Hear ye! Hear ye! The townspeople of the fair district of Canyons are invited forthwith to Hillcrest High’s annual Renaissance Feaste and Program.
The event, which features Hillcrest’s choral music and theater departments, is Feb. 12-15, 2014. Doors to the “Lovers’ Feaste” open each night at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.  Seating is limited to 250 people per night.
Cost for the Wednesday evening performance and five-course dinner is $12.   Tickets to other nights — Thursday through Saturday — are $16.  True to the fashion of the renaissance era, guests will eat the meal without the aid of utensils.
The dinner of hot wassail, soup, salad, potatoes, chicken and a fruit tart dessert will be served by Hillcrest students and supportive parents dressed in Renaissance garb. RaNae Dalgleish, the choir and orchestra director who makes an appearance in a not-to-be-missed Queen Elizabeth costume, says the auditorium stage will be transformed over the weekend into a grand Renaissance castle.
“The people who come, they are so surprised when they go and feel like they are back in another time,” Dalgleish says. “It’s a fun night that you can just let go of the world and put yourself in another place.”
The “royalty” of the evening — the vocal ensemble students — will take part in a colorful and dramatic procession. Then, the lords and ladies will serenade the guests with several musical selections. A string quartet also will provide music to attendees, and a special 15-minute version of “Hamlet” will be performed.
Students started working on the production before the holiday break.  They’ve spent countless hours perfecting their songs, characters, costumes — and the menu.  Many students even earned their food-handler permits in order to participate in the event.
“There is a spirit of camaraderie and teamwork,” Dalgleish says. “Everyone has a part.  Everyone has something they can do.”
Parent Karen Conder has helped with the event for several years, and she says the students enjoy putting on the feaste as much as guests enjoy attending.  It’s her second son’s final year being involved, she said, “and it’s been a lot of fun” for the whole family.  What’s been most notable for her, she said, is that students of all talents, interests and abilities are invited to participate and learn from the activity.
Hillcrest’s Renaissance Feaste has been a community draw for more than 20 years.
“There are so many kids who have grown up with the tradition.  Their siblings have done it, and they want to do it,” says Dalgleish. “The thing I love is that the kids get to taste, feel, and experience the Renaissance in a way they couldn’t by just singing in the hall.  It comes alive for them.”
For tickets, contact a Hillcrest choir student or call the Main Office at 801-826-6000.  Tickets must be purchased or reserved in advance.
Thursday, 06 February 2014 18:51

Alta High Snowboarder Among Country's Best

As the world’s attention turns toward the golden dreams of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Canyons District’s eyes are on a student who is riding and sliding full speed toward national recognition as one of the country’s best young snowboarders.
When Terrell Cooper started snowboarding nine years ago, he didn’t expect to someday become one of the best riders in the world for his age.
For one thing, he got a late start in the sport, compared to the kids he would one day compete against. Cooper, a 17-year-old junior at Alta High, started when he was about 8 years old, but a lot of serious snowboarders start as soon as they can walk.
By the time Cooper made it onto a snowboard, his friends were already faster — and more experienced.
“All of my friends were snowboarders and I was the worst in my group,” Cooper says now, as the ranking third-place champion of the 2013 Junior Freeride World Championships. “They’d always leave me, so that made me want to get better.”
Cooper started snowboarding on his own, and he did get better. Three years ago he joined Team Utah, a snowboarding club that helps amateur riders make the transition to competitive riding.  And he’s been rocketing skyward ever since.
“I think it’s not easy,” Cooper says of his lifestyle now — working out at the gym for two hours every day and each year competing in up to 20 competitions over the course of just a few months. “It’s not like a normal job where you go to work and you can come home and hang out with friends … That is something I have to give up.”
Cooper does make time to keep up with his schoolwork, however. He attends class at Alta for two semesters every year, then withdraws from the school in the winter and takes classes online while he travels from competition to competition. So far, Cooper is ahead of where he should be, garnering enough credits to be able to graduate early next year.
He might not have started as a prodigy, but Cooper’s committed now to becoming a professional snowboarder by the time he turns 19. Then, when he competes in the world championships, he plans to be standing in first place.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 21:39

American Idol: Charger Takes Her Shot

Kenzie Hall has gone from the "Alta Idol" stage at her Canyons District high school to the American Idol stage in Hollywood. 

