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Canyons District is hosting two Open Houses in Hillcrest’s cafeteria to introduce the new head Husky to the community.

Greg Leavitt, the current Draper Park Middle Principal who is taking the Hillcrest reins next year, also wants to hear from students, parents, teachers and community supporters about their ideas to continue Hillcrest’s tradition of excellence.

The Open Houses will be:
  • Monday, April 27, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 29, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Leavitt is replacing Sue Malone, who is retiring after serving for more than three decades in schools.
“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend's life also, in our own, to the world.” — Henry David Thoreau

Scholarships at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools are being established to honor the late Dr. Paul Kirby, the Hillcrest High Assistant Principal who passed away April 17, 2015.

The plan is to give annual scholarship in Dr. Kirby’s name to one Hillcrest student who excels in performing arts and one Brighton student who is a standout in world languages. Dr. Kirby, who was the 2011 Utah Assistant Principal of the Year, was a Bengal for a decade and a Husky since 2010.

The Canyons Education Foundation is accepting donations to these scholarships.

Hillcrest choirs are set to perform special songs at Dr. Kirby’s funeral service, scheduled for noon on Saturday, April 25 at the Murray Stake Center, 1830 E. 6400 South. Visitation for friends and family will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Internment will be in the Logan City Cemetery.

Dr. Kirby will be remembered by generations of students who were touched by his dedication to education and positive approaches to student behavior. 

“Dr. Paul Kirby was a vital part of the administrative team at Hillcrest High.  He had a special spirit, kind soul, and a deep love for the students who he greeted every day in the hallways,” said Principal Sue Malone. “Not only was Paul a consummate leader and a dependable colleague, he was a close and loyal friend. I will miss him tremendously. Hillcrest simply won’t be the same without him.”

Dr. Kirby has been an educator since 1993, when he was hired as a Spanish teacher at Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City and Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School in Salt Lake City. He joined the Judge Memorial faculty as a Spanish teacher in 1994 and moved to Copper Hills High School in 1995 where he also assumed the role as Foreign Languages Department Chair. In 1999, he became the Assistant Principal at West Jordan High, and was transferred a year later to Brighton High. He was an ardent supporter of the Bengals for 10 years before beginning his assignment in 2010 as an Assistant Principal of Hillcrest High. Dr. Kirby, who also has worked as an adjunct Spanish instructor at Utah State University and Salt Lake Community College, embraced his new role as one of the Huskies’ biggest cheerleaders and bridge-builder to the Hispanic community that surrounds the Midvale-area school.

“Dr. Kirby was one of the most caring educators with whom I have had the pleasure of associating,” said Dr. Robert Dowdle, Canyons District’s Assistant Superintendent of School Performance, who worked with Dr. Kirby while both were Assistant Principals at Brighton High. 

“With students, he was uniquely patient and always encouraged them to reach for their highest potential. With parents, he was understanding and empathic, and always sought workable solutions to challenges. With faculty and staff, he was fun, funny and trusted to be fair and straightforward,” Dr. Dowdle said. “On a professional level, we will miss his skills and talents in our schools. On a personal level, I’ll miss everything about him. He was a friend and a colleague, and I’m a better person for having known him.” 

Dr. Kirby was a well-known and respected scholar in foreign-language instruction and Spanish language and literature. He studied Spanish and medieval literature at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain, earned his first of two master’s degrees in Spanish Language and Medieval Literature from the University of Utah, and in 2012, as he received his Ph.D. from Utah State University, he was lauded for the high quality of the qualitative research in his doctoral dissertation, “Research into the Utility of Standards in Foreign Language Instruction.”

Across the District, extra counseling services are being provided to students and teachers who may need additional support in the grieving process.

“Indeed, it’s a sad day in Canyons District,” said Sherril H. Taylor, President of the Canyons Board of Education.  “The whole community is mourning the loss of Dr. Kirby, who is known throughout the Salt Lake Valley as a caring and dedicated educator and leader. While our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time, we also express our appreciation for Dr. Kirby’s years of service in our schools. His positive influence has been felt for more than two decades, and I believe it will continue to be felt for generations to come.”

Thursday, 16 April 2015 18:21

Headlines Thursday, April 16, 2015

Around Canyons
CTEC student inspires with the 'beauty of giving'

Ridgecrest Principal Mattson surprised with KSL Teacher Feature award, prizes

Brighton's Dani Barton named 5A All-State Defensive MVP; Bengals, Hawks named to All-State team

Note: Mp3s and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs and by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Student Achievement Growth Presented

Students, particularly in middle schools, showed gains in math performance districtwide between the 2009-2010 and the 2013-2014 school years. The academic achievement report was a continuation of an English Language Arts performance report delivered in March by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and Directors of Evidence-Based Learning Amber Roderick-Landward and Dr. Hollie Pettersson.  

