Canyons School District is pleased to announce the 2013-2014 attendance incentive payouts per employee.  The incentive amounts are calculated based on the number of eligible full-time employees and the number of sick, personal and no-pay days taken. The incentive will be included in your paycheck on July 23.

The 2013-2014 payout amounts are as follows:

Employee Group

No Absences

One Absence

Two Absences














*The amount is calculated based on a 40-hour work week.  If an employee worked less, the amount would be prorated according the hours worked.

Summer is for relaxing with a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other, right?  Not for seven teachers at Draper Park Middle School. .

This group of energetic Canyons teachers hit the pavement in the relay-style, 200-mile Ragnar Relay Series in northern Utah. The Draper Park group, which adopted the name “Team Viking” after the middle school’s mascot, jogged day and night on the roads wending through such picturesque towns as Eden, Liberty and Mountain Green.

In the Ragnar race — known for its runners that often sport crazy costumes and wacky team names — one runner on the team runs at a time. But each runner goes several times, with each leg ranging in length and difficulty. 

The Draper Park team was formed when sixth-grade social studies teacher Kami Ambercrombie sent an e-mail message to all Draper Park faculty and staff, asking if anyone was interested in forming a team to tackle the grueling hills and dirt roads of the Wasatch Back. Those who responded soon found themselves putting in their training miles at the nearby Corner Canyon High, said art teacher Meghan Schott. 

Schott was joined on the team by Ambercrombie; sixth-grade social studies teacher Brook Bergeson; eighth-grade math teacher Tania Kenney; seventh-grade science teacher Rhonda Clark; seventh-grade language arts teacher Whitney Lee; and eighth-grade U.S. history teacher Emily Nancy. Assistant Principal Dave Barrett supported his teachers by volunteering along the race route. 

At the race, “Team Viking” caught the attention of a Deseret News photographer and photos of the bunch appeared on the cover of the Sunday, June 29, 2014 edition of the newspaper.

Schott says that the group “had a blast” running the race.  “It definitely brought us all closer together,” she said, adding that the experience highlighted their respective organizational and communication skills, work ethic and good senses of humor.

“Luckily, since we are middle school teachers we all have these qualities,” she said. “Also, the ability to take naps in a van was key.”

In 2012, the Utah Legislature passed Senate Bill 64, specifying that teacher evaluation must include: 1) documentation of student growth, 2) evidence of instructional quality, and 3) response to stakeholder input. This new law required that the District establish a new evaluation process for teachers and administrators. In fall of 2013 the District’s Joint Education Evaluation Committee (JEEC) established the following priorities for a new evaluation system that complies with state law:
  • Create a growth plan for all teachers, recognizing that in a teacher’s first years they will perform at different levels and rates.
  • Ensure that mentoring and coaching for all teachers offer multiple opportunities for public practice, feedback, and self-reflection.
  • Use multiple reliable and valid measures to make conclusions about a teacher’s potential to be effective throughout their career.
  • Address the importance of a teacher's willingness to apply feedback by incorporating improvement strategies and supports in the district’s educator effectiveness process.
Starting in the 2014-15 school year teachers will participate in an operational field test of the Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS). Through this process teachers will implement team and individual learning goals while receiving ongoing feedback about classroom techniques and contributions to teamwork.

CTESS At A Glance

(Click on the standards below)

1) Understand the Utah Effective Teaching Standards and the Canyons Academic Framework

Utah Effective Teaching Standards have been aligned with Canyons Core Expectations

2) Orientation and Notification

Orientation takes place annually. It includes review of:
  • Standards, and framework
  • Student growth
  • Stakeholder input
  • The observation tools
CSD evaluation processes and timeline

3) Self-assessment – Professional Growth Plan

Each educator:
  • Completes a self –assessment by rating themselves on the standards in four domains – Planning, Instructing, Adjusting and Reflecting
  • Creates a professional growth goal and develops a plan for compiling evidence and accomplishing the goal
  • Sends self-assessment to supervisor for review via electronic platform

4) Beginning of the Year Conference

Supervisor reviews self-assessment, professional growth goal and plan, then communicates with each educator in a conference or email about:
  • Acceptance of the goal and plan
  • Suggestions for changes or additions
  • Any further feedback

