They could have spent the summer relaxing poolside with friends, playing video games, or earning babysitting money. Instead, they chose to get a jump on high school with a deep-dive into the math and science concepts they’ll be expected to learn as entering freshmen this fall.

For four hours a day over four weeks, participants in Jordan High’s AVID summer academy immersed themselves in what it takes to be a successful Beetdigger. They attended class, conducted experiments, and completed exams while becoming familiar with the new surroundings, new teachers, and more rigorous demands of high school. For their efforts, on Friday, June 13, they were awarded cash stipends and completion certificates, and treated to a celebratory breakfast with family members. Screen_Shot_2018-07-13_at_5.20.51_PM.png

More valuable, still—they learned that they’re capable of doing hard things, and that it feels pretty good. “This summer, you’ve shown that you can do something really important,” remarked Canyons Board of Education member Steve Wrigley at the ceremony. “Believe in yourself and work hard and it will open all kinds of doors for you.”

 Made possible with an investment by the Board of Education, and modeled after a similar program at Hillcrest High, the AVID summer academy is now in its second year. Participants in last year’s academy ended their ninth-grade year with higher grade point averages than those students who were invited to the program but chose not to participate (see chart below). They reported having more confidence and also attended school more regularly.

“We didn’t have any of our participants who were falling into dangerous areas of missing a lot of school, which is something that prohibits students from being successful,” says Jordan’s Principal Wendy Dau.

How students perform in the ninth grade tends to predict how well they’ll do in high school. The idea behind the AVID program, says Dau, is to help students excel that first “sink-or-swim” year, and beyond.

Last year, the approach earned CSD the honor of being named a 2017 District of Distinction by District Administration Magazine. One of Utah’s largest newspapers called the initiative a "smart, sensible and innovative" approach “to dealing with a specific problem — one that happens to be at the heart of any education system’s principal mission — to make sure students who show up on the first day of school are still there when the bell rings on graduation day.”
Be a classroom helper, mentor and tutor students, collect school supplies, or contribute to fundraising activities: The volunteer opportunities in Canyons District schools are only as limited as your imagination.

Even the most time-pinched parents can find ways to support their child's teacher and neighborhood school—and many do. Last year, 12,989 parents and patrons devoted about 160,000 hours to volunteering in Canyons District schools.

The value of their contributions can't be overstated. We simply couldn't do what we do without them. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, have fun, make friends, and make a mark on the next generation. And now is the time to apply to volunteer for the 2018-2019 school year.

Canyons District has established procedures in line with state law, which requires background screenings for prospective school volunteers. All volunteers in schools, including members of the PTA and School Community Council, need to complete and submit a new Volunteer Application annually.

More information, including a link to CSD’s online application form, can be found on CSD’s website. Still have questions? Call 801-826-5171.


unnamed.jpg
While the family is enjoying picnics, water slides, holiday fireworks and popsicles on hot summer days, don’t forget to start making back-to-school plans for your 4-year-old kiddos. 

Canyons continues to accept applications for spots in preschool programs in all parts of the District. For the 2018-2019 school year, tuition-based preschool programs will be held at Altara, Bella Vista, Butler, Edgemont, Jordan Valley, Oakdale, Quail Hollow and Willow Springs elementary schools. 

Interested? Click here to see the application.

Canyons preschools follow a curriculum that lines up with the core standards of learning at the kindergarten level. As a result, children who attend preschool programs in CSD schools have the foundation to meet the challenges of kindergarten. Also, students are paired in classrooms with students who require special-education services so they can serve as peers and role models in language and social skills. 

Cost is $100 per month for students attending two days per week and $200 a month for students attending four days. There’s also a one-time $20 registration fee. Availability for the program in the coming academic year is based on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Morning sessions are from 8:20-10:50 a.m. Afternoon sessions are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.  

In addition, free school programs are provided at Title I schools. Students who turn 4 years old before Sept. 1, 2018, and live within the boundaries of Midvale, Copperview, Sandy and East Midvale elementary schools can apply to participate.

A lot of learning happens in preschool — but it’s also a lot of fun. Don’t underestimate the power of play when looking for a preschool for your child, says Terri Mitchell, the Programs Administrator in Canyons District’s Early Childhood Department.

“Playtime is amazingly important. It’s one of the best tools that young children have to grow and develop,” Mitchell told ABC4 anchor Emily Clark on “Good Morning Utah.”  

