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The first-ever members to join Alta High’s marching band will be graduating this year — and they’ll be celebrating in a big way.

After four years of high-stepping, twirling and drumming, Canyons District’s only marching band will be taking their talent across the country to represent Utah in the 13th annual National Memorial Day Parade, held annually on Constitution Avenue to honor the men and women who have served valiantly in the U.S. Armed Forces.  The parade starts at 2 p.m. Eastern on Monday. 

This is the first time the award-winning band will perform in a different state, and they will be the only Utah marching band in the event. The parade is one of the country’s largest Memorial Day event.

“I had no idea we would be marching in this parade,” said Alta bandleader Caleb Shabestari, who led the band to 2A division state championships in 2013 and 2014. “I think it’s cool we’ve doubled the size of the band in four years and we’re taking a trip across the country. We couldn’t have done that last year.”

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan nominated the marching band to represent Utah last March and the group has been preparing ever since. These days, the students attend practice two days a week to put the final touches on their patriotic program. The songs they will perform will highlight an immigrant’s journey to the United States.

“Just for the parade we’ve probably practiced for 40 hours straight,” Shabestari said. For those who won’t be able to see the parade in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 29, the band will perform the same numbers at parades this summer in Sandy and Draper. 

The parade also will be streamed live on military.com.  

In June, the Alta High marching band will begin rehearsals for the summer band program, which includes flashy performances in Fourth of July and city celebration parades. The students range in age from seventh- to 12th grades and hail from all parts of the District. 

In the fall, the group will start working on their fall competition program, which will feature a theme of air, flight and planes, with completely original music. Students from all over Canyons participate in the District band located at Alta.

 “My goal at the end of five years is to have a band with over 100 people,” Shabestari said. “We are well on track to do that.”
Thursday, 18 May 2017 17:41

Board Meeting Summary, May 16, 2017

Approval of Negotiated Agreement with Canyons Education Association

The Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association for 2017-2018 school year. The agreement contains a small adjustment to the Conversion Placement Table approved at a prior Board meeting. The new, single-lane salary schedule represents the largest pay hike in the District’s history, bumping the starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 to $40,500, while also funding raises for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, significantly improving their lifetime earnings and retirement payments. As part of the agreement, the District will cover 83.7 percent of the 11.33 percent hike in health insurance premiums that takes effect in January 2018. One Personal Leave Day will be converted back to a Sick Leave Day. Also, under a policy change, the provisional status of experienced transfer teachers may be shortened if they have:
  • Successfully taught for at least three consecutive years in an accredited school or district
  • Completed at least one year of provisional service with Canyons District
  • Successfully met the criteria outlined in GCOA-Evaluation of Instructional Staff (Licensed)
  • Been recommended by their principal/supervisor for a Provisional Status Exception
  • Received approval by the Director of Human Resources
The Board read the following statement into the minutes: 

“Tonight, the Canyons Board of Education voted to approve the tentative negotiated agreement for 2017-2018 with the Canyon Education Association. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks for the licensed educators in Canyons School District. With this agreement, and with the previously announced salary structure that gives no less than a 4 percent salary increase to every teacher in Canyons District, the Board of Education decidedly shows in word and deed how much this community values education. We have said it before and we will say it again: Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions. With the intention of bringing the best and brightest to Canyons District classrooms, and to give teachers a chance to earn more over the length of their careers, the Board of Education moved singularly and decisively to make an important and positive financial impact in the lives of our teachers. Day in and day out, the men and women who lead classrooms in Canyons District are making good on the promise of our nation — that every child has a right to a free, appropriate education. President John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.’ The Board of Education can send no clearer message than this: We honor and respect our teachers. We thank them for their care, creativity, and commitment to ensuring that every student in Canyons District graduates college and career-ready.”

Budget Update

With the expiration of a 7-year-old school-district funding equalization law, Canyons District’s property tax rate will be auto-adjusted for the 2017-2018 school year, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board of Education. Even though the tax rate is being auto-adjusted, CSD’s goal is to keep the 2017-2018 tax rate lower or the same as the 2016-2017 rate, he said. The Administration will, in adherence to state law, post a tax notice in Utah’s major daily newspapers. The Board will adopt a revised FY17 budget and original FY18 budget at its June 13 meeting following a public hearing. At least 15 days prior to that meeting, the budgets will be posted to the District’s website.

