If rebuilding a high school is a major undertaking, try tackling three at once. This summer, construction crews will begin work on rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools along with a major renovation of Alta High.

Architectural firms, with input from students, parents, employees and community leaders, have been hard at work shaping plans for the improvement projects — the largest and most complicated of many more to be financed by the $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. At Open Houses in the coming weeks, community members will have a chance to preview the still-developing plans (see the schedule of events below).

“This is such an exciting time for the District,” says Canyons District Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor. “We’re not just building schools, we’re building communities. With the completion of these projects, all of our high schools will be brought up to a high quality facilities standard. The safety and technological upgrades will improve the learning environments for generations of students, including the children of those now enrolled. It’s a momentous undertaking, and one that wouldn’t be possible without our patrons.”

The high schools will be built in phases over 2-3 years so as to allow them to remain in operation during the construction. Tackling all three at once is ambitious, but in order to keep costs contained, it was imperative to get to work as quickly as possible, says CSD’s Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

Construction costs have soared, and are expected to continue to rise in the near future, Wilcox says. “We want to lock-in costs now on the largest and most complicated bond projects.”

Each project varies according to the priorities established by the school communities. But among common focuses are school safety, sustainability, and futuristic thinking. Wilcox says, “We’re building these schools to last and to accommodate the rapidly changing technological demands and instructional practices of modern classrooms.”

Careful attention is also being paid to preserve recent investments, such as the schools’ new football stadiums. Taking cues from research on the health and learning benefits of natural light, large windows and skylights are planned for commons areas and classrooms.

Since Canyons’ inception, the District has worked to address the safety and technological deficiencies of the aging buildings it received from a previous school district while also planning for growth. The 13th and final project financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2010 — the renovation of Indian Hills Middle — will be completed in time for start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Everyone is invited to attend the community Open Houses to showcase plans for the high schools. There will be presentations by architects, and an opportunity to submit questions and comments. The dates, times and locations are as follows:

Brighton High School
Tuesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium
Featuring MHTN Architects

Hillcrest High School 
Wednesday, April 18 starting at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium
Featuring FFKR Architects

Alta High School
Wednesday, April 25, 7-9 p.m. in the Auditorium
VCBO Architecture
After this weekend, the “once-in-a-lifetime” bucket lists of the singers in Hillcrest’s Vocal Ensemble and their director are a little lighter. Travel together to New York City? Check. Perform with a Grammy-winning composer and conductor? Check. Sing in Carnegie Hall? Check, check, and check. 

After more than a year of planning and practicing, Hillcrest choir director RaNae Dalgleish and her 33 vocal ensemble students took a red-eye to New York City during Spring Break to prepare for a performance in Carnegie Hall on Sunday, April 8. They were joined by high school choirs from Dubai, New Jersey, Tennessee, Canada, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California for the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) performance of The Music of Eric Whitacre. 

The opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall is a remarkable experience, but to perform composer Eric Whitacre’s music with him as the conductor is even more significant, said Dalgleish who also performed with her students on Sunday. “This is huge,” she said. “This is a once in a lifetime experience for the kids. I knew that going in, just to work with Eric Whitacre alone is monumental because he is a rock star in the music world.”

Dalgleish responded to an advertisement on Facebook more than a year ago when she saw the potential for her students to have such a unique experience. Her choir from the 2016-2017 school year auditioned for the performance, and they found out in December 2016 that the 2017-2018 choir had been accepted to perform at the event that was described by BBC Music as the “No. 1 North American Live Event Choice for classical music.”

“The Vocal Ensemble received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers,” said Dr. Jonathan Griffith, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for DCINY, in a news release about Hillcrest’s participation. “These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community.”

The choir began working on nine pieces for Sunday’s performance right away, recording and sending videos intermittently to the organization to ensure they would be prepared for the big stage. The students performed “The Rumor of a Secret King” by John Mackey, three spirituals by Moses Hogan, and several songs composed by Whitacre, including “Seal Lullabye,” which was originally written for a Disney movie that was later cancelled.

Whitacre is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music who has conducted choral and instrumental concerts around the globe, including with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Four Canyons District students claimed first-place prizes at the University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair, including Grand Champion Winner Alexander Cheng of Hillcrest High who now advances to the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pennsylvania.

The Utah fair, sponsored by the U.’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education, draws hundreds of students from throughout Utah, most of whom had to win a District-level competition in order to qualify. Contestants competed for tens-of-thousands of dollars in college scholarships at the University of Utah’s Rice Eccles Stadium. This year’s awards ceremony was held at Alta High.

A total of 30 CSD students placed at the state fair, including the four first-place winners. An additional 10 students won special sponsored awards. The winners are:

Energy: Chemical & Physical - Andrew Carlton, Alta High, “What is the Ideal Ratio of Magnetism and Weight on a Simple Electric Train?”
Earth & Environmental Sciences - Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Prediction of Hurricanes Using Neural Networks”
Intel ISEF Grand Champion Winners - Alexander Cheng, Hillcrest High, “Automatic Detection of Intravitreal Neovascularization in Retinal Flat Mount Images Using Deep Learning Methods”
Physics, Astronomy & Math - Catherine Ma, Peruvian Park Elementary, “On Which Surface Does Ice Melt the Fastest?”

