If rebuilding a high school is a major undertaking, try tackling three at once. This summer, construction crews will begin work on rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools along with a major renovation of Alta High.

Architectural firms, with input from students, parents, employees and community leaders, have been hard at work shaping plans for the improvement projects — the largest and most complicated of many more to be financed by the $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. At Open Houses in the coming weeks, community members will have a chance to preview the still-developing plans (see the schedule of events below).

“This is such an exciting time for the District,” says Canyons District Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor. “We’re not just building schools, we’re building communities. With the completion of these projects, all of our high schools will be brought up to a high quality facilities standard. The safety and technological upgrades will improve the learning environments for generations of students, including the children of those now enrolled. It’s a momentous undertaking, and one that wouldn’t be possible without our patrons.”

The high schools will be built in phases over 2-3 years so as to allow them to remain in operation during the construction. Tackling all three at once is ambitious, but in order to keep costs contained, it was imperative to get to work as quickly as possible, says CSD’s Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

Construction costs have soared, and are expected to continue to rise in the near future, Wilcox says. “We want to lock-in costs now on the largest and most complicated bond projects.”

Each project varies according to the priorities established by the school communities. But among common focuses are school safety, sustainability, and futuristic thinking. Wilcox says, “We’re building these schools to last and to accommodate the rapidly changing technological demands and instructional practices of modern classrooms.”

Careful attention is also being paid to preserve recent investments, such as the schools’ new football stadiums. Taking cues from research on the health and learning benefits of natural light, large windows and skylights are planned for commons areas and classrooms.

Since Canyons’ inception, the District has worked to address the safety and technological deficiencies of the aging buildings it received from a previous school district while also planning for growth. The 13th and final project financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2010 — the renovation of Indian Hills Middle — will be completed in time for start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Everyone is invited to attend the community Open Houses to showcase plans for the high schools. There will be presentations by architects, and an opportunity to submit questions and comments. The dates, times and locations are as follows:

Brighton High School
Tuesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium
Featuring MHTN Architects

Hillcrest High School 
Wednesday, April 18 starting at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium
Featuring FFKR Architects

Alta High School
Wednesday, April 25, 7-9 p.m. in the Auditorium
VCBO Architecture
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Hillcrest High Rebuild

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt joined architects in presenting the plans for a rebuild of Hillcrest High to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in November 2017. The upgrades will be completed in phases over three years to allow students to stay in the building, and are being undertaken with safety and security foremost in mind. A priority of the new plan is to improve traffic flow, making it easier for students, employees, and visitors to safely enter and exit the campus. The Main Office will be located on the ground floor and have an unobstructed view of the building entrance. The footprint is such that administrators will have a clear line of sight of the full length of the school. Doors in the stairwells leading classroom wings can be automatically locked down to stop intruders. Large windows and skylights will be added to bring natural light into the commons area and the classroom wings. Classroom windows that open onto commons areas for group study and teacher-collaboration are designed to contribute to a culture of transparency at the school. They are configured in such a way that they will also preserve safety zones in the classrooms. The existing stadium will be preserved, but among major improvements are a new field house and performing arts facilities. There will be an Open House on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. where community members can get a closer look at the plans. Construction is expected to start this summer.

Advanced Mathematics Pathway

The Board of Education voted to approve a sixth-grade mathematics offering for advanced learners. The new offering, a mix of in-class and online instruction, would provide an opportunity for all sixth-grade students to participate without having to “test into” the program. Then, if the students successfully completed the class and scored at least an 80 percent on a final assessment, then they could take the Honors Math class with eighth-graders while still in their seventh-grade year. Presently, only students who qualify for an advanced math program can take advantage of a “zero period.” Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward was asked to report on the program in a year.

Nutrition Services Proposal

The Board received information on the expected costs to provide school meals in the 2019-2020 school year. While costs for school meals would stay the same for 2018-2019, increased staff and food costs may require consideration of a slight increase in 2019-2020. The proposal would call for a 25-cent per meal increase for lunches and a 10-cent increase for breakfast meals at elementary schools and 15-cent increase for breakfasts at middle and high schools. This would be the first increase for school-meal prices since the District’s inception in 2009, even though Canyons’ Nutrition Services costs have consistently gone up. This year, to attract and keep workers, the District provided a salary increase for some Nutrition Services employees. While this helped, it did not solve the worker-shortage problem in school cafeterias. In 2013-2014, CSD spent $5.1 million on food. Two years later, the cost had gone up $500,000 and has gone up every year since, including this school year. 