Proposed Reorganization 

A fiscally neutral reorganization is being proposed to consolidate oversight of two departments that support teachers in the classroom: Instructional Supports and Education Technology. The proposed changes are occasioned by the resignation of Education Technology Director Dr. Darren Draper, who is leaving CSD for another job opportunity. After consulting with Draper, and meeting with his staff, it was decided that aligning the Education Technology Specialists with Instructional Specialists would create operational efficiencies and synergies and improve communication, explained Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie. Under the plan, Education Technology Specialists would move under the umbrella of Instructional Supports, and an administrative position would be added to shoulder the additional supervisory burden. In addition, four teacher positions would be elevated to provide more support to academic and technology coaches. The administration of Canyons Virtual High School would be assigned to CTEC Principal Ken Spurlock.

Policy Update

Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen briefed the Board on a proposed policy change in the handling of unpaid school-nutrition meal charges.

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

Willow Canyon Scout Troops No. 838 and No. 541 led the audience in the pledge of allegiance, and Willow Canyon Principal Marilyn Williams conducted the reverence. Teachers at Willow Canyon embody a can-do attitude; more than 15 have met level-one certification for using technology in the classroom, she said. The school has several enrichment programs, including a choir and fine arts program. Students also participate in CSD’s annual storytelling festival and “Monster Math” program. “Every student successful is our goal,” William said. 

Patron Comments 

Canyons Education Association President Jen Buttars announced that the association has ratified a tentative negotiated agreement with the District for teacher pay and benefits. “We appreciate the nearly $11.5M investment in teacher salaries and believe that the Board has truly demonstrated a commitment to not only recruit, but also retain educators,” she said. “We also appreciate the Board’s willingness to examine issues such as insurance premiums. provisional status of experienced teachers, personal and sick leave, easier access to payroll codes, and the number of assessments being given to students.” 

Big Cottonwood Canyon resident Tom Fendler addressed the Board about the proposal to eliminate the bus route in the canyon. He urged the Board to keep the route. Karin Peterson also told the Board it would be a hardship for her if the Board eliminated the route. Deborah Miles, also a resident in the canyon and parents of a student at Butler Elementary, urged the Board to keep the route. Eric Railsbeck also spoke in favor of keeping the route.  CVHS administrative assistant Julie Mayo also addressed the Board, reporting on some of the tasks that need to be completed by CVHS employees.   


Bond Discussion

Board members discussed their thoughts about the projects that could be considered for completion on a future bond issuance. This fall, both a new Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary schools will open. Both schools have been completed with proceeds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. Crews have started to work on the renovations at Indian Hills Middle, the 13th and final project promised to voters when the bond was approved. 

Bus Route


The Board voted to table a proposal to cancel a hazardous bus route up Big Cottonwood Canyon while they take into consideration patron comments and concerns. Board members asked the Administration to explore the possibility of using a smaller bus or van to transport students. The Board will continue to study the matter at future meetings.

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the accomplishments of students in Career- and Technical-Education programs who won first place in their respective competitions. They also recognized Altara Elementary teacher Joani Richardson, who received a 2017 Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education; Jonathan Hale, a teacher at Sprucewood and Jordan Valley schools, who received a Sorensen Award for Excellence in Arts Education, and Betty Shaw, the outgoing Region 17 PTA Director.  National PTA Reflections winners — Oakdale Elementary’s Sarah Baros, for photography; Copperview’s Tuesday Harris, for literature; and Draper Elementary’s Alyssa Meadows, for music — also were honored.    

Easement for Trail Near Edgemont Elementary

The Board of Education considered a request from Salt Lake County for an easement to build a trail along Edgemont Elementary School’s property line. The county successfully passed the Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) tax at the November 2016 election, and as part of its ZAP plan, wants to construct a walking trail through White City, CSD’s Budget Administrator Leon Wilcox explained. The trail would run along Edgemont Elementary and would require an easement from the District. Board members expressed concern about the possible need for a fence to safeguard students, and Board President Sherril H. Taylor asked the Administration to explore the possibility of a land exchange with the county. Wilcox said these stipulations could be added to the easement agreement along with language to require the county to maintain the trail and repair any damage to District property incurred during construction. Also included would be language requiring the trail to be relocated if Edgemont is rebuilt at a future date. The easement will be brought to the Board for approval at a later meeting. 

Remarks by Elected Representatives

The Board of Education heard remarks from Utah Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, and Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper.

Consent Agenda

With exception to one school’s overnight travel plan, the Board approved all items on the consent agenda, including, hires and terminations, purchasing bids, student overnight travel plans; and April financial reports.

