Canyons District’s 3rd annual summer Gathering for Good donation drive is joining forces with one of Utah’s most popular radio stations, Z104 KSOP and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors to collect school supplies for students in need.

Join us as we take part in the three-day “Tools for School” event. Giving is easy. Just drop off your donations in the south-end parking lot of The Shops at South Town any time between August 7-9, and say hello to Z104 radio personalities Dave and Deb who will be spending three nights at the shopping center in buses.

Out of town that week? No matter. Any day during business hours, leave your donations in the colorful bins located in the entryways of Canyons District’s Administration buildings.
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Grace Pruden has been playing competitive soccer since she was four years old. The freshman striker for Hillcrest High says the game has shaped her as a person on and off the field.

So, when she began experiencing recurrent bouts of back pain, she heeded the warning signs, sought medical attention and took some needed breaks from training. Recently, with physical therapy, and the help of a new injury prevention programprudensmall.jpg at Hillcrest High, Pruden says she’s feeling “healthy and strong” coming into a new season this fall. “I’m leaps and bounds from where I used to be,” she says.

But for every teen athlete who takes steps to safeguard their health, there are thousands who are compelled to push their growing bodies to a breaking point, contributing to what some are calling an epidemic in youth sports injuries.

“Many of these injuries, such as concussions and ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] tears, can be life-altering,” says Robin Cecil, a doctor of physical therapy and an assistant girls soccer coach at Hillcrest. “But the good news is that these traumas, along with overuse injuries, such as muscle strains and knee and ankle sprains, are preventable.”

There are about 2 million high school-related sports injuries annually, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Overuse injuries are responsible for about half of the injuries in middle school and high school athletes, and the CDC says half of those are preventable.

There are many factors behind the trend. Youth sports, now a $15.3 billion industry that includes leagues and livestreamed games, is no longer a seasonal affair. To remain competitive in the eyes of college recruiters, kids are being encouraged to specialize in a single sport at younger ages, and they’re playing the sport year-round, which is placing too much repetitive stress on their still-developing bodies. “Kids are training like adults and their bodies aren’t ready for it,” Cecil says.

But if new technologies and advances in sports medicine have made it possible to push athletes to excel, why not use these same tools to prevent injury? Such is idea behind AthleteMonitoring.com, a computer-based athlete management system that Hillcrest’s girls soccer team is test-piloting this summer.

In competitive sports, there is a sweet spot for training. In order to optimize performance, coaches have to design programs that push athletes without putting them at risk for injury or illness, explains the Husky’s new head soccer coach Kyra Peery. “Finding and maintaining the balance between intense training and recovery and rest is an art and, increasingly, a science.”

Athlete Monitoring is used by professional, college, high school and club sports teams around the world to gather and interpret data on athletes’ fitness and wellness. Every morning, Pruden logs in to the secure system on her cell phone or a tablet and answers a series of five questions designed to gauge how well she’s sleeping, and how much fatigue, soreness and stress she’s experiencing. Then, again, after practice she completes an assessment of the training session, remarking on her enjoyment and exertion levels, along with any health problems. “It’s easy,” she says, “and only takes a few minutes.”

The data are then made available in real-time to the coaching team through easy-to-understand dashboards and built-in alerts, which flag certain athletes as being at risk for injury due to overtraining or other stressors. There’s even a “monotony index,” which, when above-normal, indicates enhanced risk for injury.

The system empowers coaches to make more calculated and precise changes to their training, and to individualize training for athletes, Peery says. “As coaches, we often forget that external stressors, such as work, friends, school, and family also factor into an athlete’s recovery and performance. This helps us put the students, and their well-being, first.”

One of the ways to reduce injuries and athlete burnout is to play more than one sport, but monitoring the workload for these athletes can pose communication and coordination challenges for coaches, says Hillcrest’s athletic director John Olsen. “The benefit of using a single data interface is that it makes it possible for everyone to be working from the same playbook, because all of us—the coaching staff, athletic trainers and the athletic director—are alerted to any health issues that athletes report.” The girls soccer team is the first to experiment with the system, but if successful, it may be put to use more widely.

Students also appreciate the open line of communication. While taking a break from the summer heat during a pre-season training session, center midfielder Kate Timmerman described the daily routine of providing feedback to the coaches as “empowering.” It doesn’t hurt having a little extra incentive to complete the drills that coaches assign on off-practice days, she says. “It keeps everyone accountable.”

Staying fit through the off-season is important as injuries tend to spike during tryouts, Cecil says. “It’s best to gradually ramp-up workloads.”

With this in mind, Peery and her husband and assistant coach Brock Peery have been hosting free summer training for their players where the girls weight-train and run drills three times per week for two hours a day.

This, coupled with the team’s student-first, injury-prevention focus, has Pruden feeling optimistic about the fall season. “The team is looking really strong,” she says, “and it’s been a relief to see the improvement with my back and my health.”

