It won’t be too long until Canyons District school buses are on the road again.

To the end of being prepared for the Wednesday, Aug, 22 first day of school for first- through 12th-grade students in Canyons District, families are urged to review transportation plans for the coming school year. Updated information can be accessed via the e-tool CSD uses to provide information about eligibility and established bus pick-up and drop-off locations.

In particular, parents of middle school students are encouraged to look up the transportation information for the 2018-2019 school year. Utah laws governing transportation funding may affect some Canyons middle-school students.  

Canyons receives funding for busing provided to students enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade who live at least 1 ½ miles from school and students enrolled in grades seven through 12 who live at least 2 miles from school.  This means that some middle school students who qualified for busing last year may not qualify again this year because they have advanced to the seventh-grade and must live more than 2 miles away from the school to receive the services.

However, Canyons has created a “space-available” permit program to help many students who no longer qualify for busing services. Non-qualifying students may submit a request for transportation services so they can ride with their qualifying siblings or neighbors — if, indeed, there is space on the bus that runs through their neighborhood. The space-available permits are granted on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. 

The space-available permit requests will be made available to the public on Monday, Aug. 6 at all CSD schools.  The forms must be submitted at the school where the child is enrolled. 

During the first few weeks of the school year, transportation services will not be provided to secondary students who live within a 2-mile radius of their schools, even if they have submitted a space-available permit request.  While this may be an inconvenience for some families, the District needs time to verify the numbers of students who, according to state law, are guaranteed a spot on the bus. 

Families will be notified about whether they have received a space-available bus permit by Monday, Sept. 17. 

Questions?  Please call Canyons District at 801-826-5000 or send an e-mail message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., A representative will be prepared to help you with your questions
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.”
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Budget Approved

Following a public hearing, the Board unanimously approved a financial plan for Canyons District for fiscal year 2018-2019.  The budget does not include a tax increase. The estimated $500 million budget, which is publicly accessible on the Canyons website, reflects the amount collected in property taxes and the basic state support via the $3,395-per-student Weighted Pupil Unit, the state’s education funding formula. This is an increase of $84 — 2.5 percent — over the 2017-2018 WPU of $3,111 per student. The state also is contributing another 1.5 percent WPU increase in flexible allocation. In addition, the budget includes the Midvale Elementary Comprehensive Restructuring Plan; costs of the negotiated agreements with the Canyons Education Association and the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association. Each full-time teacher will receive at least a $2,235 pay increase, plus a $500 bonus in November. Among other operational costs, the budget includes bond funds to pay for the ongoing construction of the new Brighton and Hillcrest high schools and the major renovation of Alta High. Other remodeling projects will be done, as well, with money from the budget. In addition, the Board unanimously approved a revised budget for fiscal year 2017-2018. 

School Construction

The Board discussed the priority list of schools to be built with proceeds from the $283 million general-obligation bond approved by voters in November. While construction work has already started at Alta, Hillcrest and Brighton high schools, and an architect has been hired to work on designs for the new Union Middle, the Board has yet to decide which elementary school is next in line to be rebuilt. The Administration is recommending a 2019 start-date for construction on a new Midvalley Elementary. As pledged at the time of the passage of the bond, the other elementary schools to be built with 2017 bond money are Peruvian Park Elementary, a new west Draper elementary, and a White City-area school. 

Cottonwood Heights CDA 

The Board heard a request to extend the Canyon Centre Community Development Area agreement into which the District entered in 2012. The redevelopment project to add commercial, residential and parking structures to an area at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon was delayed due to the recession and a legal challenge. An independent review found the current assessed valuation of the project’s budget to be reasonable. The review also determined that the use of funds would provide a public benefit, and that participation in the tax increment financing proposal is justified. The Board will take up the issue at a future meeting pending further review of a cost-benefit analysis.

Administrative Appointments

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year: 
  • Colleen Smith, currently the Principal at Sprucewood Elementary, has been hired as a CSD Responsive Services Program Administrator. 
  • Lori Reynolds, currently an Achievement Coach at East Sandy Elementary, has been hired as Principal at Sprucewood Elementary.
  • Sara Allen, currently an Achievement Coach at Midvale Middle, will be an Assistant Principal at Butler Middle. She replaces Kip Carlsen, who has accepted a position in the Granite School District. 
College- and Career-Readiness Counseling Update

CSD School Counseling Specialist Tori Gillett reported on efforts to expand coverage of counseling supports for schools. With legislatively approved grant funding and the reallocation of some existing resources, the Department of Responsive Services has improved counselor-to-student ratios in middle school and hired counselors for elementary schools. Counseling teams also have begun basing their intervention goals on known indicators of student achievement, such as attendance, behavior, and course-understanding. These goals are coordinated with School Improvement Plans.

