They go out of their way to make students feel special. They give of their free time to support teachers. They find resources for schools, forge creative paths around big problems and have worked shoulder-to-shoulder to build Canyons into a world-class district.

For their contributions, hard work and dedication to advancing the mission and vision of Canyons District, the Board of Education and Administration seek to recognize them. 

Canyons District is now taking nominations for the 2018 Apex Awards, the annual honors given by CSD leaders to teachers, administrators, district office personnel, volunteers and community partners. The Apex Awards, started in 2010, are the highest honors given by Canyons District to the people who help make CSD the place to be. 

Award categories are: 
  • Teacher of the Year
  • School Administrator of the Year 
  • District Administrator of the Year 
  • Business Partner of the Year 
  • Volunteer of the Year 
  • Elected Official of the Year 
  • Student Support Services Professional of the Year
  • Education Support Professional of the Year 
  • Legacy Award
Use this easy-to-use online tool to read more about the categories and to submit nominations. Nominations can be submitted until Aug. 3, 2018.

Nominations for Apex Awards can be submitted for all categories except Teacher of the Year. The Canyons District’s Teacher of the Year is selected in the spring and is CSD’s nominee in the state Teacher of the Year competition. This year's winner is Amber Rogers, a social studies educator at Corner Canyon High.  She was selected from a field of 47 teachers from every CSD school in the District.

The winners of the 2018 Apex Awards are celebrated at a by-invitation-only banquet and awards ceremony. This year’s event will be Sept. 11, 2018 at The Gathering Place at Gardner Village, 1100 W. 7800 South.

Questions? Call Jeff Haney or Kirsten Stewart in the Office of Public Communications at 801-826-5084 or 801-826-5050 or send a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The Alta Hawks charged into baseball season this year with a new leader who is a familiar face on the field.

Daron Connelly, who had overseen Corner Canyon High baseball since the school’s opening in 2013, has taken his formidable talents and experience to the Chargers’ fierce intra-district opponents. Coach Connelly assumed the head coach duties at the outset of the season. 

For his part, Connelly shrugs off questions about his allegiances in the thriving rivalry between Alta and Corner Canyon. While he dons black and silver jerseys these days, Connelly speaks highly of the boys of summer in blue and silver.  

While the games are fiercely contested, there’s a kinship among the players on both sides, he said. Players at both schools began their baseball careers on the same Little League diamonds, he says. They often hang out on weekend, Snap each other on social media —  and sometimes square off at the plate.

Good-natured and competitive rivalries, he says, serve to make both teams better.

Connelly, who has earned a Masters of Business Administration and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching and Learning, brings a wealth of experience to the Alta ball club. 

The former player in the San Francisco Giants organization also has been a coach at high schools, junior highs and special schools in Arizona. His teams embrace a work-hard, play-hard, no-nonsense, grind-it-out, get-after-it style of play. He builds players from the inside out. 

“We will work together as a team,” the coach says. “If we do things right, the positive results will come,”

At CCHS, the school’s inaugural team, with 26 freshmen or sophomores, finished 5-20. By the third year, the team advanced to the state playoffs and fought to the third-place spot at the state tournament. Last year, the Chargers landed in fifth-place in the Utah High School Activities Association’s tourney.

Connelly has his sights set on replicating that level of success at Alta.

He also expects his cast of Hawks to excel academically, and he emphasizes good citizenship in the hallways, too. 

“The baseball field is an extension of the classroom,” he says.  “If the (players) are going to be high-profile (as student athletes), then we have to do it right.”

“We will talk about the process. We’ll do everything with our heads held high,” Connelly said.  “I want us to be talked about as the team that will require you to bring your A-game; the team to beat.”
From an educator who is thought of as a modern-day Mary Poppins to another who dresses up like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to entertain his charges, Canyons’ teachers are famous for finding ways to reach their students. They establish safe places, demonstrate the true meaning of “community,” lead memorization of the ABCs, and inspire all students to succeed.

At Tuesday’s Canyons Board of Education meeting, top teachers from every school were recognized for their invaluable contributions to making Canyons a district of distinction.

Of the 46 teachers honored Tuesday, one educator, Corner Canyon High’s Amber Rogers, was selected as the 2018 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. Midvale Middle’s Lena Wood was chosen as the first runner-up, and Alta View Elementary’s Jamie Richardson was chosen as second runner-up. Rogers will represent Canyons in the state search for Utah’s Teacher of the Year.   

In today’s world, teenagers might sometimes feel detached and disinterested in the subject of history, but not in Rogers’ classroom. As the Social Studies Department Chair at Corner Canyon, Rogers makes history sparkle, even for students who struggle the most. She was nominated by parents, peers and her students, who used the words, “energetic, creative, passionate, dedicated, thorough, and fun” to describe her.

