Two Hillcrest High students claimed top awards at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Los Angeles.

Alexander Sun won 2nd place is his category, and a $1,500 prize, for a paper titled, "Compassion Fade and the Limitations of Student Subjects in Social Science Research," and Alexander Cheng won 3rd place in his category, and $1,000, for his project: "Analysis of Retinal Fundus Images to Detect Macular Degeneration Using Machine Learning Methods." 

Intel ISEF is the largest pre-collegiate science fair. Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for about $4 million in prizes. They are winnowed from the millions of students worldwide who compete in regional and school-sponsored science fairs.


Canyons School District’s 2017 commencement season kicks off on Thursday, June 1 with ceremonies for: CSD’s alternative high school Diamond Ridge; South Park Academy at the Utah State Prison; and Jordan Valley School for special-needs students.

High school graduation is a rite of passage, a time for celebrating academic achievement, and an opportunity to spotlight our exceptional students and faculty.It’s one of those can’t-miss events, so mark your calendars now!

The District’s five traditional high schools will all perform commencement rites on Tuesday, June 6. Following are the dates and times:
  • Alta High — Tuesday, June 6, 10 a.m., University of Utah Huntsman Center
  • Brighton High — Tuesday, June 6, 2 p.m., Maverik Center
  • Corner Canyon High — Tuesday, June 6, 2 p.m., University of Utah Huntsman Center
  • Hillcrest High — Tuesday, June 6, 10 a.m., Maverik Center
  • Jordan High — Tuesday, June 6, 7 p.m., Jordan High’s stadium (inclement weather may necessitate that the event be moved to the Maverik Center at 6 p.m.) 
  • Diamond Ridge — Thursday, June 1, 7 p.m., Mount Jordan Middle School
  • South Park Academy — Thursday, June 1, 8 a.m., Timpanogos Oquirrh
  • Entrada — Tuesday, June 27, 7 p.m., Jordan High School
  • Jordan Valley — Thursday, June 1, 11 a.m., Jordan Valley School
The first-ever members to join Alta High’s marching band will be graduating this year — and they’ll be celebrating in a big way.

After four years of high-stepping, twirling and drumming, Canyons District’s only marching band will be taking their talent across the country to represent Utah in the 13th annual National Memorial Day Parade, held annually on Constitution Avenue to honor the men and women who have served valiantly in the U.S. Armed Forces.  The parade starts at 2 p.m. Eastern on Monday. 

This is the first time the award-winning band will perform in a different state, and they will be the only Utah marching band in the event. The parade is one of the country’s largest Memorial Day event.

“I had no idea we would be marching in this parade,” said Alta bandleader Caleb Shabestari, who led the band to 2A division state championships in 2013 and 2014. “I think it’s cool we’ve doubled the size of the band in four years and we’re taking a trip across the country. We couldn’t have done that last year.”

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan nominated the marching band to represent Utah last March and the group has been preparing ever since. These days, the students attend practice two days a week to put the final touches on their patriotic program. The songs they will perform will highlight an immigrant’s journey to the United States.

“Just for the parade we’ve probably practiced for 40 hours straight,” Shabestari said. For those who won’t be able to see the parade in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 29, the band will perform the same numbers at parades this summer in Sandy and Draper. 

The parade also will be streamed live on military.com.  

In June, the Alta High marching band will begin rehearsals for the summer band program, which includes flashy performances in Fourth of July and city celebration parades. The students range in age from seventh- to 12th grades and hail from all parts of the District. 

In the fall, the group will start working on their fall competition program, which will feature a theme of air, flight and planes, with completely original music. Students from all over Canyons participate in the District band located at Alta.

 “My goal at the end of five years is to have a band with over 100 people,” Shabestari said. “We are well on track to do that.”
His waterwise approach to maintaining the turf on Canyons School District fields has conserved millions of gallons of water. His push to place mechanical systems in “unoccupied mode” when school buildings are vacant, along with heating, cooling and lighting upgrades, has helped reduce the District’s carbon footprint by 45 percent—even with the addition of 1 million square feet of new construction.

For these, and other, trailblazing efforts to champion the environment, CSD Energy Specialist Chris Eppler was named an Energy Pioneer at the Governor’s 2017 Utah Energy Development Summit on May 4. Organized to brainstorm a sustainable energy future for Utah, the two-day summit drew more than 1,000 attendees.