In fact, Mitchell said, research shows strong links between creative and imaginative play and language, physical, cognitive and social development. “In preschool, they are learning foundational skills. They will learn patterning, and the quantity of numbers,” Mitchell said. “They also have the opportunity to learn socially.  It may be the first time that they are away from mom and dad and grandma and grandpa.”
What a year!  In the past 365 days, Canyons District, which was founded on July 1, 2009, continued its drive to provide a world-class education to the children who attend public school in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta. The 2017-2018 school year — CSD’s ninth academic year — was marked by sky-high achievements, including state-title victories by all five of CSD’s five traditional high schools, the passage of a $283 million bond to build and improve schools, the naming of National Merit Scholars and Sterling Scholars, and an estimated $32 million in scholarship offers for the 2,830 graduates in the Class of 2018.  But that’s just a small-piece-of-cake taste of all that was achieved by CSD students, faculty, staff and supporters. Here’s a look at some of the major achievements of CSD since its last founding-day anniversary: 
  • Nearly 59 percent of voters give approval to CSD is issue up to $283 million in general-obligation bonds to build and improve schools.
  • The newly rebuilt Alta View Elementary welcomed students for first time.
  • Crews near completion of renovation of Indian Hills Middle, the 13th and final project promised to voters at passage of the 2010 $250 million bond.   
  • CSD maintained  a AAA bond rating, resulting in savings to taxpayers
  • Seventy-eight percent of CSD elementary and middle schools received school-grade scores of an A or B, an increase of five percentage points over 2016. The number of elementary and middle schools to earn Cs and Ds fell by six percentage points. 
  • Eighty-three percent of CSD elementary schools and 75 percent of middle schools in CSD were above state average, according to PACE.  Sixty-six percent of elementary schools and 63 percent of middle schools showed higher growth than schools averaged statewide. 
  • Four CSD high schools were recognized for the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses. Brighton High ranked No. 8 out of all Utah high schools for the number of students who take and pass the tests. On the list of the Utah high schools with the highest AP participation rates, Corner Canyon ranked No. 5, Hillcrest No. 8 and Alta No. 10.
  • For the eighth year, CSD received the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association for School Business Officials International and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. 
  • The Canyons Education Foundation delivered some $104,000 to 16 teachers to fund innovative classroom projects.
  • Edgemont and Midvalley elementary schools celebrated 60th anniversaries.
  • Albion Middle’s Sandy LeCheminant is named Utah Assistant Principal of the Year.
  • Alta High's Rique Ochoa named Utah History Teacher of the Year.
  • Alta and Hillcrest musicans perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. 
  • Canyons Education Foundation awards $11,000 in student scholarships at annual Spring Gala.
  • Three CSD students won categories at 56th annual Sterling Scholar competition. 
  • Two Hillcrest students and one Corner Canyon high school student earn National Merit Scholar status. Fourteen students from all five of CSD’s traditional high schools were named semifinalists.
  • CSD student athletes individual and team state championships in cross country, girls tennis, boys tennis, wrestling, girls track and field, swimming, boys soccer, baseball, theater and girls golf. 
  • Hillcrest’s production of “Les Miserables” wins Best Musical at the Utah High School Musical Theater Competition.
  • Groundbreaking events were held to mark start of work on rebuild of Hillcrest High and major renovation at Alta High. Work on a new Brighton High also has started.   
The bright lights of Broadway beckoned to Bennett Chew. The Hillcrest High graduate last week traveled to the Great White Way to learn from the singing and dancing superstars of the stage. 

Chew earned the right to attend the National High School Musical Theater Awards — and to be considered for a Jimmy Award, the student equivalent of a Tony Award — by winning the Best Actor category at the 8th annual Utah High School Musical Theater Awards in May at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake. 

The University of Utah-bound student, who starred as Jean Valjean in Hillcrest’s “Les Miserables,” which also won the state’s award for Best Musical and Best Scenic Design, spent nine days being coached by industry professionals. Jimmy winners were then picked by a panel of judges.    

Although Chew didn’t walk away with a Jimmy, his final year as a Husky theater kid was full of honors. Not only did Hillcrest earn the top honor at the state musical-theater contest, the Hillcrest drama students won first place at the Utah High School Activities Association’s 6A drama competition and the sweepstakes award at the Utah High School Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. 

Winning all three honors in one year — the "triple crown" of Utah prep theater — has been done once before. Led by teacher Josh Long, Hillcrest captured all three awards in 2011-2012, when the school’s production of “Aida” earned the Best Musical honor and a national award for its star, Malia Morley. 

“Our students work really, really hard,” says Long, who has directed 50 shows since starting at Hillcrest in 2009. “And they very passionate about what they do. It is great to see them be rewarded for that.” 

Gloria Swenson, who served as president of the school’s theater group, says being in leadership for her senior year, especially in a time full of buzz, applause and recognition, has been “one of the coolest things I have ever got to do … I feel very honored.” 

Swenson recalls with a smile the final performance of “Les Miserables,” which sold out every night of the show’s Nov. 16-20 run. Folks wanted to see the show so badly they were willing to pay for entrance without guarantee of a seat. “I remember the last night,” she said, “and seeing people standing in the back.” 

Three years ago, Gabriel Aina thought his high school goals would be met on the soccer field. Instead, he found his voice on the stage. Without hesitation, Aina, whose favorite production at Hillcrest was “Hamlet,” attributes the school’s success in theater to Long’s teaching style. 

“He isn’t willing to let us drop the ball,” he says. “He teaches us that we can do hard things in life.” One of those hard things, Aina said, was learning to sing in front of a crowd, which he says he “rather dislikes” doing, even though his role as Marius in “Les Miserable” was vocally demanding.

Sterling Larsen lives in the boundaries of another high school but decided to enroll at Hillcrest to be involved in the theater program. Larsen, who was accepted to Brigham Young University, has been in nearly a dozen shows while studying at the Midvale school.  “If I had not done theater,” he says, “I would be a completely different person today.”
Page 1 of 158