Canyons is proud to join the American School Counselor Association in paying tribute to the men and women who dedicate themselves to student advisement, achievement, and advancement during National School Counseling Week Feb. 2-6, 2015.

"Counselors are not just changing your schedule; they're taking a proactive approach and work tirelessly to help students get ready for the next step in their education or future careers, whatever they may be," said Torilyn Gillett, CSD Counseling and Comprehensive Guidance Coordinator, said of the 50 school counselors working in CSD's middle and high schools. "They are helping each student create a plan to get ready for college and careers; teaching students skills needed to prepare for the future; and tending to students' emotional well-being through crisis services, coping strategies, stress management and access to outside resources."

National School Counseling Week, sponsored by American School Counselor Association, highlights the nation's 32,000 school counselors, and their unique contributions to students' success, according to the ASCA website. It is also supported by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who has declared Feb. 2-6, 2015 as School Counseling Week in Utah.

"School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students' academic concerns, career awareness in post-secondary options and personal/social skills," ASCA Executive Director Dr. Kwok-Sze Wong said. "Comprehensive school counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success."

Several CSD counselors have been recognized for excellence in their fields.

Union Middle's Nate Edvalson was named the Utah School Counselor Association's Counselor of the Year in 2011. 

Hillcrest counselors received the Utah High School Counseling Team Award, Indian Hills counselors won the Utah Middle School Counseling Team Award, and Corner Canyon High's Allyson Hanks, who at the time was working at Brighton, won the Counselor of the Year award from the Utah Association of Career and Technical Education's Guidance Division in 2012.

CSD counselor David Shirley and Bruce Shuck as a Crescent View Middle School guidance counselor both have received the Human Rights Award from the Utah School Counselor Association.

And former CSD Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Coordinator Lori Jones, now a principal at Sprucewood Elementary, was named the Utah Technology Council's Educator of the Year, received the Perkins Service Award from the Guidance Division of the Utah Association of Career and Technical Education, and the Human Rights Award from the Utah School Counselors Association.

We salute all of our outstanding school counselors for their dedication to student success.
Let’s give our teachers some love! During this month of paper hearts, candies and chocolates, Canyons is inviting the community to give teachers the ultimate valentine: a Teacher of the Year nomination.

Canyons schools are taking nominations for Teacher of the Year throughout the month of February. Each year, every Canyons District school recognizes a Teacher of the Year for outstanding teaching practices, professionalism, and community involvement.

Each Teacher of the Year receives gifts and prizes donated by CSD’s generous business partners and special honors from the Board of Education. Each also is nominated for Canyons District Teacher of the Year, an honor that includes cash, prizes, and a nomination for the Utah Teacher of the Year award.

To nominate your favorite teacher for the top award, 2015_TOY_Nomination_Form.pdf and return it to your school.

Winners will be announced April 3 in school celebrations throughout the District.
Elementary, Middle School Schedules

Elementary and middle school schedules were discussed at length during the Special Study Session of the Canyons Board of Education. School Performance Director Mike Sirois told Board members the District is studying the current schedules to ensure they are conducive to student learning. The overriding concern, he told the Board, is to build a schedule that accommodates the required hours of instruction while also safeguarding teacher-planning and collaboration periods. However, he explained, this isn’t always a smooth process when funding for personnel is largely dependent on student enrollment.

School Performance Director Alice Peck told the Board that an Elementary Schedule Task Force has been studying the schedule that was put into place in fall 2014. Peck said feedback on the schedule, which was ratified by the Canyons Education Association as part of contract negotiations, suggests that it doesn’t provide for enough collaboration and planning time and has contributed to low teacher morale. After examining issues and soliciting feedback from teachers, the Task Force created three scheduling options. Teachers were then asked to vote on those options. Peck said that 87 percent of 689 teachers who cast ballots selected a proposed schedule includes early-out Fridays and built-in uninterrupted collaboration and planning time during the school day. The option, called Option No. 2, also calls for trained specialists to provide curriculum-based instruction in such areas as physical education, arts and music while teachers meet to plan and collaborate.

