When Thurl Bailey enters the room, it’s hard not to pay attention. The retired NBA star who played for the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves stands at 6 foot 11 inches, so when he speaks, people tend to listen — especially if you’re under 4 feet tall and going to elementary school.
But Crescent Elementary is hoping when Bailey comes to speak at a Watch DOGS rally at the school from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 that the students aren’t the only ones who are inspired. Principal Camie Lloyd is counting on all of the fathers in the audience to feel the fire, too.
“(Thurl Bailey) has a foundation where he is trying to encourage men to get more active in their communities and help them be a more positive role model,” Lloyd said. “It’s really nice to see male figures take a leading role and show it’s OK to display those types of attributes.”
Lloyd asked Bailey to come speak to the school, 11100 S. 230 East, as a kick-off to a new school year and recruit new blood to volunteer as part of the Watch DOGS program, which stands for Dads of Great Students. The program calls on men in the community, namely fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles and other father figures, to volunteer in the classroom at least one day out of the year. Students who don’t have a strong male figure in the home can particularly benefit from seeing men in the classroom cheering them on.
WatchDOGS volunteers can help in a number of ways at the school, from assisting students in the morning as they cross the street, to reading one-on-one with a struggling student, to eating lunch and playing at recess with students. “Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a WatchDOG dad dramatically reduces reports of bullying,” according to the WatchDOGS website, www.fathers.com/watchdogs.
Each school that features the program appoints one man as the “Top Dog,” and he is tasked with organizing a working schedule for all interested volunteers. At Crescent, usually one WatchDOG is at the school every day of the school year. Missing a day of work to spend time at the school can be a sacrifice for dads, says Wesley Tillman, Top Dog at Crescent, but the sacrifice is worth it.
“It literally takes money out of their pockets to come do that,” Tillman says. “But I say your son or your daughter is never going to forget it. They are always going to remember the day their dad came to school. That’s cooler than taking your kid to Lagoon.”
Want to get involved? The following schools in Canyons District have WatchDOGS programs. Please contact the main office of the school for contact information.
A teacher committed to seeing that all students thrive, no matter the difficulties they face. A lawmaker who knows public education from the inside out. An administrator who is boosting student achievement one apple at a time. Two mayors who put their reputations on the line to support the creation of the first new school district in Utah in 100 years.
These are but a few of the 12 outstanding individuals and community partners to be honored Sept. 12, 2017 at CSD's eighth annual Apex Awards banquet. The Apex Award is the highest honor given by Canyons District's administration and the Board of Education. It is reserved for the makers, shakers and disrupters who have contributed to neighborhood schools in extraordinary ways, and who have made a lasting difference.
Winners are selected following a months-long public nomination process and were announced at a by-invitation-only dinner at The Gathering Place at Gardner Village.
"We host this event every year to pay tribute to those in our community who have stood should-to-shoulder with us as we have worked to deliver a world-class education," said Board President Sherril Taylor. "Whether your jobs are in a classroom or at the State Capitol, you have taken to heart the sentiments that it takes a village to raise a child, that many hands make light work, that teamwork, as so eloquently stated by Andrew Carnegie, 'is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.'"
The 2017 Apex Award winners are:
Andrew Fosse 2017 Apex Award winner for Teacher of the Year
The fun in Union Middle teacher Drew Fosse's class begins at the door, where he greets each student individually and chats with them about their lives and hobbies — and it gets better from there. He keeps his students engaged in a way that inspires his fellow teachers, even if it's just through the sounds that drift through Fosse's door and down the hallway. Fosse began his teaching career 10 years ago in a tiny Oregon town. After living in other small towns and working as an administrator at a school for teens who have been hospitalized for mental illnesses, he returned to teaching, received a special education endorsement and moved to Union Middle where he now oversees a mainstream classroom. His goal is to make sure that all of his students thrive in his class, no matter what difficulties they face. "I want them to be brave," Fosse says. "I want them to feel it's better to go ahead and open up your mouth and realize, yeah, you might look stupid, but it doesn't matter. If you can be brave enough to try different things, you can be brave enough to realize you can make mistakes and keep trying." It's for these reasons, and many more, that Drew Fosse is being honored by the Canyons Board of Education as the 2017 Apex Award winner for Teacher of the Year.