The rate of elementary math growth compared to state averages on state tests increased by 1 percentage point to 3 percent above state averages, while comparison districts’ growth remained stagnant or decreased. Middle school math inched up 2 percentage points to 6 percent above state averages, outpacing growth of all other comparison school districts. High school math also went from mirroring state averages to 2 percent above state averages, outpacing the growth rate of comparison school districts. During the same time period, the District implemented the new Utah Core, extensive professional development and coaching, and math endorsements offered to teachers in partnership with Southern Utah University.

In science, elementary scores grew by 1 percentage point to 5 percent above state averages, which is the same or greater growth patterns than those posted by comparison districts. Middle school science scores grew by 4 percentage points to 8 percent above state averages, outpacing comparison school districts. High school science growth dropped 9 percentage points. Dr. Pettersson noted that there has been a shift to rigor in CSD, with students now taking more rigorous lab sciences, including a 94 percent increase in the number of students taking physics. She noted additional supports and professional development is needed for high school science teachers.

Indeed, research shows that highly effective make a difference in a child’s academic success. Dr. McCarrie showed a distribution of student growth across CSD teachers, and demonstrated that while some students are achieving high scores, they are not necessarily showing additional growth year to year. She said the data illustrates work the District has to do to boost teachers and student achievement.

Board Vice President Steve Wrigley said he would like a presentation on how the data fits into the Districts’ academic framework and budget. Second Vice President Nancy Tingey said every child can achieve, and every teacher can be highly effective. She thanked the team for presenting the data.

New Leaders Introduced

Several CSD administrators promoted to leadership roles were introduced to the Board. They are:

·         Sandra Dahl-Houlihan, District Administrator of Evaluation and Leadership

·         Floyd Stensrud, CSD Director of Planning and Enrollment

·         Greg Leavitt, Hillcrest High Principal

·         Kelly Tauteoli, Union Middle School Principal

·         Wendy Dau, Midvale Middle Principal

·         Doug Graham, Indian Hills Middle School Principal

·         Halley Nelson, Indian Hills Assistant Principal

·         Kip Carlsen, Midvale Middle School Assistant Principal

·         Brandon Moore, Eastmont Middle School Assistant Principal

·         BJ Weller, Canyon View Elementary Principal

·         Mindy Robison, Crescent Elementary Principal

·         Julie Winfree, Ridgecrest Elementary Principal

·         Chip Watts, Midvale Elementary Principal

·         Jeri Rigby, Midvale Elementary Assistant Principal

·         Deidre Walbeck, Copperview Elementary Assistant Principal                      

·         Tracy Stacy, Lone Peak Elementary Principal

·         Justin Jeffery, Park Lane Elementary Principal

·         Laurie Steed, East Midvale Elementary Assistant Principal

AVID Coming to Eastmont Middle in 2015-2016

Next school year, Eastmont Middle School will become CSD’s third school — joining Jordan High and Mount Jordan Middle School — to implement Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) schoolwide.  AVID provides students with extensive support, and teaches them how to organize, study, collaborate, and become successful learners. The program also holds them accountable for achieving high standards, and in turn helps schools close achievement gaps by preparing all students for college and success in a global society. School Performance Director Mike Sirois said AVID prepares students for college and careers by teaching them to manage time, think critically, problem-solve – the soft skills that are in high demand by employers.  

AVID aims to turn around low expectations, and give all students, with a focus on underserved populations and first-generation college students, the skills, determination and access to higher education, Dr. Pettersson said. Mount Jordan Principal Dr. Molly Hart said AVID instructional strategies are infused in every class due to extensive teacher training and support, and that 150 students take the  AVID elective. She said it has revamped the school’s culture.

Jordan High Principal Tom Sherwood said AVID  gives students support and skills they need to be successful, then encourages them to take rigorous courses, helps them fill out college applications and access financial aid.  About 200 Jordan High students take the AVID elective, which also helps prevent students from dropping out. Jordan alumna Aidet Reyes Guiterrez testified that as a result of AVID, she is a first-generation college student at Salt Lake Community College.

Eastmont Principal Stacy Kurtzhals said teachers have been asking for a way to help students develop organization and study skills. She said that with AVID, teachers already are seeing results in student engagement, study skills and achievement.  Students also take field trips to college campuses.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes Minutes from the March 10 Study Session and the March 17 and March 31 Board Meetings; Purchasing Bids; and LAND Trust Amendments. The Board also approved student overnight travel for CSD HOSA, FCCLA and FBLA; Alta, Jordan, and Hillcrest TSA; Brighton Boys Basketball and Drill Team; Corner Canyon Drill Team; and Hillcrest Cheer and Song Squad. 

