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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Summary, Nov. 12, 2019

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Academic Indicators

Canyons District’s graduation rate continues to tick upward. According to preliminary data presented by Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson, the percentage of high school seniors who earned enough credits to walk across the commencement stage in 2019 reached 90 percent, a 1 percent increase from the previous year and a 7 percent jump in five years. Canyons students at every tested grade level also are outpacing their peers across the state on year-end assessments in science, mathematics and English Language Arts, Sanderson told the Board of Education. In addition, high school juniors outscored their counterparts on the ACT, the most commonly used college-entrance exam. The District also has started discussing how to best provide supports to third-grade classes. Scores on year-end tests of third-grade students, which are still higher that the average statewide score, dipped slightly in core subjects.

Union Middle Update

The Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday voted to seek a waiver from the Utah State Board of Education requirement that students must be in school for at least 180 days. The days-in-school waiver would apply to students at Union Middle, who have been attending class on split sessions in ground-floor classrooms and meeting spaces since the days following an Oct. 24 electrical fire. To allow for a thorough cleaning of the building of smoke and soot, the school will continue to operate on its current schedule — morning and afternoon session of four 50-minute classes – until after the Thanksgiving Recess. However, that means that Union Middle will fall short of mandatory school days because a day can only be counted if students are at school for at least four hours. In all, even though students have been attending school, Canyons must seek a waiver for 24 days. While students also must be provided at least 990 hours of instruction, Principal Kelly Tauteoli has created a plan to make up the 30-hour shortfall of instructional hours, including shortening the passing time and lunch period, starting school 15 minutes earlier for all of the late-start Fridays in 2020, and cancelling some late-starts Fridays.   The Board thanked Tauteoli, her administrative team, the teachers, and the staff for their efforts. 

Turnaround School Update

Midvale Elementary is making steady progress one year into a restructuring to improve teaching and learning and increase social-emotional supports at the Title I school. Teacher turnover remains low and staff and faculty continue with an academic and behavioral supports plan which, according to testing data, has yielded measurable results, said Midvale Elementary Principal Chip Watts. The school last year realized a 6 percent gain in the number of students to reach proficiency in English language arts, according to newly released RISE data. In math, the number of students to reach proficiency grew by 13 percent, and in science by 8 percent, RISE data show. Benchmark testing this fall shows students have retained what they learned and continue to make progress toward the school’s achievement goals. Strategies to reinforce life skills have greatly improved the school climate, Watts said. Due to the mobility of the families in the area, about six students exit the school per week on average and eight new students enroll. Yet Watts said students this year are more easily relating with one another and learning important skills, such as how to persevere through tough problems. Tardies, which declined significantly last year, have stabilized and absences continue to drop. Serious office discipline referrals also are down. Watts is concerned about what cuts in federal Title I funding mean for the school as it works to sustain achievement, but says, he and his faculty are encouraged by the growth they are seeing and what it means for students and their families.

Utah College Application Week

Jordan High students Sophia Gaona and Rose Briones told the Board about the ways that UCAW aided them in the drive to obtain post-secondary education. They were among the 2,115 CSD students who completed at least one application during the sixth-annual districtwide UCAW, said Tori Gillett, School Counseling Program Specialist. The Canyons Education Foundation also covered $6,730 in application fees for low-income students. The Foundation, the fund-raising arm of CSD, pledged up to $10,000 to help students during the college-application initiative. 

Vision, Mission and Indicators

The Board of Education’s Vision, Mission, and Indicators Committee recommends adding three Social Emotional Learning indicators as part of the overall mission of the District. If eventually approved, the Board would ask for yearly SEL-related information on student attendance, Office Discipline Referrals and the responses to a School Climate Survey of fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade students. The committee also reported on the review of strategies implemented by the administration to achieve the academic targets set by the Board in 2016.  The committee identified strategic approaches that provide for sustainable improvement and discussed possible next steps for this work of the Board. The committee also sought input on whether the Board would like to establish new targets once a report about the status of the 2020 achievement goals is presented. 

Curriculum Proposals

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board on proposed new curricula and the adoption process the administration will follow. In addition, starting this year, in the month before the Winter Recess, parents will be able to review and provide input on curriculum that is being considered for adoption in CSD schools. Parents will be able to read an online overview of the proposed curricula, as well as view hard copies of the materials at each school or at the Canyons District Offices reception areas. Parents will be notified via the website, newsletters, social media, as well as other targeted communications. This year, the District is proposing to adopt for use in fall 2020 a new elementary science curriculum, health-instruction materials for secondary schools, and biology and earth science curriculum. 