Peruvian Park teacher Christine Bond said the proposed built-in planning and collaboration periods would help teachers maximize time in the classroom. Peck responded affirmatively when Board member Chad Iverson asked if the early-out day would remain constant so parents could adequately plan for child care.  In other words, early out days would on be Friday, under the proposal.  The Board also was told that teachers and administrators believe that collaboration time during the day is critical because planning-time before and after school is interrupted. In addition, the District is aiming to build a schedule so that elementary teachers, like secondary teachers, are given time to plan during the school day. Evidence-Based Learning Director Amber Roderick-Landward said the option favored by the teachers meets state requirements for instructional time.

Sirois told Board members that CSD’s middle school schedule is constantly being evaluated for efficacy. He addressed the challenges that arise as schools try to balance the issues that are inherent when funding for personnel is dependent on the number of students who enroll. Historically, Sirois told the Board, middle school students attended seven classes. Teachers were assigned six classes with one prep period, which allowed for little to no collaboration among teachers. However, research of middle-school education, he said, emphasizes that teacher collaboration is key to student success. He said that extended time in core instruction areas, as well as built-in intervention and acceleration, are important. Maintaining options for electives also is vital, he said. Currently, under the District’s A/B schedule, students attend six 60-minute classes a day, and educators are assigned five classes a day with one prep period per day. This schedule is difficult to maintain if there isn’t a “perfect number” of students, he said. The challenge is compounded when schools must dedicate FTE to special program such as dual-language immersion classes. Sirois said the District also is faced with subsidizing performing arts programs at most Canyons middle schools. The current schedule was put into place to increase rigor in core subjects while accommodating teaming among teachers. The District has experienced success, with a significant number of middle schools scoring the top 25 of Utah schools on recent statewide assessments.

Board member Nancy Tingey asked if the District had solicited parent input. Peck said that School Community Councils at many schools had been given a chance to see and weigh in on the options. She added that the Administration will continue to seek parent feedback.    

Business Administrator and Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox told the Board that the elementary schedule endorsed by the Task Force would cost an additional $865,000. In addition, more funding for teachers would help the District maintain the current middle school schedule. Ten extra middle school teachers would cost about $600,000 per year; 15 is about $900,000. Wilcox said funding solutions include property tax growth, employee attrition, utility savings as a result of efficiencies of newer buildings, an increase in the Weighted Pupil Unit, and possible budget reductions in other areas, which will be discussed at the March 10 budget hearing.

Board President Sherril Taylor thanked Sirois, Peck, the Principals, and the teachers for their hard work. 

To listen to MP3s of the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click  “View the Agenda” for the Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 meeting of the Board of Education. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 00:00

Legislative Update 1.28.15

We are testing the feed for Legislative Updates. Please be patient as we work out the issues. Any questions please contact MariLee in Government Relations at 801-826-5171.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 00:00

Legislative Highlights

Yesterday was Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) Day on the Hill. The City Youth Councils attend this day, take tours, meet with elected officials and give input into some of the bills that will impact youth.  Cottonwood Heights and Draper Youth Councils attended.

Draper Youth Council




Cottonwood Heights Youth Council




Who will win the Canyons District Science Fair? Help us decide!

Volunteer science fair judges are being sought to evaluate hundreds of entries in the Science Fairs for Canyons District elementary and secondary students.  

Judging for the elementary fair will be 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9 in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East. A training meeting for judges will be 3:30-4 p.m.

The secondary fair also will be in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Support Services Center. Judging will be 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The judges’ training meeting will be 3:30-4 p.m.

Interested? You can fill out an online registration form and volunteer application on our website.

All volunteers must pass a criminal background check in accordance with state law.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 00:00

Midvale Crowned CSD Intramural Chess Champs

Midvale Middle School dominated the 2015 Canyons School District Middle School Intramurals Chess Tournament. The team won the District Championship and every board, finishing with a perfect score. Individual Midvale student winners are:
  • Table 1: Stephen Yu
  • Table 2: Alex Qi
  • Table 3: Bryan Guo
  • Table 4: Sraavya Pinjala
  • Table 5: Wensen Zhang
  • Table 6: Alan Zhao
The tournament was held Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Mount Jordan Middle School. Mount Jordan students won second place, and Albion students won third place.

The chess tournament is the second event of the 2014-2015 school year's CSD Middle School Intramurals program, which was developed following input from parents in 2009 to promote healthy lifestyles and gauge interest for future competitive sports programs.
Two other intramural tournaments remain. The 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is scheduled for March 24-26 at Jordan High. The Middle School Intramural Soccer Tournament will be held May 14 at Union Middle School.