Walking Route Study

Sandy City notified the District of plans to add two lanes to 9000 South, a main thoroughfare that some Sandy Elementary, Mount Jordan Middle and Jordan High students must cross in order to get to and from school. Work on the road is expected to be completed before the start of the 2018-2019 school year. To aid students in navigating the 9000 South 300 East intersection, the city has decided to hire two additional crossing guards, bringing the total number of crossing guards at that intersection to four. The District asked a civil engineer to conduct a walking route analysis of the intersection, explained Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Dowdle. The engineer’s opinion is that, with the addition of two crossing guards, the expansion of 9000 South will not “impact the hazardous scores.” 

Public Comment

Patron Steve Van Maren objected to Information Technology line-items in Capital budget, and encouraged the District to pay for those items out of the General Fund. He also asked the Board to buy school buses with seatbelts. He also asked for more time to review the proposed budget. 

Brighton High teacher Jonnie Knoble thanked the Board for teacher salary increases.  

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were honored for the achievements:
  • Midvale Middle’s Abigail Slama-Catron, for being named the state honoree for the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award.
  • Hillcrest High’s Kara Komarnitsky and Madeline Martin and Corner Canyon High’s August Burton, for being named National Merit Scholars. 
  • Corner Canyon High’s girls track team, the 5A state champions
  • Alta High’s boys soccer team, the 5A state champions
  • Jordan High’s baseball team, the 5A state champions

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the May 22, 2018 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; requests for student-overnight travel; May financial reports; administrative appointments; and approval of Community Eligibility Provision for free lunch program at four schools.

Policy Update

The Board of Education approved policies governing Middle School Education Requirements; Sick Leave Benefits and Retirement; sex education instruction; and Human Resource hiring procedures. The Board also approved a modified student-attendance policy.

Board Planning

In the study session, Board President Sherril Taylor asked Board members to provide topics they would like see addressed at an upcoming roundtable.

Pledge of Allegiance

School Performance Director Mike Sirois led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The reverence was delivered by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Report

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe congratulated the achievements of the Class of 2018 and thanked the Board members for their addresses at commencement exercises. He thanked Wilcox and Accounting Director Gary Warwood for their work on the proposed and revised budgets for the upcoming and previous school year. He looks forward to attending a Wednesday department meeting for Facilities.

Leon Wilcox reported on bid openings for and progress on the first several projects being completed with funds from the $283 million bond — the remodel of Alta High and rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools.

Board Member Reports

Chad Iverson attended the end-of-year band a percussion concert for Indian Hills Middle and Alta High’s and Corner Canyon High’s graduation ceremonies. He also attended the groundbreaking for the renovation of Alta High.

Clareen Arnold also attended the Alta High groundbreaking and says it’s exciting to see we’re moving forward. She commended Business Administrator Leon Wilcox for making the complex task of budgeting look easy. She also attended the Retirees Banquet. She spoke at the Diamond Ridge High graduation ceremony and loved hearing students’ humbling stories. She applauded all the staff members who work hard all summer behind the scenes to clean, fix and prepare schools.

Nancy Tingey agrees graduation is a reward and the groundbreakings are exciting. She was able to attend the Brighton and Jordan High commencement ceremonies. This year, she took special note of the smiles of the graduates as they crossed the stage.

Amber Shill attended the Butler Middle band concert and Hillcrest High International Baccalaureate graduation ceremony. She visited the “Harry Potter”-themed escape room at Eastmont Middle and spoke at the Canyons Transitions Academy and South Park Academy commencement ceremonies. She met with Brighton students regarding the upcoming rebuild. Finally, she commended Business Administrator Leon Wilcox for his work on the budget.

Steve Wrigley thanked the External Relations staff who prepare the Retirees Banquet. He was able to hand a diploma this year to his son at Jordan High’s commencement ceremony. Five of his children have graduated from CSD schools and have thrived from the schooling they’ve received over the years. 

Sherril Taylor is thankful for all those who contribute to CSD’s college- and career-ready mission. He also thanked his fellow Board members for their service and the Communications team for all the extra hours they put in throughout the year. 
Page 3 of 98