Canyons School District students continue to outperform their Utah peers on most of the SAGE tests, in some areas by as many as 12 percentage points.

“The data reflect the quality of our teachers and the hard work of our students, as well as the District’s investment in research-based instructional practices,” said CSD’s Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson.

State SAGE results for the 2017-2018 school year are available for all school districts on the Utah State Board of Education website. 

Elementary Schools (grades 3-5) 
In elementary schools, Canyons is well above the state average in all subject areas and grades. The District made gains in 4 of 8 elementary tests. The following shows the percentage of elementary students who tested proficient in 2017-2018:

English: CSD (58 percent), state (46 percent)
Math: CSD (62 percent), state (51 percent)
Science: CSD (59 percent), state (50 percent)

Middle Schools (grades 6-8)
In middle schools, Canyons is well above the state average in 5 of 6 tested areas.   Middle school science results will not be released until November 2018.  New middle school science content standards require new proficiency cut-scores to be developed by Utah educators.  The following shows the percentage of middle school students who tested proficient in 2017-2018:

English: CSD (55 percent), state (46 percent) 
Math: CSD (50 percent), state (43 percent)
Science: To be released in November

High Schools
In 2018 SAGE was administered for the last time. Canyons District's high school scores for the 2017-2018 school year can’t reliably be compared to the state average, because for the first time, CSD’s 11th graders were not required to take the test. They took the ACT college entrance exam, instead.

This is the last year for SAGE tests as the state transitions to a new testing vendor. Utah will debut RISE tests for students in grades 3-8 while students in grades 9 and 10 will take the Utah Aspire Plus exam in the 2018-19 school year. High school juniors will continue to take the ACT exam.
Eighteen Canyons District students have advanced in a rigorous race to claim one of the country’s most prestigious scholarships for high school seniors. 

Students from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Hillcrest high schools today were announced as semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholar competition.  

The high-achieving CSD students join about 16,000 other top scholars who remain eligible to vie for 7,500 scholarships worth $31 million.

The roster of semifinalists was chosen from a field of 1.6 million students at more than 22,000 high schools. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Candidates for National Merit Scholar awards must write an essay and take a prequalifying test, as well as submit SAT scores. Also required is a detailed scholarship application in which the students must provide academic-record and community-involvement information. The students must note their leadership experiences, voluntarism, employment and any other honors received, too.

The finalists and winners of 2019 scholarships will be announced in the spring

The students and their schools are: 

Alta High
  • Abigail Hardy 
  • Joshua Mickelson 
  • Joshua Pomeroy
Brighton High
  • Alex Fankhauser 
  • Sofia Maw 
  • Jenna Rupper
Corner Canyon
  • Sebastian Lee 
  • Peter Oldham
Hillcrest High
  • Alex Chang 
  • Anthony Grimshaw 
  • Bryan Guo 
  • Saey Kamtekar 
  • Emily Langie 
  • Hongying Liu 
  • Warren McCarthy 
  • Landon Nipko 
  • Eric Yu 
  • Alan Zhao
Jordan High opened its doors to patrons near and far on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 as parents, students, children, and friends gathered to watch a screening of an anxiety-themed documentary called “Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety,”  

Visitors travelled from as far as Provo and Bountiful to watch the film and listen to a panel of experts discuss the prevalence of anxiety among youth and teens today. In partnership with the Deseret News, Canyons District hosted the event as a kick-off to Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which takes place in September. 

Some 400 people attended the screening and posed questions to a panel of experts, including Tori Gillett, Canyons’ school counseling program specialist; Lizbeth Velazquez, a Canyons social worker at Jordan High and Mount Jordan Middle; Karin Gornick, the film’s producer; and Jenny Howe, a therapist featured in the film. Canyons’ Director of Responsive Services BJ Weller introduced Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson, who moderated a panel discussion that centered around what causes anxiety, whether parents are responsible for causing it, and what students can do to cope.

“We need to talk about how to tackle the problem of suicide,” Matheson said. “As much as this is about preventing a tragic end, it’s also about taking advantage of all of our resources to help our youth and teens.”

