Draper Park Middle School woke to a surprise on Valentine’s Day, arriving in the morning to find their lockers adorned with pink, paper hearts — each inscribed with a personalized note of positivity.

It’s a bit like having a secret admirer, or in this case, a whole club of them. The sentiments — ranging from, “You’re inspiring,” and “You’re brave,” to “You should be proud of yourself,” and “You bring out the best in people” — were painstakingly prepared and placed on the lockers by the school’s Service Club. “We gave the students sentence-starters and ideas, but they came up with a lot of their own messages, which ended up being way better than ours,” says Ellie Seaborn, a sixth-grade science teacher who helps run the Service Club with Laura Bitner, Draper Park’s Head Counselor.

Middle school is a time of change, growth and discovery, and Seaborn and Bitner hope one of the discoveries their students make is the joy and reward of community service. For 30 minutes each month, Draper Park Middle Service Club members work on projects that benefit their school, their peers, their neighborhood, and the community at large. IMG_9193.jpg

Since the club’s inception a year ago, students have completed more than a half dozen projects. One activity had the kids making salt-dough egg decorations that they then hand-delivered to residents at the Draper Rehabilitation and Care Center. Residents were thrilled with the gifts, but were especially pleased with the students’ visit.

For another project, club members cut and assembled bingo game kits that were sold at the Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for Primary Children’s Hospital. Students also worked with Catholic Community Services to make blankets and “Welcome” signs for teenage refugees. Sixth-grader Colin Derr especially loved that activity because, he says, “I learned a new skill and got to serve others.”

Some projects, such as an anti-bullying effort undertaken at the school and the Valentine’s Day surprise, take place closer to home. But no matter the project, Service Club members are finding the experience hugely rewarding. “I like giving back to others, not just doing things for myself,” says sixth grade student Isaac Branch. It’s also a great way to meet new friends, says Branch’s classmate Shelia Horman, “I just hate missing it. I like helping people and having fun.”

That "do good, feel good" component of the club has made it successful, too. The club’s first meeting attracted about 40 students, but every month, club members bring more friends into the fold. Now more than 100 students regularly attend the meetings.

As Service Club members filed into a classroom after school on Feb. 13 and began laying 1,600 hearts out on tables in preparation to distribute them, the task seemed daunting. Barely 30 minutes later, sixth grader Colin Derr returned to the room to grab another handful of hearts and was astonished to find the job was complete; affixed to every locker in the school was an uplifting message. Many hands, it seems, make light work — and warm hearts.
Canyons District is home to the first middle schools ever to receive STEM designations — a reflection of their strong focus in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Nineteen schools in Utah received the designation — and Draper Park, Mount Jordan and Union were the only middle schools. Sponsored by the Utah State Office of Education and the STEM Action Center, the designation program was created by the Utah Legislature to define the ingredients for the quality of STEM instruction needed to prepare students for college and 21st Century careers. “The designation serves as an indicator for members of the public who are looking for STEM school experiences in Utah K-12 education,” says the STEM Action Center’s website.

School leaders and curriculum specialists were thrilled to receive the designations. “This is a great honor for Union Middle School," Union Vice Principal Doug Hallenbeck said,"particularly for our science department, which has worked cohesively to attain this prestigious level of recognition. It is well deserved for the tremendous amount of work they do for the students of Union.”

In other STEM news, 23 of CSD’s middle school students received scholarships to attend science- and technology-oriented summer camps. The scholarships were sponsored by RizePoint, a software company that recently re-located to the Canyons District community. The winners were honored at a reception at the company’s headquarters, 2890 Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, on Wednesday, May 18.

Canyons School District students captured 41 awards at the regional science fair, including Grand Champion winner Alexander Cheng who now advances to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix. Cheng, a ninth grader at Hillcrest High, also took first place in the Engineering & Computer Science division and earned a special, sponsored award for his winning entry: “Using Machine Learning and Image Segmentation to Analyze Retinal Blood Vessel Densities.” His project is among just six from the Salt Lake Valley to proceed to the international fair.

Two CSD middle schoolers — Paige Blair from Indian Hills Middle, and Steele Smith from Draper Park Middle — were named Broadcom Masters finalists, which means they’re invited to compete at the national Broadcom science fair

Canyons District students competed against hundreds of their elementary, middle and high school peers from surrounding districts and private schools. Students in grades 5 through 12 were eligible for half-a-million dollars in scholarships and cash prizes.

Intel ISEF Grand Champion Winner

Alexander Cheng, Hillcrest High, “Using Machine Learning and Image Segmentation to Analyze Retinal Blood Vessel Densities.”

Broadcom Masters

Paige Blair, Indian Hills Middle, “Liar, Liar, Eggs on Fire!”

Steele Smith, Draper Park Middle, “Optimizing Velocity from a Magnetic Linear Accelerator.”


Behavioral & Social Sciences

First, Paige Blair, Indian Hills Middle, “Liar, Liar, Eggs on Fire!”

Honorable Mention, Zynnia Beddoes, Sunrise Elementary, "Dexteri-Tee Experiment."

Biology & Biochemistry

Honorable Mention, Evan VanBrocklin, Butler Middle, “Effect of Repeated Exposure to Antibiotics on Bacterial Resistance.”

Honorable Mention, Cameron Jessop, Sunrise Elementary, "Got Gas? The Glycemic Index and the Production of Methane Gas."

Honorable Mention, Kaleolani Kirby, Silver Mesa Elementary, “Which Grade is the Grossest?”

Honorable Mention, Rian Liew, Sunrise Elementary, "Yeast Fermentation."


Honorable Mention, Ryan Chen, Midvale Middle, “No potassium = Stop?”

Honorable Mention, Avyrlie Smith, Silver Mesa Elementary, “Bakin' Bacon.”