5) September through May

  • Observations begin 15 calendar days after the orientation.
  • Feedback (face-to-face or electronic) given within 15 days of observation
  • Instructional Priority Observation Protocol (IPOP) used as the universal tool
  • Targeted observation tools provide feedback on specific aspects of best teaching practices (Classroom PBIS, Explicit Instruction, Opportunities to Respond, Explicit Vocabulary Instruction, Scaffolded Instruction, Instructional Rigor and Providing Feedback)
  • Non-provisional teachers observed (IPOP) at least twice for a minimum of 15 minutes each, additional targeted observations as needed
  • Provisional teachers observed (IPOP) twice by November 15th (rating and conference by Dec. 15th) and twice again by March 15th (observations, rating and conference) for a minimum of 15 minutes each, additional targeted observations as needed
  • Educators upload evidence to support progress made on their goal (2-3 pieces of evidence e.g. additional observation data, video reflection, lesson plans tied to observations)

6) Feedback

Additional data gathered on the electronic platform
  • Walk-throughs
  • Outside the classroom observations (collaboration meetings)
  • Lesson plans
  • Interactions with peers and community
  • Feedback (face-to-face or electronic) within 15 days of observation
  • Response to stakeholder input


7) End of the Year Conference

  • Review rankings (student achievement, summative evaluation, stakeholder surveys)
  • Review Professional Growth Plan
  • Review evidence to determine if goals were reached
  • Discuss next steps (pre-plan)


1. What is the purpose of educator evaluation in Canyons?

The purpose of evaluation in Canyons is to prioritize professional growth and support for all educators, retain and promote effective educators, and ensure that every student receives high-quality instruction every day.  With this purpose, the Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS) has been developed to increase feedback to educators about instruction and increase the use of public practice applications by Canyons professional educators.

2. Why are we changing the evaluation process for teachers and administrators?

Senate Bill 64, passed by the Utah Legislature and signed into law in 2012 requires three components be included in evaluation of school personnel:  

a) evidence of student growth, 

b) assessment of instructional quality, and 

c) utilization of stakeholder input. 

In preparing to comply with the requirements of the new law, the Canyons Board of Education and the District’s Joint Educator Evaluation Committee (JEEC) recommended a new process for evaluation that better aligns with the purpose of educator evaluation in Canyons.  This required a system other than JPAS.

3. Will JPAS continue in Canyons?

For the 2014-15 school year, the vast majority of Canyons educators will participate in the operational field test of Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS).  A few teachers, who have been notified by Human Resources, will be finishing their evaluation cycle with JPAS this year, as well.

4. How will the three required components of evaluation be weighted?

The Utah State Office of Education will assign weights to the following three components:
  • Evidence of student growth
  • Assessment of instructional quality
  • Utilization of stakeholder input?
Their pdftimeline suggests that weighting will be piloted in 2014-15 and final weighting will be determined in 2015-16.

5. What will the evaluation schedule look like from year to year?

The law requires that each career educator receive a rating of effectiveness every year and that provisional educators receive 2 ratings per year.

6. What are the standards for performance included in the CTESS process?

The CTESS process will measure implementation of the Utah Effective Teacher Standards and the Canyons Academic Framework to Support Effective Instruction. This framework incorporates the latest educational research and policy information with Canyons’ program evaluation data to articulate on one page the standards for Canyons educators. Each year the framework is reevaluated by teachers and administrators and adjusted for clarity and to incorporate new knowledge. If you would like a poster of the framework for your classroom, please contact the .

7. How was the Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS) process developed?

Over the past year, the District’s Joint Educator Evaluation Committee (JEEC), which includes principals, teachers, and parents (4 of each), studied current policy, research, and reported data about educator evaluation from around the country and made recommendations.  These recommendations were then translated into observation protocols and planning templates.  All administrators, and many teachers and coaches, participated in piloting of the protocols and templates to provide feedback and improve the recommendations.  2014-15 is an operational field test where components of the process will be practiced and refined as needed.

8. What will the Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS) process look like?

The CTESS process will include a self-assessment where teachers will prioritize personal goals as they relate to team and school goals. All teachers will be observed while instructing at least 2 times by their supervisor using the Instructional Priorities Observation Protocol (IPOP). Because the standards include actions that take place outside of the classroom, the process will also include documentation of lesson planning and observation of collaboration and teaming. The process is focused on growth and improvement and seeks to provide educators with more actionable feedback than they have received in years past. In addition to information about instructional technique, planning, and collaboration, educators will receive a student growth appraisal and collect stakeholder input.

9. How will student growth be measured?

Following state recommendations there are three ways that student growth will be measured. For tested subjects and grades, the SAGE assessment and median student growth percentile, or MSGP, will be utilized. Tested subjects and grades include:

  1. English language arts grades 3-11
  2. Math grades 3-8 along with Secondary Math I, II, and III
  3. Science grades 4-8 plus Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

For untested subjects and grades, educators will measure student growth through Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) or Rate of Improvement (ROI). For more information on these measures of student growth please view screencasts 4) Student Growth Part 2 and 5) Stakeholder Input.

