While the family is enjoying picnics, water slides, holiday fireworks and popsicles on hot summer days, don’t forget to start making back-to-school plans for your 4-year-old kiddos. 

Canyons continues to accept applications for spots in preschool programs in all parts of the District. For the 2018-2019 school year, tuition-based preschool programs will be held at Altara, Bella Vista, Butler, Edgemont, Jordan Valley, Oakdale, Quail Hollow and Willow Springs elementary schools. 

Interested? Click here to see the application.

Canyons preschools follow a curriculum that lines up with the core standards of learning at the kindergarten level. As a result, children who attend preschool programs in CSD schools have the foundation to meet the challenges of kindergarten. Also, students are paired in classrooms with students who require special-education services so they can serve as peers and role models in language and social skills. 

Cost is $100 per month for students attending two days per week and $200 a month for students attending four days. There’s also a one-time $20 registration fee. Availability for the program in the coming academic year is based on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Morning sessions are from 8:20-10:50 a.m. Afternoon sessions are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.  

In addition, free school programs are provided at Title I schools. Students who turn 4 years old before Sept. 1, 2018, and live within the boundaries of Midvale, Copperview, Sandy and East Midvale elementary schools can apply to participate.

A lot of learning happens in preschool — but it’s also a lot of fun. Don’t underestimate the power of play when looking for a preschool for your child, says Terri Mitchell, the Programs Administrator in Canyons District’s Early Childhood Department.

“Playtime is amazingly important. It’s one of the best tools that young children have to grow and develop,” Mitchell told ABC4 anchor Emily Clark on “Good Morning Utah.”  

In fact, Mitchell said, research shows strong links between creative and imaginative play and language, physical, cognitive and social development. “In preschool, they are learning foundational skills. They will learn patterning, and the quantity of numbers,” Mitchell said. “They also have the opportunity to learn socially.  It may be the first time that they are away from mom and dad and grandma and grandpa.”
What a year!  In the past 365 days, Canyons District, which was founded on July 1, 2009, continued its drive to provide a world-class education to the children who attend public school in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta. The 2017-2018 school year — CSD’s ninth academic year — was marked by sky-high achievements, including state-title victories by all five of CSD’s five traditional high schools, the passage of a $283 million bond to build and improve schools, the naming of National Merit Scholars and Sterling Scholars, and an estimated $32 million in scholarship offers for the 2,830 graduates in the Class of 2018.  But that’s just a small-piece-of-cake taste of all that was achieved by CSD students, faculty, staff and supporters. Here’s a look at some of the major achievements of CSD since its last founding-day anniversary: 
  • Nearly 59 percent of voters give approval to CSD is issue up to $283 million in general-obligation bonds to build and improve schools.
  • The newly rebuilt Alta View Elementary welcomed students for first time.
  • Crews near completion of renovation of Indian Hills Middle, the 13th and final project promised to voters at passage of the 2010 $250 million bond.   
  • CSD maintained  a AAA bond rating, resulting in savings to taxpayers
  • Seventy-eight percent of CSD elementary and middle schools received school-grade scores of an A or B, an increase of five percentage points over 2016. The number of elementary and middle schools to earn Cs and Ds fell by six percentage points. 
  • Eighty-three percent of CSD elementary schools and 75 percent of middle schools in CSD were above state average, according to PACE.  Sixty-six percent of elementary schools and 63 percent of middle schools showed higher growth than schools averaged statewide. 
  • Four CSD high schools were recognized for the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses. Brighton High ranked No. 8 out of all Utah high schools for the number of students who take and pass the tests. On the list of the Utah high schools with the highest AP participation rates, Corner Canyon ranked No. 5, Hillcrest No. 8 and Alta No. 10.
  • For the eighth year, CSD received the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association for School Business Officials International and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. 
  • The Canyons Education Foundation delivered some $104,000 to 16 teachers to fund innovative classroom projects.
  • Edgemont and Midvalley elementary schools celebrated 60th anniversaries.
  • Albion Middle’s Sandy LeCheminant is named Utah Assistant Principal of the Year.
  • Alta High's Rique Ochoa named Utah History Teacher of the Year.
  • Alta and Hillcrest musicans perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. 
  • Canyons Education Foundation awards $11,000 in student scholarships at annual Spring Gala.
  • Three CSD students won categories at 56th annual Sterling Scholar competition. 
  • Two Hillcrest students and one Corner Canyon high school student earn National Merit Scholar status. Fourteen students from all five of CSD’s traditional high schools were named semifinalists.
  • CSD student athletes individual and team state championships in cross country, girls tennis, boys tennis, wrestling, girls track and field, swimming, boys soccer, baseball, theater and girls golf. 
  • Hillcrest’s production of “Les Miserables” wins Best Musical at the Utah High School Musical Theater Competition.
  • Groundbreaking events were held to mark start of work on rebuild of Hillcrest High and major renovation at Alta High. Work on a new Brighton High also has started.   
The bright lights of Broadway beckoned to Bennett Chew. The Hillcrest High graduate last week traveled to the Great White Way to learn from the singing and dancing superstars of the stage. 

