At first glance, the students in Jon Hale’s class at Sprucewood Elementary look like they are engaged in their art lessons just like any other fourth-or fifth-graders. They are gathered around their projects, weaving fabric on a loom, painting creations they’ve made and working with different materials — but the true masterpiece they are building isn’t made out of acrylic and cotton. Their true achievement is working with each other. 

Hale’s students are participating in a “peer partner” research program that pairs students from a general-education class at Sprucewood Elementary with special-education students from Jordan Valley, Canyons’ school for students with severe disabilities. The disabilities include communication impairments, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injuries.

Together, the students participate in the same art projects, each learning important lessons and growing in ways that are achievable only by peer interaction, Hale says. He presented his findings last summer at the 2018 Kennedy Center VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference and has since seen even more growth in his students.

“It is really cool to see how they find ways to help each other and that they are OK if their job is being a peer partner, and they are OK with adapting (the project) and turning it into something else,” Hale says. “If you go into another art room, it would look different. I like that community feel, when kids are thinking about people other than themselves, so it’s more about a process than a final product, per se.”

Hale, who is a Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program visual arts specialist at both Sprucewood and Jordan Valley, joined with a research team from the University of Utah to study how the students learn differently from each other, versus learning only from adults.

Their research focuses on how peer partnerships can be used to help students succeed. An art setting provides more latitude and flexibility for accommodating a variety of cognitive levels, but after seeing the monumental growth in students while learning art techniques in a peer setting, Hale says peer partners could be beneficial in other class settings, as well. Since presenting their findings at the Kennedy Center conference, Hale says his team’s peer partnering model has been adapted in Art Access programs in Washington, D.C. and California.

“There is a connection between the students that is almost magical,” Sprucewood Elementary Principal Lori Reynolds said after observing Hale’s class. “It is an absolute joy to see how the arts can bring our students closer together, and is a perfect way to bridge the divide and benefit both groups.”

Hale and his research team, which includes Kelby McIntyre Martinez, Assistant Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, and professors Kristen Paul and John McDonnell, started the program at Sprucewood in 2016 with only three classes. This year, the students from Jordan Valley came to Sprucewood 12 times to work with their peers. Over the course of the year Sprucewood students opened their circles of acceptance and assumed leadership roles they might not have normally experienced.

The Jordan Valley students also progressed. Students who only sat for five minutes during adult instruction could sit for up to 45 minutes, and raise their hands and participate vocally even if they were non-verbal, which was a huge accomplishment, according to Hale. 

As Hale’s team continues to research students’ interactions, they are considering expanding the peer partner program to include other subjects, such as dance and technology, to see how kids benefit.

“Probably when most people would say they don’t fit in the program like that, I like to acknowledge growth in lots of different ways,” Hale said. “I truly believe this is a way of accessing different abilities, and a way to provide social opportunities for students and let them rise to the occasion.”
Canyons District’s sporting students are logging big wins academically and athletically.

In a year during which students have, thus far, claimed 12 state team and individual championship titles in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned activities, 80 students representing all five of CSD’s comprehensive high schools have also earned Academic All-State Honors.

This includes the most recently-announced awardees in spring sports, a whopping 33 of them (listed below). The All-State Award is granted to student athletes, artists and scholars who are the best in their respective activities and committed to high academic achievement.
Boys Tennis
Carter Davis, Alta
Mark Godfrey, Alta
Bryan Guo, Hillcrest
Eric Yu, Hillcrest
Alan Zhao, Hillcrest
Boys Track and Field 
Tavin Forsythe-Barker, Alta
James Fetzer, Brighton
John Hillas, Brighton
Adam Kimball, Brighton
Stephen Glod, Corner Canyon
Brandon Johnson, Corner Canyon
Peter Oldham, Corner Canyon
Girls Track and Field
Rebecca Urban, Brighton
Elizabeth Walker, Brighton
Abigail Bankhead, Corner Canyon
Karli Branch, Corner Canyon
Vilhelmina Done, Corner Canyon
Mikayla Kimball, Corner Canyon
Emily Liddiard, Hillcrest
Erika Oldham, Jordan
Boys Soccer
Alex Christiansen, Alta
Adam Ranck, Brighton
Alex Fankhauser, Brighton
Ethan Ellsworth, Hillcrest
Boys Tennis
Parker Watts, Brighton
Isaac Williams, Brighton
Graden Jackson, Corner Canyon
Girls Golf
Emma Summerhays, Brighton
Anica Coesens, Corner Canyon
Boys Baseball
Alexander Hansen, Brighton
Girls Softball
Josee Haycock, Corner Canyon
Kate Aragundi, Hillcrest
Stephanie Aragundi, Hillcrest

Altara Elementary's beloved Kittyhawk has a new set of wings. She's still the same high-flying feline we've come to love, albeit with some aviation upgrades to keep her airborne for years to come.

