For just the second time, Canyons District is holding commencement exercises for five traditional high schools.

The Class of 2015 will be Corner Canyon High's second graduating class. Clad in gowns and mortarboards, the Charger graduates will join the senior classes of the Alta Hawks, Brighton Bengals, Jordan Beetdiggers and Hillcrest Huskies in receiving their diplomas on Thursday. 

Here are the times and locations: 
  • AltaThursday, June 4, 10 a.m., Huntsman Center at the University of Utah
  • Brighton —  Thursday, June 4, 1 p.m., Maverik Center
  • Hillcrest — Thursday,June 4, 6 p.m., Maverik Center
  • Corner Canyon — Thursday, June 4, 2 p.m., Huntsman Center at the University of Utah
  • Jordan — Thursday, June 4, 7 p.m. on the Jordan Football Field

Entrada, CSD's adult high school, will hold its graduate rites at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23 at Jordan High, 95 E. Beetdigger Blvd.  South Park Academy, Canyons' school at the Utah State Prison, will hold a graduate ceremony at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 10.  

Without Gary Hansen and the Purchasing Services Department, there would not be any crayons for coloring, computers in the classroom or toilet paper in the bathrooms. In fact, there wouldn’t be any school buildings at all.

Those are just some of the things the Purchasing Services Department obtains for the District — but, really, there isn’t anything in all of Canyons’ schools and buildings that doesn’t include the Purchasing Services Department.

Hansen recently received the 2014 Professional Public Manager of the Year Award for Outstanding Public Service from the Utah Chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. Also, in honor of National Procurement Month, which takes place in March every year, Gov. Gary Herbert declared March 16-22 as Purchasing Recognition Week.

“I’ve been in procurement now for 25 years, with only the last nine years being in school districts,” Hansen says as he talks about his award. “But the most important thing I like about my job is I get the opportunity on a weekly basis to see that my team and I have made a difference.”

Hansen isn’t one to toot his own horn, but he acknowledges the enormity of overseeing all of the District’s purchases, and making sure that transactions are conducted legally and transparently. For Hansen, that means working all day and many nights and weekends. The stakes are high — not only for the needs of the students and professionals in Canyons District, but for the legal requirements that change frequently and have stiff consequences, including jail time, if they are broken.

“The law tells us exactly what we can do, and it’s different than what we would do in our own personal purchases,” Hansen says. The purpose of the strict laws is to give everyone an opportunity to do business with a government entity that operates on public funds, Hansen says. The process is sometimes lengthy — purchases over $2,000 require an open process that allows vendors to compete for the District’s business.

From July 2014, to March, Hansen’s department has purchased 144,000 crayons, 25,308 rolls of toilet paper and 239,102,070 sheets of paper. The purchasing staff members have helped 1,775 students with travel arrangements, audited $3.3 million in purchasing card transactions and executed over $20 million in construction contracts — all while saving more than $5 million. In the last several years the department has purchased some 26,000 iPads, Chrome books, Apple and PC computers.

“We are here to answer questions and we’re here to support the mission of the District,” Hansen says. “We will get you the right product at the right price at the right time. … Students need to have what students need to have. We can’t be without computers and we can’t be without toilet paper. We make those things happen with transparency.”

Show some deserving and low-income high school students some love — with scholarship money. The Canyons Education Foundation, which successfully generates and allocates resources to help Canyons District teachers and students, has launched a new campaign to raise money for student scholarships. 
As part of that campaign, today, Thursday, March 26 the Canyons Education Foundation is joining the "Love Utah Give Utah" campaign — 24 hours of unprecedented giving. Any money that comes to the Foundation during “Love Utah, Give Utah” will go toward student scholarships. 

This year, Canyons District counselors, parents and teachers endeavored to help some 83 percent of high school seniors submit a viable college application. Now, the Foundation is asking for assistance from the community to remove the financial barriers that prohibit some students from even attempting to go to college. The need is evident: Thirty percent of Canyons students quality under the poverty index for free or reduced-price lunches.

