Displaying items by tag: Canyons School District

At a time when so much hangs on the promise of science, these Hillcrest High students give us cause for hope.

Five Hillcrest students claimed podium finishes in the 2020 University of Utah Science and Engineering Fair, an event that was scaled back to include only the Senior Division due to mounting concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. Faced with a directive to avoid mass gatherings and practice social distancing, event organizers postponed the Elementary and Junior divisions until May 18-20. SmallZhange

But that didn’t diminish the excitement for the Huskies who, in the head-to-head regional competition with their high school-aged peers, won several top prizes and sponsored awards. Additionally, Wentao Zhang qualified to be an Observer for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his project, “Building Air Quality Predictions With Machine Learning Techniques.”

Students from seven school districts and schools under the umbrella of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese competed at the event.  

Let’s hear it for these future inventors, seekers of cures, and fighters of disease.

2020 Regional Science and Engineering Fair Winners
Warren Ellsworth, Hillcrest High, First Place, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Diana Alzen, Hillcrest High, Second Place, Chemistry
Wentao Zhang, Hillcrest High, Second Place, Earth & Environmental Science
Wensen Zhang, Hillcrest High, Fourth Place, Electrical & Computer Science Engineering
Matthew Simmons, Hillcrest High, Fourth Place, Materials & Biomedical Engineering
Jacob Simmons is charting a bright future through an exploration of the past. Since middle school, the Brighton High senior has been bringing pivotal moments in history to life through movie making, producing documentaries that have earned him national prizes and praise.

A repeat winner of state History Day contests, Simmons has, more than once, represented Utah at National State History Day competitions. In 2018, the Cottonwood Heights resident was among 15 American students chosen to participate in the prestigious Normandy Institute, a year-long course of study that pairs budding historians with college professors. Now, the 18-year-old can claim “Coca-Cola Scholar” among his accolades.

Simmons joins 150 high school seniors nationally to be named to the 32nd class of Coca-Cola Scholars, one of the country’s most prestigious academic awards. Fewer than 1/6th of 1 percent of all applicants are picked for the honor, which comes with a $20,000 college scholarship. The winners are chosen for their scholarly achievements and “leading positive change in their communities and around the world.” jacob headshot small
Simmons says he is humbled to be recognized alongside a group of people with such diverse accomplishments. To borrow a Coke tagline, his curiosity, or intellectual thirst, "knows no season." Indeed, by offering a fresh take on the classics, it could be said, he is making history. 

Simmons’ documentaries seek to illuminate the present through the lens of the past, often focusing on historical moments and figures that connect with his own heritage. One of his films explores the Jewish community of St. Eustatius, an important trading port during the American Revolution. Another journeys to the postwar Middle East and Israel’s polarizing leader Yitzhak Rabin.

Simmons’ profile of Justice Louis D. Brandeis garnered the attention of the Brandeis School of Law in Kentucky. Most recently, he surveyed the promise and perils of science through the life of Fritz Haber, the Nobel Prize-winning, German chemist who developed chemical fertilizers that helped feed the world while also pioneering wartime weapons, such as poison gas.

With at least two scholarship offers on the table, Simmons hasn't decided where he'll be enrolling in college. While history was "a passion proeject" to help him exercise his curiosity, he'll most likely major in politics and engineering with an emphasis on energy and Middle Eastern affairs. He would also like to continue playing competitive tennis. 

As a documentarian, he is “keeping it real,” and we’re thinking “life tastes [pretty] good” for him about now.
Three Canyons students — two from Hillcrest and one from Jordan high schools — captured first-place category honors in the 2020 Sterling Scholars competition.  

The CSD winners are: 
  • Rishab Balakrishnan, Hillcrest, in the Business and Marketing category
  • Sanjana Kargi, Hillcrest, in the Computer Technology category
  • Nathan Holley, Jordan, in the Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics category
Ten other Canyons students earned finalist status in the 49th annual competition, sponsored by the Deseret News and KSL-TV. 

The students are judged in 14 categories. The topics include business and marketing; computer technology; dance; English; family and consumer sciences; instrumental music; mathematics; science; skilled and technical sciences education; social science; speech/theater arts/forensics; visual arts; vocal performance and world languages.

Typically, the winners are announced during a ceremony in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, this year’s ceremony was cancelled because of the restrictions placed on mass gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, all the winners and runners-up were announced in the Deseret News.

The Sterling Scholar program celebrates the academic and artistic achievements of students in Utah schools. Every school is invited to nominate one student in each category. Candidates are judged by panels, and the top-scoring students advance through the judging process. 

Top winners and runners-up were selected after final interviews on Feb. 28. 

Category winners earn $2,500 scholarships. Runners-up, including Hillcrest’s Horace Gao, in Instrumental Music, receive $1,000 scholarships. Winning students also are eligible for scholarships and tuition waivers at several Utah colleges and universities. 
To guarantee the safety of employees and members of the public following this morning’s 5.7 magnitude earthquake, Canyons District Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe has declared all District facilities and school buildings closed until further notice. Public business will not be conducted in our buildings today, Wednesday, March 18.  

Canyons District custodians and Facilities Management workers will conduct examinations of our facilities to determine whether schools and other CSD buildings sustained damages from the earthquake or aftershocks.