Alta View Elementary Principal Karen Medlin 2017 Apex Award winner for School Administrator of the Year
Don't let Karen Medlin's meek and mild-mannered demeanor fool you. Although she's as warm and welcoming as her smile suggests, she also possesses stronger-than-steel strength and determination. On any given day, she'll take a minute from her busy schedule to hug first-graders who come running to her in the hallways, arms outstretched, only to turn around and have frank yet friendly conversations with the workers who are finishing the landscaping at her new school. The principal of Alta View Elementary has spent the past several years working with architects and construction workers on the facility. She's pored over designs, taken input from teachers, listened to parents, and followed her heart as she led the charge to build a school in White City that would stand as a beacon for light and learning for decades to come. Her smile rarely faltered, not even during the dusty and muddy year of construction, when the school community made way for the tractors and trucks on the building site. But she's a survivor in so many ways, and she knew that tough times don't last for long. This fall, when students entered the new school for the first time, excited for a year of learning, it was apparent that Medlin's hard work and dedication — and all done with the smile — was worth it. The Board of Education is pleased to present the 2017 Apex Award for School Administrator of the Year to Karen Medlin.
Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas 2017 Apex Award winner for District Administrator of the Year
When Sebasthian Varas looks at an apple, he doesn't see a fruit that falls from a tree. He sees a well-contained vessel of nutrition that would serve nicely as part of lunch or breakfast. Varas, who has served as Canyons' Director of Nutrition Services since the founding of the District in 2009, knows that students can't learn if they are hungry. Armed with that belief, he works hard to provide delicious and nutrient-dense foods in Canyons' cafeterias and classrooms. Long before former first lady Michelle Obama rolled out her national healthy school-lunch initiative, Varas was at the forefront of making vast improvements to the quality of school meals served in Canyons' cafeterias. He removed deep-fat fryers from kitchens, changed recipes to include whole-grain breads, and pushed forward with his vision of seeing lunchrooms full of children munching happily on tasty fruits and vegetables. Under his guidance, the CSD Nutrition Services Department has piloted successful in-class breakfast programs, worked with the Utah Dairy Council on a campaign to promote milk consumption, and gently and respectfully worked with families on applications for free and reduced- price meals for their children. It's for these reasons, and more, that the Board of Education is pleased to present the 2017 Apex Award for District Administrator of the Year to Sebasthian Varas.
Susan Henrie, Instructional Specialist 2017 Apex Award winner for Student Support Services Professional of the Year
Like education, great writing ignites the imagination. It commands your attention. You get lost in it, and when you must put it down, you can't wait to pick it back up and read it all over again. Indeed, Susan Henrie has sparked a passion for writing instruction within veteran and new teachers alike that has rapidly spread across Canyons District. As the District's lead English language arts specialist, Susan and her team of instructional coaches have spent years collaboratively honing tools, classroom materials, and grading rubrics to make teaching literacy easier and more fun. It helps that she has plenty of classroom experience as an educator of 35 years. Her calm and friendly demeanor engenders trust and inspires her trainees to risk trying new techniques. Her own desire to learn and improve is contagious as she searches for new ways to lighten the burden of principals and teachers and support them in achieving their visions and goals. She makes a difference for them so they can make a difference for children, and it shows in students' soaring progress and confidence. For these reasons and more, Susan Henrie has been selected as the 2017 Apex Award winner as Student Support Services Professional of the Year.
