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The official organization of Canyons District educators has endorsed the District’s $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal that is on the ballot in this fall’s General Election.

The Canyons Education Association, which represents Canyons educators in salary and policy negotiations with the District, announced its support of the measure that would generate money to build and renovate schools.

“Canyons Education Association is pleased to announce that the CEA Executive Board voted to support the Canyons School District bond. Patrons have seen the positive impact the previous bond had on the learning environments and safety of our students and staff, including the addition of natural light in buildings and the rebuild of aging facilities,” said CEA President Erika Bradshaw.  “The new projects planned with the current bond will continue this endeavor and create the best infrastructure of any district in the state. CEA supports Canyons School District’s efforts to renew and rebuild to create safe, attractive, and modern learning environments for all students in our district.”

If the bond proposal is approved by a majority of voters on Nov. 7, the District would rebuild Hillcrest and Brighton high schools; Union Middle; Peruvian Park, Midvalley and a White City-area elementary schools; remodel a significant part of Alta High, including the addition of a state-of-the-art auditorium and a gymnasium; build classrooms to replace the portables at Corner Canyon High; build six front office remodels; and complete natural-lighting projects at 18 elementary schools.


This is the third major endorsement of the bond measure. Midvale City approved a resolution on Sept. 19, 2017 that stated elected city leaders believe “it is in the best interests of the City and its residents to support the Bond Proposal.”  Region 17 PTA, the recognized parent group for Canyons’ schools, also backs the bond, which would raise facility-improvement funds without raising property taxes. 

Canyons District has an established track record with bond proposals. CSD has nearly completed all 13 of the major projects promised to the community in 2010 when a $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal was approved by the public.

A new Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary, the 11th and 12th projects, opened this fall. Crews are currently working on the 13th project, a renovation of Indian Hills Middle. Construction is expected to be completed by fall. Click here for a list of all other projects.

The 2010 bond helped the District start addressing the $650 million in deferred maintenance on buildings that were inherited from a previous school district. The current proposal would fund the continuation of CSD’s plan to modernize and improve all buildings in all parts of the District.

The District’s AAA bond rating will guarantee the lowest possible interest rates are obtained when the bonds are sold.
The student voice can be heard loud and clear in the Canyons District.

To the end of creating a direct avenue for student input, the Canyons Board of Education has empaneled a Student Advisory Council made up of representatives from all five of Canyons’ traditional high schools.

This is the fifth year a council of Canyons students has been selected to serve in this capacity.

The members of the council, who were introduced during the meeting of the Board on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, were chosen through an application process.  They will meet at least six times throughout the year for leadership training, discussions with senior staff members of the District, and to give feedback to Board members on proposals that could impact students.   

The 2017-2018 members of the Student Advisory Council are Alta High’s Sydney Pexton and Taylor Wood; Brighton High’s Bradley Sullivan and Sophie Yates; Corner Canyon High’s Hope Broman and Logan Orr; Hillcrest High’s Boston Iacobazzi and Sierra Metzger; and Jordan High’s Conner Tait and Gabby Marz.

Board of Education 1st Vice President Nancy Tingey welcomed the students to their advisory role.  She says the Board looks forward to “sitting down and discussing the things” that are important to the students.  “If you see things that we could do better,” she said, “then don’t hesitate to contact us.” 

The council is facilitated by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle.
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 04:13

Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 3, 2017

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


Alta High's Step2theU Program

Last summer, Alta High enrolled its first cohort of juniors in Step2theU, a program that allows students to earn two years of college credit at the University of Utah while still in high school. Forty-six students applied and the program was able accept 36, said Alta High Principal Brian McGill. Grades, academic awards and extracurricular achievements all factored into the review of the applications by an admissions committee. The committee also took into consideration the applicants’ participation in Honors, Advanced Placement or concurrent enrollment courses. The committee also looked for an ability to contribute to and benefit from a culturally and intellectually diverse learning community. So far, 100 percent of the students who started the program last summer have stuck with it, McGill said. “Not one student has dropped out of the program, to date, which is pretty remarkable,” he said. Those who complete the program will graduate with the equivalent of an associate degree for a fraction of what they would pay in college tuition. It’s a life-changer for some of these kids, McGill said. 