The Corner Canyon High School junior dazzled a star-studded panel of judges to secure a coveted golden ticket on the popular reality TV show, known for discovering superstars Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, and fellow Utahn David Archuleta. On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, Kenzie will begin appearances on the infamous "Hollywood Week" American Idol rounds, where she will compete against other talented amateur vocalists from across the country. There, judges will whittle the field for the live program, where viewers vote for their favorite singers and the next American Idol.  

"This is a complete surprise," Kenzie's mother, Dawn Hall, said of her daughter's advancement to Hollywood Week. "I was thinking American Idol would be a good experience. The experience keeps going, and it's been so much fun. I'm so proud of her."


Not a bad showing for a student who hit the stage for the very first time just one year ago. Kenzie debuted her easy guitar-strumming and bluesy tones when she sang The Beatles' "Oh Darling" at the Alta Idol competition in Feburary 2013. Kenzie won the contest, and her star has been rising since. 

Kenzie went on to clinch a Draper City vocal contest. Local talent scouts started calling shortly afterward. The Draper teen, who started her junior year at the new Corner Canyon High School in Canyons School District, since has performed at venues including "Rock the Block" in Rexburg, Idaho, and the Radioactive Fest, where she opened for Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons fame.

Last summer, Kenzie auditioned for the 13th season of American Idol before star judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., who came to Salt Lake City in their national search for the next recording sensation. She wowed the judges with her accoustic-guitar infused version of John Mayer's "I'm Going to Find another You."

"You've got everything going on," Lopez said. "She's one of my faves," she added as Kenzie dashed from the room to show her family her ticket to Hollywood.

Hollywood Week airs Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 5 and 6, at 7 p.m. on KSTU Fox13.

"My goal is to make it as far as I can," Kenzie told Fox13 reporter and weekend anchor Annie Cutler, "and be happy with my performances and be happy with myself for how it went."
Board Votes To Save Taxpayers $2.4 Million in Jordan Bond Refinance

The Board approved a resolution to save taxpayers $2.4 million in interest payments by entering an interlocal agreement with the Jordan School District. The agreement allows both districts to refinance the Old Jordan Debt, which resulted from the bond that former Jordan School District voters passed in 2003, prior to Canyons' creation. The Jordan Board is expected to meet later this month to vote on the proposed agreement. In approving the agreement, Cowdell called on Jordan District to stop supporting legislation aimed at taking more money from CSD taxpayers when CSD taxpayers already are repaying 58 percent of the old bond without realizing its benefits.

To view the resolution or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7B.

Brighton Soccer Field Proposed

The Board discussed the possibility of creating a soccer for Brighton High School in place of a planned extra parking lot next to Butler Middle School. The field would provide the city of Cottonwood Heights with precious open space, said Board Member Kim Horiuchi. She also noted the new Butler Middle has more parking than the old school had. Facilities Director Rick Conger said the proposed field would cost $750,000, and that the District would receive a $55,000 credit by halting parking lot plans. Several Board members said the field and green space is needed. Vice President Steve Wrigley noted parking is an issue at Butler. The Board asked to see drawings of the proposed field in the next meeting. Conger also provided the Board with a draft of how Butler Elementary and a White City elementary school might be rebuilt with bond money on their current campuses. He also reviewed state bidding procedures for architects. He noted CSD building design phases include extensive input by school employees, leaders, and parents.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.

Students Achieve Under New Middle School Schedule

Middle school reading scores have skyrocketed this fall, following an emphasis on reading and interdisciplinary teaming in the new middle school model. Winter SRI results were 250 Lexile points above previous years' performance. Last fall, CSD sixth-graders moved into the middle schools, which also implemented a schedule that extended time in English Language Arts and Math instruction based on data indicating that students needed help in those subjects. The schedule provides regularly scheduled intervention and enrichment time for all students, collaborative work groups for educators, and allows students to make choices about electives. Schools also have implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to assist academic achievement efforts.

Mike Sirois, Director of School Performance, thanked the Board for its leadership in creating the middle school model. He noted that while the model is not yet perfected -- challenges include mixed reviews from elective teachers regarding the AB schedule and scheduling reading and math labs – there are many benefits, including hour-long class periods, district supports, and teacher teaming to improve student achievement. He noted the model is garnering attention statewide.