Erica Haugen 2017 Apex Award winner for Education Support Professional of the Year
There are many things Erica Haugen is willing to do to help out at Peruvian Park Elementary School, but being the center of attention isn't one of them. Even though Haugen, in her humble, dedicated way, is seemingly everywhere at the school, she says she's far more comfortable working behind the scenes or playing a supporting role. She also isn't motivated by public accolades or applause. Instead, her prize is quietly working at what she calls the "most rewarding job I've ever done in my life." Haugen started at Peruvian Park four years ago as a neighborhood mom who served on the PTA board, the School Community Council, and in the classroom. She is the school's new behavioral assistant, but she continues to fill her former roles in the copy room and as an outside recess aide because she sees the need. Haugen serves wherever she is needed, and she delights in wearing many hats. She gives love to students who need attention and she lights up when her young friends run up to her to visit before hitting the playground during valuable recess time. Haugen's helpfulness, her school spirit, and her multifaceted ability to assist others are all reasons why she has been selected as the 2017 Apex Award winner for Education Support Professional of the Year.
Jennifer Bagley 2017 Apex Award winner for Education Support Professional of the Year
Ask Jennifer Bagley what it takes to be an amazing elementary school administrative assistant and she'll tell you this secret: when in doubt, grab an ice bag. Bagley handles bumps and bruises at Bell View Elementary, but she also helps teachers, administrators, struggling students, sad students, the lunch lady, and even the librarian. And she's learned that ice is the cure-all for anything. Of course, she also doles out plenty of love, attention and care to everyone who walks through Bell View's door. When Bagley started at Bell View Elementary 11 years ago, her three sons were students there. She helped as a room mother, was the PTA president, a kindergarten aide, second-grade aide, resource aide and now head secretary. She is known as the first person to arrive and she handles the myriad of needs that arise throughout the day with ease, administering a band-aid here, arranging for an emergency substitute there. She is known as the "light" of the school, an "all-purpose support hero." Parents love the care she takes to east their apprehensive children into school for the day and coworkers appreciate her positive attitude, thoughtful cards and sense of humor. For all of these reasons and more, Jennifer Bagley has been selected as the 2017 Apex Award winner for Education Support Professional of the Year. Rep. Marie Poulson 2017 Apex Award winner for Elected Official of the Year
From her seat in the Capitol, Rep. Marie Poulson has a fascinating vantage point on public education. Nearly half of the state's budget supports schools and the 34,000 educators and 634,000 children who spend their days teaching and learning there. But it is Poulson's in-the-trenches experience — 20-plus years of teaching every grade level from preschool to high school — that bring perspective to her policy-making and makes her such a valuable member of Utah's citizen Legislature. Colleagues trust the Cottonwood Heights Democrat to anticipate the unintended consequences of the bills they debate. Teachers, parents and students rely on her to give voice to their concerns and interests. So, it's perhaps not surprising that Poulson has developed a knack for reaching across the aisle to build consensus around some of the thorniest issues in education, from year-end testing requirements to the state's school grading system. Her secret? Poulson practices the civic-mindedness she preached in the classroom by actively seeking out different viewpoints and striving to find common ground. Education, she insists, is not a partisan issue, and public schools are worth fighting for. For her ardent advocacy and impassioned public service, Rep. Marie Poulson has been selected as the 2017 Apex Award winner for Elected Official of the Year.
RizePoint 2017 Apex Award winner for Business Partner of the Year
When students in Canyons District schools wish that they could study lasers and light or learn about colonizing Mars, one company is ready to help make those dreams become a reality. Thanks to RizePoint, a Cottonwood Heights-based software company that's dedicated to furthering the study of science, technology, engineering and math in schools, students have a chance to expand their world outside of the classroom. For two years, RizePoint, a global leader in providing software solutions in the marketplace, has donated $5,000 to the Canyons Education Foundation to provide scholarships for students to attend STEM camps over the summer. As a result, more than 20 students have attended the camps of their choice, learning about such topics as space, computer science, and oceanography. RizePoint has shown a commitment to help Canyons' students on every level, through scholarships and by volunteering in the classroom. Their commitment to supporting students in meaningful ways is chief among the reasons that RizePoint has been selected as the 2017 Apex Award winner for Business Partner of the Year.