As part of Canyons District's continued effort to upgrade and modernize the branding for its 50 schools and special programs, graphic designer Jeff Olson unveiled a new logo suite for Altara at a May 21 art fair, which doubled as a fundraiser benefitting one of the school's students. The event kicked off with a street parade led by the Sandy Police Officers, Alta High cheerleaders and Kit, the new Kittyhawk mascot who arrived in a convertible speedster.

The big reveal of the new school marks, featuring a kitten modeled after the famed pilot Amelia Earhart drew nearly 700 cheering students and family members. Also present for the unveiling was Zanette Nordhoff, the artist behind Altara's original logo.

"It is not an easy job to change an iconic mascot like our Altara Kittyhawk. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has ownership," says Principal Nicole Svee-Magann. "Jeff very patiently worked with me, three PTA presidents, and other stakeholders to create a beautifully developed, modern version, of our beloved feline. I could not be more pleased with 'Kit' and the fleet of artwork that accompanies her."

Over the past three years, nearly 20 school logos have received makeovers under an initiative by the Office of Public Communications to professionalize school marks and ensure they're based on original artwork. 

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

    Employment Contract with CAESP

    The Board of Education has reached an negotiated-contract agreement with the Canyons Association of Education Support Professionals. The compensation package represents a 5.73 percent increase in compensation for ESP in Canyons schools and central offices. In addition to funding increments steps, the District will provide a 3 percent cost-of-living increase to the base of the ESP salary schedule. The District also will pay for a $400 one-time stipend for 294 contract ESP on Step No. 9 during the 2018-2019 school year. This stipend will be paid on the Nov. 15, 2019 payroll date. Employees must be employed as of Oct. 31 to be eligible, and the stipend will be allocated according to the employee’s FTE status. Hourly employees on the top step during the 2018-2019 school year will receive a $100 one-time stipend on their Nov. 15, 2019 paycheck. Some 108 hourly FTEs will qualify. For health insurance, both parties also agree to the recommendations of the Insurance Committee. An extensive study of the ESP salary schedule and job descriptions will be done before the start of negotiations for the 2020-2021 school year. 

    CSD's Teacher Evaluation System

    The Board of Education received an update on the Canyons Teacher Effectiveness Support System (CTESS), the teacher-evaluation system required by 2012’s SB64. By law, Canyons is required to have an evaluation tool that documents student-learning growth, evidence of instructional quality, and response to stakeholder input. Since the operational field test in 2014-2015, Canyons has taken feedback from various groups, including the Board of Education, to improve the tool. Human Resources Administrator Sandra Dahl-Houlihan said an April 26, 2019 visit by the Utah State Board of Education to review CTESS yielded suggestions, such as an additional classroom observation and simplified Educator Portfolio requirements, that could be used to streamline the process. Houlihan reported that USBE feedback included positive notes about Canyon’s online evaluation system and the Data Dashboard, which she demonstrated. Each Board member also provided feedback and input.

    Midvale Elementary Progress Update

    The student-achievement trajectory of Midvale Elementary students is on the upswing on nearly every measure. The trend of growth has continued throughout the year, says Principal Chip Watts. At every grade, on DIBELS assessments, students have doubled if not tripled the benchmark scores in core subjects. In addition, the early RISE assessment results, such as double-digit percentage increases of third- and fourth-grade students testing at proficient levels in mathematics, are particularly impressive. The school culture also has changed, said Watts, leading 89.5 percent of teachers to agree to return to the school for the 2019-2020 school year. The average retention rate at Midvale Elementary for the past three years has been 55 percent, he said. The school’s results on the year-end tests, as well as its adherence to a restructure and improvement plan, are vital. In February, the Utah State Board of Education voted to give the school two years to exit “turnaround” status, a designation given to the schools that had scored in the lowest 3 percent on statewide end-of-year exams, or face sanctions. 

