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At the same time word started to spread about the toxic-water woes in Flint, Mich., Canyons District began stepping up efforts to ensure safe water is flowing in its schools’ drinking fountains and sinks. As a result, the District has nearly two years of records that track the quality of water being consumed by Canyons students, teachers, principals and volunteers.

“It’s a stated goal of the Canyons Board of Education and Administration to build and maintain safe and welcoming learning environments,” said Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “As part of our ongoing efforts to improve and modernize CSD’s learning environments, Canyons also has taken the appropriate yet entirely voluntary steps to ensure the water in our schools is safe to drink and use for food preparation.”

Canyons District was the first school district in Utah to conduct regular, scheduled water testing at all of its schools, including the new projects completed with funds from the $250 million voter-approved bond in 2010. Water testing will continue at the new and renovated schools that will be funded with proceeds from the $283 million bond measure approved by 57 percent of voters on Nov. 7, 2017. Both the measures were tax-rate-neutral. 

Here’s how the testing works: Canyons District’s Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray arrives at the school before 6 a.m. to get a “first draw.” Those are samples of water that are pulled before any water can be used in the building. This is so the District can get a reading of the possible contaminant levels before the pipes are flushed with new, fresh water.

With each sample bottle, Ray caps it, seals it, and takes it to an independent testing agency to be examined. After a few days, CSD learns the milligrams-per-liter levels of iron, copper and lead. If the levels exceed those allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the District immediately notifies parents and teachers and begins a mitigation effort, especially with high levels of lead. Traces of other minerals or metals in the water also may be a signal that the pipes need to be examined. 

“We want students and teachers to know that, through our efforts, they are going into a building that is free from any type of contaminant, be it airborne or in the water” says Ray, who also conducts regular radon-gas testing in Canyons schools. “It’s important to us that   school communities are aware that we conduct these tests and are going to great lengths make sure there is safe drinking water in the schools.

Thanks to Canyons’ water-testing program, the District has been able to identify and mitigate water-quality issues at several schools. For example, filters were installed at Edgemont and East Midvale elementary schools to correct higher-than-the-EPA-guidelines levels of iron, and pipes and fixtures were replaced at Quail Hollow and the old Crescent View Middle when elevated levels of lead were detected.   The results of recent lead testing are posted on the CSD website.

Patrons with questions about the water-testing program can call the Canyons Administration Building-East at 801-826-5000 and ask for CSD's Office of Risk Management.
For high school seniors, the future is now. Even though the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation is seven months away, the high schools in Canyons District this week are emphasizing the importance of taking the next step in students’ educational journeys. 

From Nov. 6-10, 2017 Canyons District will celebrate its fourth annual Utah College Application Week — five days dedicated to helping students fill out and submit at least one viable application to a college, university or a technical-trade school. 

Although the applying for college can be a serious topic, schools have planned lighthearted events to jump-start every student’s interest in post-secondary education.

Canyons’ high schools will post college-related items on social media; urge participation during assemblies; and play trivia games and treasure hunts. Teachers will decorate their doors with memorabilia from their alma maters, and days have been set aside days for faculty and students to don T-shirts and sweatshirts of favored colleges and universities. 

While CSD’s Utah College Application Week, also called UCAW, is full of fun and games, there’s a serious side, too.  Filling out a college application can be daunting to many students, says Lisa Gardner, a counselor at Hillcrest High. However, during UCAW, counselors and administrators will be on hand to help students every step of the way, she says.    

“We bring every senior into the computer lab where we have counselors available to help them fill out their applications, answer questions, and talk to them about their financial aid options,” Gardner said during a Monday morning interview during ABC4’s “Good Morning Utah.”

“Family support is great,” she told ABC4 morning anchor Brian Carlsen, “but some students need additional support in completing those applications — and we are able to provide that for the students.”   

Gardner also said that many students cannot afford to go to college, so it's so important for each one to complete the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is the federal form that students must complete in order to make themselves eligible for federal money used to pay for higher education. By filling it out, she said, students can become eligible for Pell Grants, Work Study Programs, and loans subsidized by the government.  

Canyons has placed a heavy emphasis on competing the FAFSA, holding information nights for parents and students. While all CSD schools are seeing success with this effort, Jordan High was recently recognized as one of the top five schools in the state for FAFSA completion. 

