bond_thank_you_ribbon-02.jpg
With a late start once a week, students at Eastmont Middle usually choose to sleep in on Fridays, but not today. Today, Nov. 11, 2016, they had something special in mind —more important than sleep.

In honor of Veterans Day, students came to school early on Friday to make sure everything would be perfect for the 170 veterans and their families they expected to attend the school’s third annual Veterans Day breakfast and presentation.

Students lined the sidewalk with American flags, prepared food, set up the cafeteria, and took their posts on either side of every door. Then, at 8 a.m., whenever anyone approached the doors — especially their VIP veteran guests — the students shook pom poms and cheered, “Hooray! Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for your service!”

The school’s National Junior Honors Society organized the event, which was run entirely by students. Students sang patriotic anthems, announced the program, served the food, bussed the tables, chatted with the veterans, wrote thank you notes and created a video presentation.

“I’m so grateful for your service to this country,” one student said. “It is so easy to take our rights for granted, but we should not take those who fought for our rights for granted.”

The entire student body wrote thank you letters to the veterans, who received the letters as a parting gift. The event was conceived as a way to contribute to the community, a goal of NJHS members.

“These students genuinely want to thank these veterans,” Eastmont NJHS advisor Sarah Exon said. “It’s not that they’ve just been conditioned to be grateful.”

For Doug Sorensen, a member of the Air Force who served for 20 years — “and five days,” he adds — the school’s presentation was a humbling and encouraging experience. Sorensen flew a bomber aircraft for 16 years, served one year in Vietnam, and finished his career by flying a cargo airplane all over the world.

 “This has been so nice,” Sorensen said. Sometimes I wonder if the youth nowadays know what military is and what it does.” Then, his wife, Janice, chimed in.

 “After today, it seems like quite a bit.”
Before anything, Alexander Graham Bell once said, preparation is the key to success. It took more than 120 hours of preparation time for Corner Canyon High Aaron Jackson, but the hard work certainly has paid off.

The junior recently received word he earned a perfect 36 composite score on the ACT, the most commonly accepted U.S. college entrance exam.

This summer, as other students lounged by the pool or went boating at the lake, Jackson pulled out his books to bone up for his maiden attempt at the exam. He estimates he studied three hours a day for the English, math, reading and science sections of the rigorous test. “I wouldn’t say that I was 100 percent expecting” a perfect score, Jackson says, “but I was hoping. It was my goal."

His father woke him up at about 5 a.m. on the day the scores were released so the they could check the results. “We had to reload the page a few times to make sure I was seeing it right,” he said. His parents were ecstatic. He kept his enthusiasm checked so he didn’t wake his siblings.

Since the news spread in the community, his cross-country team has given him high-fives, fellow students offered their congratulations — and, he says, his parents have been a little more lenient on time spent hanging out with his buddies. He doesn’t plan to take the test again — “I mean, I can’t get any higher," he says — but he’s put into place a solid academic pathway that may lead him to one of the colleges of his choice.

This year alone, for example, he’s enrolled in five Advanced Placement courses. “I like learning,” he says. “I take the classes because they are enjoyable to me.”

The schools on his short list: Harvard, Yale and Stanford. Now that he has earned a sterling score, he’s sharpening up his college application.

On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all test-takers earns the top score. In the class of 2016 that took the test, only 2,235 of the 2.1 million who sat the exam earned a composite score of 36. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of one to 36.

A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score. ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.
Armed with the book “Monte and the World of Possibilities,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert opened up global prospects for a class of upstart readers at Midvalley Elementary.  

Herbert visited the elementary school recently to read to students and to impress upon them the importance of reading, especially in the formative years. Reading, he told them, is imperative to learning to master such other topics as science and math. 

“I hope everyone here understand the importance of reading,” he said.  “If you want to have a good job, you have to have a good education.  If you can’t read, it makes life very difficult.” 

The visit to the school was a Herbert whistlestop to announce that $3 million in ongoing grant money — from the grant “Read. Graduate. Succeed.” — would continue to be funneled into Utah schools to improve literacy rates. Midvalley Elementary was chosen for the event because of the skyrocketing literacy rates that have been attributed to the involvement of AmeriCorps volunteers at the school. 

The event also was supported by KSL-TV. Anchor Deanie Wimmer read to students and engaged them in a game in which they had to guess the names of popular books after she’d scrambled the words of the title. 