Still, more and more Canyons students are working hard to become academically ready for college. An estimated 71 percent of graduating seniors last year earned a unique-to-Canyons District Advanced or Honors diploma, which means they went above and beyond the state graduation requirements. That’s an increase of 4 percentage points from the number of college- and career-ready diplomas earned by the Class of 2013, and 11 percentage points more than the number earned by the Class of 2011.
Click here to join the love — and help send a kid to college.

Canyons District is pleased to announce new leadership appointments, which were approved by the Board of Education on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

The following have accepted new administrative roles in Canyons District schools and District Offices:

Greg Leavitt, Principal of Draper Park Middle, has been selected as the new Principal at Hillcrest High. He replaces Sue Malone, who is retiring. Leavitt will be joined at Hillcrest by Justin Matagi, now an Alta High Assistant Principal. Matagi will replace Hillcrest Assistant Principal Kelcey Kemp, who is being transferred to Alta High. 

Mary Anderson, who is serving as Principal at Union Middle, will serve as Principal at Draper Park Middle.  She replaces Leavitt, who will go to Hillcrest.

Kelly Tauteoli, now the Principal of Park Lane Elementary, will become the Principal of Union Middle. She replaces Anderson, who will lead Draper Park.

Justin Jeffrey, now an Assistant Principal in the Humble Independent School District in Texas, will be the new Principal at Park Lane Elementary.  He replaces Tauteoli, who is going to Union Middle. 

Wendy Dau, now Assistant Principal at Jordan High, will become Principal at Midvale Middle. She replaces Frank Schofield, who was recently appointed Superintendent of the Logan City School District. Kerry Shroeppel, now an Assistant Principal at Draper Park, and Kip Carlsen, who has served this year as an Administrative Intern at Brighton High, also will become administrators at Midvale Middle in 2015-2016. 

Douglas Graham, now Assistant Principal at Butler Middle, will become Principal at Indian Hills Middle. He replaces Dr. Floyd Stensrud, who is the new Director of the Canyons District Office of Planning and Enrollment. Dr. Stensrud replaces Ben Lems, who is retiring. Jody Wihongi, an Assistant Principal at Indian Hills, will replace Graham at Butler Middle. Joining Graham at Indian Hills will be Haley Nelson, currently the Achievement Coach at Hillcrest High.  Nelson will be an Assistant Principal.  

Benjamin (BJ) Weller, who is now serving as an Assistant Principal at Midvale Middle, will become Principal of Canyon View Elementary. He replaces Brent Shaw, who has asked to return to the classroom as a teacher. 

Denzil “Chip” Watts, the Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, will become the Principal at Midvale Elementary. He replaces Shad DeMill, who will become the new principal at Quail Hollow Elementary. DeMill replaces Denis Lyons who is retiring. The new Assistant Principals at Midvale Elementary will be Matt Watts, now Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle, and Jeri Rigby, an external coach for several CSD schools. 

John Hellwig, Assisant Principal at Eastmont Middle, will replace Matt Watts at Mount Jordan, and Brandon Moore, an Administrative Intern at Granger High in the Granite District, will assume the role as an Assistant Principal at Eastmont Middle. 

Mindy Robison, who is now the middle-school mathematics team lead in the Canyons Evidence-Based Learning Department, will become the Principal of Crescent Elementary. She replaces Debbie Shumard, who is retiring.

Julie Winfree, now the Standards-Based Grading Team Lead and a member of the Dual Immersion Team in the CSD Evidence-Based Learning Department, has been selected as Principal of Ridgecrest Elementary. She replaces Teri Mattson, who is retiring. 

Julie Mootz, now the Principal of Brookwood Elementary, will become the Principal at Oak Hollow Elementary. She replaces Principal Corrie Barrett, who will become Principal at Brookwood. 

McKay Robinson, who is currently Principal at Lone Peak Elementary, will become Principal at Sandy Elementary. He replaces Sandra Dahl-Houlihan, who is the new District Administrator of Evaluation and Leadership. 