Preschool Program Update

Early Childhood Education Administrator Terri Mitchell told the Board that 745 students are enrolled in our curriculum-based preschool programs. Some 436 of those receive Special Education services, and 107 are enrolled in the free Title I programs. The remainder are tuition-paying students.  Two new classrooms were added this year, and the program plans to add three more next year. 


The following students and staff were recognized for their achievements: 
  • Hillcrest student Kara Komarnitsky, Sterling Scholar, Dance Category
  • Corner Canyon High’s Cheer Squad, winners, Small Varsity Division I of the 2018 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla.
  • Corner Canyon High senior Emily Arthur, who gained competitive entrance to the Aggie Elevated program for students with disabilities
  • Hillcrest teacher Marde Brunson, the FCCLA State Advisor of the Year
  • Hillcrest teacher Emily Grass, the DECA New Advisor of the Year
  • Hillcrest Drill Team Coach Brenda Searle, 6A Drill Team Coach of the Year
Disciplinary Fines

A proposed restorative justice model may provide structure for schools to reinforce behavioral standards in Canyons District schools, especially for truancies, disorderly conduct or drug or alcohol possession violations. This entails imposing fines for various transgressions. First-time offenders could have the monetary penalties waived if they agreed to attend intervention programs. The fines range from $25 to $50. The proposal comes after widespread juvenile-justice changes, which have made it difficult for authorities to impose sanctions for on-campus infractions. 

LAND Trust Plans

The Board of Education was presented with the LAND Trust plans created by Canyons District schools. The plans, which are reviewed and approved by members of the Board, include each school's Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. The Board was asked to approve each plan by the end of April. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, which includes the minutes of the March 27, 2018 meeting of the Board; hiring and termination reports; purchasing bids; and student overnight travel requests.

Fee Schedule

Canyons District is not proposing any increases to fees for middle and high school students for the 2018-2019 school year. This information was presented to the Board by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle. 

Location of Portables

The Board of Education approved the placement of two portable classrooms at Albion Middle, one at Quail Hollow Elementary and two at the Canyons Technical Education Center. 

Patron Comment

Speaking on behalf of Midvale City, Laura Magness, the city’s communications specialist, expressed appreciation to the Board for the new Hillcrest High. She lauded the design of the building, which focuses on optimizing student learning while also having security measures. 

Betty Shaw, immediate past director of Region 17 PTA, thanked the Board and Administration for being responsive to the needs of the schools and community.

Pledge of Allegiance

Boys Scouts who attend Lone Peak Elementary posted the colors and led the audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Lone Peak Elementary Principal Tracy Stacy delivered the reverence.

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Briscoe reported on attending the Region 17 PTA Spring Training.  He thanked the patrons who serve in all capacities in the District. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox reported that Board secretary Denise Haycock is transferring to the Office of External Affairs. She has accepted the position of the Development Officer for the Canyons Education Foundation. He also recognized Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt for his hard work on the designs of the new building. He also mentioned the school’s response to provide counseling supports in the wake of the two deaths of student deaths over spring recess.

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson expressed condolences to the family and friends of the students who died in a rollover accident near Littlefield, Ariz. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey said she had the opportunity to attend the National School Boards Association Meeting where she picked up many inspiring ideas. She also attended Albion Middle’s announcement of Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Mont Millerberg said he attended the NSBA annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. He expressed condolences to the family and friends of the two Hillcrest students who were fatally injured over Spring Recess. In addition, he lauded Principal Greg Leavitt for his work on the designs of the new Hillcrest High. He also mentioned being able to attend several Teacher of the Year announcements. 

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending Butler Middle’s Teacher of the Year announcement and Talent Show, and the National School Boards Association conference.

Mr. Steve Wrigley also reflected on the NSBA conference. He reported on serving as a substitute teacher, learning about the “Leader in Me” program, and encouraged the community to attend an upcoming autism training. 

President Sherril Taylor commended central office staff and administrators, and remarked on the transformation that is taking hold as schools are rebuilt and upgraded.
After this weekend, the “once-in-a-lifetime” bucket lists of the singers in Hillcrest’s Vocal Ensemble and their director are a little lighter. Travel together to New York City? Check. Perform with a Grammy-winning composer and conductor? Check. Sing in Carnegie Hall? Check, check, and check. 