The appearance was the second of three Herbert made in Canyons District that week. At the first event on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Edwards Lifesciences in Draper, Herbert heralded the launch of a medical innovations emphasis where, on top of regular science courses, students, working with commercial drug and device makers, will learn manufacturing and bio-manufacturing principles. Students at Jordan High will be able to start the program next year. On Thursday, Sept. 29, he helped cut the ribbon at Cottonwood Heights' fete to cheer the opening of a new City Hall. Brighton Madrigals and band contributed their musical stylings

Midvalley Principal Jeff Nalwalker points to student achievement data as proof. Assessments show that, after intensive support from the dedicated teachers and AmeriCorps volunteers who use the “Read Today” program, students increased their word-per-minute reading skills. 

Nalwalker notes that reasonable growth for fourth-grade is 0.85 words-per-minute per week and reasonable growth for fifth-graders is 0.50 words-per-minute per week. During the last year, fourth-graders logged 1.58 words-per-minute growth per week, and fifth-graders logged 1.00 words-per-minute growth per week.

“One of the best things about our state is that we know how to work together.  There is a spirit of collaboration,” Herbert said.  “This collaboration is one of the successes we see in our schools … You will be more effective leaders (in the future) if you are good readers.”
Friday, 07 October 2016 16:29

Board Meeting Summary, Oct. 4, 2016

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


School Upgrades Proposal

A remodel of the Main Office at Midvale Elementary, the installation of carbon monoxide detectors at all elementary schools, and roofing and HVAC repairs are among more than two-dozen small capital projects being proposed for the 2017-2018 school year. Each year, schools submit their construction wish lists, which are ranked by an administrative committee that weighs, among other things, whether the projects are a safety or security imperative, or will meet a legal requirement, said Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.  If the Board approves the proposed upgrades at its Oct. 18 meeting, the Purchasing Department will begin soliciting bids from February to March 2017 with a goal of having the projects completed the following fall, said Wilcox.

Indian Hills Renovation

The Board of Education was presented a resolution calling for Indian Hills students to attend classes at the old Crescent View Middle, 11500 S. 300 East, for the 2017-2018 academic year. From April 2017 to August 2018, crews will be working on a substantial remodel of the building, funded by the $250 million bond approved by CSD voters in 2010. The Board also was asked to temporarily change the boundaries so that 481 IHMS students would qualify for busing to the old CVMS.

Priority Schools Progress

Strides are being made toward moving two Title I schools off Improvement Status. Copperview Elementary was designated a Focus school and Midvale Elementary was designated a Turn Around school by the Utah State Office of Education during the 2014-2015 school year due to low performance on year-end scores, explained Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling. The schools have received grant dollars to support technical assistance from the Utah Education Policy Center, which completed a thorough analysis of the schools’ performance and helped develop plans for boosting student achievement. Midvale Elementary’s performance on SAGE improved by 20 points this year, bringing the school out of Utah’s bottom 3 percent—the threshold for Turn Around status. If Midvale continues to improve and maintains its performance for three years, its Turn Around designation will be lifted. Assistant Principal Chip Matt Watts says home visits and Parent-Teacher Team meetings where educators share homework tips with parents has helped build relationships with families. The school is home to a Family Learning Center where adults can brush up on their English language skills and take free parenting classes. Both Midvale and Copperview partner with the United Way of Greater Salt Lake to make social supports and public aid more easily available to families that need them, thereby removing non-academic barriers to student success. The immediate focus at Copperview has been to address behavior problems that were disrupting the learning environment, said the school’s new principal Christine Webb. Also, coaches are working with teachers to adopt strategies shown to work with English learners.  Early data show growth in SAGES is in line with the rate of growth statewide, Webb said.

Posting of the Colors, Reverence

The colors were posted by a Webelos Scout Troop made up of students from Canyon View Elementary, and Principal BJ Weller updated the Board on academic growth at the school, noting Canyon View received an A this year under Utah’s school grading system. The school has moved to a reverse lunch schedule where recess is held prior to lunch, which Weller says has helped reduce food waste. Weller thanked the Board for their investment to install a security vestibule and fund parking improvements, which have reduced drop off and pick-up times by several minutes. 

Consent Agenda 

The Board approved the consent agenda, with exception of Union Middle’s revised Land Trust Plan, which the Board would like to further discuss. Approved as part of the consent agenda were: minutes from the meeting of the Board of Education on Sept. 20, 2016; new hires and terminations; purchasing bids; proposed student overnight travel; an MOU with Alpine School District on Suncrest busing; and changes to an MOU on employee health care benefit negotiations.  

Board Mission and Vision

The Board approved a new vision and mission statement for Canyons District, which includes core tenets and beliefs and a list of indicators for measuring success. Canyons District’s mission continues to be that all students graduate college- and career-ready. This is supported by the five tenets of student achievement, community engagement, customer service, innovation and fiscal accountability. The vision statement states that “Canyons School District is a public education system dedicated to delivering a high-quality education to students, valuing and rewarding the vital contributions of employees, and helping learners of all ages be prepared for meaningful life opportunities. We value transparency and collaboration in governance. We work together with families and community partners to establish and maintain safe, supportive, and academically challenging school environments which strengthen neighborhoods and communities.” The administration will publish this information on Canyons District’s website and report back to the Board on approved indicators and efforts to implement the framework.

