Sunrise Elementary teacher Patricia Stephens-French froze when the door to her classroom opened and a crowd of folks in blue shirts filed in. She took one look at the giant check in the hands of a member of the Canyons Education Foundation and she knew exactly what was happening: her wish was about to come true.

Each year, Canyons’ Education Foundation raises funds to offer grants to teachers with big ideas in Canyons District. Teachers apply to receive the $1,000 to $10,000 grants based on their innovative ideas on how to enhance teaching in their classrooms through technology, materials or supplemental programs. 

The teachers come from all subject areas — from math and science to music and language — with requests ranging from iPads to instrumental clinicians. This year, more than $104,000 will be delivered to 16 Innovation Grant recipients throughout the District.

“I’m shaking — you guys, this is so amazing,” Stephens-French told her students as she took her check for $4,049 into her hands. “We are going to have so much fun!”

Stephens-French, who teaches a fifth-grade SALTA class, submitted her grant application to be able to purchase technology to allow her students opportunities to explore alternative ways to share their knowledge with the world.

Teachers requested robotics kits, a 3-D printer, printmaking supplies, Google cardboard, and music experts and recording equipment to add to their classroom instruction. The Foundation has awarded Innovation Grants to teachers since 2011, after working with members of the community to raise funds to support the educational experience of Canyons’ students.

Each year, the Foundation hosts two fundraisers to generate funds to benefit Canyons’ students. An annual golf tournament is used to raise funds for Innovation Grants. An annual gala is used to raise funds for student scholarships. The next golf tournament is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2018. The gala is April 19.

For Stephens-French, the support she received through receiving an Innovation Grant is vital. Through her grant, she will receive 10 iPads, a cart, three microphones, a Green Screen and three stands.

“We’ll have a chance to be super creative in here,” Stephens-French said. “The possibilities are just endless.”
Jordan High is playing a part in the Chilean government’s history.

Thanks to connections Jordan High Assistant Principal Roberto Jimenez has made in the Chilean community, the Canyons District school was asked to serve as the polling place for Chileans living in the Beehive State who wanted a cast a ballot in that country’s presidential election.  

Jimenez was approached by officials in the Chilean government who were looking for a polling place in Utah. The Chile voting officials also arranged for polling places in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle. 

Jimenez, who is an American citizen but whose family members are from Chile, met and corresponded with the Consul General in Los Angeles in preparation for the vote. “They asked for a place to be, we asked to our district officials, and we were on,” Jimenez said. “It’s been very exciting to be a part of this historic election.”    

This is the first election in the history of Chile in which Chileans are permitted to vote from abroad. A law enacted in 2016 gave the 450,000 Chileans residing abroad the right to vote in presidential primaries, national referendums and first and second round presidential elections. 

Some 123 Chilean citizens living in Utah went through the voter-registration process to vote in the 2017 election. Sixty-four cast ballots on Sunday.

“I think it’s a lesson in civic duty,” Jimenez told ABC4 anchor Emily Clark in a post-election interview.  “To think that people who live so far away from their country, thousands of miles away, they take the time to drive for hours, for two or three hours, to get to Jordan High to cast their vote.”   

The vote required a room big enough to have a table for three officials from the consulate and a voting booth that is far enough away from the officials to guarantee privacy. 

The school hosted the Chilean presidential July 2 primaries and the Nov. 19 general election. Because the Chilean president is elected by the absolute majority of valid votes, if no candidate obtains such a majority a special runoff between the two candidates with the most votes from the general election will be held Sunday, Dec. 17.  This vote also will be held at the home of the Beetdiggers.
Friday, 17 November 2017 20:49

School Choice: Open Enrollment Starts Dec. 1

Under Utah law, students who wish to attend a school other than their neighborhood school—the one assigned to them by geographic boundaries—may apply for a transfer by submitting an Open Enrollment request.

In Canyons District, families are able to submit these forms online from the comfort of their home or office using our Online Permit Portal. For the 2018-2019 school year, the window for applying for the school-choice permits opens at 10 am. on Friday, Dec. 1 and closes at the end of business on Friday, Feb. 16. 

