Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.
 
Construction of Brighton High

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented information about the budget and timeline of Brighton High’s rebuild. While preliminary design work started in September 2017, the work on the project accelerated after the public in November 2017 approved a $283 million bond proposal that would provide the funds for the construction. As work has progressed, Wilcox said, it’s proven challenging to build such a large building — 387,000-square-feet — on the campus’ 36 acres, especially as students continue to attend classes there. Also, construction and labor costs have gone up significantly since the bond election, he said. The cost of materials to complete such a project, including fuel, are sharply on the rise, he said. Board member Nancy Tingey, who has been involved in discussions surrounding the design of the building, said that cuts have been made already, and the investment in the school will affect generations of students. The Board awarded a $103.1 million contract to Hogan Construction for the project. Construction is expected to be done by fall 2021.

Lacrosse Participation

The Board of Education gave an OK to schools in Canyons District who want to field lacrosse teams in the 2019-2020 school year. That is when the Utah High School Activities Association will start to sanction the sport for boys and girls. The vote serves as notice to UHSAA that the District plans to participate and allows schools to begin the process of hiring coaches and reviewing equipment needs. The participation fee is expected to be $70 per player. The budget for 2019-2020 will include the startup and ongoing costs associated with offering the sport to students. 

Calendar Update

Under an already tentatively approved calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, Canyons District’s schools would let out for the summer in May, instead of the first week of June. The Board re-considered the calendar for final approval along with similarly organized calendars for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 years, and for Brighton High, which is under a trimester schedule. An earlier end date would make it easier for high school students to compete for summer jobs, explained Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud. The proposed calendars also would eliminate most of the Professional Development days traditionally scheduled on Fridays, thereby alleviating the need for working parents to secure child care. There would be no change in the number of holidays or instructional days. The Board will take up the matter again at an upcoming Board meeting. 

Early Literacy Program

The Board of Education considered a series of literacy goals proposed by the Administration in alignment with new legislation and Utah State Board of Education rules. The intent of the legislation was for 90 percent of all Utah third graders to achieve proficiency in reading by 2020. School Districts are being asked to set incremental milestones toward achieving that goal. State rules also stipulate that the number of students making typical or better progress must increase from 48 to 60 percent. There are consequences for not meeting growth goals, and remediation plans to support Districts that fall short. The Board will take up the matter again at an upcoming meeting. 

Vision and Mission Update 

Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson presented student achievement data to the Board of Education. ACT scores from last year show CSD high school students outpacing their Utah peers in English, math, reading and science—in some areas by as much as 10 percentage points. Additionally, students showed improvement in math, reading and science. Dr. Sanderson also presented data to show progress toward the District’s customer service, community engagement, innovation, and financial accountability goals. Surveys show the vast majority of parents are satisfied with the education and emotional supports provided their students. Volunteer rates are up, as is traffic to the District’s website, demonstrating healthy community engagement. A growing share of teachers are taking advantage of District-sponsored professional development opportunities and technology-in-education certifications. The District has an eight-year track record of 100 percent compliance on annual financial audits and has maintained an Aaa bond rating since 2012.

Utah College Application Week

The Canyons Education Foundation pledged up to $10,000 to help cover the costs of college-application fees for low-income students who participate in the Nov. 6-10 Utah College Application Week. Development Officer Denise Haycock and members of the Foundation Board presented a ceremonial check to the Board of Education for the amount.

Online Mathematics Textbook Proposal

The Board reviewed an online mathematics textbook proposal, including the public input solicited with an online tool. The Board asked the Administration to solicit additional teacher feedback and provide it to the Board at a future meeting. Proposed is Illustrative Mathematics, for seventh- and eighth-grade students, and Mathematics Vision Project, for ninth- through 12th-grade students. The cost to implement both programs is less than if the district opted to maintain the traditional hard-bound mathematics textbooks, and the texts are closely aligned to Utah’s Core State Standards. If the proposal is approved, Canyons would implement the online textbooks in a layered, grade-by-grade rollout, starting with seventh- and eighth-graders in 2019 and advancing to higher grades until fall 2021.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including minutes from Oct. 2, 2018 meeting of the Board; hire and termination reports; an amended version of student overnight travel requests; September financial reports; Utah

grants administration for federal and state programs, at-risk student definition and early literacy goals program goals; updates to Board’s mission and vision 2020 goals; a Memo of Understanding with Alpine District for the transportation of students who live in the Suncrest development. 