Brain Boosters Update

Instructional Supports Department Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board of Education on the “Brain Boosters” part of the elementary-school schedule. Two years ago, the Board of Education approved an elementary schedule that sets aside time for students to participate in the arts, physical-education, engineering, technology and media library classes. At the time the schedule was OK’d, the Board directed the Administration to streamline the Brain Boosters curriculum, increase the productivity of IPLC teacher collaboration, and ensure a high level of quality in the Brain Booster classes. Dr. Roderick-Landward said her department has focused on extending grade-level standards with the courses, and, because the classes are mostly led by paraprofessionals, developing 30- to 60-minute interactive lessons with structured instructional sequences. Roderick-Landward said ISD provides professional development on a monthly basis for the instructors who teach the arts, library media, and physical-education classes, and three times annually for engineering and technology. At the school level, she said, Brain Booster teachers and technicians have the support of the building administrator, the Achievement Coach, the Building Leadership Team liaison, and the lead technician. At the District level, there are specialists for arts, library media, Playworks, engineering and technology, as well as a District-based coach.  Board members reported hearing positive feedback about the Brain Booster program.

Policy Reviews 

The Board adopted a Special Education policy as required by state and federal law. Following a thorough review of CSD’s Section 504 Policies and Procedures, the District Administration and the Board of Education’s Policy Committee determined no substantive changes are needed.

Pledge of Allegiance and Reverence

Boy Scout Troop 788 and Cub Scout Pack 3788 posted the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The reverence was given by Alta View Principal Karen Medlin. The 600 students enrolled at the school hail mostly from White City but also live in other Sandy neighborhoods. The school has a Spanish-English Dual-Language Immersion program, and 28 licensed staff, including teachers from Spain and Mexico, and enjoys a supportive and active community of parents. Medlin thanked the Board and community for her new school building, which was the 12th major construction project completed with proceeds from the $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. 

Student Advisory Council

The 2017-2018 members of the Student Advisory Council were officially introduced. The members are Alta High’s Sydney Pexton and Taylor Wood; Brighton High’s Bradley Sullivan and Sophie Yates; Corner Canyon High’s Hope Broman and Logan Orr; Hillcrest High’s Boston Iacobazzi and Sierra Metzger; and Jordan High’s Conner Tait and Gabby Marz. Members of the council, selected after an application process, meet regularly to advise the Board on proposed policies that could impact students. The first meeting of the council, to be led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle, is Wednesday at Jordan High.  

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the following students and staff for their accomplishments: 
  • Katie Blunt, Education Technology Specialist, who was chosen to be featured on a nationally broadcasted segment for American Graduate Champion Day on Oct. 14. 
  • The 14 Canyons high school seniors who are semifinalists in the National Merit Scholar competition. The students are Alta High’s Nathan L. Brown; Brighton High’s Joshua Brodbeck: Corner Canyon High’s August Burton and Aaron Jackson; Hillcrest High’s Richard Abbott, Bryson Armstrong, Mohammed Khan, Chu Un Kim, Kara Komarnitsky, Madeline Martin, Joshuan Raty, Alexander Sun and Vivek Vankayalapati; and Jordan High’s Daniel Ross.
  • The Board also recognized the CSD Office of Public Communications, which received the Best Communications in a Major Incident Award from the Utah Public Information Officers Association. The award stemmed from Canyons’ efforts to communicate with the Brookwood community after a fatal shooting in June. 
Patron Comment

Draper Park Middle Kelli Davey spoke to the Board about the six-period schedule at the school.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the approval of minutes from the Sept. 19 meeting of the Board of Education; the hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; and a Memorandum of Understanding with Cottonwood Height’s Summer Theater Program. 

Bond Proposal

Director of External Affairs Charlie Evans presented information about the effort to inform the public about the District’s $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot. The Friends of the Canyons District Bond, an organization of parents who support the bond proposal, also gave the Board “vote yes” signs for their yards.  The signs were paid for with private funds. Parent Suzanne Walker said residents who want a lawn sign can contact the group at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or through a Facebook page, Friends of the Canyons District Bond.

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe spoke about the public and personal impact of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. He said he knew people who were the event, and expressed gratitude they were able escape unharmed. However, he also noted the ways in which people pull together in times of a crisis and the many examples of good works, not only in our District but across the nation and world. For an example, he noted a Midvale Middle teacher who applied for a grant to help non-English speakers at the school.  He also pointed out the anti-bullying effort that Alta and Corner Canyon high school students will hold before the upcoming rivalry game.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board that a voter information pamphlet about the bond proposal will be delivered to homes later this week.  He also congratulated East Midvale Elementary for raising to from a D to a B in the state’s school-grading program. He also thanked teachers for working so hard to prepare for Parent Teacher Conferences.

Board Reports

Mr. Mont Millerberg also remarked on the press event to announce this year’s round of Chevron “Fuel Your School” teacher grants. The event was held at Midvale Middle where English-language development teacher Shelley Allen demonstrated tablets she was awarded that are able to translate classroom lectures for students in languages ranging from Swahili to Arabic and Chinese. Mr. Millerberg also commended the citizens group of grassroots supporters who have volunteered to help spread word about CSD’s proposed school-improvement bond. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked on the growing lack of civility and social pressures facing school children and the teachers who are working hard to help them achieve. He said he would like the Board to discuss the role of schools in promoting behavioral health and emotional wellness. 