School transfers are approved when space is available and on a first-come, first-served basis. Paper permits are no longer available.

Once a school administrator approves a transfer permit, the permit will renew automatically every year thereafter as long as the student remains at the same school and their permit is not revoked. Permits must be renewed when a student advances from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school.

To guide families through the process, the Department of Planning and Enrollment has created tutorials in English, Spanish, and French. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Department’s website. The Main Office at your local school also is a good resource for information.
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:10

CSD Students Give Back for the Holidays

If Utah’s public schools are the frequent recipient of charitable giving — from booster club donations to the daily contributions of volunteers —they’re also a source of altruism. Canyons District students give back to their communities year-round, and the holidays are no different.

More than 25 Canyons District schools are sponsoring holiday donation drives this year. Despite the robust economy, intergenerational poverty continues to be a problem in Utah. To support for families in need, Canyons District schools are hosting food drives, clothing exchanges, and stuffed animal giveaways. Among the groups to benefit from their generosity are the Utah Food Bank, Sub for Santa, local animal shelters and Utah’s Ouelessebougou Alliance, to name a few.

Following a proud, four-year tradition, Canyons’ administration will be raising money and collecting winter clothing for residents of The Road Home in Midvale, a homeless shelter within the District’s boundaries. The donation drive will culminate with a luncheon featuring a performance by Jordan Valley students and a silent auction.

As part of Canyons’ partnership with the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, the District also is gathering gently-used purses and jewelry for People Helping People, an organization that helps low-income women, primarily single mothers, find jobs with living wages.  

How can you help? 
  • Drop off donations of winter coats, warm sleepwear and clothing (including new socks and underwear), blankets, toys, and gifts at Canyons District’s administration building (9361 S. 300 East in Sandy).
  • Donate an item to our silent auction (gift baskets, branded merchandise, gift cards) by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Checks, cash and gift cards may be given at any time to the Canyons Education Foundation and earmarked for the Gathering for Good fundraiser: 801-826-5171, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
School Holiday Fundraisers
Elementary Schools
Altara, Spring charity drive March 5-9
Bella Vista, Food drive through Nov. 11
Brookwood, January fundraiser benefitting the Ouelessebougou Alliance
Crescent, Food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank Nov. 6-17
East Sandy, “Month of Service,” food, clothing and stuffed animal drive, Nov. 13-17.
Edgemeont, Food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank through December.
Granite, Food drive benefitting Utah Food Bank Nov. 13 – Dec. 6
Lone Peak, Collecting money to help pay off student lunch balances, Nov 6-17.
Oakdale, Food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank through Thanksgiving.
Park Lane, Project Teddy Bear with the Bank of American Fork, Nov. 27 – Dec. 11.
Ridgecrest, Food drive benefitting Ridgecrest and East Midvale Elementary, Nov. 6-17.
Silver Mesa, Food drive, Nov. 13-17.
Sprucewood, Food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank, Nov. 6-20
Sunrise, Food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank, week of Dec. 4.
Willow Canyon, Service project benefitting Midvale Elementary, food drive.
Willow Springs, Donation drive for residents of The Road Home and Ronald McDonald House.

Middle Schools           
Albion, Cereal drive, Dec. 11-16.
Butler, Clothing drive benefitting Midvale Middle store, Dec. 11-15.
Draper Park, Cereal drive benefitting CSD’s Title 1 schools.
Eastmont, Food drive benefitting the Utah Food bank.
Indian Hills, January fundraiser benefitting the Make a Wish Foundation.
Mount Jordan, Sub for Santa drive.
Union, Fundraiser benefitting local animal shelter.

High Schools
Corner Canyon, Drive benefitting the Tyler Robinson Foundation, Nov. 18-Dec.19
Jordan, Clothing and donation drive benefitting Boys and Girls Club of Sandy, Dec. 4-17.
Something has changed at Midvale Middle School.

The building itself has changed from its model built in 1955 — everything from the design of the logo to the colors of the hallways, the bright and airy library, cutting-edge cooling and heating systems, and plentiful electrical outlets. But since the new iteration of the school opened its doors this summer, Midvale Middle Principal Mindy Robison is noticing another kind of transformation that is happening in her halls.