Patron Comments

Corner Canyon High teacher Royce Shelley expressed concern about the proposed online mathematics textbook.

Draper Park Middle teacher Amy Valdez spoke to the Board in support of the six-period schedule at the school, saying she thinks it best for student learning. 

Teacher Krista Pippin spoke about the proposal to change schedules at Draper Park Middle. She said the information stating the pros and cons of the sixth-period schedule and the eight-period A/B block doesn’t equally represent both schedules.  She also asked for student-achievement for the schools that have changed schedules.

Hillcrest Parent Jody Koch asked the Board to either provide a practice pool close to the school or provide transportation to swim practice for the members of the swim team. The team practices at the Gene Fullmer Pool at 8015 S. 2200 West.  She cited recent fatal accidents involving Hillcrest students as the main reason for providing the transportation.

Draper Park Middle student Aleigh Stilson spoke to the Board about the District’s dress code, saying it is out of date and sexist. 

Utah State Board of Education member Kathleen Riebe stated her appreciation for the collaborative work that’s being done by the Canyons Board of Education and Administration.

PTA Region 17’s Terri Francis introduced two Girl Scouts who had questions about the Board’s role in local government. 

Policy Update

Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen presented proposed updates to the policy manual. In the Business Meeting, the Board approved a revision to a policy to align with Utah Code for college- and career-readiness plans and outlines a schedule for minimum individual and group conferences for seventh- through 12th-grade students. In study session, the Board heard policy proposal updates that, if approved, would govern a student’s career/transition to work; eye protection at schools; and tax-increment financing project agreements. 

Pledge of Allegiance

Midvale Stake’s Cub Scout Bear Den posted the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Copper View Elementary Principal Christine Webb delivered the reverence.

Recognitions

The following were recognized by the Board of Education for their achievements:
  • Leslie Jewkes, Principal, Peruvian Park Elementary, for the school’s recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School
  • Stephanie Johnston, Hillcrest counselor, Rookie Counselor of the Year, Utah School Counselor Association
  • Emilee Astle, Alta High, 5A state champion in first-singles girls tennis
  • Lizzie Simmons and Emma Heiden, Corner Canyon High, 5A state champions, first-doubles girls tennis
Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Briscoe congratulated Corner Canyon High’s girls soccer team for winning the semifinal game in the 5A tournament. He wished them luck on Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium. He wished the community a nice Fall Recess. 

Wilcox said Canyons’ enrollment figures have gone up 227 students over last year’s figures. According to the reports, Alta High is now the biggest high school in Canyons District with 2,309 students. He also reviewed enrollment trends.  He also reported the Utah State Auditor’s Office will be reviewing CSD’s budget and practices to try to determine the actual costs of educating a child. He also reported on the construction fence that’s been erected for the scheduled expansion of CAB-East.

Board of Education Member Reports  

Mr. Mont MIllerberg reported on attending Peruvian Park’s announcement as a National Blue Ribbon School Award. He also said the SCC training was interesting and entertaining. He commented on the neighborhood meeting for the Midvalley Elementary rebuild, and the grant requests that were made by teachers for Canyons Education Foundation Innovation Grants. He also attended the SCC meeting at Midvale Elementary. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley attended the CTE Career Expo and toured Silver Mesa to see the facility improvements. He also reported on the good feedback about the District he’s receiving as he visits neighborhoods in his area. He requested the Board begin addressing a policy governing use of cell phones in schools. 

Mrs. Amber Shill said she is excited for lacrosse to start in Canyons high schools.   

Mrs. Nancy Tingey mentioned the SCC training and the website that’s available as a resource for SCC members. She thanked the Administration for the work on remodels and rebuilds, especially with the tight budgets given the increasing construction costs. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold is thankful for the robust discussions at the Board meeting about important issues. 

Mr. Chad Iverson asked the Administration to work on a policy regarding students traveling to practice for activities and athletics.  He also has attended Alta’s marching band competitions, the Region 7 cross country meet, and plans to attend the state cross country meet on Wednesday, Oct. 17. 

