What do you want to be when you grow up? A builder, a baker, or museum curator? An accountant, a barber, or brave fire fighter? How about a doctor, a researcher, or fabulous teacher?

Every year, on the Friday of the first full week of school, Canyons District celebrates Kindergarten College-Readiness Day, a time for our youngest studenkids.jpgts to share their dreams and begin to think about how they might achieve them. Each classroom finds its own way to celebrate. Some invite students to come to school dressed in the fashion of their career of choice. Others host a career-oriented show-and-tell. All students this year received blue bracelets bearing the words, "I will be college-ready. Class of 2030."

As Canyon View kindergarten teacher Carolyn Armstrong remarked to her class, "It's OK to be undecided, to want to do lots of things, or to change your mind." But even at the age 5, she says, it's important for students to begin to understand the pivotal role that education will play in getting them where they want to go.

In Armstrong's class, students' aspirations are limited only by their imaginations. There are a few fire fighters, policemen, teachers, doctors and veterinarians, a future chemist, rockstar, and robotics engineer. And there's Jonathan, who wants to be an inventor so he can invent a star grabber that grabs stars.

"We need all these jobs which is why it's so great that you all want to do different things," Armstrong said.

Students from Canyon View, East Sandy and Sunrise elementary schools celebrate Kindergarten Career and College-Readiness Day

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  • The window for applying to test into Canyons School District’s SALTA magnet program for advanced learners opens early this year.

    Students in kindergarten through the seventh grade can apply online starting Monday, Sept. 11, through midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 4.  No late applications will be accepted.

    SALTA — Supporting Advanced Learners Toward Achievement — serves students who demonstrate significantly high cognitive and academic abilities in comparison to peers. Due to the time-intensive and rigorous nature of the process for determining a student’s fit for the program, parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the testing requirements well before completing an application.

    Testing will take place in October and November and is a two-day commitment. Results will be distributed in January.  

    Applicants may choose between one of two possible dates per testing block:
    • Testing Block A: Friday, Oct. 13 (after school) and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m.
    • Testing Block B: Friday, Oct. 27 (after school) and Saturday, Oct, 28 at 9 a.m.
    Elementary school applicants may choose from one of eight testing locations, and middle schoolers are directed to either Midvale or Mount Jordan for testing.

    Elementary Schools
    Canyon View
    East Midvale
    Peruvian Park
    Willow Springs

    Middle Schools
    Midvale Middle (Midvale Middle school students only)
    Mount Jordan Middle (all other district middle school students)

    Questions? More information, can be found at, or by calling the Instructional Supports Department at 801-826-5044.
    As a Staff Sargeant for the U.S. National Guard, Ryan Miller has two jobs: perform missions for his unit — sometimes for weeks at a time — and teach seventh- and eighth-grade science at Eastmont Middle School.

    Thanks to the support of Stacy Kurtzhals, former principal of Eastmont, Miller’s transition between deployment and working in the classroom is as seamless as it can be. Kurtzhals makes sure Miller has the plans he needs, that his students have a substitute if necessary, and he can trust his classroom is in good hands while he is away.
    kurtzhals.jpg Miller nominated Kurtzhals, who is now a Program Administrator in the Special Education Department, to receive the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program with the Department of Defense because of her assistance. “She was very aware and helpful,” Miller said, referring to recent deployments.  “She is an amazing person to work with and always helping her team to be the best.”

    The ESGR Patriot Award is given in recognition to supervisors who provide support through a wide-range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off, granting leaves of absence and caring for families, according to the ESGR website,

    Miller works as a dental assistant for the Utah Air National Guard. Usually, his duties include monitoring the teeth of 1,400 servicemen and women to help them receive the care they need to be able to serve where they are needed at a moment’s notice. He is deployed on international service missions where he works to build communication with various nations and help those who don’t have regular access to dentists.

    Most recently, Miller spent two weeks in Morocco on an assignment that happened to fall during the school year. Kurtzhals stepped up to help Miller fulfill his responsibilities at both of his jobs.