“She is truly the embodiment of what it means to be a professional educator,” Corner Canyon Principal Darrell Jensen said. “If we can clone Ms. Rogers in the educational industry, we would be very successful in everything we set out to do.”

Rogers credits her high school Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher for steering her toward a teaching career. In that class, she learned the power of telling stories and the importance of figuring out how to grip students as they learn about past events. She brings that knowledge into her classroom as she creates simulations to make history and government topics tangible, real and comprehensible. Through her engaging instruction, Rogers inspires her students to become invested in their education as she impacts their lives. 

“Students either hate their teachers or they love them,” Rogers says. “There is no middle ground. You either hate them because they’re too hard, or they love them, and then they say, ‘I remember how important teachers are. I remember what they taught me.’ So, it’s all about leaving that impression for those students.”

All of Canyons’ Teachers of the Year received recognition from their schools, gift baskets with donations from Canyons’ sponsors, and a crystal award from Canyons’ Board of Education. In addition, as Canyons’ top Teacher of the Year, Rogers has received a $1,000 cash prize from the Canyons Education Foundation. Lena Wood received a $750 cash prize from the Foundation, and Jamie Richardson received $500. All of the nominees are invited to attend a Real Salt Lake game on Saturday, June 2, in celebration of their accomplishments, as the Teachers of the Year will be recognized during half-time.

“Teachers matter,” said Canyons Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor. “They mentor and motivate, inspire and innovate. We value our teachers, we honor our teachers.”

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  • Canyons District is bracing for the possible emotional impacts of the second season of the teen drama “13 Reasons Why.”  

    The first season of “13 Reasons Why,” released last spring, caused some concern among CSD educators and teachers, who were caught by surprise at the uptick in students asking for counseling help after the teens binge-watched the Netflix series that traded heavily in such mature themes as sexual assault, drug use, and suicide.

    To the end of being prepared for the show’s launch date, school counselors and school psychologists in Canyons District have been sent guidance from the National Association for School Psychologists. Tips for parents and students also are included in the information from the national organization. 

    While the producers of the popular show have been tight-lipped about the show's release date, the District is striving “to get out in front of it rather than two weeks late,” said Tori Gillett, Canyons’ School Counseling Program Specialist. 

    “We definitely want to encourage parents to be aware of the show and its mature themes,” Gillett said, adding that the inaugural season of the show, which is produced by pop star Selena Gomez and based on a young-adult novel of the same name, “evoked a lot of emotions, especially in the students who are most vulnerable.”

    While it’s important to have conversations about the issues faced by the teenaged characters in the much-Tweeted-about episodes, Gillett said, it’s equally vital to have “appropriate safeguards” in place to support young viewers who struggle with the frank topics of the show. The second season is not expected to be any less stark, with previews showing a possible school shooting. 

    To be sure, parents can decide what’s best for their own families, but mental-health professionals, including those in CSD’s student-support programs, caution against binge-watching, especially if the students are watching the show alone.

    The District wants students to know there are many caring adults in their lives who want to help.  “We should have open dialogues,” Gillett said. “We want students to know there are people out there who care about them and are willing to listen.”  

    Where can students or parents go if they need extra supports? School counseling centers can help both students and parents who are looking for information about this or any other issue that is prompting challenging emotions. Of course, if a student needs help immediately, they can turn to the SafeUT mobile app for all-day and all-night access to licensed clinicians from the University of Utah. 

    Guide for Families
    • Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series “13 Reasons Why." While we don’t recommend that students be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
    • Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
    • Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
    • Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
    • Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.
    Source: National Association for School Psychologists
    As a precautionary measure, Canyons District is pulling all lettuce from meals served in school cafeterias until American health officials declare that an E.coli scare is over. 

    The outbreak, which has sickened dozens of people in up to 11 states so far, began in mid-March and may have been caused by bagged and pre-chopped lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region and distributed to retailers across the country. 

    While no Utahn is one of the 35 cases, Canyons District is erring on the side of caution. For the health and safety of students and employees, the lettuce that had been purchased for regularly schedule meals will be discarded. 

    CSD’s Nutrition Services Department had ordered 32 cases of chopped lettuce and 22 cases of head lettuce for upcoming menus, said CSD Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas.

    Menus containing lettuce will either be modified or lettuce will be omitted from the food item, Varas said. Students were informed today that salads will not be served. 

    The majority of those who have fallen ill reported eating romaine lettuce within a week of feeling such E.coli-related sickness symptoms as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fevers. 

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is urging all U.S. consumers who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home to throw it away, even if it has been partially eaten and no one became ill. The CDC also says that consumers, before purchasing lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, should confirm it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma region. 

    Varas says the recent egg recall over salmonella does not impact the District.
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