“These are exciting times for the energy industry — times characterized by rapid changes in how we produce, deliver and use energy,” the governor said in a press statement, expressing appreciation for the movers behind innovations such as, underground geothermal laboratories, wirelessly charging electric vehicles, utility-scale compressed air storage, carbon capture and sequestration, and the production of carbon fiber from coal.

‘Healthy Schools’ Steps at Canyons

ENERGY: Since the district’s inception in 2009, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by 39 percent — or 6,923 metric tons of CO2 — even as our facilities have grown by 1 million square feet, says Canyons’ Energy Specialist Christopher Eppler. That’s the equivalent of taking 10,311 cars off the road.  This was accomplished by upgrading heating, cooling and lighting systems in older schools and by placing mechanical systems in “unoccupied” mode when buildings are vacant.

WATER: Canyons also is doing its part to curb water usage; the district has about 370 acres of turf to maintain. With a $15,000 grant from the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, Eppler hired and trained Canyons students to help survey, monitor and adjust school water schedules based on the root zone, type of grass, shade, soil type and evaporation rate. In July 2014, the district used 16.5 million gallons less than in July 2012 and 9.5 million gallons less than in July 2013. 

RADON TESTING: Canyons District was recently honored by the Utah Division of Environmental Quality for its radon-testing program. CSD is the only district in Utah that regularly tests schools for radon with all buildings tested at least every two years.

CLEAN AIR: On Earth Day, Canyons became the first school district in Utah to go idle free at all of its schools. The campaign kicked off early in the morning at Ridgecrest elementary school where “no idling” signs were installed and students greeted drivers with placards, informational pamphlets and window clings to place in vehicles. Eventually, signs will be placed at all Canyons schools and “no idling” pledges will be sent home with students, encouraging parents to voluntarily pledge to “turn their key and be idle free.”
Approval of Negotiated Agreement with Canyons Education Association

The Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association for 2017-2018 school year. The agreement contains a small adjustment to the Conversion Placement Table approved at a prior Board meeting. The new, single-lane salary schedule represents the largest pay hike in the District’s history, bumping the starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 to $40,500, while also funding raises for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, significantly improving their lifetime earnings and retirement payments. As part of the agreement, the District will cover 83.7 percent of the 11.33 percent hike in health insurance premiums that takes effect in January 2018. One Personal Leave Day will be converted back to a Sick Leave Day. Also, under a policy change, the provisional status of experienced transfer teachers may be shortened if they have:
  • Successfully taught for at least three consecutive years in an accredited school or district
  • Completed at least one year of provisional service with Canyons District
  • Successfully met the criteria outlined in GCOA-Evaluation of Instructional Staff (Licensed)
  • Been recommended by their principal/supervisor for a Provisional Status Exception
  • Received approval by the Director of Human Resources
The Board read the following statement into the minutes: 

“Tonight, the Canyons Board of Education voted to approve the tentative negotiated agreement for 2017-2018 with the Canyon Education Association. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks for the licensed educators in Canyons School District. With this agreement, and with the previously announced salary structure that gives no less than a 4 percent salary increase to every teacher in Canyons District, the Board of Education decidedly shows in word and deed how much this community values education. We have said it before and we will say it again: Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions. With the intention of bringing the best and brightest to Canyons District classrooms, and to give teachers a chance to earn more over the length of their careers, the Board of Education moved singularly and decisively to make an important and positive financial impact in the lives of our teachers. Day in and day out, the men and women who lead classrooms in Canyons District are making good on the promise of our nation — that every child has a right to a free, appropriate education. President John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.’ The Board of Education can send no clearer message than this: We honor and respect our teachers. We thank them for their care, creativity, and commitment to ensuring that every student in Canyons District graduates college and career-ready.”

Budget Update

With the expiration of a 7-year-old school-district funding equalization law, Canyons District’s property tax rate will be auto-adjusted for the 2017-2018 school year, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board of Education. Even though the tax rate is being auto-adjusted, CSD’s goal is to keep the 2017-2018 tax rate lower or the same as the 2016-2017 rate, he said. The Administration will, in adherence to state law, post a tax notice in Utah’s major daily newspapers. The Board will adopt a revised FY17 budget and original FY18 budget at its June 13 meeting following a public hearing. At least 15 days prior to that meeting, the budgets will be posted to the District’s website.