    Proposed Budget

    Major construction projects at Alta, Brighton, and Hillcrest high schools and Midvalley Elementary, as well as remodeling and daylighting projects at 11 elementary schools, are included in the District’s proposed $292 million budget for Fiscal Year 2020. The funds to complete those construction projects come from bond issuances approved by voters in November 2017. Included in the General Fund of the proposed budget for the coming year is $13.6 million for the salary increase for teachers in Canyons District, per the approved contract with the Canyons Education Association. A tax increase of $140 on an average-priced home in the 34,000-student Canyons District will be required to generate these funds. As a result, a Truth-in-Taxation hearing will be held in August. In all, according to Business Administrator Leon Wilcox, 89 percent of the FY20 budget’s General Fund will be dedicated to paying salaries and benefits. In the budget presentation, Wilcox also noted that school lunch prices are proposed to remain the same for the 10th consecutive year. He also said that taxable assessed valuation increased from $21.8 billion in tax year 2017 to $24 billion in tax year 2018. Budget challenges include possible enrollment fluctuations, the cost of the recruitment and retainment of teachers and support staff, reductions of funding from the federal government, the inflation of construction costs, healthcare increases, and the unforeseen costs of following the new school fee laws and policies. The Board is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget and a revised FY19 budget on June 18, after the District receives the certified tax rate based on the assessed valuation of properties. 

    TSSA Framework

    The Board of Education voted to approved the framework for Canyon schools to use funds allocated through the Teacher Students and Success Act. Twenty-five percent of the District’s total allocation is being used for employee compensation. The remaining 75 percent will be distributed to schools based on average daily membership of the school.  Schools can use the funds to improve student performance. The Board also approved a policy requiring a yearly update of the Canyons framework. 

    Fee Schedules

    The Board of Education approved a fee schedule for 2019-2020 school year.  The Board also heard a report from Accounting Director Gary Warwood on the parent feedback given to schools on the proposed fee schedule. The Board of Education also approved a revised policy governing school fees. 

    Secondary School Schedule Policy

    The Board of Education approved an update to the policy governing secondary school schedules. The new language would require a three-year waiting period before a school community can seek another schedule change after going through the review process. However, new language also grants the Superintendent the discretion to appeal to the Board for an exception to the waiting period if there is demand in the community.

    Dual Language Immersion Committee

    The results of a review of the strength and sustainability of Canyons’ dual-language immersion programs is expected to be completed and given to the Board of Education this fall.  The report also will include recommendations for long-term improvement, according to Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward, Director of Canyons District’s Instructional Supports Department.  The committee — made up of parents, teachers, principals, Board members, District administrators, and four DLI specialists — reviewed enrollment, achievement and application trends; the USBE perception of CSD programs; costs of the CSD dual-language programs; and results of surveys of parents, teachers, current DLI families, and administrators.  Interest in DLI and world languages also was measured through a survey. 

    Sex Education Instruction Resources

    A committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators, members of the Board of Education, and health professionals recommended the adoption of instructional resources for human development and health education courses. The committee recommends the Board approve resources and speakers from South Valley Services and Prevent Child Abuse Utah.  They also recommend a maturation resource called “Healthy Bodies” for special education students.

    School Counseling Report

    Since the start of the school year, more Canyons students have sought help from a school counselor for social-emotional issues than those who needed help arranging class schedules. Some 20.6 percent of the 25,426 visits to a school counselor in the 2018-2019 school year were classified as “personal-social,” according to figures presented to the Board of Education. Counselors working with students on schedules accounted for 18.1 percent of all visits, and 25.2 percent of the counselor-student visits were classified as “academic.” Seven percent of visits with counselors included parents. The figures were obtained via a districtwide procedure for counseling centers to gather baseline data on the number and reasons for visits. Mental wellness and suicide prevention continues to be a focus of Canyons counselors, said School Counseling Program Specialist Tori Gillett.  Counselors also are paying close attention to cultural proficiency and closing the achievement gap, she said.

    Board Roundtable

    Board President Nancy Tingey solicited topics from Board members for an upcoming Roundtable discussion. 