    “The support you give is essential to what our mission is,” Lt. April Paulsen told Kurtzhals during the presentation of Kurtzhals’ award. “(Ryan Miller) is not only supporting other countries, but here at the home state. He couldn’t do this without your support.”
    Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:17

    Remembering Hillcrest Coach Cazzie Brown

    College funds have been established benefitting children of the late Hillcrest High head football Coach Cazzie Brown.

    Coach Brown passed away Sunday, Aug. 27 from complications of a viral infection. A mentor with a distinct gift for inspiring young people to achieve, whether in the classroom or the football field, “Caz” was a champion of higher education.

    “We’ve had such an outpouring of support from schools and school districts throughout Utah. As students, colleagues and friends mourn, many have asked if there’s anything they can do to support his three children in their educational goals,” said Canyons District Foundation Director Laura Barlow. “So, we created Utah Educational Savings Plans in their names.”

    The Foundation is accepting donations online. Checks also can be made out to the Canyons Education Foundation and earmarked for the Cazzie Brown college funds.

    A native of Houston, Texas, and former football player for Idaho State University, Coach Brown came to Hillcrest in 2016 by way of Judge Memorial and Highland High where he served as defensive coordinator and defensive assistant, respectively. In a short amount of time, with his deep love for students and his motto ‘One Pack, One Goal,’ he brought new energy and positivity to Hillcrest and its football program.

    Beloved by his students, he was a caring, passionate educator, a respected colleague and a dear friend. Caz will forever be remembered as the Coach who brought pride back to Husky Land, and he will be greatly missed.

    On Tuesday, more than a thousand students and community members gathered on Hillcrest's football field to light lit candles at a vigil in Coach Brown's memory. This coming Friday, the Huskies go up against Highland Rams, Coach Brown’s former team. As a show of unity, the two teams plan to enter the field together, two-by-two and shoulder to shoulder. Fans are being asked to wear white. Brown’s family is holding a celebration of life on the field the following day, Saturday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m.

    Photos of the candlelight vigil are courtesy of Kristin Murphy from the Deseret News.

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  • In Canyons District, cafeteria food isn’t something that makes students wrinkle their noses in disgust — for some kids, it’s the very reason they go to school at all. It’s the key to helping them learn.

    That’s a concept that drives Sebasthian Varas, director of Canyons Nutrition Services department, to always find new ways to provide innovatisebasthian2.jpgve, healthy, delicious nutrition for Canyons’ students. Varas’ pioneering work has earned him recognition from the School Nutrition Association as the 2017 Director of the Year for the state of Utah. The national, nonprofit professional organization also gave Varas the President’s Award of Excellence in 2016 for his accomplishments.

    Since Varas became director of the Nutrition Services department, Canyons has made some major changes to its nutrition program, including switching from having fried products to having baked products, increasing its budget for fresh fruits and vegetables, adding online apps with complete nutrition and ingredient information, and implementing promotions to create a bridge from the classroom to the cafeteria as students learn about the importance of nutrition.

    "Sebasthian has done a tremendous job in overseeing the District’s lunch program,” said Canyons’ Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox. “Under Sebathian’s leadership, the lunch workers always provide friendly and helpful service to our students. Sebasthian has performed an excellent balancing act in that the quality of the District’s meals have improved, yet lunch prices have not increased.”

    One major change to Canyon’s meal program came after Varas studied how many students qualified for free breakfast and noticed students weren’t taking advantage of the service when it was offered in the cafeteria. Instead, Varas moved the program into the classrooms of Canyons’ Title 1 schools, where every student in every classroom receives a free breakfast.

    Teachers report that the change has had a positive impact as students are less likely to be tardy, because they don’t want to miss the meal. Students are also more ready to settle down and learn after they have a brief opportunity to socialize with their peers as they eat their whole grain muffin, string cheese, milk and fruit. At least 90 percent of the students eat the breakfast when it is provided in the classroom, Varas says.

    "If you think about it, if we are malnourished we cannot learn, and we are not going to be ready to pay attention in the classroom,” Varas said. “Ultimately, if you don’t come to school well-nourished, or you don’t have access to healthy meals, you aren’t going to succeed academically, which is the goal of the District.”
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