President Taylor thanked staff members for presenting information in the study session, and expressed appreciation for Wilcox’s work on the budgets to build the new schools. 
The job market faced by today’s high school graduates looks nothing like the market of five years ago, and with the pace of change in technology, there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring.

Auto makers are already testing automated driving systems that will reduce the need to hire truck drivers, and computer algorithms are being developed that could one day replace insurance underwriters, financial analysts and even radiologists.

What does career-readiness look like for students coming of age in such a rapidly-changing world? What kinds of skills and knowledge should they be acquiring, and how?  

If you asked Jamie Hyneman, co-host of the popular TV show, MythBusters, he’d say that while accessing the right training and schooling is important, the secret to securing a fulfilling career comes down to having the right attitude. “It comes down to resilience, hard work, and self-discovery. Growing up, I discovered if you’re methodical and work hard, you can do anything,” he told high school-age attendees of the 2018 Pathways to Professions Expo, a showcase of Career and Technical Education courses available at Utah’s public schools. His appearance, a question-and-answer session narrated by Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, was sponsored by Salt Lake Community College.hynemansmall

Before he was a TV show host and special effects expert, Hyneman was a man of many trades. In his younger years, he worked as a mountain guide, cook, building inspector, and builder in addition to laboring on farms and in libraries. At first blush, his resume might appear haphazard, or the record of someone who is perpetually distracted.

But Hyneman said he approached each of these occupations like an insatiably curious “forensic scientist” bent on soaking up all the knowledge he needed to master the job. “I didn’t start with exceptional skills. I’d follow-up, and follow through. I’d get my foot in the door, pay my dues and become an asset to the company,” he said.

His advice to students: Find things that interest you, and experiment with them—preferably not with explosives until you’re ready—be methodical, and don’t be afraid of failure. “Just be methodical and work hard and it’s amazing what you can do,” he said.

This strategy certainly comes in handy when it comes to orchestrating special effects, busting myths and inventing, which is what Hyneman is doing now for the U.S. military and venture capitalist entrepreneurs. MythBusters was an enjoyable and lucrative side gig that has given him the freedom to choose how to spend his time, he says. “My life now is about going into my shop, locking the door, cranking the music and coming out with something that nobody ever dreamed of.”

Asked by a student attendee when he realized what he finally wanted to do in life, Hyneman said, “I don’t think I’m there yet.”

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  • As the sun sets on Midvalley Elementary's 60th year, a new dawn arises for the Junior Huskies.

    Built in 1957 when a piece of candy cost .5 cents, frisbees were all the rage, and most of the area surrounding the school was farmland, Midvalley now serves a diverse and growing suburban population, and is in need of an upgrade—which it will soon be getting when it’s rebuilt with proceeds from a $283 million, voter-approved bond.

    No time is being wasted on the project, the first of four elementary schools to be constructed with the bond funds. NJRA Architects have been busy designing the new, two-story school with input from teachers, students, and patrons. Families and neighboring homeowners were invited to preview the preliminary plans this past week. 

    Small180926 KG PlaygroundThe architects intend to use a similar design to that deployed in other communities, which saves taxpayer funds. The plans include large skylights that allow for natural light to reach all floors, technologically-equipped classrooms, a brightly-colored kindergarten playground, and a faculty lounge that opens onto an outdoor courtyard. small180926 Faculty Patio

    Safety is a big factor in the design and great care will be taken to situate the building in such a way as to provide administrators with a clear view of entrances and exits while also making it easy for emergency responders to access the campus. The new school will have a security vestibule that will require all visitors to be seen by school staff before they enter the building. In addition, the building will be equipped with state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems and voice amplification equipment for teachers in the classroom.

    The building will be built on the southeastern edge of the campus so as to minimize disruptions for students and allow them to stay in the existing school building during construction.

    Crews are anticipated to break ground this coming spring, and the projects is expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year.



     
    The future is bright with young leaders like these.

    On Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, the Board of Education empaneled Canyons’ 2018-2019 Student Advisory Council. This is the sixth year the Board has selected students from all five of Canyons’ traditional high schools to serve in an advisory capacity. 