As a reminder, Canyons District has temporarily suspended the grab-and-go lunch-service program. We will communicate more information about the meal service for tomorrow when it becomes available. Remember, aftershocks are possible. For safety, drop, cover and hold.

If you have questions, please see Canyons District social media pages for the most recent information. You also can send an email message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a representative will be ready to help you. Thank you and please stay safe.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Midvale Middle Proposal

Midvale Middle Principal Mindy Robison proposed $231,250 in additional funding to reduce the school’s class sizes and provide after-school programing three days a week. Robison seeks four additional Full-Time Equivalent employees to provide interventions, especially in mathematics. In response to current student achievement data—29 percent are making expected growth on the Math Inventory—Robison wants to hire two additional math teachers, for sixth and seventh grades, and two additional teachers for Midvale’s English language learners. The afterschool programming would provide interventions and enrichment activities. Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe told the Board he fully supports the proposal, which would be measured in its effectiveness by monitoring the number of office discipline referrals, Math and Reading Inventory growth scores, pre- and post-surveys of students, and attendance figures.

Required School Dismissal

Superintendent Dr. Briscoe updated the Board on the District’s response to the required temporary dismissal of Utah public schools. Briscoe thanked President Tingey for attending all the planning meetings held by CSD Administrators to address the logistics related to the COVID-19-related hiatus, which stated March 17 and expected to end March 27. Briscoe remarked on the hard work and commitment of teachers, principals and Education Support Profesisonals, the value of the input the District has received from the mayors of our municipal partners, the importance of the collaboration with officials from nearby charter and private schools, and the positive attitudes of parents and students. He also noted the work of our Instructional Supports Department, which has created an online repository of study guides and educational enrichment resources to support student learning at home. Business Administrator Leon Wilcox commended Nutrition Services workers for making and distributing grab-and-go meals. Board members commented on the District’s action plan for the unprecedented dismissal of classes, asked the Superintendent follow up on specific questions related to instruction and learning, and thanked the faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication. The Administration also asked for the public’s patience as we work through details. 

Peer Youth Court

The Board of Education approved a proposal to launch a Peer Youth Court. 

School Fees Update

The Board of Education approved a fee schedule for secondary schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The Board approved the schedule after providing an opportunity for the public to review the proposed schedules and give input. Included in the changes is an increase to the maximum fee amount to $5,000 for high school students. Schools also are prohibited from using one fee to subsidize another fee or waiver and that fees must be equal to or less than the cost of the activity. Schools have had a link to the proposed fee schedule on their website since the last week of February.

Legislative Update

External Affairs Director Charlie Evans updated the Board of Education on the education-related bills that were passed and debated during the 2020 General Session of the Utah Legislature, including the 6 percent increase to the Weighted Pupil Unit, the per-pupil mechanism for Utah public schools. The Board discussed the proposed amendment to the Utah Constitution that would change the way public education is funded in Utah. Board members also commented on HB357, which would guarantee funding for student growth and an inflationary adjustment.  An education “Rainy Day” fund also would be created. However, this is contingent on the November passage of the constitutional amendment.

Long-Range Planning

Dr. Briscoe reported on the progress of the Long-Range Planning Committee.  The group is discussing such issues as growth, enrollment and use of buildings.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the March 3, 2020 minutes of the meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight-travel requests; a ratification of the Corner Canyon High baseball overnight trip; February financial reports; TSSP Amendments for Silver Mesa Elementary, Mount Jordan and Midvale middle schools, and Corner Canyon High; and Land TRUST amendments for Midvalley and Willow Canyon elementary schools. The Board also approved the contract for the  Canyons Business Administrator from July 1, 2020 to June 20, 2022.  Leon Wilcox will continue in the position. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Briscoe reported on the Canyons community’s response to the unprecedented call to dismiss schools temporarily to stem the spread of COVID-19. He also lauded the good work of the CSD school nurses who have served as the point-people in the District’s communications with the Salt Lake County Health Department.  

Mr. Wilcox thanked the Board for extending his contract as Business Administrator of the Canyons School District. He remarked on the progress of the construction projects now underway at Brighton, Hillcrest, Alta high schools and Midvalley elementary schools. He expressed appreciation to parents, teachers, students and staff for working together to address the issues related to the two-week dismissal. 

Board of Education Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson suggested the Board adopt a policy that would allow the Board to meet via electronic means in the future.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending the school party sponsored by the Canyons Education Foundation and Real Salt Lake to celebrate Midvale’s exit from turnaround status. At the event, Real Salt Lake’s Foundation presented some $14,000 in grant requests from teachers. He reported on attending other events, as well.

Mrs. Amber Shill also urged the Board to have a policy permitting electronic meetings. She thanked principals, teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly on issues related to the temporary dismissal.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks commented on the legislative effort resulting in the 6 percent WPU increase. She attended the meeting of the Sprucewood School Community Council and the FIRST Robotics competition at the Maverik Center. She urged middle school participation in robotics. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg remarked on a possible community party in the future to celebrate Midvale’s exit from turnaround status. He’d like to see that happen if mass-gathering guidelines are relaxed by health officials. He applauded the efforts of parents who are working, helping their children continue to learn, and providing for folks in the community who need help. 

President Tingey expressed appreciation for the entire community’s response to the temporary dismissal of schools to slow the infection rate of COVID-19.
Page 1 of 201