But there’s extra help for Canyons students who may need a little extra help to apply to the college of their dreams. Per tradition, the Canyons Education Foundation has pledged up to $10,000 to help low-income students pay applicable college-application fees.

Utah College Application Week, sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education’s StepUp to Higher Education campaign,  complements the Canyons Board of Education’s mission to ensure all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate from high school.
Parents of fifth-graders enrolled in Canyons District's Dual-Language Immersion Programs have been invited to a meeting on Monday, Oct. 30 to learn about DLI instruction in middle schools.

The 6 p.m. event will be in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S.  300 East. Canyons curriculum specialists who oversee the District’s dual-language immersion programs

Information about course pathways, high school bridge courses, program locations, and how CSD collaborates with universities will be presented. Other topics slated for discussion include the intent-to-continue process that parents will be asked to complete in order for their children to continue in the program. 

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.

Questions?  Please call the CSD Instructional Supports Department at 801 826 5045.
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 19:36

Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 17, 2017

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

Bond Proposal


The District held the statutorily required reading of previously submitted arguments for and against the proposed $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond measure that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot. The pro/con arguments also can be found on the District’s website and were published in the CSD2U community newsletter sent to all parents of children in the Canyons District.  Business Administrator read the District’s pro arguments. Patron Steve Van Maren read his argument against the bond proposal. 

Calendar Update

Under a new school calendar considered by the Board of Education, Canyons District’s schools would let out for the summer in May, instead of the first week of June. The changes were put forth by CSD’s Calendar Committee, made up of employees and parents and based on a poll of more than 1,000 teachers. If approved, the calendar would take effect with the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers and parents have expressed concern about CSD schools letting out later than those in neighboring districts. The later end date makes it difficult for high school students to compete for summer jobs and for teachers to keep students engaged in learning, explained Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud. The proposed calendar also would eliminate most of the Professional Development days traditionally scheduled on Fridays, thereby alleviating the need for working parents to secure child care. There would be no change in the number of holidays or instructional days. The Board will take up the matter again at an upcoming Board meeting.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including the minutes from the Oct. 3, 2017 meeting of the Board; hire and termination reports; student overnight travel; September financial reports; Utah’s Consolidated Applications for Funding; and a School LAND Trust Amendment for Indian Hills Middle.

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

The Brighton High Accadians presented the American flag and the flag of the state of Utah and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood presented the reverence. 

Recognitions

The Board of Education and Administration recognized the following for their achievements: 
  • Corner Canyon High seniors Raili Jenkins and Addie Sepulveda, the 5A first-doubles tennis champions.
  • Corner Canyon High sophomore Emma Heiden and junior Lizzie Simmons, the 5A second-doubles tennis champions
  • Park Lane Elementary teacher Linda Tognoni, the recipient of a $2,000 grant and the winner of the Voya Unsung Hero award.  With the money, she will write a book that will give insight into autism and offer support to other students on the autism spectrum.
  • Midvale Middle teacher Shelley Allen, winner of a grant through the Chevron Fuel Your School program. The grant will pay for technology that will help translate assignments for the 32 English language learners in her class. 

Utah College Application Week

School Counseling Program Specialist Tori Gillett updated the Board on plans to hold the 2017 Utah College Applications Week Nov. 6-10. On average, 86 percent of high school seniors participated in 2016 UCAW events, which are planned to encourage students to submit at least one viable college application. According to the District’s records, 2,328 college applications were submitted by CSD seniors. Gillett also said Utah’s had the largest growth percentage of any state for completion of the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA), the process that opens the door to government assistance to attend college. Jordan High, she said, is No. 2 in the state in FAFSA completion among all Utah high schools. FAFSA Completion Nights have been held or are planned at all CSD high schools, including Diamond Ridge High. Following tradition, the Canyons Education Foundation pledged up to $10,000 to help low-income students pay applicable college-application fees.

Patron Comments

Draper Park Middle student Henry Atkin asked the Board to extend the pass times between classes and lunch period so students can have more time to get to class and enjoy lunches. He also asked for more time for exercise during the day.  

Peter Eastham spoke about the Draper Middle School Community Council and the discussions surrounding the school’s schedule. 

