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..
Next year, qualifying Canyons District high school students will be able to take college-level Spanish, French and Chinese courses co-taught by University of Utah faculty.

The unique “bridge courses” will be taught in high school but are being offered for college credit as part of Utah’s Dual Language Immersion Program, which is challenging traditional models of educational delivery and bridging the gap that has separated K12 schools from institutions of higher learning. Different from concurrent enrollment offerings, BridScreen_Shot_2018-05-02_at_9.06.45_AM.pngge Courses are for upper division (3000 level) credit, and as such, give students a healthy head start on a minor or major in their language of study.

“Dual immersion is putting pressure on our system of higher education to provide something that is not the same as has been provided in the past, and it’s a healthy pressure,” says Jill Landes-Lee, who directs the Bridge Program Advanced Language Pathway for the U.’s Second Language Teaching and Research Institute.

Dual immersion students spend a good portion of their instructional days learning a world language. They start as early as kindergarten or the first grade, and by the time they reach the 10th grade, their language proficiency is comparable to that of upper division university language students in their junior or senior year. To ensure they don’t lose ground and are able to continue to grow in proficiency, the state’s institutions of higher learning have committed to offer them college-level courses while they are still in high school — which is no small feat, says Landes-Lee. “As a university, we had to ask, ‘How do we support a student as young as 15 years of age?’ We also had to contemplate how to take a semester-long university course and extend it over a full year. We’re not just throwing another course into the high school sequence. It’s not just another elective.”

Dual immersion is catching on nationally as an effective and efficient means of achieving fluency in a non-native language. But no other state has articulated a K16 model like that being pioneered in Utah, says CSD’s Secondary Dual Language Immersion Coordinator Cassandra Kapes. “We are so thankful for the Legislative funding that is making this possible, and to be working with the state’s flagship university.”

Bridge courses, created in partnership with all of Utah’s colleges and universities, are already being offered at Jordan High in Spanish. Next year, Chinese and French will be added at Corner Canyon and Alta, and by the 2019-2020 school year, all of CSD’s five traditional high schools are projected to be offering the courses.

The courses will be co-taught in the high school setting as part of students’ regular schedules by a high school faculty member and a faculty member from the U., says Kapes. In order to enroll, students must pass the Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Culture Exam with a 3 or above in the ninth or tenth grade. Students can earn 3 credits per year, and up to nine college credits total — for just $5 per credit — giving them a jump on college and competitive edge in the global job market.

Dual immersion is coming of age, and bridge courses are the culmination of a vision for a biliterate, bilingual and bicultural Utah that was articulated years ago by former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Sen. Senator Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, and Rep. Eric Hutchings.

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.”
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Teacher of the Year Announcement


The Board of Education honored Corner Canyon High teacher Amber Rogers, who was selected as the 2018 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. As the District’s top teacher, Rogers received $1,000 cash from the Canyons Education Foundation and other gifts and prizes from community partners. The second-place finisher was Lena Wood, a teacher at Midvale Middle, who is CSD’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. Third-place, and the District’s selection as Elementary School Teacher of the Year, is Alta View’s Jamie Richardson. Forty-three other teachers — one from every school in Canyons District — were honored and received a crystal award at a ceremony held in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Administration Building-East. All Canyons school Teachers of the Year also received two complimentary tickets to the Saturday, June 2 Real Salt Lake Game. That night, Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto Stadium, the teachers will be introduced during half-time. Discount tickets to the game will be available for the community. 

Bond-Project Update

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board of Education on the progress of the projects scheduled to be completed with proceeds from the $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond approved by voters in November. Groundbreaking events for the two-year major renovation at Alta High, projected to cost $45.6 million; and the three-year rebuilds of Hillcrest and Brighton high schools, both projected to cost $98 million, are being planned for spring or early summer. Some $9 million in “daylighting” remodels at Brookwood, Park Lane and Silver Mesa elementary schools, as well as the classrooms at Corner Canyon High, may start this summer or fall 2018, depending on contract approvals. The construction dates of promised natural-light improvements at Altara, Canyon View, Crescent, East Midvale, East Sandy, Quail Hollow, Bell View, Lone Peak, Oak Hollow, Ridgecrest, Sprucewood, and Willow Springs elementary schools will be announced at a later date. According to the proposed construction schedule, Canyons would start at least one new school every year from now until 2024. The identified elementary school projects —Midvalley, Peruvian Park, a White City-area school and a new west Draper — are expected to take 15 months to complete. The Board has yet to decide which elementary-school project will be done first. Reconstruction work at Union Middle, the sole middle school on the reconstruction list with bond funds, would start in 2021 and end in 2023.  In anticipation of increasing labor and material costs, Wilcox presented budgeting ideas to the Board to ensure projects were completed without increasing the tax rate.  

Consent Agenda

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which included minutes from the April 10, 2018 meeting of the Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; requests for overnight student travel; March financial reports; LAND Trust plans; and fee schedules for the 2018-2019 school year.
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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