Canyons District provides help to students in crisis through the Department of Responsive Services. The department offers crisis support, counseling services and at-risk prevention, among other services. The District is taking a “blended approach” to making sure students have access to mental health professionals while at school. 

This year, 10 extra student support specialists have been hired, and every CSD schools has been assigned a school psychologist and a counselor and/or social worker. This ensures that schools have the advantage of using the varied skills that school psychologists, counselors and social workers all bring to the table.

The problem of anxiety is one that troubles both parents and youth throughout the country, but it is important to confront the issue, rather than run away from it, experts from the panel said. The first step to accepting anxiety is to share it with others. 

“Start talking about it with someone you trust,” Velazquez said.

Parents can help their students by acknowledging their students’ struggle, but not necessarily taking away the thing that is making them uncomfortable, such as, picking them up from school if the student calls and asks to come home because of anxiety, Howe said. 

“As parents, we want to fix, and we want to shelter, and that’s OK to some extent, but we’re not allowing our kids the opportunity to not be OK,” Howe said.

The documentary screening was the fourth showing of the movie at an event hosted by the Deseret News. The newspaper s hosting eight events throughout the state to raise the conversation about anxiety and share information on how to respond. More information from the Deseret News is available on the newspaper's website.

“I hope as you walk out of here tonight you will know you are not alone,” Matheson told the audience Thursday. “You are one of us. And we need to keep this conversation going.”
With the hustle and bustle of school schedules, doctor appointments, and afterschool activities, eating on the run is sometimes a family’s best fallback solution for dinner. But the physical and mental benefits of families taking time to dine together each evening are clear.

Pulling off family mealtime takes some planning and budgeting, but also the right tools—which is where Canyons District's Nutrition Services Department can help. The CSD school lunch crew’s annual Pan Sale is a great place to find cool kitchen gadgets, baking supplies and commercial quality cookware at discounted prices—and this year, we’ve scheduled the event a month early on Sept. 26 and 27 from noon to 6 p.m. at CAB-West, 9150 S. 500 West.

The event is open to the public, so invite a friend or two, and come early as popular items go fast.

New commercial-quality kitchen utensils will be available at reasonable prices. Choose from more than 100 items. Up for grabs are cookie sheets, heat-resistant spatulas, french fry cutters, mixing bowls and food choppers.  

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

Resolution for the Issuance of Bonds


The Board of Education approved a resolution that authorized the issuance of $75 million in general-obligation bonds to fund the construction and renovation of schools in Canyons District. The adoption of the resolution does not require the District to issue bonds, but it’s the first legal step in the issuance process. Under the maximum parameters established in the resolution, the District must stay within a 21-year repayment term. The interest rate also must not exceed 5 percent. Moving forward, the District’s finance team will prepare the appropriate documents and the bond-sale’s legal structure. In September, the District’s fiscal health will be reviewed by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings in order to receive a bond rating by the last week of September. A Notice of Bond sale would be released to the market in mid-October, with a bond sale and closing in November. At that point, monies earned from the issuances would be delivered into a construction fund or refunding escrow. Canyons District, which received approval from the public last November to bond up to $283 million for new and renovated schools, has wasted no time in starting construction on the first three projects to be funded by the 2017 bond. Crews are already working at a major renovation of Alta High and rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools.

Construction Project

The Board of Education approved a contract with Hogan Construction to complete a project at Corner Canyon High that was promised to the public at the passage of the $283 million bond in November 2018. The Board also voted to increase the number of classrooms in the academic wing at the school to accommodate the school's 2,300-student enrollment. The $9.6 million contract includes the construction of 24 classrooms, an expansion and upgrade of the cafeteria, and a new storage area. Among CSD’s five traditional high schools, Corner Canyon High currently has the least amount of square footage. When the work is completed, the school’s square footage would increase to 374,000 square feet. As soon as the construction is done, the 12 portables on the campus will be removed, and the school may qualify to be taken off moratorium status. 