10. Why and how will student input be collected for the stakeholder input portion of the evaluation process?

Research indicates that well crafted student surveys are reliable and valid predictors of student achievement and valuable sources of feedback to improve teaching. During Spring 2014 many teachers in Canyons volunteered to pilot student surveys. After receiving feedback from teachers, administrators, and students, separate surveys for early elementary, upper elementary, and secondary students were finalized. Each survey has been statistically analyzed to ensure its reliability and validity. The process for collecting surveys has not yet been finalized.

11. During the operational field test, how can teachers provide feedback?

One of the benefits of field-testing is the opportunity to refine and adjust as new information is learned about evaluation and effectiveness. Throughout the year, surveys will be utilized to improve the process. If you have additional questions please send them to .
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:00

Meet the Superintendent

Monday, 14 July 2014 00:00

Native American Scholarships


  • Accenture American Indian Scholarship
    • Each academic year, Accenture selects students who demonstrate character, personal merit and commitment to the American Indian community locally and/or nationally. Merit is demonstrated through leadership in school, civic and extracurricular activities, academic achievement, and motivation to serve and succeed.
  • American Indian Services Scholarship
    • Please take a moment to complete the application form online if you are interested in receiving scholarship assistance through American Indian Services. Be sure to read the requirements to ensure that you qualify for scholarship support.
  • Chief Manuelito Scholarship
    • The Chief Manuelito Scholarship was established in 1980 to provide scholarships to high achieving Navajo high school graduates. The scholarships are awarded based on ACT/SAT test scores and final high school grade point average (GPA). Students receive $7,000 annually to cover direct educational expenses associated with attending a post-secondary institution.
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
    • The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice.
  • Indian Education-Higher Education Grant Program
    • The Indian Education-Higher Education Grant Program intends to provide financial aid to eligible Indian students to enable them to attend accredited institutions of higher education.


  • American Indian College Fund
    • The American Indian College Fund was established in 1989 to provide scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native students attending tribal colleges, and to fund and create awareness about the community-based accredited tribal colleges and universities that offer students access to knowledge and skills alongside Native culture, language, and values. The American Indian College Fund also provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students attending any other accredited public and non-profit private college all across the United States.
  • American Indian Services
    • AIS makes educational opportunities possible for qualifying Native American students who otherwise could not afford it. We provide more than 2300 scholarships annually. Students qualify for participation based on academic merit as well as financial need. The Result: Native American graduates who will lead their tribal communities into a hopeful future.
  • American Indian Graduate Center
    • The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) is a national private 501(c)(3) non profit headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico providing fellowships to American Indian and Alaska Native graduate students throughout the United States. AIGC offers this list as a courtesy to our peer organizations and students. All information regarding each of the following scholarships is submitted by each program. Please contact each of the following organizations directly with any questions or concerns.
  • Finaid: Financial Aid for American Indian Students
    • This page provides information about financial aid for Native American students. In order for a student to be eligible for many Native American scholarships, such as BIA scholarships, the student should be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Otherwise funding will most likely be denied. A Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) card or document is generally accepted proof of membership in a federally recognized tribe.
  • National Indian Education Association
    • The National Indian Education Association advances comprehensive educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States and advocates for Native students. The association wants to make sure that every Native student knows about other funding opportunities to help them succeed in their academic career by providing a listing of organizations who offer scholarships and internships.
  • Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship & Financial Assistance
    • The Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance serves eligible Navajo people and provides students the opportunity to achieve their educational goals. This opportunity is provided as a privilege with the intent that recipients, upon graduation, will return to the Navajo Nation to apply their learning to benefit the continuing development of the Navajo Nation.
  • Utah Division of Indian Affairs
    • The Utah Division of Indian Affairs promotes positive intergovernmental relations and the government to government relationship between the State of Utah and Utah’s American Indian tribes. A listing of available scholarships is provided to inform community members of potential scholarship opportunities that could financially assist families and students who are pursuing post-secondary education.
Mount Jordan is rising. The first steel beams that will gird the weight of the new middle school are now standing tall at the construction site where crews have been working since 2013.

The new school, which is on target to open in fall 2015, was made possible by a $250 million bond that voters approved in spring 2010. 

At its opening, the new school’s hallways and classrooms will feature a lot of natural light, students and employees will enjoy a spacious cafeteria and commons area, and the gymnasium will hold two full courts, 14 basketball standards and an indoor running track.