Counseling Update

Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Coordinator Tori Gillett updated the Board on services provided by the school counseling programs. She told the Board the counselors are aligning data projects with the school-improvement plans of the schools. The projects also focused on attendance, behavior and course understanding. Highlights of the CSD counseling efforts include the launch of counseling services at Diamond Ridge and HYPE courses for counselors. The counselors also continue their efforts to increase the number of students who submit a viable college application during the Utah College Application Week. 

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports


Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked Shaw for her service to CSD as the Region 17 PTA President. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox commended Dr. Darren Draper for his work in Canyons District. Wilcox said Draper was one of the first people he met when Wilcox started working for CSD in 2009.  He honored CSD Energy Specialist Chris Eppler for being honored by Gov. Gary Herbert for his work in helping conserve energy in our facilities.

Board Reports

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reported on negotiations with CSD employees.  She appreciates the negotiating teams for working hard on behalf of the District’s employees. She also commended teachers who were honored during the Teacher of the Year ceremonies. She looks forward to the Retirees Banquet on May 25.

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on watching Alta and Corner Canyon student-athletes compete in the Region 7 track meet. He also will be attending the Indian Hills Middle end-of-year band concert. He also reflected on the accomplishments of the educators honored during the Teacher of the Year announcement ceremony. He said one of his former teachers is the father of one our Teachers of the Year. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg enjoyed the Teacher of the Year presentation. He thanked the teachers who “go to the battle line” every day in our schools. He also reported on attending the Thursday, April 27 Canyons Education Foundation Spring Gala. He expressed appreciation for the support in the community for the Foundation. 

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Sacred Images mural unveiling at Corner Canyon High. She reported on attending the Brighton and Butler Middle’s SCC meetings, and thanked District staff for their work on the Teacher of the Year ceremonies and the Foundation’s gala. She attended fifth-grade DARE graduation at Bella Vista Elementary. She thanked Betty Shaw and Dr. Draper for their service to Canyons District. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey mentioned attending the Latinos in Action celebration and congratulated the LIA students who were recognized for their achievements. She mentioned she was able to participate in the electronic bidding during the Foundation’s spring gala. She was able to buy a charcoal painting done by a student during the event. She thanked Shaw for her service in the Region 17 PTA.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending the Foundation’s Spring Gala.  He also recognized our special education department’s excellent services. 

President Taylor thanked Shaw for her voluntarism. He also thanked the Office of Public Communication for organizing Recognitions. He reported on Communities that Care group to which he belongs. Taylor also reported on attending Alta High’s Awards Ceremony. He expressed appreciation for Principal McGill’s efforts at Alta High, the various administrators for working hard throughout the year, the Canyons Virtual High School staff, and Mr. Steve Van Maren, a resident who often attends CSD meetings. 
The Board of Education on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 unanimously voted to approve a negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association for 2017-2018 school year.

The agreement contains a small adjustment to the Conversion Placement Table approved at the April 25, 2017 meeting of the Board of Education. The new, single-lane salary schedule represents the largest pay hike in the District’s history, bumping the starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 to $40,500, while also funding raises for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, significantly improving their lifetime earnings and retirement payments. It’s a big investment and tangible proof of how much the CSD community values education, says Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor.

"We have said it before and we will say it again: Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions," he said. "With the intention of bringing the best and brightest to Canyons District classrooms, and to give teachers a chance to earn more over the length of their careers, the Board of Education moved singularly and decisively to make an important and positive financial impact in the lives of our teachers."

CEA President Jen Buttars also said the association appreciates "the nearly $11.5 million investment in teacher salaries and believes that the Board has truly demonstrated a commitment to not only recruit, but also retain educators."

"The CEA believes that (the Board's) commitment to listening to the concerns of educators, recognizing professional judgement and attending to salary, benefit and working condition concerns, allows educators to focus on their
efficacy for the benefit of all Canyons School District students," she said.

As part of the agreement, the District will cover 83.7 percent of the 11.33 percent hike in health insurance premiums that takes effect in January 2018. One Personal Leave Day will be converted back to a Sick Leave Day. Also, under a policy change, the provisional status of experienced transfer teachers may be shortened if they have:
  • Successfully taught for at least three consecutive years in an accredited school or district
  • Completed at least one year of provisional service with Canyons District
  • Successfully met the criteria outlined in GCOA-Evaluation of Instructional Staff (Licensed)
  • Been recommended by their principal/supervisor for a Provisional Status Exception
  • Received approval by the Director of Human Resources

Bon boulot, gong xi and felicitaciones to students throughout Canyons District who are making waves with their language skills. 

