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Getting Involved

Board Summary, Feb. 7, 2023

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

Board Indicators

The Board of Education reviewed performance measures for the panel’s governing tenets of student achievement, community engagement, customer service, innovation, and fiscal accountability. Canyons’ Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson told the Board of Education that Canyons students outperformed their peers on third-, fifth- and eighth-grade RISE tests for English Language Arts, mathematics, and science. Canyons District juniors also outscored their counterparts on the ACT, the most-commonly used college-readiness exam. The 2022 average composite score for CSD, Dr. Sanderson reported, was 20.7, the same composite as earned by juniors in 2018-2019. The graduation rate for Canyons seniors, who were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in the previous two school years dropped just one percent to hit 89 percent. However, Dr. Sanderson also noted that graduation rates for ethnic minority, special education, and socio-economically disadvantage students has jumped by double-digits since the Class of 2015. Chronically absent students has skyrocketed, according to data, which is expected to hinder academic progress of current students. An indicator of community engagement is the voluntarism in Canyons schools. Last year, 10,491 registered and approved volunteers provided 127,985 hours of service in CSD schools and special programs. Ninety-one percent of principals and 72 percent of School Community Council chairs participated in the annual training workshops. Seventy-two percent of SCC members completed the trainings. To the end of communicating with the public, Canyons redesigned and streamlined its website. The number of visitors to the CSD website jumped to more than 13 million in the past year. In the yearly Parent Satisfaction Survey, 88 percent of respondents indicated they were pleased with how much their children were learning at school. Eighty-one percent also said they were pleased with the mental health supports provided at CSD schools. In a survey of teachers, 63 percent said they were satisfied with their job in Canyons District. CSD also innovated by developing and improving the Strategic Plan, wrote a new life-skills curriculum, and launched a “Step2theU” early-college program at Jordan High. More information about student gains and growth goals can be found on BoardDocs.

Copperview School Improvement Plan

Teachers hired to do the hard work of increasing achievement at Copperview Elementary, which has been in the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools in the state for the past three years, would be offered a salary increase and financial incentives under a proposed plan to increase student learning rates at the school. According to a new comprehensive proposal, which was presented to the Board of Education by State and Federal Programs Director Wendy Dau, each Copperview educator would receive a yearly increase of $3,700. This would come as the result of an extended contract that would include eight additional mandatory contract days for professional development and support. The plan, created to lift Copperview out of “school improvement,” also calls for additional paid work days for aides and other support staff. Faculty also could qualify for financial incentives by meeting schoolwide behavioral and academic goals, according to the plan. Also proposed is the addition of another assistant principal and special education teacher, Brain Booster offerings, and the expansion of the full-day kindergarten program to reduce the number of students in each class. Administrators will meet with the faculty this week to review the plan, which could be up for approval by the Board as soon as Feb. 21. A letter to the community will explain the targeted measures.

Virtual Learning Day

The Board of Education approved converting Monday, March 6 into a virtual learning day for students. The day would follow a Friday, March 3 compensatory day for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Educators would be expected to be in buildings or an assigned work location and available to meet with students virtually for consultation, preferably between 10 a.m. and noon. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board that, under the proposal, any remaining time would be used for grades and preparation.  The Board indicated a preference that meetings not be scheduled on this day. Wilcox said contracted Education Support Professionals would be expected to complete training modules and other tasks to support the operations of schools. The decision will now be communicated to the community and employees.

District Case Management Team

The number of students referred to the District Case Management Team for escalated and severe behavioral issues has jumped from 19 in the 2020-2021 school year to 94 so far in this academic year. Students who are referred to DCMT for school-safety reasons can get back into a traditional school setting if they fulfill the requirements of the team’s placement decisions, Dau said. The continuum of placements includes a restricted school setting, CSD’s Youth Academy, a home and hospital campus, or an at-home home-and-hospital program. Students coming from the Juvenile Justice System, if constituting a safety issue, would be referred to DCMT and assigned placement based on needs and school safety. The goal of DCMT is to keep schools safe while supporting students whose behaviors calls for consequences, Dau said.

Board Protocols

President Amber Shill led a discussion about how the newly empaneled Board of Education will run the regularly scheduled study sessions and business meetings. The Board decided to expand the District’s recognitions program to honor five educators and Education Support Professionals every other Board meeting; commit to sending at least seven thank-you notes per Board member every month; shorten the Board Report section of the meeting; and support proposed changes to CSD2U, the monthly community newsletter for Canyons parents.

Strategic Plan Update

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle said the committee working on implementation of the “High Quality Learning” focus area of the Strategic Plan seeks to promote characteristics in such as innovation, resiliency, collaboration, and critical thinking. The committee proposes to call this initiative “The Portrait of a Scholar” — Canyons’ version of the state’s Portrait of a Graduate. He also said the committee is alarmed at the severity of absenteeism rates across CSD. Chronic absenteeism, he said, may be further exacerbating inequities across student populations in terms of accessing needed resources and support. To the end of addressing the issue, the committee requests the Policy Committee consider advancing stronger districtwide attendance requirements.