Mrs. Amber Shill attended her Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation meeting and provided them with an update on CSD’s proposed bond. Parks and Recreation has just come off a successful bond election, which is reaping dividends throughout the community, she said. Mrs. Shill also accompanied Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe to a recent Cottonwood Heights City Council meeting during which they discussed the bond measure. She said the council is supportive and eager to see Brighton High rebuilt.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey encouraged School Community Council members to take advantage of the many trainings being offered by the District. She also attended the Cottonwood Heights City Council where Dr. Briscoe presented information on the proposed bond. She also commended the District for providing resources to support the emotional well-being of its students and employees.

Clareen Arnold was excused from the meeting.

Mr. Chad Iverson attended a National Honors Society induction ceremony, as well as sporting events.  He added that he’s excited about the bond proposal and the support that is building across the Canyons community.

Mr. Sherril Taylor thanked Canyons District patrons for all their support over the years. The District wouldn’t be anywhere without the supportive residents, he said.
The Canyons District Office of Public Communications has received statewide honors for its efforts to communicate with parents, teachers, students and the community at large following a fatal shooting near a Sandy elementary in June.

At the recent annual conference of the Utah Public Information Officers Association, the Canyons public-relations team of Jeff Haney and Kirsten Stewart received the award for the best communications in a major incident. The significant event was the June 6, 2017 domestic-violence situation that occurred blocks away from Brookwood Elementary just moments after classes let out for the day. It was the second-to-last day of school for the year.

The incident resulted in the slayings of a mother and her kindergarten-age child.  The man who police say fired the weapon then committed suicide in the street.

“A fatal shooting in Sandy put intense pressure on the Canyons District communications team,” the state PIO organization said in its presentation of the award. “Yet, they performed with grace and professionalism.”   

Haney and Stewart Immediately put into place the District’s established emergency-communications plan after hearing of the traumatic incident, which was witnessed by throngs of children who were walking home after school. It was also seen parents who were driving their children and neighbors who were outside enjoying the warm spring day. 

While keeping the Board of Education and District administrators apprised of developments, Haney and Stewart quickly crafted and sent notifications to parents, updated the community via social media, issued statements to news reporters, wrote and disseminated talking points for principals and staff, coordinated with law enforcement, and worked with the principal and Crisis Counseling teams to provide appropriate information to parents and employees. The demand for information about the incident continued for about a week.

“This is a well-earned award,” Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said.  The response of the communications team “allowed our principals and crisis-response teams to do what was needed to support students and families, instead of being in front of the camera,” he said.
It’s officially fall in Canyons District — that special time of year when the leaves start to change, the sun sinks out of the sky earlier each day, and the unmistakable sight of campaign signs dot the valley.

As Tuesday, Sept 26 marks National Voter Registration Day, the advent of fall means something new for Canyons students who are 18 — the legal age to vote. This November will be the first time 364 Canyons students will have the opportunity to make a choice in the upcoming election. From mayoral candidates to a $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal by Canyons District, those Canyons students will have their voices heard with their votes this year.

“I plan to register,” said Hillcrest High senior Boston Iacobazzi. “I think it’s just great to have a voice and know you can influence something with your right to vote rather than just experiencing it and not having any say in what’s going on.”

National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday that was first observed in 2012. It is always held on the fourth Tuesday of September. The aim of the holiday is to motivate Americans to register to vote before they miss the deadline and lose eligibility to vote in the election. Individuals can register online, at vote.utah.gov, or by mailing in a voter registration ballot available at city and county offices.

In Salt Lake County this year, the deadline for registering by mail is Oct. 10. Online registration is available until Oct. 31. Voters can request mail-in ballots until Nov. 2. The general election takes place on Nov. 7. 

One item on the ballot this year is a $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposed by Canyons District to rebuild and renovate its aging schools.

If voters approve the bond on Nov. 7, the District will rebuild Brighton and Hillcrest high schools; Union Middle; Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementary schools and a White City-area elementary school. The Canyons Board of Education also approved a plan to build a new elementary school in west Draper; renovate a significant part of Alta High, including the addition of a state-of-the-art auditorium and gymnasium; replace portables with classrooms at Corner Canyon High, remodel offices at six elementary schools; and install windows and skylights at 18 elementary schools. 

Canyons’ 18-year-old students have a special insight into the needs of their schools, says Corner Canyon senior Emily Boyce. Boyce says she is excited about making a difference with her vote.

“Unlike the adults that make the decisions, we actually go here and we have classes in portables,” Boyce said. “We actually know what is going on in this school and that could help future classes have a better place.”
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