Canyons District knows the invaluable impact our art teachers have on students. From music to a multitude of mediums, art gives a voice to those who can’t speak. It can provide a haven for struggling students and enhance the learning process. 

Two of Canyons’ superstar advocates for the arts have received recognition from the Utah State Office of Education — with support from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation — for their contribution to the arts in Canyons District. Arts Consortium Chair Sharee Jorgensen received the 2018 Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Administration, and Sandy Elementary Music Specialist Debbie Beninati received the 2018 Sorenson Legacy Award for Elementary Music Instruction. 
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These educators have been recognized for their willingness to “embrace the arts with excellence in their practice,” according to the Utah State Office of Education.

Jorgensen, CSD’s Fine Arts Specialist, got her start in the classroom teaching middle school and high school band, orchestra, guitar, choir, theater and general music. A decorated educator, she is constantly looking for ways to give back32116505_10155183372271580_7296134139994963968_o.jpg and now serves as Executive Director for the Utah Music Educators Association. “She goes above and beyond her job description, constantly asking what she can do to make our jobs easier,” says Corner Canyon theatre teacher Case Spaulding. “From creating the District costume warehouse to getting set donations….and bringing us treats on our birthdays, she truly cares about each individual person.” 

Beninati models the joys of music for children at Sandy Elementary as a Music Specialist, and when she’s not teaching, she’s advocating for the importance of making comprehensive elementary music education available to all public schools. For her advocacy, Beninati was named Elementary Music Teacher of the Year by the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA) in 2017. Also, in 2013, the self-described music education “junkie” received the prestigious Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education Award for her work volunteering to head up a 61-student, before-school orchestra at Lone Peak Elementary.

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The goal is in sight!  The last day of school for the 2017-2018 academic year is rapidly approaching — and Real Salt Lake is helping Canyons kick off the summer break.

To celebrate the end of school, as well as the heights of success achieved by the Canyons community over the past nine months, Real Salt Lake is hosting Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Saturday, June 2 event, featuring a game against Seattle Sounders FC, will be a celebration of students, educators, parents, volunteers and community partners.   

Discount tickets to the 7:30 p.m. game can be purchased by clicking here. The reduced cost — $23 per ticket — is available to the Canyons District community so more people can attend to cheer all of the 2018 Teachers of the Year from every CSD school.

Halftime will be dedicated to honoring the excellence and commitment of the 46 top teachers from all CSD elementary, middle and high schools in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta. Right after the 35th minute of the game, the teachers will be escorted to the middle of the field at Rio Tinto to be applauded by thousands.

Special recognition will be given to Corner Canyon High’s Amber Rogers, who was announced last month as the District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. Rogers, who is the department head of Corner Canyon High’s social studies department, is Canyons’ official nominee in the Utah Teacher of the Year competition.  CSD’s top middle school teacher is Midvale Middle’s Lena Wood and the top elementary teacher is Alta View’s Jamie Richardson. 

Each of CSD’s Teachers of the Year were given complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest, courtesy of Real Salt Lake, in appreciation of their service to students and the larger community.
Three Canyons students who are preparing to walk across the graduation stage on June 5 have finished their high school years on an impressive academic milestone: They have been named 2018 National Merit Scholars.

Hillcrest High’s Kara Komarnitsky and Madeline Martin are joined by Corner Canyon High’s August Burton on the list of the $2,500 scholarship winners from Utah. They are among the 2,500 students who rose to the top of the field of 15,000 semifinalists to earn the honor. This year, 14 students from all five of Canyons District’s traditional high schools earned semifinalist status.   

National Merit Scholars are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. Applicants are judged on their academic records, including the rigor of the classes taken during their high school years; scores from standardized tests; contributions and leadership at their schools; and involvement in the community. Finalists also penned essays.

The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors

The awards mark the end of an arduous application process.  Students vying for National Merit Scholarships start the journey in October 2016. That’s when more than 1.65 million juniors in some 22,000 schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This served as an initial screen of the entrants.   

Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Of the 16,000 semifinalists, some 15,000 students met the academic standards and other requirements to earn finalist status in the scholarship contest.
The Huskies are getting a new home, and we’re celebrating with a ceremonial turning of dirt.

Students, teachers, parents and members of the community are invited to a groundbreaking ceremony at Hillcrest High on Thursday, May 31 to herald the start of a rebuild of the campus. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. with a reception followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m. 

The new Hillcrest High is being made possible by a $283 million, tax-rate-neutral bond approved by Canyons voters in 2017. Construction will start this summer and be undertaken in phases over three years to allow the school to remain in operation.

The 56-year-old school has a strong heritage, and special attention is being paid to building a modern environment wired for emerging technologies without sacrificing elements of the existing building that are rooted in tradition. DelMar Schick Stadium will remain untouched, but among major improvements are a new field house and performing arts complex to match Hillcrest’s history of excellence in the arts.

The floor-plan for the new school — the addition of a commons area and emphasis on open spaces illuminated by natural light — is being designed with school safety and security in mind. Classroom windows that open onto commons areas for group study and teacher-collaboration will contribute to a culture of transparency and inclusiveness. Hallways will be configured to provide administrators an unobstructed view of the campus, and classroom windows configured to preserve safety zones in the classrooms.

Since Canyons’ inception, the District has worked to plan for growth while also addressing the safety and technological deficiencies of the aging buildings it received from a previous school district. Thirteen improvement projects were financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2010.  The last project, a renovation of Indian Hills Middle, will be finished in time for the start of school this fall. 

The 2017 bond will make it possible for CSD to rebuild six schools, including Hillcrest, remodel Alta High, build a new elementary school in west Draper to accommodate growth, remodel offices at six elementary schools, and add skylights for more natural light at 18 elementary schools.
The Canyons Board of Education and the Canyons Education Association are pleased to announce a tentative agreement regarding licensed-educator compensation for the 2018-2019 school year. The contract, a 5.67 percent boost to CSD educator compensation, is the result of extensive good-faith negotiations between the CEA and the District Administration. The salary and benefits package provides both across-the-board salary increases and one-time bonuses, continuing Canyons District’s investment in a stated commitment to attracting and retaining highly skilled, innovative, and engaged educators. Under the contract, the District agrees to a 2.5 percent, or $1,335, cost-of-living increase in addition to advancing every teacher a $900-per-year increment level on the salary schedule. Combined, the increase to the base contract will be $2,235. Also, in November, all full-time CSD teachers will receive a $500 one-time bonus, and veteran educators with continuous service with the District prior to July 1, 1998 will receive an additional $500 one-time bonus. The District will increase its share of health-insurance premiums by 3 percent, regardless of the employee’s chosen insurance plan.  Employees on the traditional plan will see a 3 percent increase; employees on the high-deductible plan will not experience any increase. The Board of Education approved the tentative agreement in a public meeting Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Members of the Canyons Education Association are in the process of voting on the tentative agreement. The Board of Education, Administration and CEA appreciate the collaboration and dedication of all parties to reach an agreement on the contract, and look forward to its implementation.
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