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At the same time word started to spread about the toxic-water woes in Flint, Mich., Canyons District began stepping up efforts to ensure safe water is flowing in its schools’ drinking fountains and sinks. As a result, the District has nearly two years of records that track the quality of water being consumed by Canyons students, teachers, principals and volunteers.

“It’s a stated goal of the Canyons Board of Education and Administration to build and maintain safe and welcoming learning environments,” said Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “As part of our ongoing efforts to improve and modernize CSD’s learning environments, Canyons also has taken the appropriate yet entirely voluntary steps to ensure the water in our schools is safe to drink and use for food preparation.”

Canyons District was the first school district in Utah to conduct regular, scheduled water testing at all of its schools, including the new projects completed with funds from the $250 million voter-approved bond in 2010. Water testing will continue at the new and renovated schools that will be funded with proceeds from the $283 million bond measure approved by 57 percent of voters on Nov. 7, 2017. Both the measures were tax-rate-neutral. 

Here’s how the testing works: Canyons District’s Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray arrives at the school before 6 a.m. to get a “first draw.” Those are samples of water that are pulled before any water can be used in the building. This is so the District can get a reading of the possible contaminant levels before the pipes are flushed with new, fresh water.

With each sample bottle, Ray caps it, seals it, and takes it to an independent testing agency to be examined. After a few days, CSD learns the milligrams-per-liter levels of iron, copper and lead. If the levels exceed those allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the District immediately notifies parents and teachers and begins a mitigation effort, especially with high levels of lead. Traces of other minerals or metals in the water also may be a signal that the pipes need to be examined. 

“We want students and teachers to know that, through our efforts, they are going into a building that is free from any type of contaminant, be it airborne or in the water” says Ray, who also conducts regular radon-gas testing in Canyons schools. “It’s important to us that   school communities are aware that we conduct these tests and are going to great lengths make sure there is safe drinking water in the schools.

Thanks to Canyons’ water-testing program, the District was able to identify and mitigate water-quality issues at four schools. Filters were installed at Edgemont and East Midvale elementary schools to correct higher-than-the-EPA-guidelines levels of iron. Pipes and fixtures were replaced at Quail Hollow and the old Crescent View Middle when elevated levels of lead were detected.   The results of recent lead testing are posted on the CSD website.

Patrons with questions about the water-testing program can call the Canyons Administration Building-East at 801-826-5000 and ask for CSD's Office of Risk Management.

The majority of residents who cast ballots in the 2017 General Election voted in favor of the Canyons Board of Education’s proposal to use proceeds from a $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond to provide modern and safe schools to children in all parts of the District. 

Election results indicate that 57.83 percent voted in favor of the plan, which will result in the completion of 11 major construction projects. This includes total rebuilds of Hillcrest and Brighton high schools and a major renovation of Alta High. Some 42.17 percent voted against the measure. Voter turnout was 48.2 percent, according to the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office.

“We are grateful for those who studied our proposal and voted in favor of working in partnership with us to provide safe and modern schools for the children in our community,” said Board President Sherril H. Taylor. “The vote of confidence in our facility-improvement plan is very much appreciated — but we take it very seriously. As we now turn our attention to the hard work of bringing this plan to life, we also reiterate our pledge to be wise stewards of taxpayer dollars as we continue to build up Canyons together.”  

In addition to the Brighton, Hillcrest and Alta projects, the District will: 
  • Rebuild Union Middle
  • Rebuild Midvalley Elementary
  • Rebuild Peruvian Park Elementary
  • Rebuild a White City-area elementary
  • Replace portables with classrooms at Corner Canyon High
  • Build a new west Draper elementary
  • Remodel offices at Brookwood, Granite, Oakdale, Park Lane, Silver Mesa, and Sunrise elementary schools
  • Install windows and skylights for natural light at Altara, Bell View, Brookwood, Canyon View, Crescent, East Midvale, East Sandy, Granite, Lone Peak, Oakdale, Oak Hollow, Park Lane, Quail Hollow, Ridgecrest, Silver Mesa, Sprucewood, Sunrise, and Willow Springs elementary schools

Approval of the bond measure allows the District to continue addressing needs in aging schools in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta while also planning for future growth. Since 2010, when residents of Canyons District gave approval for a $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond, Canyons District has completed 12 major construction projects. The 13th project promised to the voters at the time of the 2010 bond’s passage is the renovation of Indian Hills Middle, which is expected to be complete by fall 2018.