    When the Board of Education debates policies or procedures that could impact students, the members of the school board turn to the Student Advisory Council for input. It’s truly a direct line from the students to the policy-makers in Canyons. 

    Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle, the adviser for the student group, on Tuesday night introduced the students, who were selected after an application process. Two representatives are chosen from Alta, Brighton Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools. They will meet six times throughout the school year 

    The students are Alta's Brooklyn Bacher and Noah Ogden, Brighton's Ellie Anderson and Ethan Van Drimmelen, Corner Canyon's Josee Haycock and Luke Warnock, Hillcrest's Lizzie Moss and Landon Nipko, and Jordan's Daizha Jake and Michael Manhard. 
    Canyons’ first immersion classes opened in 2009, the same year that the District was founded. The District is now home to 19 elementary and secondary school immersion programs where more than 10 percent of CSD’s 34,000 students are learning Chinese, French or Spanish. A model of bilingual instruction dating back to the 1960s, immersion programs are surfacing in classrooms around the globe as an efficient path to proficiency in a world language. Children in dual language immersion programs spend half the day learning core subjects in English and the other half learning in a target language. Utah’s model extends through high school where, if students pass an Advanced Placement exam with a score of 3 or above, they can start taking college-level courses for early college credit. The higher education partner that’s co-teaching CSD’s college-level courses is the University of Utah. Curious about the courses and how they’ll operate? You can find more information on CSD’s homepage

    Elementary DLI Schools

    • Alta View Elementary - (Spanish)
    • Butler Elementary - (French)
    • Draper Elementary - (Chinese)
    • Lone Peak Elementary - (Chinese)
    • Midvale Elementary - (Spanish)
    • Oak Hollow Elementary - (French)
    • Ridgecrest Elementary - (Chinese)
    • Silver Mesa Elementary - (Spanish)

    Secondary DLI Schools

    • Butler Middle School - (Chinese & French)
    • Draper Park Middle School - (Chinese & French)
    • Indian Hills Middle School - (Chinese)
    • Midvale Middle School - (Spanish)
    • Mt. Jordan Middle School - (Spanish)
    • Union Middle School - (Spanish)
    • Alta High School - (Chinese)
    • Corner Canyon High School - (Chinese & French)
    • Jordan High School - (Spanish)
    • Hillcrest - (Spanish)
    • Brighton - (Chinese & French)
    Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

    Vision and Mission Update

    Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson presented student achievement data to the Board of Education. With a few exceptions, in recent years, Canyons District kindergarteners, third-, fifth-, eighth- and 11th-grade students have showed improvement or remained at or close to the same proficiency levels in mathematics, English language arts, and science on year-end exams. In 2018, in every subject and at all grades, Canyons District students exceeded the statewide proficiency levels on the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence exams. Dr. Sanderson also presented information on how CSD’s behavioral supports are impacting student achievement and school climate. 

    CAB-East Expansion

    Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented information about a planned expansion of the Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East. The addition would be funded by the sale of Canyons Administration Building-West, 9150 S. 500 West. No funds from the voter-approved bond would be used on the project. Not only will proceeds from the $9.4 million sale almost fully fund the design and construction of office space for the relocating employees, the sale will add an estimated $400,000 to $475,000 in annual tax revenue to the District’s ongoing budget. An expanded CAB-East would allow the Canyons administration to provide a “one-stop shopping” experience for patrons, who would not have to travel between the two central offices to access services. Nearly all of the academic and business departments would be housed at the new CAB-East. Under the proposal, construction of the new administrative space would begin in October and be completed in fall 2019. The Board also awarded the $9.4 million construction contract to the lowest bidder, Copper Valley Construction. 

    Budget for Lacrosse Athletic Teams

    Canyons is proposing a budget to launch boys and girls prep lacrosse teams in the 2019-2020 school year. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle suggests a $60,000 one-time investment and the addition of $92,000 to cover the District’s year-to-year costs. A $70 participation fee has been proposed to cover the costs of custodians, officials and score-keepers. Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Jordan administrations say they intend to field school-sponsored teams next year, which is when the sport will be sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association. A team is unlikely at Hillcrest in 2019-2020 but could be added if there’s interest in future years. All CSD football fields have already been marked for lacrosse games, the Board noted.