Board Members praised the smooth transition, student achievement results, and improved middle school atmosphere. Wrigley also praised the transition, but questioned whether honors courses were losing rigor and teachers needed more prep time. Green said he hopes the new model encourage more female students to enter STEM fields.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

New SAGE State Tests Demonstrated

Dr. Hal Sanderson, Director of Research and Assessment, demonstrated the state's new SAGE test, which Utah students will take for the first time in April and May. The State test is needed to assess students' understanding of Utah's new standards in math and English language arts. SAGE is a test customized to Utah standards by researchers and Utah parents and teachers. The unique, computerized adaptive test includes multiple choice, writing, and graphing questions, whose difficulty adjusts based on student answers. The test is designed to measure the full range of students' grade-level knowledge and skills, assess all students equally, and give teachers data needed to improve instruction. Dr. Sanderson said his office is preparing trainings for educators and information to go to parents about the state test.

SAGE results will provide a new baseline for test performance. SAGE Results cannot be compared to old CRT test results.

To view the presentation or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7D.

Superintendent Search Update

The Board directed the Superintendent Search Consultants to advertise a salary range for the new superintendent that reflects salaries paid to other Wasatch Front school district superintendents. The salary range of $175,000-$225,000 will be included in job advertisements; actual salary will be negotiated with the successful candidate. Board members noted the range is well within the market rate and is necessary to hiring a strong leader, which is critical when the education of children is at stake.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2C.

Student Advisory Council Work Underway

Members of the Board's Student Advisory Council thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve and hoped for additional opportunities to interact with and provide feedback to Board members. They said the council gives them opportunities to receive feedback from fellow students on how to improve education and share ideas for student fundraising and activities among council members. Addressing the Board were chairwoman and founder Katrina Jones of Alta; Richard Wright of Brighton; Shelby Brey of Hillcrest; and Kaitlyn Larsen of Alta.

To listen to the report, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7C.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Jan. 21, 2014 minutes; Purchasing Bids and the Home School Affidavit. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Brighton Fine Arts and Alta Debate, Girls Golf and Track and Field teams.

The Board approved the fiscal accountability policy, as required by law. The policy provides transparency on how money is raised and spent in the District, and gives schools autonomy in making key decisions while providing support from the District and Canyons School District Education Foundation. The Foundation is expected to vote this week on a memorandum of understanding with the District in regards to the policy.

For more information, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 6.

Patron Comments

Alta View patron Heather Rasmussen said she was drawn into Eastmont Middle School Boundaries, which makes getting to Dual Immersion Spanish at Mount Jordan a challenge. She said she and her neighbors felt slighted the program was not placed at their feeder school. She asked that a bus be provided for her neighborhood to attend the program at Mount Jordan. She estimated 30 Dual Immersion students would take the bus.

Interim Superintendent's Report

Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode and Assistant Superintendent Kathryn McCarrie attended the PTA Reflections contest awards ceremony at Midvale Middle School last week for both elementary and secondary arts categories. She said the students have been very creative in their efforts, be they in visual arts or music, and she wished the winners well in the state contest.

Interim CFO Report

Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox thanked the Board for approving the fiscal accountability policy. He said the State Auditor's Office has indicated it would like to look at all districts' policies statewide. He said he appreciated the Board approving the refinancing of the old Jordan debt, and noted interest rates are moving in the District's favor. He said while it's been a rough few days for Broncos fans, he was pleased to see Hillcrest's Zane Beadles play in the Super Bowl, and noted Beadles graduated with a 3.92 GPA from Hillcrest and earned an engineering degree from the University of Utah.

Board Reports

Board Member Chad Iverson thanked the Student Advisory Council for addressing the Board, and said he hopes the Board can receive council feedback more regularly.

Wrigley attended the CTEC open house and was very impressed by the student hosts and faculty. He noted the students' excitement about their projects. He praised the quality of the seventh-grade science fair projects he viewed at Draper Park Middle. He visited Oakdale Elementary's grant-funded arts program and Quail Hollow Elementary. He thanked CSD students and principals for their outstanding work.

Tingey is representing CSD on the Utah School Boards Association's Joint Legislative Committee, and noted half of the bills before the Legislature are education-related. She said she'll continue work to add CSD's voice to the discussion. She thanked staff for the presentations they prepared for the Board meeting. She said she took the SAGE training tests, joked that she now knows she is not smarter than a fifth-grader, and encouraged other parents to take the SAGE as well. She thanked the Student Advisory Council members for their work, and looks forward to working with them in the future.

