The sounds of cheers flooded the hallways of Crescent Elementary on Wednesday, March 14 and that was before the guests of honor even entered the room. "Now I'm starting to get nervous," Burlington Stores manager Cedric Reeves said with a smile as he cracked open the wooden door to the multi-purpose room and greeted every student and teacher in the school.
The teachers and students had been summoned there under a ruse — tricked by Principal Camie Montague to attend a schoolwide behavior assembly — but really, they were about to get a huge surprise. "You guys are never going to believe this," Montague told the crowd. "We pulled a prank on the teachers." Reeves and coworker Elizabeth Mathieu, who oversees loss prevention at the store, presented a massive $10,000 check to the school. The money, which was donated to Crescent Elementary from Burlington Stores, in partnership with AdoptaClassroom.org, will be divided among all of the school's teachers and used for school purchases.
"I know this school, I know the situation they are in," said Reeves, who is manager of a Burlington store that will be opening on March 21 on 10453 S. State Street. The company regularly selects a school located near their stores to receive donations through funding. Reeves suggested the company donate to Crescent Elementary, where his wife is a first-grade teacher.
"I know the impact this will have on the teachers," Reeves said. "We are part of the community and we are here to serve you however we can."
The teachers' jaws dropped when they saw the size of the check and the students roared even louder. The school will have one year to use the funds — but Montague is sure Crescent's 32 teachers won't have a problem finding a use for the money. The teachers are able to spend the money at more than 30 vendors partnered with Burlington Stores and Adopt a Classroom, including Office Depot, Best Buy and Scholastic. The school can make purchases on "everything from technology to field trip expenses," according to a statement from Burlington Stores.
"I can't even believe it," Montague said. "This is just one more thing to help our kids be successful in the classroom. I'm super excited. I can't even believe it."
Canyons District has created a plan to respond to any students who choose to participate in during-school demonstrations a part of the national conversation on school safety.
In an effort to support all patrons and students, Canyons maintains a position of neutrality on this issue. That said, CSD believes schools should encourage civil discourse and engagement in the democratic process, as well as recognize the First Amendment rights of students.
Accordingly, Canyons District schools will neither mandate nor intercede in the actions of students who respectfully participate in the following two national events:
A demonstration planned for March 14, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., shooting
A demonstration planned for April 20 to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting
For security purposes, school and District administrators will work with student organizers to identify a safe space for students to express themselves, provide school supervision, and will ask local law enforcement to provide extra security during these two events.
For students who are not participating, the school day will proceed as normal. Those students will remain supervised by school staff inside the school.
Standard attendance rules for unexcused absences, truancies and tardies may apply to students who choose to participate in spontaneous demonstrations outside of the March 14 and April 20 dates.
However, the CSD Administration also recognizes that students’ decision whether to participate is best made after students have had the opportunity to discuss the demonstrations and the students’ related feelings with their parents.
Canyons District believes it is important to provide notice about these upcoming national demonstrations to parents so that they can have those conversations with their children and make a joint decision about participation.
In letters sent to parents, principals have encouraged parents to talk with their children about the importance of respectful behavior toward all students, regardless of the other students’ viewpoints or whether they participate in such demonstrations.
This response plan was created to preserve instruction time while providing students with a safe outlet for expressing their viewpoints.
Spring into wellness with Canyons School District.
We're teaming up with Healthy Sandy and area businesses to sponsor the District’s 3rd annual Community Wellness Fair on Thursday, March 22 from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
This year's expo-style showcase will feature a clean air demonstration by Breathe Utah — a reminder that Canyons District school campuses are idle-free — and table displays to spotlight local health-oriented businesses, from bike shops and fitness clubs to health care centers, restaurants and grocers.
As has become tradition, Sandy City will bring a fire truck for children to explore. Join us at Mount Jordan Middle School, 9351 S. Mountaineer Lane in Sandy — and get there early so as not to miss out on the giveaways.
Canyons Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor has been honored as an exemplary leader by Sandy City. The city named Taylor as the 2018 Outstanding Local Elected Official of the Year at a recent awards dinner.