Tracy Stacy, an elementary principal in the Eagle County School District in Colorado, will become the Principal of Lone Peak Elementary, replacing Robinson, who is headed to Sandy Elementary.

Two new administrators will be hired for Copperview and East Midvale elementary schools, two of CSD’s Title I schools. Deidre Walbeck, a specialist in the CSD Special Education Department, has been selected as a new Assistant Principal at Copperview. She will work with Principal Chanci Loran and Assistant Principal Shawn Walker. At East Midvale, Laurie Steed, a Granite District educator, will join Principal Justin Pitcher as an Assistant Principal. 

Following recommendations from task force of elementary school teachers, the Canyons Board of Education has approved a new elementary school schedule that will restore early-out Fridays and provide teachers with the tools they need to help ensure success for every student.

To the cheers and applause of teachers and parents, the Board voted unanimously Tuesday, March 17, 2015 to adopt the proposed schedule as recommended by the Elementary Schedule Task Force. The schedule will be implemented in the 2015-2016  school year.

Oakdale teacher Elcena Davenport said the schedule will “provide a higher quality education to students of the District,” complete with stronger interventions, preventions, engaging learning experiences, enrichments for advanced learners and supports for struggling learners. “With additional collaboration time, my team and I will be able to do amazing things.”

The schedule stemmed from a proposal crafted by the Task Force, which included teachers from each of CSD’s 29 elementary schools and Jordan Valley School. The Task Force has met since December to gather information, problem-solve, and receive feedback from colleagues to develop a schedule that fully supports elementary school communities and ensures students are on track to becoming college- and career-ready.  The schedule is supported by 87 percent of elementary school teachers, survey data has shown. Teachers praise the schedule as representative of school needs and being carefully crafted by the professionals who will be making it work.

The new schedule will give teachers time during the school day to collaborate to ensure each student succeeds. Trained specialists will provide curriculum-based instruction in areas such as physical education, arts or music while teachers meet to collaborate and plan their instructional strategies.

“It’s not one size fits all,” School Performance Director Alice Peck said. “Schools are going to be able to look at their needs and tailor the schedule to make sure it fits their school.”

Early-out days will be held on Fridays only. School will not release early on other days during short weeks in which classes are not held on Fridays. During such times, collaboration and planning time for teachers will be adjusted as appropriate.

Stacey Oppermann, a parent of two Canyons students, told the Board the schedule will provide needed consistency in student, family, and teacher schedules.

“I think it’s important to listen to our teachers” who recommended the new schedule, she said. “They are the ones who know what our students need and they are the ones that care most about our students, in addition to parents. And they need consistent planning time.”

The Board’s action allows principals and teachers to begin working to tailor their planning and collaboration time. It also allows the District to study and establish transportation and bell schedules for each school. Details will be firmed up and communicated to parents by the end of this school year.

The new schedule refines elementary education improvement efforts. The 2014-2015 elementary school schedule was adjusted as part of the 2014-2015 teachers contract approved by the Canyons Education Association and ratified by the Canyons Board of Education. The schedule eliminated early-out Fridays to improve teacher planning and instruction, but it had unintended  consequences for parents and teachers. The Task Force’s recommendations aimed to address issues that arose with this year’s schedule.

Board members praised the process as inclusive and thorough, collaborative and exciting for teachers, and were pleased with the outcome. Board 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey called the new elementary schedule “an investment in moving forward student achievement,” and said that schools must ensure focus and accountability on collaboration time. “This is about helping our students to use these elementary years to lay a strong foundation for their educational experience,” she said.

The Board of Education has been discussing the elementary schedule proposal in public meetings since January, including during a specially scheduled Jan. 28 public Study Session. There, the Task Force recommended the Board adopt the schedule to best meet needs of students and educators. The Board continued its discussions on the proposal in its Feb. 3, Feb. 17, and March 3 Business Meetings.

“We’re grateful to the Board for approving the schedule, and are excited about the chance for teachers to have the uninterrupted time they need to plan well and provide quality instruction to every student,” School Performance Director  Joanne Ackerman said. 

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