Proposed Reorganization 

A fiscally neutral reorganization is being proposed to consolidate oversight of two departments that support teachers in the classroom: Instructional Supports and Education Technology. The proposed changes are occasioned by the resignation of Education Technology Director Dr. Darren Draper, who is leaving CSD for another job opportunity. After consulting with Draper, and meeting with his staff, it was decided that aligning the Education Technology Specialists with Instructional Specialists would create operational efficiencies and synergies and improve communication, explained Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie. Under the plan, Education Technology Specialists would move under the umbrella of Instructional Supports, and an administrative position would be added to shoulder the additional supervisory burden. In addition, four teacher positions would be elevated to provide more support to academic and technology coaches. The administration of Canyons Virtual High School would be assigned to CTEC Principal Ken Spurlock.

Policy Update

Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen briefed the Board on a proposed policy change in the handling of unpaid school-nutrition meal charges.

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

Willow Canyon Scout Troops No. 838 and No. 541 led the audience in the pledge of allegiance, and Willow Canyon Principal Marilyn Williams conducted the reverence. Teachers at Willow Canyon embody a can-do attitude; more than 15 have met level-one certification for using technology in the classroom, she said. The school has several enrichment programs, including a choir and fine arts program. Students also participate in CSD’s annual storytelling festival and “Monster Math” program. “Every student successful is our goal,” William said. 

Patron Comments 

Canyons Education Association President Jen Buttars announced that the association has ratified a tentative negotiated agreement with the District for teacher pay and benefits. “We appreciate the nearly $11.5M investment in teacher salaries and believe that the Board has truly demonstrated a commitment to not only recruit, but also retain educators,” she said. “We also appreciate the Board’s willingness to examine issues such as insurance premiums. provisional status of experienced teachers, personal and sick leave, easier access to payroll codes, and the number of assessments being given to students.” 

Big Cottonwood Canyon resident Tom Fendler addressed the Board about the proposal to eliminate the bus route in the canyon. He urged the Board to keep the route. Karin Peterson also told the Board it would be a hardship for her if the Board eliminated the route. Deborah Miles, also a resident in the canyon and parents of a student at Butler Elementary, urged the Board to keep the route. Eric Railsbeck also spoke in favor of keeping the route.  CVHS administrative assistant Julie Mayo also addressed the Board, reporting on some of the tasks that need to be completed by CVHS employees.   


Bond Discussion

Board members discussed their thoughts about the projects that could be considered for completion on a future bond issuance. This fall, both a new Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary schools will open. Both schools have been completed with proceeds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. Crews have started to work on the renovations at Indian Hills Middle, the 13th and final project promised to voters when the bond was approved. 

Bus Route


The Board voted to table a proposal to cancel a hazardous bus route up Big Cottonwood Canyon while they take into consideration patron comments and concerns. Board members asked the Administration to explore the possibility of using a smaller bus or van to transport students. The Board will continue to study the matter at future meetings.

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the accomplishments of students in Career- and Technical-Education programs who won first place in their respective competitions. They also recognized Altara Elementary teacher Joani Richardson, who received a 2017 Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education; Jonathan Hale, a teacher at Sprucewood and Jordan Valley schools, who received a Sorensen Award for Excellence in Arts Education, and Betty Shaw, the outgoing Region 17 PTA Director.  National PTA Reflections winners — Oakdale Elementary’s Sarah Baros, for photography; Copperview’s Tuesday Harris, for literature; and Draper Elementary’s Alyssa Meadows, for music — also were honored.    

Easement for Trail Near Edgemont Elementary

The Board of Education considered a request from Salt Lake County for an easement to build a trail along Edgemont Elementary School’s property line. The county successfully passed the Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) tax at the November 2016 election, and as part of its ZAP plan, wants to construct a walking trail through White City, CSD’s Budget Administrator Leon Wilcox explained. The trail would run along Edgemont Elementary and would require an easement from the District. Board members expressed concern about the possible need for a fence to safeguard students, and Board President Sherril H. Taylor asked the Administration to explore the possibility of a land exchange with the county. Wilcox said these stipulations could be added to the easement agreement along with language to require the county to maintain the trail and repair any damage to District property incurred during construction. Also included would be language requiring the trail to be relocated if Edgemont is rebuilt at a future date. The easement will be brought to the Board for approval at a later meeting. 