Rayna Drago 2017 Apex Award winner for Volunteer of the Year
In college, Rayna Drago studied to be an astronaut. She has worked as a police officer, and for five years portrayed one on television as an actress for the popular daytime drama "General Hospital." But if you want to catch Rayna Drago in her most recent starring role, you'll find her at Canyon View Elementary volunteering, fundraising, tutoring and mentoring — and you'll have to sprint to keep up. "Runnin' Rayna," as she's become known, redefined the role of PTA President, all without the benefit of prior experience and also while juggling the demands of raising her kindergarten-age son. With her weekly communications to parents and "I got it" attitude, she harnessed the good will of a community and put it to work supporting students, teachers and staff. An avid marathoner, she started a Girls on the Run program. She also helped launch family movie nights, book swaps, and other enrichment programs at Canyon View. In addition, when needed, she fills in as an aide or substitute teacher. There's nothing she can't or won't do to strengthen her neighborhood school and open up opportunities for students. In recognition of and appreciation for her willingness to so selflessly share her many talents, Rayna Drago has been selected by the Canyons Board of Education as the 2017 Apex Volunteer of the Year.
Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore 2017 Apex Award winner for the Legacy Award
In the years since the official launch of Canyons, there have been few stronger supporters of Canyons District than Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini and Cottonwood Height Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore. Seghini and Cullimore were among the very first to put their reputations and mayoral legacies on the line when they publicly backed the ballot proposal that would create a new school district for the southeastern part of the Salt Lake Valley. To be sure, the two longtime mayors saw — and embraced — a vision for public education in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta. They sought to help build an education system that worked hand-in-hand with municipalities; focused on increasing student-learning levels while also reducing the achievement gap; promoted community engagement, and built modern and welcoming campuses. The duo refused to backtrack, even when political dissension flared and public talk turned personal. They were — and are — steadfast in their care and concern for all children in CSD. Today, one decade after the successful vote to create the District, Canyons is considered a success story in so many ways. But it's a story that would not have been possible without the leadership, tenacity, and foresight of Cullimore and Seghini. It's for these reasons, and many more, that it's the honor of the Canyons Board of Education to award the 2017 Legacy Award to Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini and Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore.
External Affairs Director Charlie Evans 2017 Apex Award winner for the Legacy Award
There are a few key moments from world history highlighted on the wall of Charlie Evans' office: a view of the earth from Apollo 13, a view of soldiers heading into the battle of Dunkirk, and an image of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address. To Evans, these are moments of inspiration — moments that required courage and dedication. Those are the same qualities Evans brings to battle day after day on behalf of the students in Canyons District. Through his efforts as Canyons' Director of External Relations, Evans has worked behind the scenes to fight proposed legislation that would have funneled millions away from Canyons' classrooms. He influences policy at the local and regional level, and fosters collaborative relationships with representatives in the Legislature and nearby municipalities. Under his leadership, Canyons District passed a $250 million bond at the height of a Great Recession, launched successful fundraising campaigns through the Canyons Education Foundation, and played an integral part of building Canyons' reputation, even against great odds. Evans has indelibly shaped Canyons District through his commitment to Canyons' various constituencies. For these reasons, and more, the Canyons Board of Education is pleased to present to him the 2017 Legacy Award.
Canyons School District students continue to outperform their Utah peers on most of the SAGE tests, in some areas by as many as 13 percentage points.
It’s an encouraging trend, driven by improved scores on most elementary and middle school tests.
“We continue to reap the dividends of major initiatives undertaken over the years,” said CSD’s Research and Assessment Director Hal Sanderson, Ph.D. “The data reflect the quality and hard work of our teachers, as well as the District’s unwavering focus on research-based instructional practices and the high standards embraced by our Board of Education.”
