At Jordan High’s Career Day on Friday, students met with professionals from more than 40 organizations, giving them a taste of what it’s like to work at a veterinary clinic, a local theatre, or an architectural firm.

Such experiences are invaluable, and made possible by the generosity of the many industry leaders who step up to volunteer their knowledge, skills and time, said Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan at a kick-off breakfast where he dolan.jpgstressed the vital role that professional mentors had in his career. The Jordan career fair was one of three sponsored by Canyons District this year. Similar events also were staged at Corner Canyon and Brighton.

If the idea is to expose students to careers they might like, career fairs also help students rule out jobs that aren’t a good fit, said Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “These adults are here because they’re passionate about what they do,” Briscoe told the student participants. “Please listen and take advantage of their advice. They have something to share with you of value.”

Briscoe urged students to put aside any preconceived notions that they may have about their desired career paths and keep an open mind. “You have to be the one to decide what you want to do in life” — and better now than before you’ve spent four years at college in studying the wrong subject, he told students.

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 23:00

CSD Employees Reminded About New Payday Schedule

"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” — Harlan Miller

Yes, the frenzied gift-buying season has arrived in a flurry of bows and green-and-gold tinsel. This December, as a result of the recent switch to semi-monthly paydays, Canyons District employees can put two paydays on their calendars. Per the established payday schedule, employees will be paid on Dec. 15 and Dec. 30.  Those who with paper checks or no direct deposit will be able to pick up their checks from the District office on Jan. 3. If employees have questions about their paycheck or need information about how to set up an automatic deposit, they are invited to call Canyons’ Payroll Department at 801-826-5595.
 Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Middle School Schedule Update

In order to squeeze two extra core subjects into the middle school day, as required by the Utah State Board of Education, Canyons District must revisit its middle school schedules. On the table are a range of options, from sticking with the current six-period schedule to moving to a seven-period or a 10-period schedule — and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, explained Director of Elementary and Middle Schools Mike Sirois. Following months of review, which involved input from parents, a 35-person task force made up of principals and teachers representing all of CSD’s middle schools has settled on a menu of options that offers individual schools the flexibility to meet their unique needs. The task force’s recommendations were based on guiding principles: support team-teaching and collaboration; maximize instructional time; provide students with educational choices; and allow time for remediation. At issue is the addition of a Digital Literacy course and the expansion of the College and Career-Readiness core to a full year, which limit the amount of time available for students to take electives. While not a binding vote, Board members indicated a willingness to let individual schools decide what works best for their communities. The six-period schedule works well for some schools because it affords time for team-teaching while preserving instruction time and class sizes and still allowing time for one elective in music, the arts or another subject. But for students whose one elective is already eaten up by a world language or remediation course, the six-period schedule leaves no time for another elective. The Board directed schools to submit their preferred schedules to the Administration, which will bring a proposal to the Board for consideration at the Board’s January 17 meeting. The new schedules would take effect with the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Review of Finances

Utah law requires school districts to publish within five months of the close of the fiscal year a complete set of financial statements. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox on Tuesday summarized highlights of the statement for fiscal year 2016:
  • The District retired $16 million of general obligation school building bonds during 2016.
  • Actual revenues were $1.5 million more than budgeted for the General Fund and actual expenditures were $3 million less than the amount budgeted for the fund.
  • The 2010 bond has funded 13 scheduled projects, 10 of which have been completed. The remaining bond projects include the under-construction Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary schools. The Indian Hills Middle project is in the design and planning stages. .
  • The District has been able to strengthen its unassigned general fund balance from $11.2 million in 2010 to $20.6 million in 2016.

Board Vision and Mission Updates

The Board of Education approved a revised mission statement and indicators of achievement regarding the District’s mission.  The motion to approve the changes was made by Robert Green — his final action as a member of the Board. 