Honorable Mention, Gabrielle Jensen, Albion Middle, “Liquid Evaporation.”

Honorable Mention, Ryan Bartholomew, Butler Elementary, “Are Your Pajamas Safe?”

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Fourth, Harley Aposhian, Butler Middle, “Tornado Alley.”

Energy, Chemical & Physical

Honorable Mention, Ella Ogden, Albion Middle, "Which Popcorn Pops Best?"

Honorable Mention, Paris Rasmussen, Butler Middle, "Solar Ovens in Different Weather."

Engineering Materials & Biomedical

Third, Sadie Cole, Quail Hollow Elementary, "Strength of stitch."

Fourth, Sam Timmerman & Ty Christensen, Oakdale Elementary, "Shake Rattle but NOT Roll."

Medicine & Health Sciences

Honorable Mention, Grace Mansouri, Sunrise Elementary, "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Physics, Astronomy & Math

Honorable Mention, Eric Snaufer, Sunrise Elementary, "How Does Temperature Affect Pitch?"

Honorable Mention, Diana Alzerreca, Park Lane Elementary, "Magnetic Force Fields."

Plant Sciences

First, Marianne Liu, Sunrise Elementary, "Jalapeno Heat."

Honorable Mention, Timothy Holt, Sunrise Elementary, "Worms and Plants."


Energy: Chemical & Physical

Third, Grace Wang, Midvale Middle, “Solar Cells Put to the Temp.”

Engineering: Electrical & Computer Science

Second, Wentao Zhang, Midvale Middle, “Exploring Computer/Network Security through Design and Implement of Three New Encryption Algorithms.”

Medicine & Health Sciences

Fourth, Anya Tiwari, Midvale Middle, “Nanotechnology in Diabetes.”

Physics, Astronomy & Math

First, Steele Smith, Draper Park Middle, “Optimizing Velocity from a Magnetic Linear Accelerator.”



Fourth, Haylie DeMercy, Corner Canyons High, “Tropospheric Ozone Electrochemical Cell.

Engineering, Electrical & Computer Science

First, Alexander Cheng, Hillcrest High, “Using Machine Learning and Image Segmentation to Analyze Retinal Blood Vessel Densities.”

Medicine & Health Sciences

First, Sai Preethika Parsawar, Hillcrest High, "MS of MS with CSF."

Third, Alexander Sun, Hillcrest High, "Quantitative Measures for Intervertebral Disc Health and Physiology Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging."

Physics, Astronomy & Math

Fourth, Alan Zhao, Hillcrest High, “Traffic Efficiency Study of Car Spacing at a Red Light.”


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Junior Division
Victor Petrov, Midvale Middle, “Stall Prevention and Recovery.”

American Society of Civil Engineers, Senior Division
Alan Zhao, Hillcrest High, “Traffic Efficiency Study of Car Spacing at a Red Light.”

Intel Excellence in Computer Science
Alexander Cheng, Hillcrest High, “Using Machine Learning and Image Segmentation to Analyze Retinal Blood Vessel Densities.”

Recursion Pharmaceuticals 
Anya Tiwari, Midvale Middle, "Nanotechnology in Diabetes."

US Air Force, Junior Division
Steele Smith, Draper Park Middle, "Optimizing Velocity from a Magnetic Linear Accelerator."

US Air Force, Senior Division

Sai Preethika Parsawar, Hillcrest High, “MS of MS with CSF.”

US Navy, Junior Division
Steele Smith, Draper Park Middle, “Optimizing Velocity from a Magnetic Linear Accelerator.”

US Navy, Senior Division
Sai Preethika Parsawar, Hillcrest High, “MS of MS with CSF.”

Utah Department of Transportation, Senior Division
Alan Zhao, Hillcrest High, “Traffic Efficiency Study of Car Spacing at a Red Light.”





Parents of fifth-graders enrolled in Canyons District's Dual-Language Immersion Programs have been invited to a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20 to learn about the transition from elementary school to middle school.

At the 6 p.m. event at Mount Jordan Middle, 9351 S. Mountaineer Lane (300 East), the Canyons curriculum team that oversees the dual-language immersion programs also will share information about DLI instruction in secondary schools.

In addition, information will be presented about the online intent-to-continue process parents will be asked to complete in order for their children to continue in the programs. 

At the middle school level, Spanish programs are being provided at Mount Jordan, Union and Midvale; French classes are being taught at Draper Park and Butler; and Mandarin Chinese is being offered at Draper Park, Butler and Indian Hills.

Students who seek to participate in a dual-language immersion program at a school other than the one assigned to them by geographic boundaries should submit an open-enrollment application to the school they wish to attend as soon as possible. Per state law, the Standard Open Enrollment Application forms will be accepted by Canyons schools until Feb. 19. Filling out the permit request does not guarantee placement in the DLI program at that school.  

Questions?  Please call the CSD Instructional Supports Department at 801 826 5045
Bella Vista Elementary students will see a smiling new face in the hallways on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015.

Cory Anderson, who previously served as a principal in the Provo City School District, is the new principal of the Cottonwood Heights-area school. Anderson succeeds Rex Prescott, who has been appointed the new school psychologist at Draper Park Middle. Prescott begins his new assignment Monday, as well.

Prescott, who has been the Bella Vista principal for three years, announced his new appointment in a letter to the community on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. He also bid farewell to students in a short video that was shown in classes shortly before school let out for the day.

“I’d very much like to convey to all of you that I will cherish the memories I’ve made while working at this wonderful school,” he wrote in the letter. “The time I have spent here, serving alongside some of the most dedicated, energetic, and good-humored teachers and parents I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, has been some of the best of my career in public education.”

Prescott and administrators from the Canyons Office of School Performance will be working with Anderson in the coming days to ensure a seamless transition.

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