    Patron Comment

    Albion Middle teacher Mary Simao invited the Board to participate in the “Girls on the Run” 5K. 

    Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational Thought

    Cub Scouts who attend Canyon View Elementary led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Principal Kierstin Draper provided the inspirational thought.  445 students. Choir, orchestra, chess, Friday Games and hand-bell choir. 


    The following students, teachers, and staff were recognized for their achievements:

    • Ten students who applied for my529 tax-reduced college-savings accounts through the Foundation.
    • Sunrise Principal Margaret Swanicke and Draper Elementary Principal Christy Waddell, Utah PTA Outstanding Administrator Award.
    • Terri Mitchell, CSD Early Childhood Administrator, Recipient, Steven J. Kukic Special Education Administrator of the Year from Utah Council of Exceptional Children.
    • Hillcrest High seniors Alexander Cheng, Emily Langie and Bryan Guo, National Merit Scholars. Alex also is the General Scholar in the Sterling Scholar Awards, and a U.S. Presidential Scholar.
    • Academic All-State recipients for spring sports.  The students, and their schools, are:


    Alta — Carter Davis

    Alta — Mark Godfrey

    Brighton — Parker Watts

    Brighton — Isaac Williams

    Corner Canyon — Graden Jackson

    Hillcrest — Bryan Guo

    Hillcrest — Eric Yu

    Hillcrest — Alan Zhao


    Brighton — Emma Summerhays

    Corner Canyon — Anica Coesens

    Boys Soccer

    Alta — Alex Christiansen

    Brighton — Adam Ranck

    Brighton — Alex Fankhauser

    Hillcrest — Ethan Ellsworth


    Brighton — Alexander Hansen


    Corner Canyon — Josee Haycock

    Hillcrest — Kate Aragundi

    Hillcrest — Stephanie Aragundi


    Alta — Tavin Forsythe-Barker

    Brighton — James Fetzer

    Brighton — John Hillas

    Brighton — Adam Kimball

    Corner Canyon — Stephen Glod

    Corner Canyon — Brandon Johnson

    Corner Canyon — Peter Oldham


    Brighton — Rebecca Urban

    Brighton — Elizabeth Walker

    Corner Canyon — Abigail Bankhead

    Corner Canyon — Karli Branch

    Corner Canyon — Vilhelmina Done

    Corner Canyon — Mikayla Kimball

    Hillcrest — Emily Liddiard

    Jordan — Erika Oldham

    Consent Agenda

    The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes of the May 7, 2019 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; April financial reports; sale of CTEC home at 8731 Monroe Street; interlocal agreement with Draper City for parking lot and road near Draper Elementary. 

    Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

    Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe commented on the Retirees Banquet and wished the retirees much happiness and success in the next stages of their lives.

    Business Administrator Leon Wilcox  reported on recent meetings with police officials and School Resource Officers from Sandy, Draper, Cottonwood Heights and Unified Police. He also commented on attending the Retirees Banquet, and thanked retiring Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie for her years of service. 

    Board Member Reports

    Mr. Chad Iverson attended the Region 7 track meet and a music festival at Northridge High where CSD students performed. He also held a Town Hall meeting with Board member Amanda Oaks. 

    Ms. Clareen Arnold reported on attending the Retirees Banquet and noted the loss of experience and skill with each retiree. She attended a meeting at Diamond Ridge High to discuss the future of the school. She also attended the 10-year anniversary festival held at Jordan High.  She also thanked the staff and Board for the study-session discussion on CTESS.

    Mr. Steve Wrigley also commented on attending the Retirees Banquet and mentioned he delivered a crystal award to a retiree who could not attend the event. He said the year has been productive and the Board and Administration have accomplished many goals. He also suggested the Board create a way to honor students who overcome challenges to graduate high school. 

    Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending soccer, tennis and lacrosse games and congratulated Brighton lacrosse and tennis teams second-place finishes at state competitions. She thanked Board members for their work and accomplishments throughout the school year.

    Mrs. Amanda Oaks mentioned her work on the DLI committee and mentioned an Alta High banquet at which resilient students were honored. She thanked counselors for working so hard to make sure students are on track to graduate and are provided emotional supports.

