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

Transportation Information


The Board of Education opted to reclassify four bus routes because of recent improvements to pedestrian passageways. As a result, the routes are no longer deemed hazardous and the District-funded transportation will not continue after this school year. The decision comes after a lengthy review of all CSD Hazardous Bus Routes, which cost taxpayers more than $1 million each year to run. The most recent study of these routes, which are inside the state mileage guidelines for transportation services, was done in 2013. Ninety-five of the to-and-from-school Hazardous Route bus lines that Canyons provides to students who would walk to school if they had safer walk- and road-ways near their homes and schools will continue to be funded and operated.

Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

The CSD Administration proposes the adoption of a new social-emotional learning curriculum, called “Second Step,” which is recommended by the U.S. Department of Education and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). This would be for students ranging in age from kindergarten to eighth grade, according to BJ Weller, Director of Responsive Services. The Board will continue to review the proposal. Members also said they would like to visit a school where the curriculum has been implemented. Weller also answered questions from Board members about the SHARP/Prevention Needs Assessment Survey.

TSSA Framework

The Board of Education began discussions regarding a framework to provide guidelines and processes for schools to develop and execute soon-to-be-required Success Plans, now known as School Improvement Plans, with Teacher and Student Success Act funds. Those monies were allocated during the 2019 General Session of the Utah Legislature with the aim of improving achievement. Canyons District anticipates receiving $4.9 million of the $98.8 million given to Utah schools. Eventually, the District’s decided-upon framework will be submitted to the Utah State Board of Education. Canyons officials may use 25 percent of funding — about $1.2 million — to increase salaries for instruction-related personnel. The plans must be submitted to the Board for approval each year. Ideally, the approval process would be completed by June 30. 

Report on Intervention Supports

Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board on the supplemental interventions to aid students who are struggling in reading and mathematics. Dr. Roderick-Landward said Canyons schools can select a combination of the interventions based on student needs, as identified by an array of assessments, school resources, expertise of personnel and cost. Elementary schools provide the interventions as part of instruction during the math and literacy blocks. Secondary schools provide the supports in a reading class or math lab in place of an elective course. Dr. Roderick-Landward also provided information about seven intervention programs that have been piloted this year and are scheduled to be part of schools’ Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports for the coming school year.

Policy Updates

The Board is considering adoption of policies governing student-data governance and the District’s admission of homeless children and youth and unaccompanied minors. The suggested policies comply with state and federal laws. Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen also presented updates to policies regarding open enrollment, school admissions and school moratoriums; parent and family engagement in education; student educational travel; school fees, and secondary school schedule changes. The Board will continue to review the proposed updates and additions to the policy manual.

Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by School Performance Director Mike Sirois. Director of Responsive Services BJ Weller gave the inspirational thought.

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were recognized by the Board of Education for their achievements:
  • Hillcrest High’s Alexander Cheng, winner of the 2019 Science category and General Scholar Award at the Sterling Scholar Awards
  • Alta High students Christian Affleck and Avery Gunnel, Sterling Scholar runners-up in Vocal Performance and Instrumental Music
  • Brighton High’s Caroline Jarman, Sterling Scholar runner-up, Computer Technology
  • Hillcrest High’s Alan Zhao, Ashley Howell, Alana Liu, Sterling Scholar runners-up, Mathematics, Skilled and Technical Sciences, Visual Arts
  • Alta High’s ProStart Culinary Arts Team, first place in a state competition
Patron Comment
  • Parent Brian Williams spoke to the Board about a proposed dress code update. He encouraged the Board to be as specific as possible about the allowed and prohibited standards of dress. He spoke on behalf of about 40 patrons.
  • Parent Travis Stephens encouraged the Board to continue his family’s bus route as a Hazardous Route.
  • Parent Heidi Parker also encouraged the Board to continue her family’s bus route as a Hazardous Route. 
  • Parent Chad Smith urged the Board to make changes to the school-schedule policy. 
Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including approval of the minutes of the Board’s meeting on March 19, 2019; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; LAND Trust amendments for Sandy and Sprucewood elementary schools; and the cell-phone tower at Corner Canyon High. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe spoke about some of the issues, such as hiring at each school, that should be addressed in the TSAA guidelines. Dr. Briscoe also reported on attending, with the Board as a whole and several administrators, the National School Boards Association Conference in Philadelphia. He also read the Board notes he received from Oakdale Elementary student to whom he read during the school’s Read Across America celebration.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox invited the public to the Tuesday, April 16 groundbreaking at Midvalley Elementary. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.  He also thanked the Board members for their service and robust discussions during the business meeting and study session.