Farewell to Green

Members of the Canyons Board of Education honored Robert Green, whose four-year term on the Board ends this month. President Sherril Taylor read a statement that commended Green for his service. "While his input has been valuable on so many levels, we have especially admired and appreciated his advocacy of students in Title I schools," Taylor’s statement said. "Time after time, Robert has reminded us about the needs of this population, and has worked tirelessly to ensure that we were giving the necessary supports to students who need just a little help to do big things." Green's tenure spanned a time of great progress for the District. In the past four years, Canyons has been named to the AP Honor Roll twice; implemented new boundaries to balance enrollment around the District; successfully put into place grade reconfiguration; opened the new Corner Canyon High, Draper Park, Butler, and Mount Jordan middle schools, and Butler Elementary.  The District also has started construction work on a new Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary.  It also was noted that Green helped the Board conduct a national search to hire Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe.

Patron Comments. 

Parent Laura Rupper commented on potential schedule changes in middle schools, and asked the District to present information to parents for feedback and input. She also expressed concern about the trimester schedule at Brighton High. 

Rand Rupper also commented on the middle school schedule. He also voiced concern about the Brighton High trimester schedule. He asked for the involvement of parents in deciding school issues.

Jenni Perkins, a member of the Middle School Schedule Task Force and a music teacher at Albion, commented on potential changes to the middle school schedule.  She addressed concerns about not having enough time with her students and the impact the state-required courses will have on opportunities for students to take electives.

Shelley Allen, a teacher and International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at Midvale Middle, said she served on the Middle School Schedule Task Force.  Allen also said that teachers across the District have been able to give feedback throughout the process of designing proposals for the Board. She encouraged the Board to give options to schools to meet the unique needs of their communities.

Erica Bradshaw, Mount Jordan Middle teacher and Vice President of the Canyons Education Association, expressed appreciation for being able to serve on the task force.  She encouraged the Board to allow respective communities to choose schedules that will best suit the needs of their schools. 

Melinda Colton, chairwoman of the Draper Park Middle School Community Council, encouraged the Board to allow each school to establish its own schedule. 

Andrew Shaffer, teacher at Union Middle, part of the task force, also commented on the middle schools schedule proposals discussed during the Board’s study session.  He said CSD faculties have had a voice in the schedule proposals made to the Board.   

Parent Ladd Johnson also commented on the middle school schedule. He urged the Board to consider the ability of students to be able to take electives. 

Parent Michelle Lowry expressed concerns about some of the socio-economic issues facing Midvale Elementary. She asked the Board for additional support to help address the issues that are inherent with a Title I school.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent calendar, including the minutes from the Nov. 15, 2016 meeting of the Board of Education; hire and termination reports; student overnight travel; revised LAND Trust plan for Mount Jordan Middle and Granite Elementary; and the acceptance of the 2015-2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 


The Board of Education confirmed a school-year calendar for the 2017-2018 school year, and tentatively approved the school-year calendars for the 2018-2019 as presented the Board. 

Policy Update

The Board of Education approved updates to policies governing substitute staff employment, school volunteers, early retirement for administrators, and phased retirement. 

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked the Board, District administrators and middle school principals and assistant principals for the productive discussion regarding potential middle school schedules. He expressed his appreciation to Robert Green for his service to the Board, and especially his advocacy of the CSD Title I communities. He also credited Green for CSD’s partnership with the United Way. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked Green for his service to Canyons District. He mentioned Green’s dedication to such projects at the Hillcrest summer academic initiative and the rebuild of Midvale Middle. He also thanked District administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and community partners for their response to the fatal car accident that claimed the lives of two students and injured three others.

Board Member Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson said the tragedy in Draper had a ripple effect throughout the CSD community. The deaths of the two students and injuries of three others reminded many of what is truly important, he said. He expressed appreciation for his opponent in the November election, Tracy Bennett.  He said it was a civil campaign. He also expressed appreciation to Green for his service.

Mrs. Clareen Arnold lauded Mr. Wilcox and his team for receiving recent awards for budgeting and financial reporting.  She also congratulated Jordan Principal Tom Sherwood, a doctoral student at Brigham Young University, for receiving a School Leadership Award from the university’s Educational Leadership and Foundation’s Department.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending CSD’s Arts Consortium meeting, the audit meeting, and a Town Hall for patrons. He said he attended the musicals of all five CSD traditional high schools, and commented on Jordan High’s new Medical Innovations Pathways program. He also remarked on how the community came together in the aftermath of the car accident involving Corner Canyon students.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey said she attended the musicals of all CSD high schools and a lunch for the Brighton feeder system.  She mentioned that the Canyons Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to perform at the January meeting of the Utah School Boards Association. 