    Student Advisory Council

    Dr. Dowdle introduced the members of the 2018-2019 members of the Student Advisory Council, which is made up of two students from each high school. Council representatives are invited to attend the Board of Education's semi-monthly meetings, discuss issues facing the Board, and provide input to the Board from a student’s perspective. The council is made up of two students from each CSD high school. The students are Alta's Brooklyn Bacher and Noah Ogden, Brighton's Ellie Anderson and Ethan Van Drimmelen, Corner Canyon's Josee Haycock and Luke Warnock, Hillcrest's Lizzie Moss and Landon Nipko, and Jordan's Daizha Jake and Michael Manhard.            

    Policy Updates

    In the Business Meeting, the Board of Education approved updated policies governing promotion, retention and acceleration of students, and the retirement eligibility for elected positions. In the study session, Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen presented suggested updates to policies governing tax increment financing project agreements and college- and career-readiness plans for students.

    Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

    The American flag was posted by the Corner Canyon Charelles Drill Team. The reverence was delivered by Corner Canyon High Principal Darrell Jensen.

    Patron Comments

    Patron Steve Van Maren asked questions about the proposed CAB-East expansion.  

    Parent Jill Liljenquist expressed concern about the lack of a policy regarding smart-phone use during school hours.  She would like an enforceable policy that would address all grades.  

    Parent Ashley England spoke about the negative mental-health impacts of social media. She asked the Board for a policy that would support teachers and parents in their efforts to aid student grow and mature.

    Sandy Police officer Zak Henricksen, recently assigned to be a School Resource Officer, said he’s been impressed with how Albion and Union middle school administrators work with struggling students. 

    Patron Betty Shaw commented on the uptick in student-achievement data and graduation rates in CSD. She thanked the Board for providing opportunity for students, and for setting challenging yet attainable educational goals for schools.

    Consent Agenda

    The Board approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the Sept. 18, 2018 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; Brookwood Elementary LAND Trust amendment, and an amended request for student overnight travel.

    Recognitions

    The following were recognized for their achievements:
    • Midvalley Elementary for winning a national PTA grant to fund a Math Night at the school
    • Midvalley student Ashlyn Phillps for being chosen Utah Playworks Junior Coach of the Year
    • The 18 Canyons National Merit Scholar semifinalists: Alta's Abigail Hardy, Joshua Mickelson and Joshua Pomeroy; Brighton's Alex Fankhauser, Sofia Maw, Jenna Rupper; Corner Canyon's Sebastian Lee and Peter Oldham; Hillcrest High's Alex Change, Anthony Grimshaw, Bryan Guo, Saey Kamtekar, Emily Langie, Hongying Liu, Warren McCarthy, Landon Nipko, Eric Yu, and Alan Zhao
    Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

    Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reported on meeting with an engineer who is evaluating the hazardous bus routes in the district. He also mentioned tomorrow’s scheduled Career Fair and commended students for volunteering to serve on the Student Advisory Council.

    Wilcox told the Board about a planned subdivision in Midvale that could impact school enrollments and boundaries. He also reported that Fitch and Moody’s reaffirmed the District’s Aaa bond rating for the upcoming issuance of $75 million to fund the construction of schools. Only 88 school districts of 15,000 have such a stellar bond rating.

    Board Reports

    Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending cross country meets and football games, as well as watching the Alta High Marching Band at events.

    Mrs. Clareen Arnold congratulated Peruvian Park Elementary for being named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School. She also thanked the District staff for working hard to prevent the spread of norovirus, and for the plans to expand CAB-East.  She also expressed appreciation for teacher and parents for meeting during Parent-Teacher Conferences. 

    Mrs. Nancy Tingey commented on the party held at Peruvian Park to celebrate the school’s selection as a National Blue Ribbon School. She also reported on attending the groundbreaking for Pluralsight’s new building. She mentioned the success of the Canyons Education Foundation’s golf tournament and encouraged School Community Council members to attend scheduled trainings. She also noted the suggested improvements to the volunteer program in CSD. 

    Mrs. Amber Shill recognized School Performance Director Alice Peck, Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards and Mrs. Tingey for leading CSD’s SCC training. She also noted the new SCC website. 

    Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on the work being done on CSD’s Policy Committee and mentioned the state’s efforts to define the portrait of a Utah high school graduate. He congratulated Principal Leslie Jewkes for her achievements at Peruvian Park Elementary. He also attended the groundbreaking of Pluralsight, which he hopes will provide internships to CSD students.

    Mr. Mont Millerberg said the Student Advisory Council provides valuable input to the Board. He congratulated Peruvian Park for being named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School, where some of his grandchildren attend school. He congratulated Midvalley Elementary on receiving the national PTA grant, and noted the success of the Canyons Education Foundation Golf Tournament. 

    President Sherril H. Taylor, as he heads into his final meetings as a Board member, said he’d like to single out staff members for recognition. He noted School Performance Director Mike Sirois’ efforts to improve the middle schools in CSD, thanked Dr. Dowdle for ensuring the public use of school facilities, and expressed appreciation for Dr. Kathryn McCarrie for leading the curriculum, research, special education and emotional-supports departments of the District. He also thanked Dr. Briscoe, saying the superintendent’s heart is with students, and the Sandy Police Officers for providing security at the meeting.
    All of Canyons District’s administrative departments will soon be housed in one centrally-located campus.

    Paving the way for the consolidation is the Sept. 28 sale of the District’s western administrative building at 9150 S. 500 West in Sandy, the proceeds of which will be used to expand the Canyons Administration Building at 9361 S. 300 East to provide space for all administrative functions.

    The move is a money-maker for the District, says Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. Not only will proceeds from the $9.4 million sale almost fully fund the design and construction of office space for the relocating employees, the sale will add an estimated $400,000 to $475,000 in annual tax revenue to the District’s ongoing budget. “As it is now, the property isn’t generating any property tax revenue. But the Park City-based buyer Synergy Development intends to develop it into an industrial complex, creating 200 to 300 jobs and generating tax revenue,” Wilcox explains.

    What’s more, consolidating all central functions will provide patrons of the District with more of a “one-stop shopping” experience, says Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “Having two administrative buildings has been confusing for patrons. The synergy of bringing all our departments together to work side-by-side will not only lead to better customer service, it will improve productivity by sparing employees from having to travel between locations, and has the potential to improve communications and make life easier for everyone.” CABeast

    The consolidation may also save on electricity, and heating and cooling costs. In addition, the planned construction of an onsite cafeteria will generate revenue for the District and be used to provide low-cost catering for professional trainings and other District-sponsored events.

    If all goes as planned, construction of the new administrative space is expected to begin in October and be completed in August, 2019. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Board of Education awarded the construction contract to the lowest bidder, Copper Valley Construction. 

    Wilcox stresses that this project is completely separate from the school improvement projects made possible through passage of a 2017 bond.

    What might the new offices look like? Who will occupy them and when? The Office of Public Communications will publish regular updates on the project and welcomes questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
    Kierstin Draper was standing outside Canyon View Elementary’s Main Office when her walkie-talkie crackled to life with news of an immediate threat requiring the school to be placed on lockdown.

    Class was in session, and most students were already in their classrooms where teachers calmly sprang into action, locking doors, turning off lights, and directing students to silently move away from the door and any windows.

    Working with the school’s Resource Officer, Draper’s next course of action was to confirm that the school was secure and her students and employees were accounted for and safe. Fortunately, in this instance, the lockdown was merely an exercise—and she had at her disposal, the DIR-S app, which enabled her to perform a full sweep of the school in under two minutes. “We knew this was a drill, but just going through the exercise gets your heart pumping,” Draper says. lockdownsmall

    Created by the Utah-based Tresit Group, the app—pronounced “duress”—was pilot-tested by Canyon View last year, and is now being implemented in all Canyons District schools. With a push of a button, it allows teachers and staff members to give an immediate update on their status through a mobile device or computer, providing everyone, including administrators and law enforcement officers, with the real-time information needed to ascertain the source and location of a threat.

    “The app speeds communication and allows everyone to be on the same page and working in lockstep to safeguard the school. It has provided my teachers with real peace-of-mind,” Draper says.

    Improved communication is exactly why Tresit Group created DIR-S, which stands for Disaster Incident Response and Security. “During an emergency, 911 dispatchers often receive conflicting reports, which can sow confusion and slow emergency responders, who are sometimes coming from multiple jurisdictions and agencies,” says Preston Keller, the company’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This alleviates all of that.”