Board Member Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the NSBA conference. He thanked Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen for meeting with teachers and patrons from Midvalley Elementary who had concerns about the proposed dress policy. He expressed appreciation for the civil manner with which the patrons addressed the dress code proposal. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks also reported on attending the NSBA conference and asked if Board members could schedule a roundtable discussion at which they could share what they had learned. She also thanked her fellow Board members for the respectful dialogue about important issues.

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on reading to Oakdale Elementary students and attending the NSBA conference and the Bridging the Digital Divide launch at Hillcrest High on Tuesday, April 9. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley said the NSBA conference was helpful. He enjoyed the discussion held during the latest Policy Committee meeting. He also attended the Bridging the Digital Divide event at Hillcrest. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold also said she attended the NSBA conference.

Mr. Chad Iverson said he attended a track meet at which Jordan and Alta high student-athletes competed. He also attended the state percussion competition to see Alta High musicians.

President Tingey reported on attending Jordan Valley School’s spring music event, “Dancing Through the Decades.” She thanked the Board for their hard work and looks forward to hearing their thoughts about the NSBA conference.
While film critics around the country continue to debate whether “Green Book” was truly the year’s best picture, students in Canyons District schools have set their sights on becoming the next Steven Spielberg, Alfonso Cuaron, or Spike Lee.   

Some 121 student-created entries from nearly every school in Canyons District, were submitted for the consideration of judges in the 10th annual Canyons District Film Festival, which culminates on Monday, April 15 at the Jordan Commons Megaplex Theater, 9335 State. A red carpet entrance for the nominees in six film categories and the poster-creation contest will precede the glitzy 6 p.m. awards ceremony. 

The awards show is free to the public. Seating is limited so the audience is asked to reserve tickets, which can be obtained on the festival’s website.

Organizers also are hoping that connected-to-Utah stars of all kinds — film, TV, music, politics and literature — will use social media to send wishes of good luck to this year’s entrants and wish the festival a happy anniversary.  

Canyons Education Technology Specialist Katie Blunt, one of the coordinators of the District’s festival, made a call for the social media messages during an interview on ABC4 on Monday, April 8. 

“We wanted to make this 10th anniversary year extra special,” Blunt told anchor Emily Clark, “So we actually have a social media challenge …to get as many people as we can in Utah to wish our students luck” at the film festival.

Some of the best good-luck videos sent via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram may be shown during the awards ceremony at which the winners’ films will be shown.  Some of those films, organizers say, were filmed on cell phones.  The festival is one more way to urge students to use their phones in an educational way, not just to text friends or scroll through Instagram.

“Those phones have powerful cameras on them now,” Blunt said. “We encourage students to use those tools, either their own or some we have at school, to create films … It is exciting to see their creative side come out with this technology, instead of just getting ‘phone neck.’”

The film festival encourages students to think creatively and critically, Blunt said.  For the students who produced a film as a group, the project also helped hone communication skills. 

“There’s a lot to it,” she said.  “More than you would expect.”   

More than 300 students and teachers worked on films that have been entered the following categories:  short film, documentary, animation, public service announcemen t, newscast, and teacher film.  The top pick of a poster contest also will be announced at the ceremony.  The winning entry will be used as the publicity poster for the 2020 Canyons District Film Festival.  The nominated films can be seen on the festival's YouTube channel.
Like most teenagers anxious to hit the road, sophomore Connor Perkins wants to be able to get his driver’s license as soon as he turns 16 in May. The challenge? Fitting a required Driver’s Education course into his already-packed class schedule at Hillcrest High.

The answer for Connor was the Canyons Virtual High School, Canyons District’s fully accredited high school, which provides an online class for fledgling drivers. The course outlining the rules of the road is just one of more than 60 courses, including mathematics, world languages, and social studies, that are offered through the District’s virtual high school. 