Legislative Update

External Relations Director Charlie Evans and Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards presented an update on the General Session of the Utah Legislature. Evans reviewed the process that lawmakers took to approve HB215, which created a voucher program in the state. He noted with great appreciation the lawmakers representing CSD communities who withstood intense political pressure to oppose the voucher measure.  Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has already signed the bill into law.  The state’s proposed budget will likely include a 6 percent increase to the Weighted Pupil Unit, the funding formula for Utah public-education schools. Evans noted there also is $250 million in new education funding included in the budget. The full-day kindergarten proposal appears to be headed toward approval. This year, there are more than 200 education-related bills being debated by the Utah Senate and House of Representatives.

School Community Council Update

Gold Miner’s Daughter and Canyons Transition Academy qualify for an exemption for LAND Trust fund allocations. The reason, according to state rules, is the satellite of Granite Elementary has an unusually small population and CTA is a special-education program for adults. The Business Administrator can re-allocate funds for school openings and/or closings and boundary changes, the rules state.

School Highlights

Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood said the Bengals’ enrollment is surging. The school, which he called “a quality school of choice in this community,” counts 500 more students than it did five years ago when Sherwood first became the school’s principal. The trimester schedule, unique among Canyons schools, is credited with boosting the success rate in tough classes and allows teachers more time to develop better relationships with student, he said. In addition to Brighton’s much-heralded programs, such as robotics and the American Problems class, the Bengals have embraced performing arts initiatives. The Brighton High marching band has been an immediate success, for example.  Brighton also has been asked to host a Unified Sports hoops game, pitting the Unified team against the Bengals varsity teams, on April 27. First lady Abby Cox plans to attend to mark Spread the Word Inclusion Week.  


The following were recognized for their achievements:

  • Corner Canyon cheer squad, 6A state champions, USHAA competition
  • Hillcrest Drill, fifth-place, 5A state drill team championships. Brighton and Jordan drill teams also qualified to compete in the final round of judging.
  • Jordan, Corner Canyon, Brighton, and Hillcrest students who won awards in the 51st Annual Utah All-State High School Arts Show at the Springville Art Museum
  • Alta’s E-sports team for representing CSD at the USBA Day at the Hill
  • CSD’s 74 counselors for National School Counseling Week

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Rick Robins reported on meeting with the Facilities Department as part of the Superintendent’s Listening Tour. He expressed appreciation for the hard work of the Facilities Department in maintaining clean and well-maintained buildings and campuses.  He said “synergy and energy” could be felt in the discussions at Board meeting tonight.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox noted the Brighton High rebuild won a statewide award for a K-12 construction project. He lauded the work of custodians, contractors, and bus drivers during the winter season when crews must wake early to make sure buses are running and parking lots and sidewalks are clear.

Board Member Reports

President Shill issued the following statement:  “At this time, the Board of Education wishes to make a statement about the recent loss of a Jordan High student in a tragic auto-pedestrian accident involving a Canyons District school bus. Members of the Board of Education extend our deepest sympathy for all those who are experiencing difficult emotions at the loss of Jennifer Flores Diaz, the beautiful student who is gone from our sights but never from our hearts. As a Canyons family, our hearts beat as one in this difficult time, and we’re grateful for the support that has been extended to all of Jennifer’s loved ones, including her peers and teachers. We also thank all the District and school staff, police officers, medical personnel, and members of the community who responded to this incident. They have shouldered a heavy burden, and we appreciate the tenderness, professionalism, and care they have shown in such a heartbreaking moment. We truly will never get used to the loss of a child in our community, and wish much comfort and courage to the entire community as we grieve together.”

Mr. Andrew Edtl reported on the schools and activities he’s visited, including the “Fiddler on the Roof” musical at Albion Middle. He gave a shout out to Mrs. Stewart at Quail Hollow Elementary, who is beloved by her students.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on being at Capitol Hill during the legislative session and attending School Community Council meetings. She gave a shout out to Career and Technical Education programs during CTE Month. She also stressed the importance of students learning the facts about the Holocaust.

Mr. Mont Millerberg mentioned National School Crossing Guard Day on Friday and thanked the CSD-area crossing guards for their work. He reported on attending the National School Safety and Response Conference in Las Vegas with a team from Canyons’ Emergency Management Team.  The duty of keeping students safe is a sacred trust, he said.

Mrs. Nancy Tingey attended the Canyoneering Academy Night for Canyons’ multi-language families.. She reported on attending events and activities at schools in her district, including “Fiddler on the Roof” at Albion Middle. She congratulated the Brighton High Accadians for winning the sportsmanship award at the state 5A drill team championships.

Mrs. Karen Pedersen enjoys seeing the collaboration among employees in the effort to operate schools.  She noted the large number of students in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and also said she attended the Canyoneering Academy. She is proud to be a part of Canyons District’s growth and improvement.

Mrs. Holly Neibaur thanked the staff for preparing information presented during study session. She also likes to see the Strategic Plan being implemented, especially the High Quality Learning focus area.

President Shill conducted mock interviews with Brighton High students and attended a Brighton-feeder luncheon.  She reported on the committees for the focus areas of the Strategic Plan.

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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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