Parent Ginger Cavin spoke about Draper Park Middle’s class schedule. She asked the Board to review the established protocol for schools to choose their schedules. She wants to ensure the system is working.  She also expressed concern over the current schedule at the school. 

Draper Park Middle parent Katie Smith also expressed concern about the decision of the school’s SCC to decline to revisit the issue of adopting a new schedule.  She asked the Board to revise the policy to require more parent input. 

Parent Amanda Oaks expressed concern about the six-period semester schedule at Draper Park Middle. 

Draper Park Middle parent Kit Linkous told the Board a parent survey should be done so parents can have a direct voice in the establishment of a school schedule. 

Parent Chad Smith said the input is based about a concern about the process. 

Parent Wendy Smith also expressed concern about the school-schedule process, including the creation of a task force to study the issue and the completion of a parent survey. She expressed concern that the process isn’t being followed.

Sprucewood parent Tess Hortin expressed concern about the Alternative Behavior Support class at the school. She told the Board a long-term plan is needed to address the extreme and at time aggressive behavior of the students in the unit. She asked the Board to provide additional administrative help, extra communications with the parents, and allow parents to be in hallways to offer additional security.

Draper Park Middle parent Mike Neyman encouraged the Board to revisit the school-schedule policy established in January.  He also urged the Board to insist on a parent survey, and said the SCC does not represent parents at Draper Park.

PATRON COMMENT ON THE BOND PROPOSAL

Patron Betty Shaw spoke in favor of the bond proposal that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot. She also noted the proposed projects that would bring in natural light to the schools.

Parent Wendy Davis said she will vote no on principle. She believes that the District should not allocate more money to the new Corner Canyon High, and that boundary changes should be enacted to solve any overcrowding at the school.  She also said the bond election should have been held during an election cycle that would draw the most voters.

Patron Steve Van Maren said he’s against the bond proposal. He said it’s “disingenuous to say” that because rates will not go up property taxes will not go up. 

Patron Sandra Shurtleff said the Board should pay off previous bonds before asking the public to approve additional ones for new school construction and renovations.

Patron Stephanie Yorgason said she will vote against the bond proposal because of the proposed project to add classrooms to replace the portables currently on the Corner Canyon High campus. 

Patron James Shurtleff expressed concern that Brighton High would be moved away from the current location. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked principals as part of Utah’s Principal Appreciation Week. He commended principals for their hard work and dedication. He also congratulated Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and his team for receiving the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. He also noted the Foundation’s contributions to UCAW. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox also asked the Board members to review the most current enrollment reports.  Overall, CSD enrollment has dipped about 100 students.  He also reminded employees of health insurance Open Enrollment the last week of October and the first week of November. He also gave an update on the renovation of Indian Hills Middle. Wilcox said the building should be enclosed within the next few weeks so they can work inside

BOARD MEMBER REPORTS  

Mr. Chad Iverson attended the Region 7 cross-country championships, and will be attending the state cross country meet tomorrow in Sugar House Park. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reported on attending the ribbon-cutting of the new soccer pitch provided to Sandy Elementary by Real Salt Lake, Scheels, and the City of Sandy. She congratulated Wilcox on his team’s award and mentioned the importance of UCAW.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey expressed appreciation for the employees of Canyons District. In her role as the leader of the Utah School Boards Association, she has traveled a lot of school boards across the state. She said so much good work is being done in public schools across Utah. She expressed appreciation to the patrons who gave input about the school-schedule selection process.   

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked principals for their contributions to school communities.

Mr. Steve Wrigley said Canyons District’s principals are “amazing.” He reported on visiting the Willow Canyon SCC meeting.  He also attended the ribbon-cutting at Sandy Elementary.

Mr. Mont Millerberg urged residents to examine the bond proposal. He said schools in low-income areas will receive new schools, just like the ones built in Draper. He also reported on a service project at Midvale Elementary that provided new coats, sweatshirts, jeans and socks to students in need.  He thanked the Assistance League of Salt Lake for their efforts. 

President Sherril Taylor thanked the patrons who addressed the Board.  He also thanked Steve Van Maren for reading his argument against the bond and his rebuttal to the District’s proposal.
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.
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