CVHS is an ideal option for high school students who want to get ahead on their credits, play catch-up because of some academic stumbles, or, like Connor, engage in such elective courses as Driver’s Education, says CVHS Technical Supervisor Julie Mayo. If your child learns well in an online format — or even if they don’t — CSD’s virtual high school may be the answer for your family, Mayo says. And it’ll be good for your pocketbook, too.

Starting this July, students no longer will be assessed a fee to take classes through CVHS. The previous charge was $35 per CVHS quarter-credit.  Click here to see the course catalogue.

In addition, this year, students, including eighth-graders, can begin the enrollment process for CVHS summer courses on May 1, with access to the coursework from within a week of enrollment to June 27.

Because the grades for these courses will be posted as part of the 2018-2019 school year, Mayo says, this could help student-athletes who need to improve their grade-point averages to be academically eligible to compete in 2019 fall sports.

A second CVHS summer session, which has never been offered before, opens July 9. This summer, during the renovation of Canyon’s headquarters, the offices for the virtual high school will be located at the old Crescent View Middle, 11150 S. 300 East. Summer testing will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the temporary offices.

Although the recommended time to complete an online course through CVHS is four weeks or less, students now will have until June 2020 to complete the work as long as they make progress on a weekly basis.  

If students are not making progress, counselors and parents will be notified and a decision will be made regarding whether CVHS is a viable option for the student.

All students who are Utah residents may enroll in CVHS.
When Salt Lake City’s Eccles Theater revealed which shows would be staged in the coming year, the voices of Hillcrest High students belting “You Will Be Found” from the Tony Award-winning “Dear Evan Hansen” were a pitch-perfect part of the publicity blitz.

Videographers were at Hillcrest on Monday to film students in the vaunted drama program perform the song from the popular show, which will attract crowds March 4-14. Clips of the Husky performance, done in the school’s auditorium, will be used by the theater to promote the show and six others that are coming for the 2019-2020 season.

Along with “Dear Evan Hansen,” Broadway at the Eccles will mount such box-office draws as “Frozen,” “Miss Saigon,” “A Christmas Story,” “Anastasia,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” The lineup was rolled out on Friday, March 22 — the same day that theatergoers could renew their season tickets. The Hillcrest students who performed the “Dear Evan Hansen” song on Monday said they hoped to snap up expected-to-be-scarce tickets to the show that resonates with audiences of all ages but has proven particular popular with teenagers. 

Hillcrest drama teacher Josh Long said his students were given less than a week to learn the song before the filming. It was particularly hectic, Long said, because rehearsals had to be scheduled around planned choir performances and the school’s March 14-16 production of “Akhnaton,” which was the first time the Agatha Christie play had been performed in Utah.

Long said his students were asked to do the performance after Eccles Theater officials saw  — and were impressed with — Hillcrest’s performance at last year’s Utah High School Musical Theater Awards at which the school won Best Musical for “Les Miserables.” The show’s star, Bennett Chew, also won the Best Actor for his portrayal of Jean Valjean

As part of the Monday rehearsal, Long said, the students were able to Skype with a New York-based director who gave them tips on how to perform the song for the cameras.  

Standing between seats in the auditorium where she’s made countless memories during musicals and plays, senior Megan Wheat said it was thrilling to receive tips from entertainment-industry insiders who work with some of the country’s top stage talents. Among the notes:  Students were encouraged to find balance between the acting and singing — and to err on the side of performing with emotion and intent rather than a rote recitation of words to the song. 

Senior Ian Williams, who was cast as Link Larkin in Hillcrest’s fall production of “Hairspray,” said the experience helped cap his last few months at the school before graduation. 

“That was one of the coolest things I have been able to do,” Williams said after the filming wrapped Monday morning. “This is kind of something you hope for, but you don’t ever know if you’ll ever be able to do it.”
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Board Approves Midvalley Elementary Reconstruction Budget


The Board of Education voted to awarded the contract for the reconstruction of Midvalley Elementary to Bud Mahas Construction in an amount not to exceed $21,242,000. The rebuild of Midvalley was one of the projects promised to the public at the November 2017 passage of a tax-rate-neutral $283 million bond. A groundbreaking ceremony has been planned for April 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the school, 217 E. 7800 South. 