After more than a year of planning and practicing, Hillcrest choir director RaNae Dalgleish and her 33 vocal ensemble students took a red-eye to New York City during Spring Break to prepare for a performance in Carnegie Hall on Sunday, April 8. They were joined by high school choirs from Dubai, New Jersey, Tennessee, Canada, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California for the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) performance of The Music of Eric Whitacre. 

The opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall is a remarkable experience, but to perform composer Eric Whitacre’s music with him as the conductor is even more significant, said Dalgleish who also performed with her students on Sunday. “This is huge,” she said. “This is a once in a lifetime experience for the kids. I knew that going in, just to work with Eric Whitacre alone is monumental because he is a rock star in the music world.”

Dalgleish responded to an advertisement on Facebook more than a year ago when she saw the potential for her students to have such a unique experience. Her choir from the 2016-2017 school year auditioned for the performance, and they found out in December 2016 that the 2017-2018 choir had been accepted to perform at the event that was described by BBC Music as the “No. 1 North American Live Event Choice for classical music.”

“The Vocal Ensemble received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers,” said Dr. Jonathan Griffith, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for DCINY, in a news release about Hillcrest’s participation. “These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community.”

The choir began working on nine pieces for Sunday’s performance right away, recording and sending videos intermittently to the organization to ensure they would be prepared for the big stage. The students performed “The Rumor of a Secret King” by John Mackey, three spirituals by Moses Hogan, and several songs composed by Whitacre, including “Seal Lullabye,” which was originally written for a Disney movie that was later cancelled.

Whitacre is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music who has conducted choral and instrumental concerts around the globe, including with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Spring is here, and summer isn't far behind, which, for busy working parents presents the special challenge of how to keep kids occupied. Fortunately, Canyons School District offers a rich variety of summer learning opportunities for students of all ages. From summer camps that expose young children to the arts and sciences in a fun, relaxed atmosphere to online courses that allow high school students to earn credits toward graduation from the poolside, there's something for practically everyone — and at affordable prices.

Summer Camps
Learn to sing and dance like Moana, or draw a portrait of your family pet. Build a rocket and journey into outer space. Become a mad scientist and program videogames. Canyons District “Community Education” summer camps are much more than fun and games. They offer students a chance to tinker and dream, build friendships and social skills, and cultivate a love for lifelong learning. Weekly camps exist for all grades, from elementary through high school, and run from June through early August. Registration is open now and camps are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis. Weekly camp information and registration can be found at entrada.revtrak.net under “Community Education.” 

pdfFind out more about Community Education camps here

Get a Jump on High School with CSD’s Summer Semester
Summer Semester is Canyons District’s solution for high school students who want to get a jump on their studies or free up their class schedule for more electives. Registration for CSD’s Summer Semester opens April 16 and runs through May 25. Three classes are offered in a blended-learning format: computer technology, financial literacy, and participation skills and techniques (a physical education course required of all high school students). About 40 percent of the coursework can be done online, so students can take their laptop to the pool and do some homework while enjoying the nice summer weather with friends and family. Of course, it’s helpful if they live close to Mount Jordan Middle in Sandy where the face-to-face classes are being taught. The school is only one block away from a TRAX station so kids from all across the valley can take public transit to the class. The classes, which are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis, are for original credit only and run from June 11-28. Registration and payment can be submitted online at canyons.revtrak.net. The cost per half-credit class is $70.

pdf Find out more about Summer Sememter here.

Virtual High School
On the go this summer? No matter. High school students can earn original or make-up credit online in a variety of engaging courses through Canyons Virtual High School. With few exceptions, registration is open year-round. Course fees for credit recovery are $35 per quarter credit course. Click here for more information or to register.

Individual schools also host summer camps. Following is a sampling of offerings. For more opportunities, check with your neighborhood schools. 

