Light the sparklers and throw the confetti. It’s time to celebrate the beginning of a new year in Canyons District and if what’s past is prologue, the next 12 months are full of promise.
In 2017, Canyons opened two newly rebuilt schools, saw students achieve some of the highest academic honors in the country, and felt the strength and support of the community as it endured the hardship of losing beloved teachers and students. There have been challenges, but in 2017, Canyons has also seen triumphs as it has taken strides toward helping students become college-and career-ready.
In this past year, Canyons saw more volunteers reach out and help their schools, more teachers reporting satisfaction with their jobs in CSD and more schools receiving an A or B rating under Utah’s school grading system. “I just want to thank our Canyons family for all that they do,” Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor said while reflecting on the accomplishments of the District at a recent Board meeting. “From the patrons, to the students and staff … it takes a lot of work by a lot of people to make this a great district. It makes me proud to be a part of that.”
This last year, Canyons increased student achievement; encouraged innovation; fostered strong community connections; served its patrons, students and teachers; and managed public funds responsibly. The District maintained its AAA bond rating and earned national awards for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and budget book. We celebrated the accomplishments of our teachers including a teacher at Altara who received a $10,000 Huntsman Award for Educational Excellence and cheered as our students experienced success, including members of Jordan High’s rookie robotics team who were crowned regional champions.
Here are a few of the most memorable moments from 2017:
- Canyons received approval for a $258 million bond, which will be used to renovate and rebuild aging schools.
- Alta View Elementary and Midvale Middle were completed, as part of the $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. The state-of-the art schools opened in time for school to begin, and crews started work on the 13th and final project to be financed by the 2010 bond, a remodel of Indian Hills Middle. This project is slated to be completed by the beginning of the 2018 school year.
- The Board of Education voted to increase teacher salaries by more than $5,000 a year, and increased starting teacher salaries to $40,500.
- Students, parents and colleagues from throughout the Salt Lake valley gathered to mourn the passing of Hillcrest High’s beloved football coach Cazzie Brown.
- Four of Canyons’ traditional high schools were recognized for the number of students who take and pass Advanced Placement courses. Brighton ranks No. 8 out of all Utah high schools for the number of students who take and pass the tests. Corner Canyon ranks No. 5 for high AP participation rates, and Alta is No. 10.
- Two CSD students won 2017 National Merit Scholarships, and 14 were named as semifinalists for the 2018 scholarship cycle.
- A Hillcrest Husky was named the 2017 Sterling Scholar in the computer science category.
- Alta High’s marching band was selected to perform in the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.
- In sports, athletes have excelled in personal and team victories. Since school began this year, Canyons students won state championships in 5A first-singles girls tennis, first-doubles tennis, second-doubles girls tennis and 5A cross country. In the spring, Brighton’s Dani Barton and Alta’s Josh Davis were named Utah Gatorade Players of the year for volleyball and football, and Alta coach Lee Mitchell was named the Gatorade Coach of the Year. Academic All-State Awards were given to 25 CSD student-athletes for sports, eight students received the award for spring sports, and four received the award for winter sports.
- Hillcrest’s summer academy, which puts freshmen on a path to excel at the beginning of their high school experience, earned Canyons the honor of being named a 2017 District of Distinction by District Administration Magazine and contributed to a 10 percent increase in the number of Husky freshmen on track to graduate.
- Alta High’s Rique Ochoa was selected as the Utah History Teacher of the Year.
- Hillcrest won the state title in 4A theater, and 24 students from across the District won Superior Honors state choir, band and orchestra events.
- A record number of volunteers (12,672) contributed 257,380 hours of service to CSD’s classrooms.
- 3.7 million people visited the Canyons’ website.
It was a busy year, but now, as Canyons’ supplemental kindergarten program and Step2theU program at Alta head toward a third year and plans roll forward to begin work on remodeling and rebuilding schools, we’re looking forward to all that 2018 will bring.