State SAGE results for the 2016-2017 school year are available for all school districts on the Utah State Board of Education website.
Elementary Schools (3-5) In elementary schools, Canyons is well above the state average in all subject areas. The following shows the percentage of elementary students who tested proficient in 2016-2017:
English: CSD (59 percent), state (46 percent) Math: CSD (62 percent), state (51 percent) Science: CSD (58 percent), state (49 percent)
Middle Schools (6-8) In middle schools, Canyons is well above the state average in all subject areas. The following shows the percentage of middle school students who tested proficient in 2016-2017:
English: CSD (53 percent), state (44 percent) Math: CSD (49 percent), state (44 percent) Science: CSD (62 percent), state (50 percent)
High Schools Canyons District's high school scores for the 2016-2017 school year can’t reliably be compared to the state average, because for the first time, CSD’s 11th graders were not required to take the test. They took the ACT college entrance exam, instead.
Utah students took the state-mandated Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) tests for the first time in spring 2014. The tests were designed to measure more challenging state standards in mathematics, English language arts, and science. The SAGE tests are one of many measurements of student achievement. Other test data also show rising student achievement in Canyons School District.
Sanderson credits a number of initiatives, including: moving sixth-graders from elementary school to middle school where they receive more classroom instruction in core subjects; an effort to move teachers out of their silos to work as teams to monitor student progress; extensive professional development (half of all CSD teachers have a master’s degree); and the implementation of daily brain booster classes in art, physical education and STEM give teachers time to collaborate and hone their lesson plans.
“An ambitious construction plan to upgrade and modernize our schools also likely has played a role,” Sanderson says. “Classrooms built in the sixties and seventies with two electrical outlets are not conducive to the computerized demands of 21st century learning.”
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.
Communications Plan for Bond Election
Communications Director Jeff Haney briefed the Board on a plan to inform Canyons District voters about Canyons District’s proposed $283 million school improvement bond up for a vote in the Nov. 7 general election. The informational push takes advantage of many standing community events planned throughout the District in the months of September and October. Patrons can find information at bond.canyonsdistrict.org.
Progress Report: Board Vision and Mission
CSD’s Research and Assessment Director Hal Sanderson updated the Board on progress toward achieving academic goals set out as part of new vision and mission statements for the District. Canyons District’s schools and students are outperforming their peers in neighboring school districts and are incrementally making progress in reaching the achievement goals established by the Board. In some areas, however, progress is so pronounced that the Board discussed possibly raising the bar even higher. Sanderson stressed the importance of focusing on trends as opposed to small one-year dips or spikes in performance. The Board will review operational goals at a future meeting.
Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence
A troop of Cub Scouts who attend Ridgecrest Elementary led the Board and audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Ridgecrest Principal Julie Winfree delivered the reverence. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, said Winfree, because on Friday, Sept 8, Ridgecrest celebrates its 50th anniversary. At 50 years of age, the school is 631 students strong with a robust PTA and SCC. Among its special programs, the school boasts a Mandarin Chinese-English Dual-Language Immersion program, a jump rope team, chess club, and the Ridgecrest Marathon Runners. Principal Winfree invited the Board to the school’s birthday celebration, which kicks off at 5 p.m. with games, food trucks, birthday cake and a reveal of the school’s new logo.
The Board approved the consent agenda, including minutes from the Aug. 22 meeting of the Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; and student overnight travel plans.
Leslie Johnson, a parent of a Jordan High student spoke in favor of a request on the consent agenda to move a Jordan High sporting event from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16.
Kellie Simmons believes there’s broad support for the proposed 2017 school improvement bond, but voiced concern about rumors circulating about some of the projects.
Canyons Education Association President Erika Bradshaw introduced several of her colleagues who, as a group, stood to thank the Board for their support. “Our working environment is our students’ learning environment, so we appreciate your willingness to hear our voices and support teachers,” she said.