On Friday, May 5, 2017, Draper Park Middle students Ariel Harp and McKay Larsen took first place at the Chinese Bridge Language Contest at the University of Maryland. Harp and Larson represented Utah for the first time in the competition, where they competed in the Cultural Performance category. 

Harp also won first place in the Level 4 Speech Contest at the Chinese Language Fair at BYU in April. She was joined by 11 other Draper Park Middle students who received superior and excellent awards at the fair, as well as students from Corner Canyon and Hillcrest high schools and Midvale Middle, who also placed first at the BYU Language Fair.

The students are all part of Canyons Dual-Language Immersion program, which features programs in Mandarin Chinese-English, French-English, and Spanish-English. Parents and their Dual-Language Immersion students in all grade levels are invited to attend a secondary=school information night on Thursday, May 11 at 6 p.m. in the Professional Development Center at Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East.

The purpose of the event is to discuss how students transition from elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school, in the DLI program. Course pathways and descriptions, bridge courses, university collaboration and program locations will also be discussed.

More than 300 DLI students from Alta, Corner Canyon, Brighton, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools recently tested their skills at the BYU Language Fair in Provo on April 20, 2017. Students from Midvale, Mount Jordan and Draper Park Middle also participated in the half-day event that tests language ability in Chinese, French, Spanish, German and Russian.

A group of students at Hillcrest took first place in the Language Bowl at the Spanish Foreign Language Fair at BYU. The students were tested on grammar, geography, history, culture, current events, and vocabulary. The students were asked questions in Spanish and teams of five had 10 minutes to answer the questions and receive points according to their answers. At Corner Canyon, students received superior marks in Show and Tell, Speech and Conversation.

Midvale Middle participated in BYU’s Chinese Language Fair and took first place in the Character Bee portion of the competition. In the Character Bee, students match words, written in Chinese, with their correct definitions. The first team to match 12 words in a row correctly wins. 
Joani Richardson is the kind of teacher who can breathe new life into words, pull magic from a page, and spark wonder in the eyes of eager-to-learn children. “I love to teach children to love to read,” says Richardson. “I have failed if I have not taught a child to love to read.”

For her dedication to inspiring her first-grade students at Altara Elementary to learn and grow, Richardson, who is beloved by scores of students, parents and fellow educators, has received one of the most prestigious awards given to public-school educators in Utah. 

On Friday, April 28, 2017, in front of cheering Altara Kittyhawks of all ages, Richardson was announced as a winner of a Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. She’s one of 11 Utahns selected for the honor, which comes with a crystal obelisk and a $10,000 cash prize. The winners — six general education teachers, three administrators, one special-education teacher and a volunteer — are hand-picked by a panel of prominent citizens and educators after a public-nomination process. Awards will be given at a May banquet in Salt Lake.
 
2017 Huntsman Award Winner Joani Richardson

“Every year, our family has the opportunity of going all over the state of Utah,” said Karen Huntsman, the philanthropist and wife of billionaire businessman Jon M. Huntsman Sr., who delivered to the news to Richardson personally at an assembly. “You know what they we are looking for?  Outstanding teachers.” 

At the Friday morning assembly, which was attended by Richardson’s family (some had dialed in via FaceTime on iPhones), Principal Nicole Svee-Magann, Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe and School Performance Director Alice Peck, Huntsman pulled Richardson close and said, “She doesn’t teach for the money,” Huntsman said.  “She teaches for the love of teaching.” 

Svee-Magann is effusive in her praise of Richardson, who has taught for some four decades. The principal calls her a top-notch teacher who doesn’t let anything — not even breast cancer — slow her down. Even while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, she said, Richardson ran last Saturday’s Salt Lake Half-Marathon. 

“Sometimes when we have hard things happen, we have to keep going. We have to keep going forward and making a difference. This good woman is the best example of this that I know,” Huntsman added. “When hard things happen, do you think she forgets her students?  Do you think she forgets her lesson plans?  She does everything because she loves and cares about what she’s doing.  When you think about all the children she’s taught … she has impacted their lives for years and years and years.”

Richardson’s selection extends Canyons District’s streak of being home to a Huntsman award-winner. Last year’s winner from CSD, Brighton High’s Aaron Hadfield, was at Friday’s assembly to surprise Richardson with the news. But he was there in a different capacity — as a volunteer in the WatchDOG program for fathers. Also, his wife, Jody, is the School Community Council chair at Altara and was the driving force behind Richardson’s nomination.

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