    Mr. Mont MIllerberg mentioned the Canyons Education Foundation’s efforts to provide my529 scholarships to 10 seventh-grade students. He also said he supports the social-emotional learning after seeing how the program works.  He also attended several events, including the principals’ year-end luncheon.

    President Nancy Tingey attended the state PTA convention. She also thanked the retirees for their dedication and service. She also commented on Brighton choir’s recent performance of the Brighton High hymn, which had not been performed in several years.  She thanked employees, students and parents for their work in finishing the year successfully.
    Phone and Internet-based computer systems in the Canyons District are now operating.

    Telephone, email, Skyward and Canvas systems are available after a daylong break in service. 

    The technical difficulties were experienced as the result of an Internet-provider network outage. 

    We apologize in advance for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we worked with our provider to resume services. 
    They are the people on the front lines. They teach, lead, volunteer, inspire.  

    From sunrise to sunset during the school year, a dedicated corps of top-notch teachers, first-rate administrators, careful bus drivers, and hard-working lunch and custodian staffs, technology experts and financial wizards, as well as scores of classroom volunteers, work together to run Canyons’ schools.

    The day-to-day operations may appear to be seamless: Buses roll on schedule, bells ring to start classes, teachers engage with students, meals are served, counselors provide support, and custodial and maintenance crews make sure the buildings are cleaned and readied for the next day. But it wouldn’t happen without the good work and expertise of the people who make Canyons strong. 

    For their contributions, hard work and dedication to advancing the mission and vision of Canyons District, the Board of Education and Administration seek to recognize the best of the best with the highest awards given in CSD. 

    Canyons District is now taking nominations for the 2019 Apex Awards, the annual recognitions given by CSD leaders to teachers, administrators, district office personnel, volunteers and community partners.

    The District is accepting nominations for the following award categories:   
    • School Administrator of the Year 
    • District Administrator of the Year 
    • Business Partner of the Year 
    • Volunteer of the Year 
    • Elected Official of the Year 
    • Student Support Services Professional of the Year
    • Education Support Professional of the Year 
    • Legacy Award
    Use this easy-to-use online tool to read more about the categories and to submit nominations. Nominations can be submitted until Aug. 2, 2019.

    An Apex Award is also given to CSD's Teacher of the Year.  The Canyons District’s Teacher of the Year is selected in the spring and is CSD’s nominee in the state Teacher of the Year competition. This year's winner is Jessica Beus, a third-grade teachers at Midvale Elementary. She was selected from a field of 47 teachers from every CSD school in the District.

    The winners of the 2019 Apex Awards are celebrated at a by-invitation-only banquet and awards ceremony. This year’s event will be Sept. 13, 2019 at Corner Canyon High, 12943 S. 700 East.

    Questions? Call Jeff Haney or Kirsten Stewart in the Office of Public Communications at 801-826-5084 or 801-826-5050 or send a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
    The beating heart of Diamond Ridge High now hangs on permanent display at the school in the form of a colorful mural inspired by the rock art of southern Utah.

    Traditionally, the heart—a muscular depiction of which is the focus of the student-made mural—is the seat of emotion. For some of the Diamond Ridge artists, it symbolizes peace and prosperity. To others, it signifies human connection. “The heart is the centerpiece. …To me, it represents what it feels like to be loved and to be accepted,” explained student artist Josie Croft at a May 14 unveiling of the painting.

    Diamond Ridge, Canyons District’s alternative high school, is a place where many teens discover just that: A sense of belonging, purpose and pride. The school is the sixth in Canyons to create a Sacred Images mural as a monument to indigenous peoples, capping a longstanding relationship with the Center for Documentary Expression and Art and its “Sacred Images” artist-in-residence program.

    Each year, the program kicks off with an immersive field trip to Nine Mile Canyons, a petroglyph site near Price, UT. Students are then paired with Lakota/Plains Apache storyteller Dovie Thomason and an artist-in-residence—in this case, with Alicia Maria Siu Bernal whose primary role was to help students unleash their creativity and guide them through the mural-making process.

    “It’s been amazing,” said Diamond Ridge’s River Troyer. “When you’re working on a big project like this, all together with as many students as this, it makes it difficult to get on the same page, because people have different ideas and backgrounds.” But to accomplish anything of significance takes the innovation and hard work of many hands, Troyer added, which also is depicted in the mural.

