For sixth-graders, making the leap to middle school is a big transition — but it doesn't have to be a scary one.
For nine years, Canyons District's middle schools have opened their doors a day early to incoming 11- and 12-year-olds. This year's middle-school orientation will be held the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 22, giving newcomers a chance to find their classes, meet their teachers, and attempt to open their lockers before the hectic hustle and bustle of the first day. The event eases back-to-school jitters by walking students through a day-in-the-life of middle school, albeit a shortened one.
Students are to arrive at school at the morning bell, attend shortened classes, test their lockers, and grab a snack before heading home. Some principals also held assemblies to introduce themselves, and explain school rules.
Also per CSD tradition, elementary and middle schools will literally roll out the red carpet to greet students on Wednesday, Aug. 23. As students enter the buildings, players from the professional soccer team, the Real Monarchs will join parents, teachers and principals in lining red carpets to cheer our up-and-coming college- and career-ready stars. Each student will receive a free pencil, enthusiastic high-five’s and two-for-one ticket voucher for Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto on Friday, Aug. 25.
The vouchers entitle families to one free ticket for every full-price ticket they purchase to the Friday, Aug. 25 Monarchs game, which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets range in price from $8 to $15, and can be purchased at the ticket counter or online.
These celebratory starts help students feel welcome while underscoring the importance of school as a child’s ticket to the show of life.
Questions? Please contact the Main Office of your child's school. Welcome back to another great school year!
As Alta View students looked out of their classroom windows last year, they saw a strange shape taking place in the corner of the field behind the school.
What looked, at first, like a jumble of beams and blocks was no mystery, however. They knew they were watching the creation of the schoolhouse that would replace the Alta View students had attended since 1963.
The new, 700-student capacity school is the 12th in CSD to be rebuilt or renovated as part of an aggressive plan to upgrade and modernize educational facilities in all corners of the District. The school will open to the public for the first time on Thursday, Aug. 17 at a ribbon-cutting event. The ceremony will start promptly at 6 p.m., followed by an open house tour for students, families, faculty and the community.
The new Alta View has a new address: 917 E. Larkspur Dr., in Sandy. It is the second new facility to open this year; on Tuesday, Aug. 8, Midvale Middle debuted to applause from a crowd of hundreds.
The building will feature a security vestibule that will require all visitors to be seen by school staff before they enter the building, a large commons area filled with natural light and a grand staircase leading to second-floor rooms, a media center, activity room and a computer lab. In addition, the building will be equipped with state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems and voice amplification equipment for teachers in the classroom.
With completion of these rebuilds and the remodel underway of Indian Hills Middle, CSD will have fulfilled the $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. It’s a goal achieved without raising taxes, while maintaining CSD’s AAA bond rating, and in keeping with founding vision of the five communities who, in 2007, voted to turn CSD it into an achievement-oriented district of distinction.
As the doors of Midvale Middle officially opened to the public on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, students didn’t just walk toward the school’s entryway — they ran. The energy was palpable as they hurried to see what the new classrooms, auditorium and gymnasium in Canyons District’s newest school looks like.
“Whoever designed this school was a genius,” one student body officer said. From the colorful exterior to the innovative interior, Midvale Middle is full of creative details that are meant to inspire learners to achieve their greatest potential, says Brian Peterson, lead designer of the school for VCBO Architecture, which worked with Hughes General Contractors to create the building. “Great architecture comes from one single idea, and the idea behind this building is that strength comes through unity of different, beautiful things,” Peterson said. “We designed this school not just for 6th, 7th, 8th grade kids, but for the whole community.”
Members of the Midvale community, including Midvale Mayor Joann Seghini; City Council members Paul Grover and Paul Hunt; Utah Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray; former Canyons Board of Education member Robert Green; and former Midvale Middle principals Sue Malone, Wendy Dau and Paula Logan, attended the event and took a VIP tour of the building. Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor, Board of Education representatives Amber Shill, Nancy Tingey, Mont Millerberg and Steve Wrigley and members of Canyons' administration, including Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe were also in attendance.
The building is one of eight new schools built by Canyons District through a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. With the opening of Alta View Elementary on Aug. 17 and next year’s completion of a remodel of Indian Hills Middle, Canyons will have completed 13 major improvements without raising taxes and while maintaining a AAA bond rating.
Midvale Middle was first built in 1955 as a red brick building situated at the heart of a quiet neighborhood. As it sits on its original footprint, the new building features a state-of-the-art auditorium, an energy efficient heating and cooling system, floor-to-ceiling windows, a student lounge, modern media center, courtyards, soccer fields and more. “I’ve lived a long time,” Mayor Seghini told the crowd of hundreds gathered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “What you have here in this school is a school of the future, not the past. You have a school that has no limits to your future. You have wonderful opportunities here.”