Human Resources Report

Human Resources Director Steve Dimond reported on the recruiting the District is doing to attract the best and brightest employees. To recruit teachers, he said, Dimond's staff has attended 12 out-of-state job fairs and made visits to eight in-state colleges and universities. Canyons District hired 227 licensed employees for the 2018-2019 school year, Dimond reported. Sixty-seven, or 30 percent, relocated to Canyons District from another state, and 34, or 15 percent, aim to earn their teaching licenses through one of three alternative teacher preparation programs. The District also started the school with a full roster of bus drivers for 136 routes. Canyons recently increased starting bus-driver compensation to $18.34 per hour. Dimond also reviewed some responses from resigning or retiring teachers who participated in an exit survey. 

Mathematics Textbook Adoption

Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward presented a proposal to adopt a series of online mathematics textbooks that align to secondary-school math learning standards.  The Board will review the proposal and discuss the proposal at future meetings.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the Aug. 21, 2018 meeting of the Board; hire and termination reports; and purchasing bids.

Patron Comments

Patron Alex Murphy asked the Board of Education to revise the bus schedule so special-education students don’t arrive at school more than 30 minutes before the first bell.    

Draper Park Middle student Kathryn Smith addressed the Board about the six-period schedule. She encouraged the Board to work with DPMS to revise the schedule so students, especially those who are in the Dual Language Immersion Program, can take more electives. 

Parent Wendy Smith requested the Board revisit the schedule at Draper Park Middle so students can take more electives. 

Parent Chad Smith encouraged the Board to address the school schedules at a District level.  He also encouraged the Board to vote in favor of expanding the academic wing at Corner Canyon High to accommodate the growth.

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the following for their achievements:
  • Diamond Ridge and Entrada Assistant Principal Mark Mataya, who has received the Outstanding Adult Educator Award from the Utah Association of Adult, Community and Continuing Education.
  • Teachers Kristina Kimble, Alta; Pace Gardner, Brighton; Mindy Wilder, Corner Canyon; Jordan Hulet, Hillcrest; and Nicole Manwaring, Jordan High. The five are represenenting CSD in the Intermountain Heart Institute’s Healthy Heart Challenge.  
  • Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray and Canyon View Elementary Principal Kierstin Draper received the second Think Safe Award for heading up the pilot program of the DIR-S mobile app, which will soon be implemented districtwide as a security measure. 

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reported on visiting the schools during the first few weeks of the academic year. He also invited to the Board to his annual luncheon for PTA presidents and SCC chairpersons on Wednesday, Sept. 5. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox expressed this thanks to employees for their hard work in launching a school year. He noted Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray’s work in maintaining the security plans of the District and heading the Emergency Preparedness Committee. 

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson said he appreciated hearing about teaching children that they can do hard things. He asked for the administration to review the reason for summer homework assignments. He also attended the Utah County Invitational Cross Country Meet, where Canyons District student-athletes competed. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked teachers and staff for their hard work preparing for the school year, including the construction and renovation work. She also thanked Mrs. Nancy Tingey and Mrs. Amber Shill for sending her photos of the first-day-of-school celebrations.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey expressed thanks to school employees and central-office staff for their efforts to successfully start the school year. She attended several first-day-of-school red-carpet events, and she thanked work crews for completing the remodel projects before the beginning of the school year. She noted the retirement of Cottonwood Heights City Manager John Park, who is a longtime friend and ally of Canyons District.

Mrs. Amber Shill says she’s proud to be a part of the District. She said she is pleased to see the pride that CSD employees take in their work to help students succeed.

Mr. Steve Wrigley noted the work done by the Policy Committee and Calendar Committee. He also attended a workshop at Eastmont Middle by BYU professor Hank Smith. Wrigley expressed thanks to employees for starting the school year on a positive note. 

President Sherril Taylor asked HR Director Steve Dimond to thank the HR staff for their efforts to recruit the best-possible employees for CSD schools and departments. He called the improvements to CSD schools, in just 10 years, nothing short of “miraculous.”
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