ALTA HIGH ROBOTICS: Looking for a fun summer program that builds engineering, science and math skills? Look no further than Alta High’s Robotics Camp. You don’t have to be enrolled at Alta to participate or have any prior knowledge of mechanics or programming. The camp is open to all middle- and high-school-aged students (ages nine and up). Participants in the half-day program (8 a.m. to noon) will learn wiring, programming and manufacturing techniques, and take part in competitions by using their problem-solving to beat their opponents. Two, four-day sessions are being offered in June (25-28) and August (6-9) for $120 per session. The fee covers materials, snacks and a T-shirt.  Parents must provide transportation. For details, including registration information, visit the Hawks Robotics Team’s website.  Questions? Email Ronald Strohm, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This camp is open to elementary and middle school-age youth interested in robot building and programming. Three, four-day sessions are being offered in July and August. Elementary camps run for two hours and cost $65.  Secondary-level camps cost $125 and run for half-a-day in the morning or the afternoon. In order to accommodate as many youth as possible, each child will be permitted to attend only one session. Each participant will take home new skills and knowledge, a T-shirt, and a small robot toy. Parents must provide transportation. For details, including camp dates and registration information, visit the Husky Robotics Team's website. 

 Brighton High is hosting a free, one-day woodworking class where students can learn concepts in design and engineering. The program is great fun for girls and boys in grades 7-10. There are three classes to choose from: June 19, 20 and 21. Each class runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration opens in mid-April. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/woodclass or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Administrative Appointments

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year: 
  • Scott Jameson, currently assistant principal at Albion Middle School, promoted to principal of Alta View Elementary, replacing Karen Medlin who is retiring at the end of the school year.
  • Justin Matagi, currently assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, reassigned as assistant principal at Albion Middle School, replacing Jameson.
  • Matt Schelble, currently assistant principal at Brighton High School, reassigned as assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, replacing Matagi.
  • Justin Pitcher, currently principal at East Midvale Elementary School, reassigned as assistant principal at Brighton High School, replacing Schelble.
  • Matt Nelson, currently principal of Viewmont Elementary School in Murray District, hired as principal of East Midvale Elementary School, replacing Pitcher.
  • Kip Carlsen, currently assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, reassigned as assistant principal at Butler Middle School, replacing Jody Wihongi, who is resigning at the end of the school year.
  • Matt Watts, currently assistant principal at Midvale Elementary School, reassigned as assistant principal at Midvale Middle School, replacing Carlsen.
  • Ashley McKinney, currently MTSS Specialist in Canyons District Responsive Services, reassigned as assistant principal at Midvale Elementary School, replacing Watts.
  • David Briggs, currently a school psychologist at Laramie County School District No. 1 in Cheyenne, Wyo., is a new Special Education Program Administrator, replacing Stacy Kurtzhals, who was reassigned as the Elementary Support Administrator.

Advanced Mathematics Pathway

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward provided information about a proposed sixth-grade mathematics offering for advanced learners. According to a survey, 67 percent of parents of current fifth-grade students would prefer a summer condensed course, with in-class and online components, over the compacted “zero period” course that is now offered. However, the majority of parents of current sixth-graders like the program with the zero period. Right now, only the fifth-graders who meet established criteria are invited to “test into” the compacted course that is taught during the school year and eventually qualifies participating sixth-grade students to take eighth-grade Honors Math as seventh-graders. Under the new proposal, the option for advanced learning would be available to all sixth-grade students who say they want to participate. If those students can successfully complete the class and score at least an 80 percent on a final examination, they would be able to take the Honors Math class with the eighth graders.  The Board decided to bring the proposal back for a third reading. 

Legislative Update

External Relations Director Charles Evans, Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards, and External Affairs assistant Kendrik Gibson explained highlights from 2018 General Session of the Utah Legislature. Lawmakers approved a 2.5 percent increase in the weighted pupil unit plus funding for growth. Lawmakers also approved a stipend for certain special education teachers, $9 million for at-risk students, $10 million for digital teaching and learning initiatives, and more funding for elementary school counselors. Debate continued over how to bridge funding disparities between school districts, and lawmakers settled on a bill that would generate new funding, instead of re-directing existing streams of property tax revenue. HB239 raises money by freezing the statewide property tax rate, which currently adjusts downward as property values increase. The bill would offset some of the increase with an income tax rollback, and it would shield homeowners on fixed incomes by putting into place a circuit breaker. It also includes a non-binding resolution to increase the gas tax, some of which would be used to fund higher education, thereby reducing the amount of funding they take from the General Education Fund and making more money available for public schools. Evans commended the Board of Education for holding to its policy stance of opposing any equalization bill that would produce winners and losers and take money from CSD classrooms. He also thanked House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, for their continued support of CSD over the years.

