School Climate, Social-Emotional Supports

Building a Culture of Safety

Resources for Families

For families who are seeking additional social and emotional support, please contact your school counselor.

Every child deserves to feel welcome and secure at school. That’s why Canyons is focusing not just on outfitting facilities with modern security features but also on fortifying the social-emotional needs of children. Through the District’s Responsive Services Department, all CSD schools have been assigned a school psychologist and/or a counselor and social worker — all highly trained professionals who can help guide students through challenging emotions. Building a positive climate, where all children feel like they are vital and valued members of the school community, is a top priority of principals and teachers.

CSD embraces a philosophy of teaching appropriate and positive behaviors instead of punishing misbehaviors, has formed task forces to address such important topics as suicide, holds fun-filled orientation meetings for students as they move from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school, and sponsors of robust roster of extracurricular activities. In CSD, our aim is to maintain environments where children feel safe to develop interests, raise their hands, reach out to new friends, and know they are surrounded by caring adults.

Counseling Supports

The concept is really quite simple: If students are feeling insecure, depressed or fearful, or any other emotion that is at the root of concerning behaviors, chances are they aren’t learning at high levels. To the end of helping all students feel a sense of balance and achieve at school, Canyons District has increased the number of psychologists, social workers, counselors and nurses working in schools. They serve as a resource for families in the areas of suicide prevention, gang prevention, bullying prevention and drug and alcohol prevention. They also use Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports to teach relationship skills, self awareness, self-management, social awareness and responsible decision making. These counseling experts also provide schools with crisis support assistance in the event of emergencies. Canyons District also contracts with local mental health agencies and professionals as an added resource for families.

Social and Emotional Health

Canyons’ ground-breaking, evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum is now entering its second year in the District. The “Second Step” curriculum, which helps students navigate modern pressures and develop character traits that are crucial for success in life and school, is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). It is being used by some 26,000 schools across the country. In CSD, the curriculum is used as part of a multi-pronged approach to wellness. In 2020, 80 percent of Canyons students in grades K-8 will receive the evidence-based

Youth Protection Seminars

Electronic devices—from smart phones to smart watches—afford us many conveniences. But what are the consequences of us becoming more and more reliant on these devices? Vaping is catching on among today’s teens as a purportedly safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but mounting evidence points to its dangers. What should parents know about the risks of vaping, and how to protect their children? These and other timely topics are the subject of Youth Protection Seminars sponsored each year by Canyons District in partnership with national experts and local law enforcement agencies. The events are free and open to the public and staged in all corners of the District so that they can conveniently be accessed by students and parents.

Vaping and Substance Abuse

Canyons takes substance abuse seriously. Whether students are drinking alcohol, smoking, or vaping on campus, CSD has a zero-tolerance policy for any of these behaviors. As the use of some of these substances — such
as e-cigarettes or vaping devices — become more surreptitious, Canyons is looking at new ways to combat
the trend, including installing detection systems in high school bathrooms. If students are caught vaping, the device is destroyed, according to new legislation, and students are required to attend a prevention class at the Canyons Family Center. If the action happens again, students meet with a therapist to determine the underlying cause of the substance use and develop a plan of response. After a third time, the student will be referred to the Responsive Services Department for further support.

Restorative Practices and Safe School Hearings

Every student has the right to an education. Canyons has adopted a restorative practices model for reinforcing behavioral standards and responding to truancies, disorderly conduct or drug or alcohol violations. Students with safe school violations, such as bringing a weapon to school or dealing drugs, are referred to the District Case Management Team to establish safety and review what interventions and supports are needed for both the student and school. Depending on the violation, this may entail imposing fines, enrollment in an intervention program, or suspension or expulsion from school. Whenever a student is deprived of his right to education through disciplinary proceedings such as suspension or expulsion, the student is entitled to due process. This right to due process includes the right to notice and a fair hearing prior to the administration of long-term suspension, which may include 10 or more days, or expulsion from Canyons School District schools.

Peer Court

The right to a fair trial by a jury of one’s peers has taken on new meaning with the creation of the Canyons District Peer Court. Volunteer sophomores, juniors and seniors — in lieu of a judge — now sit on a panel to hear cases involving violations of school or District policy, and are authorized to decide the fate of their peers. The Canyons Peer Court is the second youth court in Utah to be sponsored by a school district. The court practices the restorative justice model for holding students accountable for minor offenses, such as, fighting, vandalism, or shoplifting. The students on the Peer Court panel are required to complete 20 hours of training, pass a criminal background check, and commit to two days per month. Peer Court is viewed as a more effective path to justice than suspending students or expelling them from school. Successful models have been shown to reduce recidivism and instill within an appreciation for the law.

School Attendance

Under normal circumstances, CSD encourages students not to miss school. In fact, we know that when it comes to keeping kids on track academically, every day of instruction counts. This year, however, is not normal. And daily instruction doesn’t necessarily mean that a student is sitting in class in person. This year, the Utah State Board of Education has waived requirements on the minimum number of hours school districts are required to conduct school. This change, coupled with a desire to encourage students to stay home from school when they are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, has altered Canyons’ traditional attendance policy.

As students will be attending school in person, online, and through parent-guided at-home learning options this year, attendance will be taken in multiple ways. For students who attend class in-person, attendance will be taken daily, but if they are absent due to illness or other reasons, they can maintain their pace in the class by working with their teacher and accessing Canvas and other resources. For online students, attendance is determined by participation in online assignments and activities. For students who have enrolled in the at-home, district-supported, parent-guided option, daily activities and progress are overseen by their parent or guardian.

There are a lot of reasons that students miss school, and Canyons has staff and resources available to support students in their learning. This includes Home and Hospital Instruction supports for students who, due to health problems, anticipate having to miss school for a prolonged period of time. A link to the District’s attendance policy and process for parents to report absences to their school can be found on CSD’s homepage.

The Canyons Family Center

The Canyons Family Center, provides collaborative, creative and cooperative courses and other counseling services to help families of all kinds — and with all kinds of challenges — discover gentle and genuine avenues to assist each other, connect with each other and learn from each other. The Family Center provides a spectrum of individual and family-based counseling, student-support groups and parent-education classes. The services, which include preliminary counseling sessions that help our experienced school counselors, social workers and psychologists determine what services may be needed to meet a family’s specific needs, whether as a result of an emotional crisis or not, are provided at no cost to families in Canyons School District. Students who are required to attend a class due to fighting or a drug and alcohol offense will be issued a fine and upon completion of the course reimbursed.

Instant and Constant Support

Not only are trained staff members available to aid students who are struggling, but Canyons was among the first school districts in Utah to roll out access to a mobile app text-and-tipline called SafeUT. This is available for students and parents to use if they need to immediately report a concern, be it about a student’s mental, social or physical well-being. Access to this app, which provides all-day and all-night access to licensed clinicians at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, is available to all Canyons school communities. The SafeUT app and website were developed as part of a partnership between the University of Utah and the Utah State Office of Education with funds allocated by the Utah Legislature. Multiple languages are available. Users can submit a tip with a picture and/or video, and a user can communicate online or call by phone. However, if you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911. You can also contact the suicide-prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to speak to a trained crisis worker.