Mrs. Amber Shill said she attended the production of “West Side Story” at Corner Canyon High.  She was on the committee that planned the new-member workshop for the Utah School Boards Association. She also remarked on how the fatal accident affected all parts of the District, and how the community seems to band together to give aid to those who need it most.  She mentioned various holiday projects undertaken by schools, including a Festival of Tree entry by Brighton to help a student with cancer. 

Mr. Robert Green also mentioned the tragedy involving Corner Canyon High students.  He said it’s been an honor serving on the Canyons Board of Education. 

Board President Sherril Taylor remembered the Corner Canyon students who passed away in the car accident. He expressed concern for their families and friends.  He also bid a fond farewell to Green, and thanked the Sandy Police for providing security at the meeting.
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 16:26

BYU Honors Jordan High Principal Tom Sherwood

Every year, faculty members from Brigham Young University's Educational Leadership and Foundations Department choose one doctoral student to receive a School Leadership Award.

The honor is based on demonstrated academic excellence in coursework, contributions to class discussions, observed leadership potential, and demonstrated academic excellence in coursework — and this year's winner is Jordan High Principal Tom Sherwood.

Canyons School District would like to congratulate Sherwood on this achievement.
Heather Horton is a force to be reckoned with. Put her in a race, in the water, in mud, on a steep mountain, on a bike, with an injury, against people from all over the world and she’ll still win.

At the Xterra World Championship in October in Hawaii, Horton took first place in her age division, 15-19, racing against competitors from France, Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, and all across America, Canada and the rest of the world. She swam one mile, biked 20 miles and ran six miles in 5.5 hours.

“It was slow, but it was raining a lot and I had to walk my bike six miles in the mud,” says the 16-year-old Alta junior. Horton started mountain biking three years ago when she joined Alta’s Mountain Biking club. She won the state championship as a freshman, a junior-varsity title, and took first place this year at four Xterra races on her way to winning her division at the Pan Am Tour, which took place in Utah in September. Bikers from all over the world came to the Beehive state to compete in the off-road triathlon.

Horton usually trains with her father, who is also an avid mountain biker, by biking four times a week. Her favorite trails aheather_horton_on_bike.jpgre in Corner Canyon in Draper, but she drives to Park City once or twice a week for variety. “I like my team and I love mountain biking,” Horton says. “It’s pretty when I ride and I feel really good when I’m riding on my bike.”

Horton’s teammates performed well at this year’s state championships — which Horton missed because of a fall and injury — with Ellise Shuman taking third place for girls varsity, and Morgan Hales taking fourth place in the girls junior varsity category. Canyons’ Mountain Biking clubs at Corner Canyon and Brighton also excelled at the state championships. Corner Canyon won the Division 1 contest, and Brighton claimed the state championship in Division 2. Two of the team’s riders also won individual titles: Brayden Barlage took first in the girls’ freshman category, and Ryder Jordin took first among freshman boys.

Utah’s High School Cycling League has grown in popularity among middle and high school students since the league was formed in 2011. With an abundance of maintained mountain biking trails available in close proximity, Utah’s high school league has grown to become the largest in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, with 1,156 registered high school athletes in the state, according to the league’s website,
Megan Okumura had never competed in a pageant before.

So, before she headed to Idaho in June to compete in the Miss Teen of Utah 2016 pageant, she had some homework to do. She fired up her DVD player and took some notes from Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality” to prepare, and that was that.

When she completed the three-day contest and received the crown, her parents were so shocked they didn’t even have their camera ready to capture the big moment on film. Okumura didn’t mind — she was surprised too.

“When I won the crown, it was one of the most shocking things ever,” the Hillcrest junior said of her achievement. “I was so overjoyed, it was amazing.”Unknown-1.jpeg

Okumura went on to represent Utah in the Miss Teen of America competition where she was fourth runner-up. With her state crown she received a $1,000 cash scholarship and funding for Hillcrest to participate in a Special Olympics inclusion event. But Okumura, who also won the talent portion of the competition, says she won much more than money.