Update on 2019 Legislative Session

The Board of Education received a report on the 2019 General Session of the Utah Legislature. External Affairs Director Charlie Evans and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards updated the Board on education-related bills that may impact the operations or funding of Canyons District. The legislature, which ended at midnight on March 14, approved a 4 percent increase to the Weighted Pupil Unit and $33.8 million for the Teacher and Student Success Act, which requires the Utah State Board of Education to provide rules and Local Education Authorities to provide the framework for the program. Principals, in conjunction with the School Community Council and local stakeholders, would develop and implement the school’s TSSA plan. More money also was allocated to aid mental health, suicide prevention, and at-risk education efforts, and more fully fund transportation, among other items. The legislature also redefined school fees, requiring all fee charges to be listed on a Board-approved fee schedule. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, textbook fees also only can be charged for Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment courses. A newly passed Senate bill also could require the Canyons Education Foundation Board to participate in state training and be subject to Utah’s Open Meetings Act, and a House Bill updates requirements for school-water testing, which CSD already does. HB375 exempts pre-school teachers from additional background checks beyond the BCI done by the CSD Human Resources Department. A school-safety related bill would require SCCs to have an annual conversation about school safety, and another would fund the creation of a state job that would advise LEAs on security. 

Administrator Evaluations Results

Ninety-seven percent of Canyons District licensed administrators evaluated with the Canyons Leadership and Administrator Support System (CLASS) were rated as highly effective or effective, according to a report given to the Board of Education. The performance tool takes into consideration the achievement of year-long goals and a self-assessment, the demonstration of ethical and high-quality leadership skills, the administrator’s comprehensive plan to improve her or his school, and results of a stakeholder-input survey.  

Changes Suggested for Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences

A committee tasked with reviewing the efficacy of Parent-Teacher Conferences in Canyons District’s secondary schools is proposing changes to the format to encourage more parent participation, which ranges from 15 percent to 63 percent at Canyons’ middle and high schools. The committee recommends using the 16 hours allotted in the academic calendar for Parent-Teacher Conferences for other events to bring teachers, students, and parents together at the school. For example, the committee suggested using up to three hours on an August Freshman Orientation, in the form of an Open House or a Back-to-School Night. They also suggest holding a noon to 8 p.m. fall-time Parent-Teacher Conference with the first two hours set aside for appointments and the remaining six hours for individual meetings and tutorials with parents about the programs and initiatives at the school and how to use online systems such as Skyward and Canvas. Other ideas include holding a two-hour January Orientation to aid in the registration process and a three-hour third-quarter “reach out” to parents of struggling students. They also urge the District to schedule elementary and secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences on separate weeks. The committee included at least one parent, teacher, and principal from Alta, Jordan, and Butler and Union middle schools, plus Instructional Support Administrator Jesse Henefer, UniServ’s Jennifer Boehme, and Canyons Education Association President Erika Bradshaw. The chairs are School Performance Director Mike Sirois and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle. A working group will continue to review the issue.

Long-Range Planning Committee Proposal

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe is proposing to form a committee that would review enrollment projections, academic program growth and demand, local municipal residential and business growth trends, and school-capacity data to inform decisions regarding future programmatic plans or construction or boundary proposals. 

Executive Session

The Board of Education voted to enter into a closed session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining; the purchase, exchange or lease of real property; pending or reasonably imminent litigation. 

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements: 
  • Corner Canyon High’s boys basketball team, the 5A state champions
  • Corner Canyon High girls hoops standout Kemery Martin, Utah’s girls basketball Gatorade Player of the Year
  • Education Technology Specialist Kelly DuMont, International Society for Technology in Education, Making IT Happen Award
  • Brighton High’s Model United Nations team, first-place distinguished delegation in Research and Preparation, National Model UN competition in New York City

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

The flags of the United State of America and the state of Utah were posted by Midvale Elementary students. Midvale Assistant Principal Jeri Rigby, who delivered the inspirational thought, also told the Board that Midvale’s faculty and staff is grateful to work with some 800 students at the school. She said the work isn’t always easy at the Title I school that is on turnaround status — but it’s always worth it. She said teachers forge strong relationships with students, are dedicated to helping students achieve their academic goals, and seek to improve instructional practices. She said the students at Midvale also are committed to “stepping up” to learn and grow, even with familial and socio-economic challenges.  She thanked the Board for supporting and believing in the Midvale school community. 