Remarks by Elected Representatives

The Board of Education heard remarks from Utah Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, and Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper.

Consent Agenda

With exception to one school’s overnight travel plan, the Board approved all items on the consent agenda, including, hires and terminations, purchasing bids, student overnight travel plans; and April financial reports.

Counseling Update

Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Coordinator Tori Gillett updated the Board on services provided by the school counseling programs. She told the Board the counselors are aligning data projects with the school-improvement plans of the schools. The projects also focused on attendance, behavior and course understanding. Highlights of the CSD counseling efforts include the launch of counseling services at Diamond Ridge and HYPE courses for counselors. The counselors also continue their efforts to increase the number of students who submit a viable college application during the Utah College Application Week. 

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports


Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked Shaw for her service to CSD as the Region 17 PTA President. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox commended Dr. Darren Draper for his work in Canyons District. Wilcox said Draper was one of the first people he met when Wilcox started working for CSD in 2009.  He honored CSD Energy Specialist Chris Eppler for being honored by Gov. Gary Herbert for his work in helping conserve energy in our facilities.

Board Reports

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reported on negotiations with CSD employees.  She appreciates the negotiating teams for working hard on behalf of the District’s employees. She also commended teachers who were honored during the Teacher of the Year ceremonies. She looks forward to the Retirees Banquet on May 25.

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on watching Alta and Corner Canyon student-athletes compete in the Region 7 track meet. He also will be attending the Indian Hills Middle end-of-year band concert. He also reflected on the accomplishments of the educators honored during the Teacher of the Year announcement ceremony. He said one of his former teachers is the father of one our Teachers of the Year. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg enjoyed the Teacher of the Year presentation. He thanked the teachers who “go to the battle line” every day in our schools. He also reported on attending the Thursday, April 27 Canyons Education Foundation Spring Gala. He expressed appreciation for the support in the community for the Foundation. 

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Sacred Images mural unveiling at Corner Canyon High. She reported on attending the Brighton and Butler Middle’s SCC meetings, and thanked District staff for their work on the Teacher of the Year ceremonies and the Foundation’s gala. She attended fifth-grade DARE graduation at Bella Vista Elementary. She thanked Betty Shaw and Dr. Draper for their service to Canyons District. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey mentioned attending the Latinos in Action celebration and congratulated the LIA students who were recognized for their achievements. She mentioned she was able to participate in the electronic bidding during the Foundation’s spring gala. She was able to buy a charcoal painting done by a student during the event. She thanked Shaw for her service in the Region 17 PTA.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending the Foundation’s Spring Gala.  He also recognized our special education department’s excellent services. 

President Taylor thanked Shaw for her voluntarism. He also thanked the Office of Public Communication for organizing Recognitions. He reported on Communities that Care group to which he belongs. Taylor also reported on attending Alta High’s Awards Ceremony. He expressed appreciation for Principal McGill’s efforts at Alta High, the various administrators for working hard throughout the year, the Canyons Virtual High School staff, and Mr. Steve Van Maren, a resident who often attends CSD meetings. 
A transcript is a record of academic achievement and lists every class in which a high school student has enrolled, and the grades he or she has received. Students commonly need a copy of their transcript to apply to college, graduate, transfer schools, or to apply for a job. Students can request a copy of their transcript by contacting the registrar at the school(s) they attended. The best way to reach the registrar is to phone a school’s Main Office and ask to be connected. Need a copy of your GED? Click here for easy-to-follow directions.
The Board of Education on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 unanimously voted to approve a negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association for 2017-2018 school year.

The agreement contains a small adjustment to the Conversion Placement Table approved at the April 25, 2017 meeting of the Board of Education. The new, single-lane salary schedule represents the largest pay hike in the District’s history, bumping the starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 to $40,500, while also funding raises for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, significantly improving their lifetime earnings and retirement payments. It’s a big investment and tangible proof of how much the CSD community values education, says Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor.

"We have said it before and we will say it again: Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions," he said. "With the intention of bringing the best and brightest to Canyons District classrooms, and to give teachers a chance to earn more over the length of their careers, the Board of Education moved singularly and decisively to make an important and positive financial impact in the lives of our teachers."