SALTA Testing Fees

The Board approved a new fee proposal for SALTA testing. Non-CSD-enrolled students will now be charged $50 to take the qualifying test for the advanced learner program. Those who enroll in CSD’s SALTA magnet program, however, will be eligible for a full refund. There will continue to be no charge for CSD-enrolled students unless they take repeat tests. Repeat testers will be charged $25, but will be eligible for a refund if they enroll in the SALTA program.

Policies Changes

The Board approved the policy requiring employee to provide proof of immunizations in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease. The Board also approved a revision to the policy governing a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, making it possible for the District to randomly test drivers of district vehicles for use of drugs and alcohol. The policy about the Support Staff Development Committee was revised for readability, and the Employee Release Time Regulations were revised to maintain one policy for employees.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports 

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe noted that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert visited CSD three times last week to read to third grade students at Midvalley Elementary, promote a new health sciences program, and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cottonwood Heights City Hall. Dr. Briscoe also noted that Gov. Herbert has proclaimed Oct. 17-21 Principal’s Week. The Department of School Performance and Office of Public Communications will work on a presentation to celebrate CSD’s principals at the next Board meeting.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox recognized the administrative assistants for principals at each of Canyons District’s five traditional high schools. He also expression for the teachers and their hard work to prepare for last week’s Parent-Teacher Conferences. 

Board Reports

Mr. Robert Green said he visited Midvale Middle, and lauded the middle school’s administration for their efforts. He mentioned the room at the school that holds donations, such as clothing, that can be taken by students who need the aid. 

Mrs. Amber Shill applauded the Department of Instructional Supports for bringing the SALTA fees proposal forward and looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars. She remarked on the success of the ceremony celebrating the new Cottonwood Heights City Hall. She also recognized Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards and School Performance Elementary Director Alice Peck for conducting School Community Council trainings, which have served as a model that’s being replicated throughout the state.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey congratulated Cottonwood Heights on the new City Hall and thanked Brighton High students for participating in last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. She expressed gratitude for everyone in the District responsible for all the behind-the-scenes work that seems like it goes unnoticed.

Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked that he feels the District is getting stronger and moving in the right direction. He is pleased to see a new mission and vision statement approved to guide the District in its continued success.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked the teachers for doing all they do for students and to all employees who support them.

Mr. Chad Iverson reserved comment.

President Sherril Taylor looks forward to the renovation of Indian Hills Middle.  He also thanked Kathy Hilton, Corner Canyon High’s administrative assistant, who attended the Board meeting, for her hard work at the school. He thanked the Board for being prepared for meetings, having read the materials and prepared good questions. He also remarked on the new SALTA fee policy, saying its an example of the Board caring about students. It sends a message that the District will open avenues for students to attend our schools. He also thanked the police officers for providing security at the Board meetings. 
Canyons Distict is expanding its high-tech arsenal in the fight to keep children safe.

Elementary schools are rolling out information to their communities about access to the SafeUT app and website, which is an immediate, direct link to licensed counselors at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. Starting Wednesday, Aug. 31, all CSD elementary school communities will have access to SafeUT's services. 

Canyons' secondary schools were among the first in Utah to roll out access to the service last year. The response was instantly positive, and students across the District were using it a a resource to receive real-time and confidential responses from a highy trained clinician. 

The app and website, developed as part of a partnership between UNI and the Utah State Office of Education with funds allocated by the Utah Legislature, serves as confidential tip line about such safety issues as suicide, bullying and threats of violence.

"Twenty-four/seven,whether it's summer break, whether it's over Winter Recess, on the weekends, (students) can immediately get access to somebody that can help them," Tamra Baker, Director of Canyons District's Student Support Services, told ABC4 during a recent interview about the roll-out across the District.

Multiple languages are available. This intervention and emotional support also provides follow-up and responses through user-password protection. Users can submit a tip with a picture and/or video, and a user can communicate online or call by phone.

For the community's ease, here are links to places students and parents can dowload the app: Click here for Google Play and click here to find the app in iTunes. 

Utah ranks 5th in the nation for suicide deaths among 10- to 17-year-olds, and bullying is a risk factor, according to the Utah Suicide Prevention Coaltion. Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. In honor of Suicide Awareness Week, September 5-11, here are some tips for talking about bullying courtesy of stopbullying.gov.




Page 8 of 14