Engineering: Materials & Biomedical - Alexander Cheng, Hillcrest High, “Automatic Detection of Intravitreal Neovascularization in Retinal Flat Mount Images Using Deep Learning Methods.”
Energy: Chemical & Physical - Sarah Hunter, Albion Middle, “School Efficiency is Key.”
Chemistry - Isolde Flynn, Granite Elementary, “To Egg or not to Egg.”
Engineering: Mechanical - Eric Snaufer, Midvale Middle, “A New Guard: Evaluating Drone Propeller Guards”

Chemistry - Parker McKay Alta High, “The Correlation Between Brand of Painkillers and Speed of Capsule Breakage”
Medicine & Health Sciences - Sai Parsawar, Hillcrest High, “MS of MS: An Innovative Investigation of the Quantitative and Qualitative CSF Proteome of Multiple Sclerosis Patients using Bruker maXis II ETD Mass Spectrometry”

Physics, Astronomy & Math - Emma Howard, Alta High, “Diamagnetism in Salt Water”
Engineering: Electrical & Computer Science - Wentao Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Evaluation of Encryption Algorithms”
Engineering: Materials & Biomedical - Matthew Simmons, Midvale Middle, “Design of Quick Sweat Test for Cystic Fibrosis”
Engineering: Mechanical - Marianne Liu, Midvale Middle, “Bad Hair Day”

Behavioral & Social Sciences - Teagan Kay, Albion Middle, “Swim Caps - Do They Work?”
Biology & Biochemistry - Hayden Carter East Midvale Elementary, “Oh no! My Jello won't jiggle! Using science to fight pineapple power!”
Chemistry - Analena Jacob, Butler Middle, “Effects of Different Amounts of Lotion on Slime”
Chemistry - Nathan Liew, Sunrise Elementary, “Sun Prints”
Energy: Chemical & Physical - Kira Pittman & Lincoln Zacharias, Granite Elementary, “Friction (and how weight effects it)”
Engineering: Civil & Environmental - Johnathan Rowley, Canyon View Elementary, “Which Playground Surface Breaks the Most Bones”
Medicine & Health Sciences - William Rogers & Tobin Hansen, Brookwood Elementary, “Swimming vs. Soccer”

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Eric Snaufer, Midvale Middle, “A New Guard : Evaluating Drone Propeller Guards”
American Meteorological Society - Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Prediction of Hurricanes Using Neural Networks”
American Society of Civil Engineers - Honorable Mention, Eric Chen, Midvale Middle, “A Comparison of Material Effectiveness in Preventing Ice Formation on Roads”
ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives - Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Prediction of Hurricanes Using Neural Networks”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Prediction of Hurricanes Using Neural Networks”
RecursionPharma Discovery Award - Sai Parsawar, Hillcrest High, “MS of MS: An Innovative Investigation of the Quantitative and Qualitative CSF Proteome of Multiple Sclerosis Patients using Bruker maXis II ETD Mass Spectrometry”
Society of Women Engineers - Marianne Liu, Midvale Middle, “Bad Hair Day”
U.S. Navy - Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Prediction of Hurricanes Using Neural Networks”
Director's Award - Sai Parsawar, Hillcrest High, “MS of MS: An Innovative Investigation of the Quantitative and Qualitative CSF Proteome of Multiple Sclerosis Patients using Bruker maXis II ETD Mass Spectrometry”
Genius Olympiad - Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, “Prediction of Hurricanes Using Neural Networks”
Did you know that half of all Canyons District’s teachers have a master’s degree? CSD is committed to hiring the best teachers for our classrooms and providing them the resources they need to excel.

There is an instructional coach and education technology specialist assigned to every one of our schools. And, in addition to offering nearly 100 hours of free training annually, we help sponsor advanced degrees for educators looking to branch into high-needs areas. Just last week, CSD celebrated its first cohort of 10 teachers to earn a master’s degree with an ESL endorsement.

Demand for educators who are specially trained to teach students for whom English is a second, or third, language is growing, says Karen Sterling, CSD’s Director of Student Advocacy and Access. When Canyons District first opened itIMG_0195.jpegs doors in 2009, the district served 1,400 English language learners. “They were a silent minority, and now they are among the fastest growing group of students, numbering about 2,700 and speaking 89 different languages,” Sterling says.

Congratulations to our teacher-graduates — professionals who are willing to do whatever it takes to champion all children.

Todd Butler, Canyons Technical Education Center
Brandie Dyson, Bellview Elementary
Hanna Turpin, East Midvale Elementary
Katherine Willie, East Midvale Elementary
Nicole Kratzer, East Midvale Elementary
Jessica Maughan, Willow Springs Elementary
Sara Hawker, Ridgecrest Elementary
Paige Irwin, Hillcrest High (former)
Stephany Gonzalez, Silver Mesa Elementary
Noelia Ricks, Draper Elementary
High school graduation is a rite of passage, a time for celebrating academic achievement, and an opportunity to spotlight our exceptional students and faculty. It’s one of those can’t-miss events, so mark your calendars now!

The District’s five traditional high schools will all perform commencement rites on Tuesday, June 5.

Ceremonies for special programs and schools are held on separate dates in May and June. Following are the dates, locations and times:

  • Alta High School — June 5, 10 a.m., Huntsman Center at University of Utah
  • Brighton High School — June 5, 2 p.m., Maverik Center
  • Corner Canyon High — June 5, 2 p.m., Huntsman Center at University of Utah
  • Hillcrest High School — June 5, 10 a.m., Maverik Center
  • Jordan High School — June 5, 6 p.m., Maverik Center
  • Diamond Ridge — June 6, 7 p.m., Mt. Jordan Middle
  • South Park School — May 31, 8 a.m. at Utah State Prison 
  • Entrada — June 26, 7 p.m., Jordan High School
  • Jordan Valley School — June 1, 11 a.m., Jordan Valley School
  • Canyons Transitions Academy — June 6, noon, Professional Development Center in CSD’s East Administration Building
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