The school will host a back-to-school night on Friday, Aug. 18 for those who were unable to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Parents can meet their students’ teachers from 5-7 p.m. and enjoy a free hot dog from 6-7:30 p.m.
Rique Ochoa’s approach to teaching is simple: stick with what you love.
As an Alta High history teacher, Ochoa loves to tell stories. He loves to make history relatable to his students, and he loves to expose them to the experts in his field. That’s what has motivated him to teach for nearly 40 years, coach the debate team and establish a one-of-a-kind colloquium at Alta. It’s also the reason Ochoa has been selected as the Utah History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
“School has got to be fun,” Ochoa says. “I think one of the greatest mistakes history teachers make is they forget why they liked history in the first place.”
Ochoa likes to teach his students about World War II by sharing photos of family relatives who served in the war. He shares stories about the Great Depression by describing what his father experienced during that time. When he teaches his students the story of Paul Revere, he tells them about William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, two other riders who went farther than Revere but received none of the acclaim. Ochoa knows his students love details. They love to be able to relate to history.
To that end, Ochoa established a Social Studies Colloquium at Alta eight years ago so he could give his students opportunities to learn from other experts on history, from prestigious professors to Pulitzer Prize winners. Next year, Ellen Taylor, who won the Pulitzer Prize twice for history, is on the list of speakers who will come to the school.
“It’s just incredible,” Ochoa says. “It’s a very unique program and our kids just really get to participate and learn an awful lot more than they would any place else.”
Ochoa has followed other creative ways to expose his students to experiences they would not otherwise have. When he encountered difficulties getting his students to travel to various debate tournaments that required overnight stay, Ochoa established Canyons District as the host of one of the few available Tournament of Champions qualifying debate locations in the West.
Ochoa was selected as the Utah History Teacher of the Year by a committee of history educators, education professionals, and former winners of the Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year award. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a non-profit organization dedicated to history education through high school. As the Utah History Teacher of the Year, Ochoa is now eligible to be considered as the National History Teacher of the Year in the fall.
“Mr. Ochoa has been and continues to be a strong pillar of support for not only our Social Studies Department, but across the spectrum of our school,” Alta Principal Brian McGill said. “Since the inception of Alta High School, Mr. Ochoa has brought … a zest and passion for serving students inside and outside the classroom, serving in such programs as Debate and Academic Decathlon. He is an integral part of Alta High School, and we are fortunate to have him as a part of our faculty. He is most deserving of this high regard and honor."
When architects of the new Midvale Middle suggested cloistering the library in a quiet corner of the building, the school’s Media Specialist said, “Sorry, but that just won’t do.”
The library, she explained, should be at the center of the school. It should be an open, inviting space for students to hang out with friends, study, check email, or play an educational videogame. It should be a place to collaboratively explore, create, and even make noise — a place where students find common ground in common interests.
The architects agreed, and the communal design ethic they embraced is evident throughout the entire building, which opens to the public this fall. Students, their families, and members of the community are invited to a sneak preview of the new school at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Open House on Tuesday, Aug. 8. A reception starts at 7852 South Pioneer St. Midvale UT at 5:30 p.m. and the ceremony will begin promptly at 6 p.m.
The red brick structure with its art deco embellishes reflects Midvale’s ethnically diverse and industrial, working-class roots, says VCBO Architecture Associate Brian Peterson. “It evokes strength, strength of unity and strength of purpose.” The school was originally built in 1955, and after 60 years of existence in its quiet Midvale neighborhood, it has become a part of the community.
The new building will be equipped to accommodate 1,100 students on its original footprint. Amenities such as the state-of-the-art auditorium and TV broadcast room will expose students to a variety of educational experiences at a time when that’s what their fast-developing brains crave. Modern heating, cooling, and wiring will make for a more comfortable learning environment adaptable to the latest technologies. Floor-to-ceiling windows will let in natural light, and a student lounge equipped with programmable neon lighting is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
The building’s tiered design helps it blend into the surrounding neighborhood, and its fields and multi-use space and catering kitchen will become a gathering place for neighborhood events.
With this fall’s opening of Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary, and next year’s completion of the remodel of Indian Hills Middle, Canyons School District will have fulfilled promises made to voters as part of a $250 million bond approved in 2010. In all, the District will have completed 13 major improvements without raising taxes and while maintaining a AAA bond rating.
A Second Chance to Celebrate: Back-to-School Night
Out of town for the ribbon-cutting? Don't fret. You'll have a chance to get acquainted with the new school during back-to-school night on Friday, Aug. 18, which doubles as a community celebration co-sponsored by the city of Midvale. Parents will have a chance to meet their students' teachers from 5-7 p.m., and enjoy a free hot dog from 6-7:30 p.m.