“I am humbled and honored by this award and I thank Sandy city so much,” Taylor said. “But I also need to say I wouldn’t be receiving this award if it wasn’t for all of the dedicated professionals and board members past and present who have served so well in the Canyons District. We are very proud of this District.”
Taylor has served as a member of the Board of Education since 2004, when he was elected to the Jordan School District Board of Education. He was one of the first seven members to serve on the inaugural Canyons Board of Education, and he continues to represent District 6 today. Taylor is a retired educator, a former teacher and principal, and a stalwart champion of the students of Canyons District.
For Sandy City, Taylor is also a reconciling force. “Since his first election in 2004, Sherril Taylor has been a bridge, helping Sandy City and the school district work together for the betterment of the community,” Sandy Deputy Mayor Evelyn Everton said at the awards presentation. “During his time serving as President and Vice President of the Canyons School Board, Sherril has been instrumental in the proposing and approving of two major school bonds which are being used to remodel and reconstruct numerous schools throughout Sandy.”
Canyons District, and Taylor, through his leadership on the Board of Education, also worked with Sandy on the development of the Mount Jordan theater, various redevelopment project areas, and the design and construction of new homes built by CTEC students on land donated by the city.
“In my opinion, he has been a steady hand in forming Canyons School District,” Canyons Superintendent Jim Briscoe said at a recent school board meeting. “He’s been there the whole way, setting high expectations and excellence for Canyons School District and he has served outstandingly as the Board President. We have expectations that all of our students will achieve their fullest potential and be college-and career-ready, and that’s amazing.”
In this digital age of distraction and social isolation, a few dozen Brighton High artists found connection and meaning in the deep human themes depicted in the ancient wall art and petroglyphs of Nine Mile Canyon.
Their trip through the dusty wilds of southern Utah was an educational journey through time, serving as artistic inspiration for a mural they unveiled on Wednesday. For some, the hours spent surrounded by sandstone monoliths and aromatic sagebrush was a restorative break from the hectic pace of an urban high school. Others found connection in communing with voices from the past. Many remarked on how the scope, importance and lasting nature of the art project gave them a sense of purpose.
“The making of beauty, the investing of yourself into making beautiful things in your landscape knowing that they’re going to endure beyond you, knowing that they’ll be there for the next generation, for your grandchildren…is a commitment,” says Lakota/Plains Apache storyteller Dovie Thomason. “If not sacred, we’d certainly call it a top priority.”
Brighton is the fifth Canyons District high school to create a Sacred Images mural as a monument to indigenous peoples. The piece will be permanently installed at the school after the campus is rebuilt with proceeds from a general obligation bond approved by voters in Nov. 2017. The project was made possible by the Center for Documentary Expression and Art and its “Sacred Images” artist-in-residence program, which paired students with Thomason, Ute spiritual leader Larry Cesspooch and muralist Miguel Galaz — guides whose role was to empower students to express themselves.
Before entering Nine Mile Canyon, Ute Elder and Spiritual Leader Larry Cesspooch gathered with students to bless them with an eagle’s wing. He also shared the Ute creation story and several other tales that have become part of Ute oral tradition over the centuries.
To hear these and other familiar tales retold by Cesspooch and Thomason “gave the stories a voice that I had never heard before,” said Brighton English teacher Ron Meyer. “It was such a beautiful thing, and I think my students really appreciated that.”
Funding was provided by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks Program. Board members and District administrators and dignitaries, including Shirlee Silversmith, Director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, were on hand for the unveiling to celebrate the achievement.
But the mural was wholly conceived and created by students. “I’d like to take credit, but seriously these students, they did it,” said commercial and AP art teacher Derek Chandler. “We got hands-on and spray-painted, we masked, and we did different art forms that we hadn’t done before.”
The mural, with its bright orange and blue hues, has a characteristically Bengal flair. But beneath the neon paint is a layer of sepia-toned historical photographs depicting people and places who been unifying forces in the students’ world. “When we created the background, we tried to focus on things that brought us together as a community and as a nation,” said student artist Jessica Brunt. “I’m really grateful to have been a part of this project. It was something I’ll never forget and that has helped make me a better person.”
Video courtesy of the Center for Documentary Expression and the Arts.