“When I won the crown, it was a big self-esteem booster for me because I was struggling with my self-esteem before that,” Okumura says. “I thought, maybe if I go to this pageant it will help boost my self-esteem, and it did just that. That was the biggest thing I got out of winning — just that self-esteem and confidence.”

Okumura’s parents watched their daughter head toward the Miss Teen of Utah competition with awe. They knew that their daughter — president of the American Sign Language club at Hillcrest, member of the Sandy Youth City Council, hard worker, and dreamer of someday being a special education teacher — was special.

“We knew she had accomplishments, her teachers knew she was doing great things, but she didn’t believe it,” says her mother Sharon Okumura, a now-retired career educator and former principal of CSD’s Canyon View Elementary.

This pageant isn’t Okumura’s first accomplishment. In 8th grade, she served as a student body officer for her school, in 6th grade she won an award for Women in Engineering at the regional science fair (her submission for a public safety announcement against domestic violence was recently chosen by Sandy City), and somewhere in there she wrote a children’s book.

Okumura, author and illustrator, named the book “The Bare Beauty.” It tells the story of a tree that was mocked for not having enough leaves. Sharon Okumura says the story mirrored her daughter’s thoughts and feelings as she came to realize that she had her own talents and gifts that made her beautiful.

“That’s what I see her learning from all of this,” she said. “She doesn’t have to compare herself to everybody else.

As Okumura prepared to head to the national competition in Minnesota in November, she didn’t need to watch any more movies to get ready. She was ready to win, or lose — either way she knows she’s already a champion. And if she ever forgets, her crown is there to remind her.

“I just keep it in my room,” Okumura said of her tiara. “It’s a trophy to me. It makes me really proud of my hard work.”
From rising graduation rates to steady growth in year-end test scores, there’s a lot to be thankful for in public education. In the spirit of the season, we’ve made a list of a just few of the achievements for which we’re grateful.

Education is a gift that should never be taken for granted. It’s the engine of economic growth, and the ticket to health, longevity, a living wage, and a productive, independent life. So, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: For which teachers, educational experiences or schoolhouse moments are you most appreciative? #wearecanyons

1. Student Achievement
Student achievement is on the rise in Utah with steady growth in SAGE scores since the year-end tests were implemented three years ago. Schools have seen gains across the board in math, science and English language arts.

2. Graduation Rates
Utah’s high school graduation rate, already above the national average, has increased 6.4 percentage points over the past five years to 85 percent. Canyons District’s graduation rate has followed a similar trajectory, increasing from 82 percent in 2012-13 to 85 percent in 2015-16. As a side note: Salt Lake is one of the most educated cities in the country with high graduation rates and college attainment, according to a WalletHub study.

3. College-Readiness
Canyons is among six school districts in Utah named to the College Board’s AP Honor Roll for opening Advanced Placement exams to a broader pool of students while also improving pass rates. Additionally, three CSD high schools rank in Utah’s top 10 for AP participation and pass rates: Brighton, Corner Canyon and Hillcrest. More than 25,000 public school students in Utah took a total of 38,685 AP exams in 2016 — a 6 percent bump in participation from 2015. Sixty-six percent scored high enough (achieved scores of 3, 4 or 5) to earn college credit. That’s well above the national average of 55.9 percent. In yet another sign of college-readiness: The Canyons District Class of 2016 earned a record amount of college scholarships. Scholarship offers totaled $34.8 million in 2015-16, up from $24.6 million in 2014.

4. Student Safety
Schools are safer than ever before. Nationally, the prevalence of school-based bullying among students ages 12 to 18 has fallen 10 percentage points from 2007. School violence also is on the decline. Rates of nonfatal victimization of 12- to 18-year-old students — theft, violent crime and serious violent crime — have declined at school and away from school.


5. Innovation
Greater emphasis is being placed on preparing students for today’s high-skilled, high-demand jobs. This year alone, Canyons added Career and Technical Education offerings in medical device manufacturing and physical therapy. CSD is home to the first middle schools in Utah to be named STEM-schools, and the district has more technology specialists per school (to help teachers use technology in the classroom) than any school district in Utah.  What’s more, the Canyons Education Foundation with its generous business partners and donors has awarded more than half-a-million in grants to fund teachers’ innovative ideas for enhancing classroom instruction.