    Diamond Ridge’s Isabel Reynolds agrees. “It was really hard,” she says, “But as a team we created something beautiful. Without this school, I would never have experienced anything like this.”

    The Sacred Images mural is now at home in the entryway of Diamond Ridge, which is located at the Canyons Technical Education Center.

    Real Salt Lake is helping the Canyons District community celebrate the many goals achieved during the school year and kick off a summer of fun.

    On Friday, May 24, just days before the start of the summer hiatus, Real Salt Lake is hosting Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto Stadium. The game against Atlanta United will be a celebration of the end of school, as well as the academic, athletic and artistic endeavors accomplished over the past nine months. 

    Discount tickets to the 7:30 p.m. game can be purchased online. The reduced cost — $23 per ticket — is available to the Canyons District community. From the tab "Ticket Offers," use the promo code “CSD” to snag tickets at the reduced rates. The team is providing the reduced rate so more people can come cheer for their favorite hard-working teachers. 

    Halftime will be dedicated to honoring the excellence and commitment of the 47 top teachers from all CSD elementary, middle and high schools. Right after the 35th minute of the game, the school-based Teacher of the Year will be escorted to the middle of the field at Rio Tinto to be applauded by thousands.

    Special recognition will be given to Midvale Elementary’s Jessica Beus, who was announced last month of the District’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.  Beus is Canyons’ official nominee in the Utah Teacher of the Year competition.  CSD’s top middle school teacher is Eastmont Middle’s Anna Alger and the top high school teacher is Hillcrest’s Josh Long.

    Each of CSD’s Teachers of the Year were given complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest, courtesy of Real Salt Lake and Sandy City, in appreciation of their service to students and the larger community.
    Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

    Employment Contracts Approved for 2019-2020

    The Canyons Board of Education approved the contract with the Canyons Education Association for the 2019-2020 school year. The contract includes a $7,665 increase for every licensed employee in the Canyons District. This also results in the beginning-teacher’s annual salary being raised to $50,000. The District seeks to fund this 14.2 percent increase in salary costs with a tax increase equating to $139 on the average-priced home in the Canyons District. A Truth-in-Taxation hearing regarding the certified rate will be held in August. If the Board does not approve the proposed tax increase, which would generate $13.6 million, the CEA and CSD have agreed to continue negotiations. Under the terms of the contract, every teacher who works directly with students in an academic role will receive a $500 stipend from the Teacher and Student Success Act. Licensed employees who don’t qualify to receive the funds from TSSA will receive the stipend from District funds. Regarding health insurance, both the CEA and the District agree to recommendations by the CSD insurance committee. The premiums for all plans will increase 3 percent. The employee premiums will remain at the current level for the non-buy up plans. The District will cover the full premium increase less the employee’s premiums, thus absorbing the full increase. The District premium on the buy-up plans will be equivalent to the contribution on the base plans. Employees who elect this coverage will cover the difference. Because Education Support Professional and administrative employees are receiving a substantially less compensation package for the 2019-20 school year, negotiation preference will be given to those groups for the 2020-21 school year. The Board also approved contracts for the coming school year with Canyons administrators. For administrators, the District will fund increment steps for eligible employees and a 3 percent COLA to the base of the administrative salary schedule. The District also will fund a 1.25 percent stipend for the 59 administrators on the top step during the 2018-2019 school year. A salary-schedule review also will be conducted to ensure Canyons’ schedule is similar to those of neighboring districts. 

    Proposed Budget

    Nearly 62 percent of Canyons District’s proposed budget for 2019-2020 will be dedicated to paying for student instruction, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board of Education.  The proposed budget includes the $19.6 million cost of the proposed salary boost for Canyons teachers. The increase, which represents a double-digit percentage bump for CSD licensed personnel, will be funded largely with money generated by a $12 monthly tax increase on the average-priced home in Canyons District. Of the $19.6 million required for the salary increase, $13.6 million will come from the change in the certified rate, which largely allows the District to  capture inflation but will require a Truth-in-Taxation hearing in August. The remainder will come from attrition, cost-cutting, allocations from the Utah Legislature and new property-tax growth. The salary addresses the national teacher shortage, caused largely by low wages, according to recent reports. It also may attract the 14,000 women and men who are licensed to teach in Utah but are not in the classroom. Also included in the budget are cost-of-living increases for CSD administrators and Education Support Professionals, to be funded with money from the Utah legislature. Other budget highlights include funds for ongoing construction and additional Responsive Services staff members for mental-health supports. 

    Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

    The Board of Education approved the implementation of “Second Step,” a social-emotional learning curriculum. This will be put into place over the next three years, said BJ Weller, Director of Responsive Services. The program helps students as young as 5 years old manage emotions, solve problems in a positive way, and demonstrate empathy.  The curriculum is aligned to standards as established by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), satisfies character-education and bullying-prevention requirements, and creates common social emotional language in the schools. 

    School Fee Policy

    The Board of Education will continue review policies governing school fees, fines and waivers; school schedule changes, and the parameters for the TSSA allocations.

    Health Data Review

    As part of a data review by the Human Sexuality Committee, Instructional Supports Administrator Jesse Henefer reviewed such Salt Lake County health data as teen pregnancy, sexually-transmitted infection, and child sex abuse rates.  The Board also was given a report on the student pornography-related complaints in the District.


    The Board of Education reviewed the District’s policies governing immunizations for students and employees. The information was presented by Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen and school nurse Sally Goodger.

    Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational Thought

    Sandy Elementary Students in a Cub Scout Troop posted the American and the Utah flags. In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, Sandy Principal McKay Robinson spoke about the powerful impact teachers have in the lives of children. Every child deserve a champion who believes in their talents, skills and potential, he said. Last year, Sandy Elementary’s achievement scores increased in all three subject areas and the school’s overall percentage growth was higher than district and state scores.  A attendance-encouragement program also proved successful, he said, and fewer students are truant.

    Patron Comments
    • French-English Dual Language Teacher Gretchen Givone expressed thanks to the Board for the proposed salary increase for Canyons educators.
    • Cottonwood Heights-area students and Butler Elementary teacher Annelise Slater spoke to the Board about discontinuing the use of Styrofoam lunch trays in Canyons District cafeterias. The students said it would be an environmentally conscious move on behalf of the District.
    • CEA President Erika Bradshaw expressed thanks to the Board for considering a salary increase for teachers. She said the compensation package will attract and retain the highest-quality classroom teachers, which in turn will benefit students. 
    • Teacher Anna McNamer, who also is a resident of the District, thanked the Board for considering a salary increase for Canyons teachers.
    • Amy Olson thanked the Board for the proposed salary increase for Canyons teachers.  
    • Albion Middle teacher Mary Simao invited the Board to attend a 5K to support Girls on the Run, an international non-profit that encourages preteen girls to engage in activities, such as running, that support physical, emotional and social well-being.  Albion’s chapter is one of the largest in Utah. 
    • Patron Betty Shaw congratulated the Board for the achievements of the District in the past 10 years.  She said she “was thrilled” when she heard about the proposal to increase salaries for teachers in Canyons District.
    • Patron Steve Van Maren would like the Board to consider increasing increment levels on the salary schedule so as to retain teachers. 

    Consent Agenda

    The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes from the Board of Education meeting on April 23, 2019;  hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel, 2019-2010 LAND Trust packets. 

    Policy Updates

    The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing student-data governance, and school admission of homeless children and youth and unaccompanied minors. The Board also voted for updates to policies governing open enrollment, school admissions and school moratoriums; parent and family engagement in education; and student educational travel. 