The Board discussed next year’s meeting schedule, including a possible June 23 work session to meet and discuss vision, ideas and goals.

NSBA Convention Report

Board Members, General Counsel Dan Harper and CFO Leon Wilcox attended the National School Boards Association Convention. Harper attended workshops addressing legal issues including transgendered student issues and anti-discrimination laws. Robert Green attended sessions on emergency preparedness sessions and women in STEM classes. Amber Shill attended a new board member boot camp, which included basics of financial oversight, community leadership, social media and STEM opportunities for girls. Tingey enjoyed keynote speaker, TV anchor and journalist Jane Pauley, who said that we must teach the students we have, not those we used to have or wish we had. She noted equity is a main consideration in closing the achievement gap. She also attended a workshop about creativity and academics, student engagement, and new approaches to accountability for content not linked to standardized testing. Wrigley attended workshops regarding challenges in keeping pace with workforce trends, and the importance of a Board strategic plan. Leon enjoyed Pauley’s comments that attendees can find inspiration everywhere.

Comprehensive Guidance Review Results

All secondary schools passed their state comprehensive guidance reviews, reported Student Services Director Tamra Baker and Comprehensive Guidance Coordinator Tori Gillett. Gillett highlighted program initiatives, including Alta High’s work to encourage first-generation college students; Brighton High’s PAWS program supporting credit-deficient students toward graduation; Draper Park Middle’s Career Scavenger Hunt and College Night;  Midvale Middle’s work to take all eighth-graders to college campuses on field trips; and efforts at Jordan High to better engage, then reward, ninth-graders for their efforts. Baker invited the Board to the counselors’ data “Share Out” May 21 from 8-10:30 a.m. in the Board Room.

Fee Schedule Proposed

As part of an annual review of secondary student fees, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Dowdle proposed raising the high school activity fees by $5 and parking permit fees by $5, which is supported by the Student Advisory Council. He also suggested raising the maximum allowable fees for cheer and song leaders from $500 to $600. Board President Sherril Taylor expressed concern that students may be limited in their ability to participate with additional fees, particularly those whose income is just above fee waiver qualification levels. Dr. Dowdle said the concern is valid. He said student clubs and groups engage in fundraising to offset costs for students who need assistance and that parents can request to make payments. Wilcox said that student activity fees were last raised three years ago, from $35 to $45; cheer and parking fees have been the same since the District’s inception. Wilcox said the increase would help offset inflation. The Board will discuss the proposal in a future meeting.

Patron Comments

Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, reported to the Board about the legislative session. He noted that lawmakers funded education growth and a 4 percent increase in the weighted pupil unit (WPU), the state’s basic per-student funding formula; passed equalization, which he supported to help students elsewhere in Utah. He said he did not support increasing math requirements for students wanting to go to college because he prefers local control and doesn’t offering different diplomas. He also talked about the anti-discrimination bill, which he supported. He said he will be a member of the Education Interim Committee, and said he is here to serve the Board with its needs. He said he’s also interested in intergenerational poverty, most of which has to do with education.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe attended an education technology conference and noted two of the four major awards handed out there went to CSD employees. He gave a shout out to the education technology specialists in CSD. He and Tingey and Dr. McCarrie attended the Jordan Valley musical, and said he was inspired and proud of the students for their accomplishments.

CFO’s Report

The District issued final $42 million of the $250 million voter-approved bonds at a low interest rate. He also noted the groundbreaking and open house at Butler Elementary beginning at 5 p.m. April 22.

Board Reports

Shill announced the Butler Elementary groundbreaking  is April 22, starting with a 5 p.m. reception, a 5:30 p.m. ceremony, and Open House from 6-8 p.m., where the public can view drawings and share information about community access during construction, which begins May 1 and ends in fall 2016.

Tingey congratulated new school administrators introduced, and said they will have a profound influence on what happened in every classroom. She enjoyed Teacher of the Year announcements in several schools, including one that included a rendition of “Lean on Me.” She said she could tell how much the teacher was loved and the children enjoyed being in school. She said Jordan Valley’s “Mulan” was an amazing performance. She was touched by the lead musical number in which Mulan sings, “when will my reflection show who I am inside?” She felt that was a profound sentiment. She also recognized Betty Shaw, who earlier in the day was re-elected as Region 17 PTA Director, and said she’s been a great support to what we’re doing in CSD.