CEA President Jen Buttars also said the association appreciates "the nearly $11.5 million investment in teacher salaries and believes that the Board has truly demonstrated a commitment to not only recruit, but also retain educators."

"The CEA believes that (the Board's) commitment to listening to the concerns of educators, recognizing professional judgement and attending to salary, benefit and working condition concerns, allows educators to focus on their
efficacy for the benefit of all Canyons School District students," she said.

As part of the agreement, the District will cover 83.7 percent of the 11.33 percent hike in health insurance premiums that takes effect in January 2018. One Personal Leave Day will be converted back to a Sick Leave Day. Also, under a policy change, the provisional status of experienced transfer teachers may be shortened if they have:
  • Successfully taught for at least three consecutive years in an accredited school or district
  • Completed at least one year of provisional service with Canyons District
  • Successfully met the criteria outlined in GCOA-Evaluation of Instructional Staff (Licensed)
  • Been recommended by their principal/supervisor for a Provisional Status Exception
  • Received approval by the Director of Human Resources

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 14:56

CSD Honors Nine Outstanding Educators

Paraeducators provide behavioral supports, one-on-one tutoring, and the extra instructional time and attention that some students need to thrive. These champions of children support teachers and form a vital communication-link to parents.

Schools simply can't operate effectively without them, and to show our appreciation, Canyons District's Department of Special Education each year honors thebest in the business. Congratulations to the winners of CSD's 2017 Outstanding Paraeducator Awards:

Tessa Marrelli, CTAGary Ren, Jordan Valley
Kelsey Edman, Early Childhood
Carlito Lucero, Accommodated Core Classroom
Lisa Hammer, Academic Behavior Support classroom
Kendra Plant, Extended Core classroom
Bonnie Healy, middle school resource
Julie Mickelsen, elementary resource


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Canyons School District is home to two 2017 National Merit Scholars.

Eric Jackson of Corner Canyon High and Brian Johnson of Jordan High, are among 2,500 high school seniors chosen nationally for the prestigious academic honor.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, students had to complete a detailed application with an essay and provide information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. They were judged by a panel of college admissions officers and high school counselors who looked at students’ academic records, including grades and rigor of the courses they completed.   

But first, students had to score high enough on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Of the 1.6 million American teens who took the test in their junior year, only the top 1 percent, or 16,000, made the cut. That list was then whittled further to 7,500 finalists.

Jackson and Johnson will receive $2,500 scholarships to use toward their college education.
Amber Shill, a Canyons District Board member with deep roots in civic involvement, has been selected to serve on the newly-reorganized Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Board of Trustees.

Her re-appointment—this will be her third year on the Board—was announced May 4 as part of a reorganization to reduce the Board in size from 30 members to 16. She was previously a member-at-large, and will now represent 5A schools.

Mrs. Shill will bring some continuity to Utah’s official sanctioning body for high school sports, music, theatre, and speech and debate. She served on the subcommittee that negotiated the new athlete transfer rule with the Utah State Board of Education and was a member of the panel that hired the organization’s three new assistant directors.

“I’m excited to continue to serve,” she said, noting, “Students are my No. 1 priority.”amberboard.jpg

Since 1927, UHSAA has led the development of education-based interscholastic activities in the sports and arts under the belief that they are essential to the high school experience.

Mrs. Shill was a vocal supporter of the recent Board vote to sanction lacrosse as Utah’s 11th official prep sport. Advocates had been seeking a sanction for nearly a decade, which they say will expand opportunities for students already playing in club programs, and will open the sport to students who have no other means to participate except through high school.

“Boys and girls will have another opportunity to participate and excel in another sport,” Mrs. Shill told the Deseret News.

Mrs. Shill was elected to the Canyons Board of Education in November 2014, and is the Second Vice President. Her roll-up-the-sleeves style of leadership has endeared her to the District 2 community she represents, which covers most of Cottonwood Heights.

Mrs. Shill and her husband have four children who attend or have graduated from the Brighton feeder system. She graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance.

Her more than 17 years of civic involvement includes volunteering in Cub Scouts, leading youth groups, and serving as a Salt Lake County Precinct Delegate. She has volunteered in schools, and led multiple districtwide committees, School Community Councils and the PTA’s at Bella Vista Elementary, Butler Middle and Brighton High School. Most recently, she served as the School Community Council Chair at Brighton High from 2012-2014.