6. Bang for your Buck
Utah schools have achieved all this with far less funding than schools in other states enjoy. Despite investing a good share of taxpayer revenue in education, Utah remains dead last in per pupil spending when compared to other states due to the state’s young population and high birth rate. There’s been a groundswell of public support for investing more in Utah’s schools — perhaps because citizens know their money will be spent wisely: in teachers and classrooms. Salt Lake has the 21st highest teacher pay when adjusted for cost-of-living, according to a comparison of 60 major metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, Utah’s school administration costs are among the lowest in the nation, averaging $63 per student, compared to a national average of $202 per student, according to U. S. Census data. Utah school districts spend less than 10 percent of their budgets on administration.
Cold weather has rolled into Utah. To the end of preparing our community for snow storms, here is a guide to how Canyons District will communicate information about cancelled or delayed-start days as a result of dangerous traveling conditions during the frigid months. Please remember: Unless extreme weather creates unsound traveling conditions, schools operating under the Canyons District umbrella will remain open on scheduled school days.

Why keep schools open during snowstorms?
Our 35,000 students count on us to deliver a quality education in a safe, welcoming environment. Unscheduled school closures disrupt their learning and place a burden on parents who work full-time and can’t easily be home to supervise their children. Neighborhood schools also are a primary source of breakfast and lunch for many of our students.

What if I’d prefer to keep my child home?
While school-closure decisions will be made in the best interest of a school community, the District respects the rights of parents and guardians to decide what’s best for children in their care.

How will I know if school is canceled or delayed?
Canyons District has established the following communications polices in the event of a school closure:

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND INFORMATION: Canyons District will employ its website, the Skylert emergency-communication system, and Facebook and Twitter (@canyonsdistrict) to alert parents about school closures. Parents and employees should listen to Wasatch Front radio and television stations for school-closure information.

WHAT WE WILL TELL YOU: The District will communicate one of three messages: 1) Day and date a school is closed; 2) Day and date a school is starting late; 3) and day and date schools will be dismissed.

TELEPHONE LINES: Families are encouraged to call the District Office — 801-826-5000 — for the latest decisions on school closures due to inclement weather. Please be patient, as the District Office may experience a high volume of phone calls on these days. Parents also may call their child's school. 

WHO WILL MAKE THE ANNOUNCEMENT: School closures will be announced when authorized by the Canyons Superintendent of Schools or his designee after consulting with senior staff members. The National Weather Service and other state, county and city agencies also may be consulted.

CLOSURES FOR ONE DAY ONLY: All announcements are for one day only. No announcement means schools will be open and operate as usual.

EMERGENCY PLANS: Families are encouraged to establish an emergency plan for their children in the event that schools are closed, have a delayed start or dismissed early. Parents are urged to instruct their children where to go or what to do if a parent is not at home.

BUS STOPS: Parents are asked to meet their children at bus stops when buses are running on delayed or emergency schedules.

MAKE-UP DAYS: Days lost because of inclement weather will be made up first on the Washington and Lincoln Day Recess (Presidents Day) and then during Spring Recess.
Friday, 18 November 2016 17:24

Butler Elementary

The new Butler Elementary was completed and opened for classes the past August. The new school draws inspiration from the mountains just outside its front doors, with exterior courtyards themed after local canyons. Classroom wings have individual themes.    

East Exterior
Main Entrance
Main Office
Kings Hall
Antelope Hall
Computer Lab
Media Center
Upstaris hallway looking West
Main Floor Hallway
  • East Exterior
  • Main Entrance
  • Main Office
  • Kings Hall
  • Antelope Hall
  • Gymnasium/Stage
  • Computer Lab
  • Media Center
  • Classroom
  • Upstaris hallway looking West
  • Main Floor Hallway
  • Hallway
  • Students who wish to attend a school other than their resident school — the one assigned to them by geographic boundaries — may request a transfer by going in person to their school of choice and filling out a Standard Early Open Enrollment Application. The application window for Early Enrollment permits opens Thursday, Dec. 1 and closes on Friday, Feb. 17.