“I think there is a motivation that is different,” Robison says. “Something about the new building has sent a message to the kids that we believe in you, and people are in awe of it. I think it sends a different message about how we value the kids. The kids really sense that.”

Midvale Middle was one of the 13 major construction projects promised to CSD patrons at the passage of a $250 million general-obligation bond in 2010. The 13th project, a renovation of Indian Hills Middle, is expected to be done in time for the first day of school this fall. At that time, plans for the the next phase of CSD’s new-school and renovation efforts, funded with proceeds from a just-approved $283 million bond, will be well underway.

Eleven major projects will be done with funds from the 2017 bond. While a priority list has not been determined by the Canyons Board of Education, contractors for rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools and a scheduled significant remodel of Alta High were chosen by the Board of Education on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 in order to secure a price for the contractor work before construction costs escalate.  An architect for the new Union Middle was chosen, as well.  Architects for the projects at Brighton, Hillcrest and Alta had been selected Sept. 5, 2017 in accordance with state procurement guidelines and during a regularly scheduled and appropriately noticed public meeting. 

The impact of being in a new school stimulates students’ desire to come to school, Robison says, but the effect goes farther than the cool new cafeteria. Kids want to be in the building, and teachers feel excited to come to work, she says. But even members of the community who don’t have children in the school came to celebrate the school’s opening, and the ripple effect is not limited only to Midvale City.

The impact of new school buildings has been shown to increase student achievement, raise property values and contribute to local economies, according to several studies on the relationship between school construction and communities. While safety, technological accessibility and student needs drive decisions to rebuild and remodel schools, studies show that new-school construction also increases enrollment, boosts student and teacher pride and lifts property values.

“An improved or new school says to the kids, technology is part of the world in which you live,” says Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini, a long-time educator and advocate for students. “It says to the kids, ‘You are really important and we really care about your learning and how you are doing.’ It says you can’t stop trying, you have to keep looking at new ways of looking at the futhankyou.jpgture.”

According to a 2011 study published by the Institute of Labor Economics, an economic research institute based in Germany, school construction positively impacts student test scores, school enrollment and home prices. In the study, Yale researchers examined a poor, urban school district based in New Haven, Conn.,  as it embarked on a 15-year plan to revitalize its schools. The study found that trends in reading scores in the district trended upward in the year of construction of the new school and continued to increase for the next six years. Home values increased by 1.3 percent per $10,000 of per-student expenditure and student enrollment increased by 4.4 percent.

A 2008 study of California school districts published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that investments in school facilities yield increases in both math and reading scores. They gauged the effects of new or renovated schools to be “about one-third as large as the effect of reducing class sizes from 22 to 15 students.”

Communities that invest in schools see immediate returns. Enrollment has increased at several new schools in Canyons District. At Mount Jordan Middle, student enrollment jumped from 732 students in 2013 to 941 in 2017, just two years after the new school was completed in 2015. Enrollment at Butler Elementary increased from 505 students in 2014 to 549 students in 2016, when the new school opened. The new Midvale Elementary grew from 738 students in 2010 to 822 students the year the school was completed in 2012, and Midvale Middle enrollment grew from 803 students in 2014 to 919 students in 2017, when the school opened.

In Cottonwood Heights, Canyons’ efforts to rebuild and remodel aging schools has revitalized the city, Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore says.  The District’s school-improvement plan is one major factor that has led to a 4 percent increase in the sale price of existing homes in the town, he says. According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, Cottonwood Heights is one of just four cities in Salt Lake County that had an overall increase in the sales price of existing homes since 2007.

“It has made a huge difference in the appeal of our community,” Cullimore says, as he points to a new Butler Middle School, new Butler Elementary, new tennis courts, new football and soccer fields, improvements to Brighton High and a partnership creation of popular Mountview Park as evidence of the impact the District has had on the town. “We have a fabulous relationship with the school district and are able to have the community take ownership of and pride in the schools in our municipal boundaries.”
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