The Board recognized two groups of student athletes and the Canyons District Transportation team.
• Brighton High tennis champion Redd Owen: Redd Owen is an example of the power of perseverance. He lost his first set at the 5A boys tennis state tournament in May, but the Brighton freshman turned it around, took the second set, and then just kept going. He pulled off 11 straight wins and found himself in the championship match against a formidable opponent from Lone Peak. Owen didn’t hesitate — he kept his rival scrambling on the court until he sealed his fate. Owen won 6-3, 6-4.
• Corner Canyon’s championship girls golf team: The success of Corner Canyon’s girls golf team continues to rise as it claimed a second title as 4A state champions at a tournament in May. The Chargers made their school proud by capturing its second state title in the school’s 4-year history with a winning score of 658, beating their competition, rival Alta, by 17 points.
• CSD’s Transportation Department: Canyons’ Transportation Department has a gold-standard when it comes to safety. After an extensive check, the Utah Highway Patrol gave Canyons’ 164 buses a Safety Gold Medal once hazard lights, windshield wipers, defrosters, headlights and exit doors were found to be working properly. The accomplishment is no small feat as Transportation technicians are tasked with maintaining the fleet and making sure that bus brake-pads, tire treads, coolant lines and exhaust pipes — to name a few —are in tip top shape.
Approval of CAB-West property sale
The Board of Education unanimously approved the sale of District property at 9150 S. 500 West. The property was listed on the open market. The highest offer received was from Synergy Development, located in Park City, for $9.6 million. Synergy has a 120-day due diligence period prior to closure, which could occur as soon as December. Under the purchase agreement, CSD may rent the building and maintenance compound for up to 18 months, if need be. The administration is reviewing cost-neutral options to relocate the CSD departments housed at CAB-West. Synergy plans to work with Sandy City in constructing a industrial complex. Depending on the scope, the project could generate up to $500,000 in ongoing property tax revenue for CSD. Up to 700 jobs could be created.
Board Chairman Sherril Taylor recognized Makayla Hopkins who is leaving her intern post in CSD’s External Affairs Department to pursue a college degree at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He wished her well with her future endeavors and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe remarked on the passing of Hillcrest Coach Cazzie Brown and said it was gratifying seeing students from throughout the valley come together to celebrate Coach Brown’s contributions and life. The students really drove the remembrance events, he said, which is a testament to their spirit and the lasting influence of Coach Brown. Dr. Briscoe commended the Board for establishing high standards for theDistrict and for holding schools accountable for attaining them. In closing, he remarked how excited he is to see the enthusiasm at CSD’s back-to-school events. He also spoke to dispel rumors about the 2017 school improvement bond, stressing there are no plans to build a swimming pool at any of CSD’s high schools.
Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said the 2017 bond proposal was warmly received by the Sandy City Council. He and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards presented information earlier in the night to the City Council.
Board President Sherril Taylor voiced appreciation for Coach Cazzie Brown and his enduring legacy. Even though he was with us for a short time, he left a huge impact, Taylor said. He also thanked teachers and administrators for a near-flawless start to the school year, which doesn’t happen by accident. Finally, he thanked administrators and Board members for all they do to support CSD’s schools and youth within the District.
Mrs. Nancy Tingey expressed condolences to Coach Cazzie Brown’s family. She attended back-to-school events at Park Lane and Brookwood and couldn’t help but imagine how much learning and development will take place by the end of the school year. She also participated in Kindergarten College-Ready Day at Brookwood to see the Class of 2030 take the college-ready pledge.
Amber Shill said she was able to attend the red-carpet back-to-school events at Butler Elementary and Butler Middle schools. She remarked on how Butler’s new Principal Jeff Nalwalker already knew many of the students, because he spent the summer hosting open houses where kids could come get popsicles and eyeglasses for safely enjoying the solar eclipse. As the Finance Committee Chair for the Utah High School Activities Association, she encouraged patrons to check the UHSAA website for information on budget hearings and meeting minutes. She also was elected to serve on the Realignment Committee. She concluded that her heart goes out to Cazzie Brown’s family and the Hillcrest community.