Student Advisory Council

The Board of Education expressed appreciation to the members of the 2018-2019 Student Advisory Council, made up of representatives from all five of Canyons traditional high schools.  Three members of the council — Alta’s Noah Ogden, Corner Canyon’s Luke Warnock and Jordan’s Michael Manhard — also reported on what they learned throughout the year. This is the sixth council empaneled to advise the Board of Education on proposals that would affect students. The council, which meets regularly to discuss education-related issues and provide leadership training, is advised by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes of the Board meeting on March 5, 2019; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; and February Financial Reports. 


Student Fees

The Board of Education is considering new rules governing how students are assessed fees. The current proposal, borne out of legislation and in response an audit that scrutinized how Utah school districts assessed fees, states that all fees would be subject to waiver and that all textbook fees, except for Advanced Placement and Concurrent Enrollment courses, would no longer be allowed. Also included in the proposal: Group fund-raising by groups would be allowed, but students would not be required to participate in the fund-raising, and students who do not raise money could not be denied participation in the event or opportunity. There also would be a maximum fee per activity and a maximum annual aggregate fee per student. The Board will continue to review proposals from the Administration. An addition to the policy manual also is being considered that would stipulate that CSD’s fee policies “shall be designed to limit student expenditures for school-sponsored activities, including expenditures for activities, uniforms, clubs, clinics, travel and subject area and vocational leadership organizations, whether local, state or national.” The Board asked the Administration to solicit feedback from School Community Councils. 

Cell Phone Tower Proposal

Cingular Wireless seeks approval from the Board of Education to lease a space for a cell-tower on a light pole at the Corner Canyon High Stadium. T-Mobile and Verizon share a tower on an adjacent pole at the stadium. The Corner Canyon School Community Council unanimously approved the proposal from Cingular Wireless.  The Board of Education will continue to review the proposal. 

Public Comment

School Program Counseling Specialist Tori Gillett encouraged the Board to increase the counselor-to-student ratios in Canyons District.

Parent and Indian Hills Middle counselor Melissa Jones asked the Board to fund more secondary-school counselors.

Mount Jordan Middle counselor Jacey Wickham urged the Board to fund additional counselors to service students.

Union Middle counselor Lynn Nelson told the Board the school has 420 students to one counselor, which makes it difficult to meet the needs of all students. She urged the Board to fund more counselors, especially for the sixth-grade students. 

Eastmont Middle counselor Julie Taucher gave insight to counseling sixth-grade students and urged the Board to fund more counselors in the middle schools.

Albion Middle counselor Tracy Morris said her school has seen an influx of students seeking social-emotional supports. She encouraged the Board to fund counselors at a ratio of 350 to one student. 

Brighton High counselor Amy Mena encouraged the Board to fund more counselors.

Butler Middle counselor Carolann Heindel asked the Board to fund more school counselors, especially with the increase in anxiety and other social-emotional learning challenges. 

Draper Park Middle counselor Megan Gebhard also asked the Board to fund more counselors. 

Corner Canyon High counselors Misty Jolley and Dina Kohler spoke in favor of increasing the number of counselors in schools, particularly as mental-health issues increase in the schools.

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Briscoe congratulated Canyons’ finance team for receiving a Certificate in Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International.  The honor is given to districts that uphold the highest standards for financial reporting and accountability as exemplified by their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).  Canyons has earned the award every year it has been a District.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said an intensive review of CSD’s School Nutrition Program came back with positive marks for Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas and his team.

Board of Education Reports  

Ms. Clareen Arnold thanked Canyons District’s teachers and staff for their hard work. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley encouraged more participation in the annual Alta High colloquium that attracts such high-profile and best-selling authors as Donald L. Miller, who spoke last Saturday at Alta.

Ms. Amber Shill commended Wilcox and his team for working hard to receive the financial-reporting award, thanked patrons for attending the Town Hall meeting she held with President Tingey, and expressed appreciation for the counselors who expressed their viewpoints during the Patron Comment section of the Board meeting.

Mr.  Mont Millerberg thanked the members of the Student Advisory Council for their service, and his fellow members of the Board for the vote to approve the construction budget for Midvalley Elementary. He also reported on attending a Reality Town.

President Nancy Tingey congratulated Wilcox and the District’s business team for their award from ASBO, and noted the hard work and expertise of the External Affairs Department, which represented Canyons during the 2019 General Session of the Utah Legislature.
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