Calendar Committee

A guideline by which Canyons District’s Calendar Committee operates has been slightly changed to accommodate a Board of Education decision to give the District more flexibility to determine a make-up day in the event of an emergency closure. The guideline now reads: “School emergency closure days will be made up first on Presidents’ Day, and the Board reserves the right to meet to determine a secondary date.” The Board also approved tentative 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school year calendars.


The following were recognized for their achievements and efforts:

  • First responders from Sandy City and Canyons District whose efforts contained the electrical fire at Union Middle
  • Students at Alta, Brighton, Hillcrest, Corner Canyon and Jordan high schools who earned Academic All-State honors in fall sports sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association
  • Alta High Student Body Officers Gabe Crestani and Bronson Adams, winners of the UHSAA’s 5A statewide sportsmanship video contest. 
  • Corner Canyon High boys cross country team, 6A state champions

Board President Nancy Tingey also read a resolution in favor of the Nov. 20, 2019 Education Support Professionals Day. 

Policy Update

The Board modified the policy and framework governing allocations from the Teacher and Student Success Act. The new language allows for individual schools to amend a teacher and student success plan and receive Board approval for the amendment to the plan. 

Portrait of a Graduate

Dr. Roderick-Landward and Director of Responsive Services BJ Weller presented information about the Utah State Board of Education’s Portrait of a Graduate, which identifies the ideal characteristics of graduate after going through the K-12 public-school system in Utah. The Board will consider whether Canyons wants to create its own portrait. 

Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational Thought

The American and state flags were presented by Cub Scouts who attend Brookwood Elementary.  The students also led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Principal Corrie Barrett told the Board about the social-emotional learning efforts at the school, including the addition of a full-time counselor. Parent involvement is strong at Brookwood, she said, as evidenced by the 5,832 volunteer hours counted at the school last year. Barrett also thanked the Board for the Front Office remodel, which includes enhanced safety measures, and the daylighting projects throughout the building.  

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes of the Oct. 15, 2019 minutes of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; October financial reports; a Memorandum of Understanding with Alpine District for busing services to the Suncrest subdivision; and a LAND Trust plan amendment for Midvalley Elementary School.   

LAND Trust

The Board received a final LAND Trust Report from School Performance Director Alice Peck and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards. 

Patron Comment

Jen Morris thanked the Board of Education for approving a project to improve the parking lot at Draper Elementary. She also noted some of the traffic issues that will impact the community .  

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked Union Middle Principal Kelly Tauteoli, Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray, School Performance Director Cindy Hanson, and the CSD communications staff for working so hard on the Union Middle mitigation and community-outreach effort. He noted the importance of Nov. 20 ESP Day and reported on attending Ridgecrest Elementary’s Veterans Day celebration.  He also attended Brighton High’s musical, “Catch Me If You Can,” and a civil-rights review at Hillcrest High. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked the Insurance Department for spearheading this year’s health insurance Open Enrollment period. Wilcox also thanked the Union Middle staff, especially the custodial crew, for their hard work. He also expressed appreciation for Canyons’ Education Support Professionals association leaders, who were in attendance at Board meeting.

Board Meeting Reports

Ms. Clareen Arnold reported on attending a conference at which she learned social-emotional learning strategies and relationship-building activities. She thanked the high schools who invited the Board members to musicals, the ESP employees who work hard every day to keep schools running, and her fellow Board members for engaging in productive discussions about vital topics.

Mr. Steve Wrigley mentioned attending Sandy Chamber of Commerce’s Titan Awards, reported on tours of construction projects at Brighton, Alta and Hillcrest high schools, and participating in a school safety conference.

Ms. Amber Shill thanked ESP employees and noted that the ESP union leadership attended the meeting.  She reported on the Town Hall held with President Tingey, the Student Advisory Council meeting at Brighton High, and Butler Middle’s Reality Town, as well as Hillcrest’s UCAW event. She also congratulated the Brighton High football team, headed by a new coach, on a successful season.

Ms. Amanda Oaks said the support staff makes such a difference in the lives of students and the culture of schools. She reported on attending the Innovation Grant-giving day of the Canyons Education Foundation and the pre-competition field show exhibition of the Alta High Marching Band. She also thanked the District for working on the parking lot at Draper Elementary. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg thanked Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Sandy, for attending the Board meeting and supporting Canyons programs. He reported on the Foundation’s Innovation Grant selection process, a donation project of the Assistance League at Midvale Elementary, the Midvale Turn-around Meeting, and Midvale’s Math Night. He thanked all those who responded to the Union Middle fire, as well as the community’s veterans for their sacrifices. 

President Tingey attended the Quail Hollow Elementary Veterans Day celebration. She wondered if the honored guests looked at the school children at the school and thought, “This is what I did it for.” 

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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