    The following students, faculty and staff were recognized by the Board for their achievements:
    • Melissa Crandall, Union Middle School teacher, Utah History Teacher of the Year 
    • Traci Raymond, Alta High, Beverly Taylor Sorenson Legacy Award Winner
    • Danna Caldwell, Raschell Davis, Lisa Hubbard, Zackery Nesi, Gregory Platner, all from East Midvale Elementary; and Madaline Chilcutt, Debra Delliskave, John Henrichsen, Bethanne Lenhart, from Midvale Middle, who have been named Effective Teachers in High-Poverty School.
    Career and Technical Education Competition Winners
    • Grace Cuttle, Haylie Heale, Alta High, first place in the DECA competition’s Sports and Entertainment Marketing Operations Research category.
    • Tiffany Brailow and Lauren Wilson, Corner Canyon High, first place in the DECA competition’s Start-up Business Plan category.
    • Kyla White, Alta High, first place in the DECA competition’s Restaurant and Food Service Management category. 
    • Emily Zhang, Hillcrest High, first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Health Care Administration category.
    • Rishab Balakrishnan, Justin Dong, Hillcrest, first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Management Decision Making category.
    • Eric Yu, Hillcrest High, two first place awards in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Network Design and Networking Concepts categories.
    • Madilyn Wallace, Hillcrest,  first place in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the Virtual Business Finance Challenge Spring category. 
    • Meereaore Birima, Hillcrest High, first place at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America state competition in the Advocacy category.
    • Lindsay Bruner, Hillcrest High,  first place at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America state competition in the Recycle and Redesign category. 
    • Luke Kim, Hillcrest High, first place at the HOSA state competition on a Knowledge Test in the Transcultural Healthcare category.
    • Annabelle Warner, CTEC, first place at the HOSA state competition in the Physical Therapy category.
    • Warren McCarthy, Hillcrest High, first place at the HOSA state competition on a Knowledge Test in the Nutrition category. 
    • Noah Porter, CTEC, first place at the SkillsUSA Utah Championship in the Job Skill Demonstration category.
    • Rachel Lancaster, CTEC, first place at the SkillsUSA Utah Championship in the Prepared Speech category.
    Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

    Superintendent Briscoe thanked the Board members for the civility they show to each other and the public when discussing monumental issues such as the salary increase for CSD teachers. He also lauded the passage of the proposal to start the social-emotional learning curriculum. 

    Mr. Wilcox thanked the negotiating team for working hard on the contracts with licensed personnel, administrators and Education Support Professionals.

    Board Reports

    Mrs. Clareen Arnold reflected on the transparency of the deliberations of the salary increase.  She also said the new salary schedule will help teachers, who often work two or three jobs to make ends meet. She thanked fellow Board members for expressing dissenting opinions, even when it’s not popular. 

    Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on Special Education Sports Day at Jordan High.

    Mrs. Amber Shill reported on Canyon View Elementary’s cultural night and the trustee meeting of the Utah High School Activities Association.

    Mrs. Amanda Oaks attended the luncheon in celebration of National School Nursing Day and the Middle School Honors Band, Orchestra and Choir Concert.

    Mr. Mont Millerberg attended the CSD Warehouse’s Cinco de Mayo celebration and the Copperview Elementary School Community Council meeting.

    President Nancy Tingey attended Canyons View’s cultural night and the Union Middle production of “Addams Family.
    Sterling Scholar, check. National Merit Scholar, check. Presidential Scholar, check, check, and check.

    Hillcrest High’s Alexander Cheng has won the equivalent of the triple-crown of academic achievement, a feat matched by only one other student in Canyons District history: his brother, Anthony.

    Throughout their educational careers, Alexander Cheng and Anthony Cheng broke educational ground with top awards at science fairs and other scholarly competitions. But the past few months have been particularly productive for Alexander, as were the culminating weeks leading up to his brother's graduation in 2016.

    A senior at Hillcrest who has been accepted to Stanford, Alexander Cheng was selected as a Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar and a regional finalist in the national Coca-Cola scholarship. He also won first place in the Materials and Biomedical category at the University of Utah’s Science and Engineering Fair for his entry, “Determining the Role of Microvascular Pathology as Reflected by Changes in Primary and Secondary Retinal Vessels in the Pathophysiology of Diabetic Complications.”

    In March, 2019, he won the science category of Utah’s Sterling Scholar Competition and, like his brother before him, was named the overall winner of the 57th annual competition. Now, to cap the year, he was named one of three U.S. Presidential Scholars from Utah, and announced as a 2019 National Merit Scholar.

    Joining him in earning the National Merit Scholar distinction are two of his peers at Hillcrest, Emily Langie and Bryan Guo. Eighteen CSD students were named as semi-finalists in the prestigious scholarship competition, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors. Presidential scholars are invited to name a distinguished teacher who supported them along the way, and Cheng chose Hillcrest’s International Baccaulareate coordinator John Olsen.

    Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. The White House chooses scholars based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

    Photo credit: The photo of Alexander Cheng receiving his Sterling Scholar award is courtesy of the Deseret News.