    In a real life-threatening scenario, having immediate access to on-the-ground reports aids law enforcement in more quickly containing and investigating threats. It also provides teachers with the knowledge they need to make life-saving decisions in fluid situations.

    When responding to an active threat, such as an intruder, Canyons employees are trained in the ESCAPE method, which entails taking the best course of action based on the circumstances of the moment. During a lockdown, the wisest choice, given a person’s proximity to the intruder, might be to evacuate the building or confront the intruder.   

    “DIR-S helps to more quickly and accurately inform those decisions,” explains CSD Risk Manager Kevin Ray. “It’s one of the many ways, as we review and update our safety protocols, that we’re adapting to the evolving nature of threats.”

    The app is equally valuable for responding to other emergencies, from fire drills and bomb threats to catastrophic disasters such as an earthquake, Draper says. “Knowledge is power and DIR-S puts that power in the hands of those who need it most when they need it most.”


    The Panthers have clawed their way to the top. Peruvian Park Elementary has been named by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.

    The 2018 recognition, given to only two other Utah schools, was based on the school’s overall academic performance as measured by state assessments. The school celebrated the announcement today at an assembly, during which they watched a video by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and waited patiently to see if their name would appear on the screen. 

    When the school's picture popped up, the students and teachers roared in delight. Blue balloons bounced around and confetti was sprayed into the crowd of cheering youngsters.

    The prestigious award, earned by 349 public and private schools across the country, affirms the hard work of Peruvian Park’s administration and faculty in building a culture of excellence at the school. In fact, the results of test scores for neighborhood students has nearly doubled, and the students in the magnet SALTA advanced-learner program are achieving at highly-proficient levels.

    "We asked you to be brave enough to make goals that would be hard for you," Principal Leslie Jewkes told the students while congratulating them on achieving their goals. She also thanked the "fearless" teachers who committed themselves to collaboration and stellar classroom instruction.

    Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe also congratulated the students, 30 percent of whom qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches, for earning the coveted national honor. "We are really proud of what you have been able to accomplish and to bring this kind of recognition to our community," he said.

    This is the 36th year the federal education department has announced National Blue Ribbon honors for schools that are achieving at high levels or doing strong work in closing the achievement gap. DeVos will honor the winning schools during a ceremony Nov. 7-8 in Washington, D.C.

    See the District's Facebook page for a gallery of photos and a video of the cheering children and teachers.
    Canyons’ first immersion classes opened in 2009, the same year that the District was founded. The District is now home to 19 elementary and secondary school immersion programs where more than 10 percent of CSD’s 34,000 students are learning Chinese, French or Spanish. A model of bilingual instruction dating back to the 1960s, immersion programs are surfacing in classrooms around the globe as an efficient path to proficiency in a world language. Children in dual language immersion programs spend half the day learning core subjects in English and the other half learning in a target language. Utah’s model extends through high school where, if students pass an Advanced Placement exam with a score of 3 or above, they can start taking college-level courses for early college credit. The higher education partner that’s co-teaching CSD’s college-level courses is the University of Utah. Curious about the courses and how they’ll operate? You can find more information on CSD’s homepage

    Elementary DLI Schools

    • Alta View Elementary - (Spanish)
    • Butler Elementary - (French)
    • Draper Elementary - (Chinese)
    • Lone Peak Elementary - (Chinese)
    • Midvale Elementary - (Spanish)
    • Oak Hollow Elementary - (French)
    • Ridgecrest Elementary - (Chinese)
    • Silver Mesa Elementary - (Spanish)

    Secondary DLI Schools
    • Butler Middle School - (Chinese & French)
    • Draper Park Middle School - (Chinese & French)
    • Indian Hills Middle School - (Chinese)
    • Midvale Middle School - (Spanish)
    • Mt. Jordan Middle School - (Spanish)
    • Union Middle School - (Spanish)
    • Alta High School - (Chinese)
    • Corner Canyon High School - (Chinese & French)
    • Jordan High School - (Spanish)
    • Hillcrest - (Spanish)
    • Brighton - (Chinese & French)