Alta High Renovation

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and Alta High Principal Brian McGill joined architects in presenting the plans for a major renovation of Alta High to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2017. The upgrades will be completed in phases over two years to allow students to stay in the building. Major improvements include the addition of a field house and performing arts center. Large windows and skylights will be added to bring natural light into the commons area, and a security vestibule will be installed to require visitors to enter the school through the Main Office. Parking will see improvements, with more lighting for safety and 10 additional stalls. Special attention was paid to controlling costs while building the structure to last. There will be an Open House on April 25 at 6 p.m. where community members can get a closer look at the plans. Construction is expected to start this summer.


The following students and employees were recognized by the Board of their achievements:

  • Brighton High teacher Jim Hodges, 20-year award from the National High School Model United Nations Association
  • Brighton High senior Sofia Rahaniotis, Sterling Scholar winner, Speech, Theater Arts and Forensics
  • Alta High senior Addie Wray, Sterling Scholar winner, Vocal Performance
Student Advisory Council

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle thanked the members of the Student Advisory Council for their service. The group is empaneled every year to give students an opportunity to learn leadership skills, instill camaraderie between schools, and provide input on District policies that impact Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high school campuses. Two representatives from all CSD traditional high schools are chosen to participate. Students said they learned about how the District operates and appreciated having a voice on policies. 

Policy Update

The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing termination of employment-ESP; reporting child abuse; and release-time classes for religious instruction.  The Board will continue to discuss a proposed policy regarding employees in public office.

Trail System Expansion

The Board of Education granted an easement to Salt Lake County that would be used to complete a ZAP-tax-funded pedestrian trail system through Sandy and White City. This easement would run along the west side of Edgemont’s property line.

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

Students at Jordan Valley School, Canyons’ school for students with severe disabilities, helped with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by former Region 17 PTA Director Betty Shaw. Principal Mark Donnelly updated the Board on the progress of the students at the school on their academics; communication, functional and life skills; and manners. Students stay at Jordan Valley from kindergarten until age 22, at which point they transition to life in the community. He also spoke about two major Jordan Valley events: In December, Jordan Valley holds a Homecoming dance for graduates and current students. Each spring the school performs a musical adapted to the special abilities of the students. This year, the production is “Peter Pan.” 

Patron Comment

Bell View teacher Madaline Chilcutt expressed concern about students who exhibit extreme behaviors at school.  She said special education students, as well as general education students, would benefit from changes in the way the ABS units are overseen.

Bell View teacher Marie Berg addressed the Board about providing supports to students in both general-education and ABS units.

Dwayne Madray spoke about disbanded middle school clubs, especially those for children of color. He encouraged the Board to reconsider the clubs at the middle school level that could help students who may feel disenfranchised. 

Mike Smith spoke to the Board about the student walkouts. Smith disagreed with the District’s decision to provide the students a place to safely demonstrate on March 14. He also expressed disappointment that he received the notification about the demonstration the day before. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the minutes from the meeting of the Canyons Board of Education on March 6, 2018; purchasing bids; and the Board meeting schedule for 2018-2019.  In separate motions, the Board approved hire and termination reports; student overnight travel requests; and approval of financial reports for February. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reported on attending the Utah School Boards Association regional meeting at which the education-related bills were reviewed. He congratulated all of the school Teachers of the Year.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked the legislators for providing funding for Utah schools. He also said he appreciated the attendance at the meeting of Jordan Valley and Student Advisory Council students.

Board of Education Member Reports  

Mr. Chad Iverson thanked the Board for delaying a vote on the proposed mathematics program. Iverson indicated he is grateful the Board can have critical conversations about important issues. He thanked the administration and law-enforcement for their hard work in investigating the social-media post that caused emergency protocols to be enacted at Indian Hills Middle last week

Mrs. Nancy Tingey thanked fellow Board members for attending the USBA dinner. She congratulated the students and staff at Jordan Valley on a successful production of “Peter Pan.”

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting. The Draper pool groundbreaking will be July 31 at 10 a.m., she said.  She also said the Utah High School Activities Association Board approved lacrosse for boys and girls in 2020 and reminded the Board that CSD needs to approve its teams. Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood also was elected to a UHSAA board position, she said.

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the Teacher of the Year announcements at schools in the Midvale area. He stated he is pleased that, in five years, all Canyons high schools will be modern, welcoming, and safe.  He lauded the contributions of the Student Advisory Council.   

Mrs. Clareen Arnold and Mr. Steve Wrigley declined to comment. 

President Taylor thanked the Board for robust conversations about vital issues.
Page 8 of 158