Injury Prevention Tips

All sports carry the risk of injury. Fortunately, the benefits of sports outweigh most of the risks, and many injuries are preventable—especially those due to overuse or overtraining.
  • Take a Break: It’s important to build-in rest periods between training, practice and competitions. A useful rule-of-thumb is that children under the age of 16 should not practice more hours per week at a given sport than their age in years. 
  • Self-care: It’s important for athletes to eat a healthy diet and consume enough calories. Getting enough rest and liquids are equally vital. 
  • Keep it Fun: Training should be fun and invigorating. If it feels monotonous or painful, that can be a sign that you’re pushing too hard. 
  • Play Safe: Good sportsmanship and adherence to game rules can reduce the risk for injury.
  • Manageable Workload: With training, it’s important to use proper technique and to keep weekly workload increases under 15 percent.
  • Warm-up & Cool Down: It’s important to do dynamic warm-ups before training to pre-stretch and activate muscles without overstretching them, and to do cool downs afterward.
Mark your calendars: A ceremonial groundbreaking to celebrate the start of work on the new Brighton High has been scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9.

Students, parents, teachers, alumni, and community members are invited to the event, which kicks off at the campus with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m.

With site preparations well underway, no time is being wasted with the rebuild. The project will be done in phases over three years, starting this fall with construction of a new performing arts hall and field house to the west and east of the existing building.

For the first 16 months of construction no classrooms will be impacted; the gymnasiums, Main Office and academic wings will remain untouched.

The upgrades are being undertaken with safety and security foremost in mind. The design of the new academic wings to be built during phase II of the project will provide administrators with a clear line of sight down hallways. Visitors will be routed into the administration area to check in prior to entering the building. In the event of an emergency a panic button can be activated that will lock down classroom wings.

Large windows and skylights will be added to bring natural light into the commons area and the classroom wings. Classroom windows that open onto commons areas for group study and teacher-collaboration are designed to support group learning and contribute to a culture of unity at the school.

The building will be a modern interpretation on academic architecture, and will be wired to support the high-tech demands of today’s classrooms. In a nod to tradition, distinguishing characteristics, such as the school’s unique circular halls, will be echoed in design patterns throughout the new building.

The Brighton rebuild is one of three major improvement projects being undertaken starting this summer. Hillcrest High also is being rebuilt, and major renovations are underway at Alta High. These and many more improvements are being financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in November, 2017.

Construction updates, and more information about CSD’s bond projects can be found at bond.canyonsdistrict.org.

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They could have spent the summer relaxing poolside with friends, playing video games, or earning babysitting money. Instead, they chose to get a jump on high school with a deep-dive into the math and science concepts they’ll be expected to learn as entering freshmen this fall.

For four hours a day over four weeks, participants in Jordan High’s AVID summer academy immersed themselves in what it takes to be a successful Beetdigger. They attended class, conducted experiments, and completed exams while becoming familiar with the new surroundings, new teachers, and more rigorous demands of high school. For their efforts, on Friday, June 13, they were awarded cash stipends and completion certificates, and treated to a celebratory breakfast with family members. Screen_Shot_2018-07-13_at_5.20.51_PM.png

More valuable, still—they learned that they’re capable of doing hard things, and that it feels pretty good. “This summer, you’ve shown that you can do something really important,” remarked Canyons Board of Education member Steve Wrigley at the ceremony. “Believe in yourself and work hard and it will open all kinds of doors for you.”

 Made possible with an investment by the Board of Education, and modeled after a similar program at Hillcrest High, the AVID summer academy is now in its second year. Participants in last year’s academy ended their ninth-grade year with higher grade point averages than those students who were invited to the program but chose not to participate (see chart below). They reported having more confidence and also attended school more regularly.

“We didn’t have any of our participants who were falling into dangerous areas of missing a lot of school, which is something that prohibits students from being successful,” says Jordan’s Principal Wendy Dau.

How students perform in the ninth grade tends to predict how well they’ll do in high school. The idea behind the AVID program, says Dau, is to help students excel that first “sink-or-swim” year, and beyond.

Last year, the approach earned CSD the honor of being named a 2017 District of Distinction by District Administration Magazine. One of Utah’s largest newspapers called the initiative a "smart, sensible and innovative" approach “to dealing with a specific problem — one that happens to be at the heart of any education system’s principal mission — to make sure students who show up on the first day of school are still there when the bell rings on graduation day.”
Be a classroom helper, mentor and tutor students, collect school supplies, or contribute to fundraising activities: The volunteer opportunities in Canyons District schools are only as limited as your imagination.

Even the most time-pinched parents can find ways to support their child's teacher and neighborhood school—and many do. Last year, 12,989 parents and patrons devoted about 160,000 hours to volunteering in Canyons District schools.

The value of their contributions can't be overstated. We simply couldn't do what we do without them. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, have fun, make friends, and make a mark on the next generation. And now is the time to apply to volunteer for the 2018-2019 school year.

Canyons District has established procedures in line with state law, which requires background screenings for prospective school volunteers. All volunteers in schools, including members of the PTA and School Community Council, need to complete and submit a new Volunteer Application annually.

More information, including a link to CSD’s online application form, can be found on CSD’s website. Still have questions? Call 801-826-5171.


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