Wrigley had the opportunity to participate in three town hall meetings. He said a few people showed up and he enjoyed talking with them. He said he viewed the low attendance as a sign that people are satisfied with what the Board is doing.

Iverson said he attended the CSD Ski ‘n’ Shred event several weeks ago and said that given tonight’s storm, we may need to add another. He attended the regional spelling bee and the Facilities Committee meeting and wanted to talk about committee movement in an upcoming Board meeting. He said Wrigley made a good point earlier tonight that the jobs of the future haven’t been invented yet, and noted the importance of teaching kids how to learn.

Green and Board Member Clareen Arnold skipped comments due to a sudden power outage and the late hour.

Taylor thanked Leon for his work to save money on the bond. He said we do a lot of good with the voter-approved money. He thanked everyone for staying at the meeting during the snowstorm.

Closed Session

The Board met in closed session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining and the character, professional competence or physical or mental health of an individual.
And the winner is .... 

The top-judged films in the 6th annual Canyons District Film Festival were announced Thursday during a 6 p.m. ceremony at Eastmont Middle, 10100 S. 1300 East.  Hundreds of students, parents, teachers and principals attended the ceremony, which also featured a red carpet and donated snacks and treats from generous community sponsors.

The list of winners and their films can be found on the Festival’s web page.

Canyons District’s Education Technology Department, which oversees the event, received 172 entries for this year’s festival — an increase of about 100 entries over last year. Submissions were made in such categories as Feature Film, Documentary, Animation, Public Service Announcement, Newscast, Advertisement and Teacher Film.

The Education Technology Department also announced that, as result of the students' stellar entries and dedication to filmmaking, Hillcrest High will receive some filmmaking equipment. The equipment will make it easier for students to excel in their pursuit of knowledge about video creation and filmmaking. 

Follow the festival on Twitter at @CSDFilmFestival. Use the hashtag #csdfilmfestival.

You also can "Like" the festival's Facebook page.

The Canyons District Education Foundation is proud to announce that $8,500 in college scholarships will be awarded to seven Canyons students at the Foundation’s Spring Gala on Thursday, April 30.

The gala, which is being held to raise money for future scholarships, as well as other academic initiatives, will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, 12033 S. Lone Peak Parkway. The title sponsor of the by-reservations-only event is Savage, Canyons District's 2015 Apex Award winner for Business Partner of the Year.

“For the first time in the history of the Foundation, we are providing financial assistance to students who have worked so hard in high school to pursue their dream of a college education,” said Brad Snow, President of the governing board of the Canyons Education Foundation. “The District’s aim is to ensure that every child who attends a Canyons school becomes college- and career-ready by the time they graduate — and one of the roles of the Foundation is to support that mission by providing the means to help students get their feet inside the campus doors.” 

At the event, the Foundation will announce six $1,000 “Bright Star” Foundation scholarship winners — one each from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest, Jordan and Entrada high schools.

The Foundation also will award its inaugural “Rising Star” scholarship award — a $2,500 scholarship for one deserving graduate who has been identified by counselors, teachers, and administrators as a student who has overcome unique and various challenges to graduate from high school.

The keynote speaker for the event is Utah native Sealver Siliga, a New England Patriot and Super Bowl champion. He was a starting player at Super Bowl XLIX, which was watched by a record-breaking 114.4 million people.

Emily Clark, the morning anchor of ABC4’s “Good Morning Utah,” will serve as the evening’s emcee. Award-winning CSD high school students are scheduled to perform musical numbers, as well. 

Call the Foundation at 801-826-5178 for ticket information or to donate an item to the live and silent auctions.

The Butler Elementary rebuild is about to begin. The public is invited to attend a community groundbreaking ceremony and open house to celebrate the start of the school's reconstruction, financed with proceeds from the $250 million bond voters approved in 2010. The following events will be held at the school, 7000 S. 2700 East in Cottonwood Heights, on April 22, 2015:

• Reception: 5 p.m.
• Ceremony 5:30 p.m.

Open House: 6-8 p.m.

The Open House will feature drawings of the new school, which was designed with student and community input, and information regarding community access to the campus during construction.

Construction begins May 1, 2015. The school will be rebuilt adjacent to the current school on the same campus. Students will attend school in the current building next school year. The new school is scheduled for completion in fall 2016.