Horiuchi attended the Hillcrest school play, "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby," by Charles Dickens. She said the six-hour play, performed in two parts, was a remarkable showcase of Hillcrest talent. She attended the Utah High School Activities Association meeting, and noted classifications realignment is coming up. The realignment process will include a March 26 public meeting regarding the proposed format and procedures for defining the realignment, which would include an examination of population and trends. Another public hearing will be scheduled for fall on the classifications themselves.

Green attended the Lego League state championships at the U., and enjoyed judging robotics design. He was proud that an all-female team won second place at the competition. He recalled how much he enjoyed thermodynamics classes. He also said he hoped to have Beadles visit Hillcrest as an inspirational speaker.

Taylor thanked the Student Advisory Council for their dedication and willingness to serve, and urged everyone to be careful traveling home. He also noted this is National School Counseling Week, and expressed his appreciation for CSD counselors.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:21

Headlines Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014

Around Canyons
Canyons seeks Teacher of the Year award nominations

CTEC students respond to anti-tobacco ads

Hillcrest hoops player Mat Means named DNews Prep of the Week

Football: Brighton's Kaufusi reaffirms BYU intent

Coaches upset Utah colleges pass on athletic talent (CSD students mentioned)

Lunch fiasco laid our for SLC Board

State looks for school lunch payment remedies in response to SLC issue

Lunch fiasco fuels threats to SLC school

Audit highlights school cost-savings efforts

Bill would allow teachers to intervene to prevent suicide

Bus driver drops off Davis special-needs preschooler to empty house

SLC Board discusses audit of West High booster accounts -- behind closed doors

Lawmakers pinpoint $67 million in budget cuts

Longtime State Board member Burningham won't seek re-election

Bomb threat leads to Juab after-school activities cancellation

Riverton ex-teacher takes plea deal in sex abuse case

Students mark 100th anniversary of Star Spangled Banner

Tuition waivers help USU soften missionary student losses

Bill Nye the Science Guy defends evolution in Kentucky debate

Former teacher lives modest life, dies at 94, wills $8.4 million estate to charity

Trib: Taking kids' lunches not cool

Letter: Preschool helps kids learn social skills

Letter: Legislators should visit schools

Letter: Parents to blame in lunch fiasco

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 22:26

CSD Counselors Key In Helping Students Succeed

It can be scary to move from elementary school to middle school.

Just ask Jared Buhanan-Decker, a school counselor at Midvale Middle. Everything from being in a different building to meeting a host of new teachers can be hard for kids. It’s Buhanan-Decker’s job to make it easier.

“Two of the biggest things I’ve found kids are afraid of are lockers and PE,” Buhanan-Decker says. “So we talk about those things and take them head on.”

To help ease students’ sometimes-painful transition out of elementary school, all of the middle schools in Canyons District will be hosting a half-day fifth-grade orientation on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Students who will enter sixth-grade next year will go to their prospective middle schools for the orientation and lunch, and then return to their schools.

Fittingly, as school counselors play a vital role in student success amid such changes, this week, Feb. 3-7, 2014, also marks National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association.

At Midvale Middle, Buhanan-Decker and Principal Frank Schofield also have been working hard to get ready to have parents and students involved with the advanced-learner magnet program, which is called SALTA (Supporting Students Toward Advanced Achievement), come to a special orientation Thursday night. They plan to guide the students through registration, introduce them to the school’s administration and let them know how school counselors can help with problems. But they also will point out all of the things that make middle school a fun and growing experience, with demonstrations from a variety of after-school clubs, teams, dance, choir, theater and band.

“A lot of it is to get them excited to see there are a lot of fun things about being in a middle school,” Buhanan-Decker says.

As school counselors, Buhanan-Decker and his colleagues work with students to give them the support they need to be successful. Counselors help students plan to be college-and career-ready, give them curriculum guidance, provide responsive services and system support — such as coordinating care for students if their basic physical needs are not being met.

National School Counseling Week highlights the positive and preventative impact counselors have on students.

“School counselors are actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents,” the American School Counselor Association says about National School Counseling Week. “Professional school counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.”
No royal decree necessary: Midvale Middle School is the chess king. Midvale's team dominated the competition at the Canyons Middle School Intramurals Chess Tournament on Jan. 25, 2014, where the students scored 40.5 of 42 points. Second-place went to Mount Jordan, with 27.5 points. Draper Park came in third with 25.5 points.