In addition, a $1.5 million contribution from Sandy City will provide amenities in Mount Jordan’s new auditorium. The school community can look forward to a larger stage, spacious dressing rooms, and a state-of-the-art theatrical rigging system, among other amenities.

Board member Tracy Scott Cowdell, who worked with Sandy City leaders to form the auditorium-funding partnership, said his family is “looking forward to attending the many stellar performances by both students and community groups” at the school’s auditorium and theater. A recent Sandy Journal story spotlighted this CSD-Sandy City partnership and how much it will bring to the community.

But that’s not the only work that is being done in Canyons District this summer. To the end of improving the learning and working environment for our students and teachers, the Canyons Board of Education’s newly approved tentative budget sets aside some $7.5 million for small capital-facility projects.  Many projects are being done this summer. 

At Alta High, crews are hard at work on a remodeling project that includes converting a shop area into classrooms, the construction of four new tennis courts, installation of a new sprinkler system and a sawdust collector, and the replacement of grass with concrete on the east side of the gymnasium. At Brighton High, work continues on the soccer field that is being built in front of the new Butler Middle School. 

Also, Jordan Valley will receive an interior upgrade, including new carpets in the hallway and painted walls; Eastmont Middle will get a main waterline replacement; and Oakdale Elementary will have a site upgrade, which includes a new sprinkler system and other landscape improvements. 

In addition, Ridgecrest Elementarywill receive site upgrades, a new sprinkler system, parking lot upgrades, a new fire water line, a playground relocation and upgrade, and additional landscaping. Plans have also been made to put in new decorative fencing at Sandy Elementary, and lunchroom workers at Sprucewood Elementary will enjoy upgrades to the kitchen. 

Take a look at a Facebook album featuring many of our summer improvement projects.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 00:00

Headlines Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Around Canyons
Canyons Board welcomes new superintendent

Ridgecrest student wins state Reflections Contest

West Jordan considering splitting off from Jordan District like neighbor South Jordan

Kids sharpen financial literacy skills over the summer

Former Utah teacher to lead NEA

South Summit gets new superintendent

Davis teacher receives national honor

Ogden students beating summer lag

Bus driver charged in student death

Math, science grads earn top dollar

Duncan won't resign, despite NEA call

Louisville principal named in ACT cheating scandal

Burningham: Core standards good for Utah kids
Wilcox Named Business Administrator

The Board of Education approved Leon Wilcox as the District's new Business Administrator, effective immediately. Wilcox has been serving as the Interim Business Administrator and Chief Financial Officer since September 2013. Wilcox brings to the post 20 years of governmental accounting experience, with an emphasis on financial reporting, budgeting, and auditing. As Canyons District' Director of Accounting from 2009-2013, Wilcox was intricately involved with the 2009 division of $1.5 billion in assets of the former Jordan School District, and was responsible for establishing Canyons' original and subsequent budgets. Wilcox, a certified public accountant who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Utah State University, worked nine years in the Granite School District and six years in the State Auditor's Office before coming to Canyons.

Wilcox said he is proud of the achievements of the past year, including a one-time employee bonus and steps and lanes and a cost of living salary adjustment on the employee salary schedules.

"I appreciate the confidence the Board has had in me this past year as Interim CFO," Wilcox said. He said that he is looking forward to working with the new superintendency and Board in the years to come.

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

McGill Appointed Alta High Principal

Brian McGill, who currently is serving as Assistant Principal at Corner Canyon High, was appointed the new Principal at Alta High School. The post is effective immediately.

McGill, who is pursuing a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, brings a wealth of experience to the post. Before joining the administrative ranks in Canyons District, the Alta High alumnus served as the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of the Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science Early College High School. He also served as Assistant Principal of Elk Ridge Middle School; a school counselor and Administrative Intern at Riverton High School; and as the Manager of College Access and Outreach for the Utah System of Higher Education. McGill has earned a total of three master's degrees in educational administration, educational counseling, and mental health counseling. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology.

"We had excellent applicants," Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie told the Board in welcoming McGill. "Brian stands out as being a leader with ... incredible vision for students, not just here and in our high schools, but for what they can achieve upon leaving the high school system.

McGill succeeds Dr. Fidel Montero, who resigned to accept an administrative position at Utah Valley University. He was selected following a competitive hiring process.

Scott Wihongi, who has been serving as Assistant Principal of Murray High School, will replace McGill as assistant principal at Corner Canyon High School. Wihongi has five years of administrative experience and nine years of experience as a science and technology teacher.

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

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June Financial Reports; June Board Hire and Termination Reports; Purchasing Bids; and the
Administrative Appointments of Wilcox and McGill.

For more information or to listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and Click Agenda Items 2A-C.