facebook or Instagram, is that it lends credibility to false threats and stirs panic in school communities. “There’s nothing that strikes fear in the heart of a parent than to hear their child may be in danger,” Swanicke says. “This is why we have well-established protocols in place for directly and immediately notifying parents of emergencies in as clear and transparent a way as possible. Parents deserve to know about the safety and whereabouts of their children, and keeping everyone informed helps all of us keep cooler heads in a crisis.”

The threat at Sunrise was ruled-out as baseless following a full sweep of the school by police and K-9 units. But as with all such events, it was a learning experience for the District, which updated its emergency notifications to more accurately reflect the steps that students and faculty are trained to take during a bomb threat. The school also made changes to entry and exit points to allow for greater mobility in the event of an emergency.

“The hoax bomb threat wasn’t a planned drill, but it gave us a chance to examine and refine some of our safety measures,” Swanicke says. “This is why we approach each drill as if the emergency were real.”
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