Additionally, Midvale students won five of six Board prizes in Tables 1-5; a Draper Park student won Table 6. They are:

• Table 1: Stephen Yu, 6.5- 0.5
• Table 2: Scott Abbott, 7-0
• Table 3: Justin Dong, 6-1
• Table 4: Wensen Zhang, 7-0
• Table 5: Bryan Guo, 7-0
• Table 6: M. Garcia, 5-2

In addition, students Tom Zhang and Alan Zhao a team posted a 7-0 record on Table 6.

The Chess Tournament is part of Canyons' Middle School Intramurals Program.  The program is aimed at giving young teens competitive athletic and academic events in which everyone is welcome to participate. This year's tournaments include Cross Country, which was held in October; 3-on-3 Basketball and Soccer, which are scheduled for the spring.
Friday, 31 January 2014 14:04

Headlines Friday, Jan. 31, 2014

Around Canyons
Rolly sorts out middle school busing matters

Football: Hillcrest hires former Lehi coach

SLC cafeteria manager on leave after lunches seized from children in debt (Canyons, other district policies examined)
Lunch incident goes viral; here's a link to 331 articles
Population growth, education, air quality top Herbert's State of the State speech
A copy of the speech: http://www.utah.gov/governor/docs/stateofstate/2014StateoftheStateAddress.pdf

North Sanpete looking for a new superintendent

How to protect schools from active shooters?

Layton hosts suicide prevention seminar

Bill seeks to define gender for school bathrooms

School libraries woefully underfunded, educators say

STEM center to gather data on math software pilot

Super Bowl dream comes true for Herriman wrestler

College students riding bus have chance to win iPads

GAO: School sexual abuse reporting plagued by confusion, spotty data 

Letter: Stop idling cars

Get ready, budding scientists. Canyons’ districtwide science fair is just around the corner — and this year it’s bigger than ever.
Some 180 elementary school entries and 200 secondary school entries are expected this year, highlighting a gamut of projects that have historically ranged from determining the biggest popcorn kernel to how to make biofuel out of grass.
At the conclusion of the fair, judges will choose 90 elementary school projects and 40 secondary projects to advance to the regional Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair in March, where students can win up to $80,000 in college scholarships.
A select number of students may also be eligible to advance past the regional fair to participate in the International Science and Engineering Fair. Last year, two Canyons’ students advanced to the International Fair, where the District has been represented every year since Canyons’ creation in 2009.
The District Science Fair for elementary students (fifth- and sixth-graders) is Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 and for secondary students (seventh- through 12th-grades) is Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Both events will take place at Canyons’ Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East.
An open house for the elementary school entries will be Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, from 4-6 p.m. and an open house for entries from grades 7-12 will be Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, from 4-6 p.m.   An awards ceremony will be Thursday, Feb. 20. 
Corner Canyon High is charging into the future with a little piece of Draper’s history.

After humidity started to take its toll on a mural painted in 1938 on a wall in the historic Draper Park School, the Draper Historical Society made arrangements to have the mural removed and restored. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the historical society, Canyons District and the City of Draper, the mural has now been transferred to the newly built Corner Canyon, where it now hangs in the school’s Legacy Room.

“(The mural) stood there for a long time, and it is a special thing to people here in the Draper valley,” Corner Canyon Principal Mary Bailey said. “When (the historical society) realized the mural may be lost, they decided to find a way to save it.”

The historical society recruited restoration specialist Dale Jolley, who paints and restores many murals for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to scrape the paint-on-cheesecloth piece from the wall and repair its damage. The eight- by 16-foot painting was completed in 1939 by artist Paul Smith as part of a Works Progress Administration project.

The mural depicts a scene of Draper’s community members, featuring images taken from photographs and sketches of the day. John Park, a prominent educator who is the namesake of the old Draper Park School, which was built in 1912, is a main feature of the scene.

In order to protect the painting from further damage, the painting has been mounted on an aluminum frame that will allow air to flow behind and in front of the canvas, thus maintaining a stable moisture and temperature level. The painting was created around a doorway in the old Draper Park School, and the restored version maintains the door-shaped hole.

“This is the way it came,” Bailey said of the mural’s unusual shape. “It is one of a kind.”