Clareen Arnold thanked the administration, schools and parents for making the first day of school positive and inspiring, remarking on all the preparation that goes into CSD’s red-carpet welcomes and Kindergarten College-Readiness Day.
Chad Iverson said he’s been able to attend a few soccer matches and cross country meets. He thanked coaches for the huge impact they have on young people, specifically mentioning the far-reaching influence of Coach Cazzie Brown. He thanked the administration for taking time to update the Board on academic measures and emphasized the importance of ACT scores as an indicator of college- and career-readiness. Colleges and universities don’t ask for SAGE scores on college applications, they ask about the ACT. He urges Utah lawmakers and the Utah State Board of Education to reevaluate SAGE.
Mont Millerberg also remarked on feeling a spirit of excitement within the District and said he’s eager to see momentum continue with the proposed bond measure. Underscoring the need for the bond, he said, are the unbearably high temperatures in the classrooms at Union Middle and Midvalley Elementary. He attended the first day of kindergarten at East Midvale and Midvale elementary schools, which he said, is more fun than it should be. He concluded by expressing condolences to Coach Cazzie Brown’s family, noting that his loss was a big blow to the community.
Steve Wrigley said he appreciated being able to spend time at White City Days sharing information about the proposed 2017 school-improvement bond. He had a chance to celebrate the new buddy bench at Willow Canyon Elementary. He also attended Coach Brown’s celebration of life at Hillcrest High, and noted the profound influence he had.
Since its inception in 2009, Canyons District has been unwavering in its support of innovation in the classroom.
With rapid advances in technology, the sky’s the limit, but it takes an innovative teacher to put technology to effective use, says Canyons Education Foundation Director Laura Barlow. “With their training and boots-on-the-ground perspective, teachers know what works and doesn’t work to help students succeed. The seeds of innovation start with them.”
Such was the impetus behind the Foundation’s Innovation grants, which are awarded each year to fuel teachers’ winning ideas for enhancing classroom instruction. Applications for the 2017-2018 round of grants are being accepted now through 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.
All CSD educators are eligible to apply. Applications can be accessed on the Foundation’s website for grants ranging in size between $1,000 and $10,000. Winners will be announced in November.
Barlow says, the awards will be based on the educational merit of the projects that teachers propose. She encourages teachers to be specific about how their project would improve learning outcomes or the learning environment for students.
Last year, the Foundation competitively awarded $100,000 in grants to 12 teachers. The grants brought 3D printing to Royce Shelley’s calculus class at Corner Canyon High, and have enabled Matty Barth’s students to communicate in Spanish with pen pals from around the world.
Two years ago, generous donors made it possible for a Jordan High mathematics teacher to create an after-school “makers” club where students could build the skills they need to realize their dreams of creating liquid superconductors and sending satellites into space. The club morphed into a yearly class, which, when infused with a second Canyons Foundation Innovation Grant, was able to field the Beetdigger’s first robotics team—now, the reigning regional champs.
“We’ve tried for a long time to start FIRST Robotics team, but we didn’t have the funding,” says the team’s advisor Cameo Lutz. “In past years, some of our brightest students have had to compete for neighboring teams.”
For Jordan to win the 2017 Utah FIRST Regional Robotics competition its inaugural year is almost unprecedented, says Lutz. In just two years, her students went from a rag-tag group of rookie tinkerers to the No. 1 robotics team in the region. They outwitted 48 teams from seven states and Canada, most of whom have years of experience and access to hundreds-of-thousands in funding.
“Jordan High’s victory is a perfect example of how money goes from a donor to the Foundation to the teacher to make a measurable difference for students,” says Barlow.