The Butler Elementary project is one in a series of projects to be funded by the 2010 bond. Other current projects are:

• Mount Jordan Middle rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2015
• Midvale Middle rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2017
• Alta View Elementary rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2017
• Indian Hills renovation, scheduled for completion in fall 2018

CSD also has completed the following bond projects:

• Corner Canyon High School: Fall 2013
• Upgrades at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools to accommodate ninth-graders: Fall 2013
• Rebuilt Butler Middle School: Fall 2013
• Rebuilt Draper Park Middle School (formerly Crescent View Middle School): Fall 2013
• Rebuilt Midvale Elementary: Fall 2012
• Refurbish Albion Middle School: Fall 2012
• Seismic upgrades at Sandy Elementary: Fall 2011

The Canyons Board of Education, which has maintained neutral tax rates as promised to the public during the bond election, this spring approved the issuance of the final $42 million in bonds. Canyons' AAA Bond Rating has enabled the district to secure low interest rates to save taxpayers money. In 2014, Canyons was able to refinance some of the debt issued by the former Jordan School District to save the district $4.5 million.
Flying saucers, anyone? CSD Student Recipe Contest submissions are in, and the winning delectables are sure to delight in CSD lunchrooms this month.

CSD Recipe Contest, open to students as part of National Nutrition Month, aimed to involved students more in the planning of school meals. The CSD Recipe committee of kitchen managers and Nutrition Services leaders narrowed the list for a final round of taste-testing. From there, three were named winners. Winning recipes will be served for school lunch for peers, teachers and principals to enjoy.
Secondary and Elementary winners' recipes will be added to the school lunch menu next school year.

The winners are:

- Secondary: Madison Gahan, eighth grade, Midvale Middle School, "Stir-Fry Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein." Her fare will be served at all CSD secondary schools Friday, April 24.
- Elementary: Marcus and Carter Hill, twin brothers who are second-graders at East Midvale Elementary, "Marcus and Carter's Taco Twist Pasta." The dish will be served at all CSD elementary schools Thursday, April 23.
- Most Creative: Sierra Burden, second grade, Butler Elementary, Flying Sierra Skye Saucers. This delicious dish of bologna, mashed potatoes and melted cheddar cheese will make a one-time-only, exclusive appearance at Butler Elementary School at lunchtime on Wednesday, April 22.

Our compliments to the 40 young chefs who submitted their recipes in our debut contest. Bon appetit!

Recipe Contest - Sierra winner
Recipe Contest - Saucer
Recipe Contest - Madison MMS winner2
Recipe Contest - Marcus and Carter
  • Recipe Contest - Sierra winner
  • Recipe Contest - Saucer
  • Recipe Contest - Madison MMS winner2
  • Recipe Contest - Marcus and Carter
  • Two Canyons District schools are among eight in Utah selected by China's Education Ministry and the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah to house “Confucius Classrooms.”
    Principals at Draper and Lone Peak elementary schools, which are the locations of two of Canyons’ Mandarin Chinese-English dual-language immersion programs, recently received word that their schools had received the prestigious designations.
    As such, both schools will receive $10,000 grants to support Chinese dual-language immersion teachers, students, and programs. The grants also promote the learning of Chinese language and cultural understanding.
    Additionally, the schools will receive textbook money to support the Mandarin Chinese-English language program; an interactive cultural display; and funding for language teachers to attend language-based professional-development conferences.  
    The grant is renewed annually. Draper Principal Piper Riddle, whose school cheered the designation during a colorful assembly on Friday, April 3, 2105, said the grant money “helps us get closer to our goal of a SMART Board in every classroom.” Lone Peak Principal McKay Robinson expressed appreciation for the designation and the grant funds, and said the school will plan a celebration when school starts next fall.
    “The entire school benefits from cultural programs like this — we all get to develop a better understanding of the world and of different cultures,” said Riddle.  “In addition, when our school receives grants like this, it creates opportunities to free up school funds for the benefit of our students and our instructional programs.”
    Draper students cheered news of the grant during their Friday assembly. Eric Chipman, Associate Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah, told students during the assembly that earning the designation is “really cool.”
    “You guys became a Confucius Classroom because you are an awesome school,” he said to applause.

    Several dignitaries attended Friday’s event at the school. In addition to Confucius Institute leaders Fusheng Wu and Yangmin Xiao, the school welcomed Utah Speaker Greg Hughes; Utah Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper; Draper Mayor Troy Walker; Draper City Council members Bill Rappleye and Marsha Vawdry; and Salt Lake Mayor representative Lori Bays. Chinese acrobats also performed for the students, teachers, and the visiting officials .

    “We are proud of the high-quality language immersion program that we have developed at Draper Elementary, and we are grateful for the honor of becoming a Confucius Classroom,” Riddle said.  “We appreciate the many business and university partnerships we participate in that benefit our students and support our school wide goal of excellence in all we do.”