Chew earned the right to attend the National High School Musical Theater Awards — and to be considered for a Jimmy Award, the student equivalent of a Tony Award — by winning the Best Actor category at the 8th annual Utah High School Musical Theater Awards in May at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake. 

The University of Utah-bound student, who starred as Jean Valjean in Hillcrest’s “Les Miserables,” which also won the state’s award for Best Musical and Best Scenic Design, spent nine days being coached by industry professionals. Jimmy winners were then picked by a panel of judges.    

Although Chew didn’t walk away with a Jimmy, his final year as a Husky theater kid was full of honors. Not only did Hillcrest earn the top honor at the state musical-theater contest, the Hillcrest drama students won first place at the Utah High School Activities Association’s 6A drama competition and the sweepstakes award at the Utah High School Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. 

Winning all three honors in one year — the "triple crown" of Utah prep theater — has been done once before. Led by teacher Josh Long, Hillcrest captured all three awards in 2011-2012, when the school’s production of “Aida” earned the Best Musical honor and a national award for its star, Malia Morley. 

“Our students work really, really hard,” says Long, who has directed 50 shows since starting at Hillcrest in 2009. “And they very passionate about what they do. It is great to see them be rewarded for that.” 

Gloria Swenson, who served as president of the school’s theater group, says being in leadership for her senior year, especially in a time full of buzz, applause and recognition, has been “one of the coolest things I have ever got to do … I feel very honored.” 

Swenson recalls with a smile the final performance of “Les Miserables,” which sold out every night of the show’s Nov. 16-20 run. Folks wanted to see the show so badly they were willing to pay for entrance without guarantee of a seat. “I remember the last night,” she said, “and seeing people standing in the back.” 

Three years ago, Gabriel Aina thought his high school goals would be met on the soccer field. Instead, he found his voice on the stage. Without hesitation, Aina, whose favorite production at Hillcrest was “Hamlet,” attributes the school’s success in theater to Long’s teaching style. 

“He isn’t willing to let us drop the ball,” he says. “He teaches us that we can do hard things in life.” One of those hard things, Aina said, was learning to sing in front of a crowd, which he says he “rather dislikes” doing, even though his role as Marius in “Les Miserable” was vocally demanding.

Sterling Larsen lives in the boundaries of another high school but decided to enroll at Hillcrest to be involved in the theater program. Larsen, who was accepted to Brigham Young University, has been in nearly a dozen shows while studying at the Midvale school.  “If I had not done theater,” he says, “I would be a completely different person today.”
The Canyons Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year: 
  • Colleen Smith, currently the Principal at Sprucewood Elementary, has been hired as a CSD Responsive Services Program Administrator. 
  • Lori Reynolds, currently an Achievement Coach at East Sandy Elementary, has been hired as Principal at Sprucewood Elementary. She replaces Smith.
  • Sara Allen, currently an Achievement Coach at Midvale Middle, will be an Assistant Principal at Butler Middle. She replaces Kip Carlsen, who has accepted a position in the Granite School District. 
For Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt, the sight of a row of golden-tipped shovels on the school’s soccer field on Thursday was monumental.

The shovels marked the beginning of a three-year project, made possible by a $283 million bond approved by voters in November that will result in a new building to replace the current, 55-year-old structure. But the implements also reminded Leavitt of the importance of the hard work that goes into gaining an education.

“These shovels are signs of cultivation,” Leavitt said, "not of money, but of hearts and minds, of generations to come. The culture you’ve built here isn’t in the bricks and the desks, it’s in the community.”

A crowd of Hillcrest students, parents, and educators gathered at the school to celebrate the old building and mark the beginning of the new project. Also in attendance were members of the Canyons Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, other District administrators, Midvale Mayor Robert Hale, members of the Midvale city council, Utah State Board of Education member Kathleen Riebe, Sen. Brian Zehnder, R-Cottonwood Heights, and Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy. A group of alumni from the class of 1968, honored guests, including Board member and Husky alumni Mont Millerberg, in lifting the symbolic shovels to mark the beginning of the project.

“So many people have such great memories of going to school here, myself included,” Millerberg said. “We’re thrilled to be able to build a new school so the next generation of students can build memories here, too.”

A committee of Hillcrest administrators and District administrators is working with FFKR Architects and Westland Construction to create a new Hillcrest that will meet the demands of a 21st century education without sacrificing elements of the old building that are rooted in tradition, such as the inlaid “H” in the school’s atrium, and the DelMar Schick Stadium. The new school will have a new field house and performing arts complex, a commons area, emphasis on open spaces illuminated by natural light and collaborative spaces for students to gather and create new traditions.

Hillcrest is among the first of several improvement projects to be completed in with funds from the 2017 bond, including new campuses at Union Middle, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementary school and Brighton High and other locations. Alta will be remodeled extensively. Celebrations for the beginning of that project will take place at the school on June 7 at 5:30 p.m.

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