Work on the first projects with proceeds from the 2017 bond could start this summer.

The District will keep the public updated on the progress of the projects via the website, bond.canyondistrict.org.
For high school seniors, the future is now. Even though the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation is seven months away, the high schools in Canyons District this week are emphasizing the importance of taking the next step in students’ educational journeys. 

From Nov. 6-10, 2017 Canyons District will celebrate its fourth annual Utah College Application Week — five days dedicated to helping students fill out and submit at least one viable application to a college, university or a technical-trade school. 

Although the applying for college can be a serious topic, schools have planned lighthearted events to jump-start every student’s interest in post-secondary education.

Canyons’ high schools will post college-related items on social media; urge participation during assemblies; and play trivia games and treasure hunts. Teachers will decorate their doors with memorabilia from their alma maters, and days have been set aside days for faculty and students to don T-shirts and sweatshirts of favored colleges and universities. 

While CSD’s Utah College Application Week, also called UCAW, is full of fun and games, there’s a serious side, too.  Filling out a college application can be daunting to many students, says Lisa Gardner, a counselor at Hillcrest High. However, during UCAW, counselors and administrators will be on hand to help students every step of the way, she says.    

“We bring every senior into the computer lab where we have counselors available to help them fill out their applications, answer questions, and talk to them about their financial aid options,” Gardner said during a Monday morning interview during ABC4’s “Good Morning Utah.”

“Family support is great,” she told ABC4 morning anchor Brian Carlsen, “but some students need additional support in completing those applications — and we are able to provide that for the students.”   

Gardner also said that many students cannot afford to go to college, so it's so important for each one to complete the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is the federal form that students must complete in order to make themselves eligible for federal money used to pay for higher education. By filling it out, she said, students can become eligible for Pell Grants, Work Study Programs, and loans subsidized by the government.  

Canyons has placed a heavy emphasis on competing the FAFSA, holding information nights for parents and students. While all CSD schools are seeing success with this effort, Jordan High was recently recognized as one of the top five schools in the state for FAFSA completion. 

But there’s extra help for Canyons students who may need a little extra help to apply to the college of their dreams. Per tradition, the Canyons Education Foundation has pledged up to $10,000 to help low-income students pay applicable college-application fees.

Utah College Application Week, sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education’s StepUp to Higher Education campaign,  complements the Canyons Board of Education’s mission to ensure all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate from high school.
Thursday, 02 November 2017 18:26

Snow Day: CSD’s Snow Closure Guidelines

If the forecast holds, a cold front is expected to roll into Salt Lake this weekend accompanied by rain, and possibly snow. To the end of preparing our community for winter, here is a guide to how Canyons District will communicate information about school cancellations or delayed starts. 

Please remember: 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?
Our 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.
The cheering crowd lining Main Street in Historic Sandy was in for a surprise as sweet as candy when the elementary school students started their annual Halloween costume parade on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

The students gave the crowd quite a treat as they showed off their costumes, which ranged from witches and ghouls to superheroes and Disney princesses.  The parade, which draws hundreds of spectators, is one of Canyons District’s most popular Halloween attractions.

As in previous years, the annual parade was led by Principal McKay Robinson and Assistant Principal Brooke Rauzon, who donned blue Cookie Monster and red Elmo costumes.  Another group of teachers were dressed as the five seasons of road construction in Utah.

Not to be outdone, Jordan Valley, Canyons’ school for students also held an elaborate costume pageant. A crowd favorite: A wheelchair decked out to look like a flashy sliver convertible.  

Those were just two of the events that were held on All Hallow’s Eve in Canyons schools.  All across the District, costumed students and teachers marched up and down hallways, through gymnasiums filled with cheering parents, and participated in class parties.  See photos of the events in a video that can be accessed on Canyons District's YouTube channel.

Safety tips and costume rules were sent home in advance so students could enjoy the parades and performing-arts assemblies without having to take off masks or be sent home to change clothes.  

“It’s a fun day,” Union Middle Principal Kelly Tauteoli told Fox 13’s “The Place.”  Tauteoli also said the day is full of merrymaking — but learning still continues.  Students are in class and teachers lead lessons, she said, “but they do review games and have a lot of fun.”

Canyons Students on parade through District elementary schools 
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