‘Best Day of the Year’ Canyons Education Foundation Surprises Teachers with Nearly $100,000 in Innovation Grants

As many people focused on Halloween fun last week, it felt more like the season of giving for 21 educators around Canyons School District.

Canyons Education Foundation board members and staff, District dignitaries, and even a city mayor, piled into a school bus laden with balloons and a big surprise for 16 teaching teams throughout the District: $97,000 in Innovation Grants.

“Foundation Grant delivery day is the absolute best day of the year,” External Relations Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards said. “It’s neat seeing when the money that the Foundation board raises makes it to the classroom and allows innovative teachers to do extra special things for their students.”

Innovation Grants are awarded annually thanks to generous donations, community partnerships, and support of donors via the Education Foundation’s annual golf tournament at Wasatch Mountain State Park. This year’s tournament raised $98,000.

Individual teachers or teaching teams may apply for funding from $1,000-$10,000. Foundation Board members review the applications — 29 were submitted this year — and award grants based on the project’s educational merit and innovation. Names and schools are redacted from the grant applications for the selection process.

Among the supplies, tools, and technology made possible by this year’s grants: a 3D printer, a powerful telescope, a sensory wall for preschoolers, robotics technology, audiovisual equipment, educational plastic brick sets, automotive and welding tools, coding education, and other STEM supplies and programs.

“After all the hard work the Foundation Board and staff put in all year, it’s wonderful to deliver the great news to grant recipients and to see the excitement and emotion on the faces of teachers and students,” Foundation Development Officer Denise Haycock said. “Getting on the ‘Fun Bus’ and giving out grants is one of the highlights of our year. It feels like we’re on the prize patrol.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room at Jordan Valley School when Donata Trussell, the school’s physical therapist, found out her grant request had been accepted. Thanks to a $10,000 grant, the special education program will receive two adaptive tricycles to help less-mobile students increase their mobility, range of motion, spatial awareness, strength, and coordination. The trikes really come in handy when students go on walks.

“Thank you. I can’t believe it!” an overwhelmed Trussell exclaimed while being awarded the grant in front of several students and staff. “I am speechless. We really need them. These older ones are falling apart. They are more than 10 years old. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do if one broke. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Foundation Board Member Bill Rappleye, of W.E.R. Enterprises LLC, and Midvale Mayor Robert Hale both gave heartfelt congratulations to Trussell.

“We’re really lucky to have you at this school,” Mayor Hale said.

“I am so touched by today and from visiting your school,” a teary-eyed Rappleye told Trussell. “I can feel the love you have for your students and school. Thank you.”

Teacher applicants who didn’t receive a grant this year are offered alternative options when applicable.

Congratulations to the 2021 Canyons Education Foundation Innovation Grant winners:

  • Christopher Brown, Lynda Mcbride, and Lauren Popp, fifth-grade teachers, Copperview Elementary: $5,403 for sphero robots
  • Randal Clark, fine arts teacher, Corner Canyon High: $9,106 for professional audio and video production equipment
  • Zachary Giddings, instrumental music teacher, Draper Park Middle: $1,959 for digital tuners for band and orchestra
  • RJ Green, Jonathan Kraus, Chris Mackprang, and Taylor Ouimette, Science Department, Corner Canyon High: $2,645 for a telescope
  • DaltonMagee, welding technician instructor, Canyons Technical Education Center: $3,620 for fabrication enhancements
  • Erin Nelson, career and technical education teacher, Corner Canyon High: $10,000 for robotics kits
  • Wendie Nielson, fifth grade teacher, Bella Vista Elementary: $1,849 for 3D printers
  • Tyler Perkins, automotive teacher, Brighton High: $9,786 for automotive shop modernization
  • Louis Sherman, language arts teacher, Diamond Ridge High: $9,997 for video and photography equipment
  • Benjamin Simmons, fine arts teacher, Mount Jordan Middle: $9,992 for digital methods for acoustic problems
  • Lyndsey Sjogren, third grade teacher, Sprucewood Elementary: $5,059 for a STEM-centric program that sparks creativity with circuit connections, design and engineer models, and code games.
  • Mark Snow, career and technical education teacher, Eastmont Middle: $3,165 for robotics kits
  • John Stefanic, science teacher, Eastmont Middle: $7,139 for brick sets that help with critical thinking, literacy, math, and social-emotional development.
  • Donata Trussell, physical therapist, Jordan Valley School: $10,000 for adaptive tricycles
  • Heidi Vincent, second grade teacher, Silver Mesa Elementary: $2,543 for math manipulatives
  • Courtney White, preschool teacher, Bella Vista Elementary: $3,798 for sensory wall



National Junior Honor Society

Do you enjoy helping others?

Then National Junior HonorSociety is for you!

NJHS meets once a month on the 2ndWednesday of the month. You must have a3.0 GPA and no N’s or U’s for your citizenship grade.

Scan the QR code to apply!

QR Code- Click Here —->NJHS

Applications due November 4th!!

If you have an questions email Ms.Breitbarth or Mrs. Hiebing


Canyons Announces Schedule for Six ‘Remote-Learning Fridays’

November marks the start of a temporary shift to Remote-Learning Fridays in Canyons School District.

Starting Nov. 5, 2021, six Fridays — one a month for six months — will be set aside for online learning or independent study per the following schedule:

• Nov. 5, 2021
• Dec. 3, 2021
• Jan. 7, 2022
• Feb. 11, 2022
• March 25, 2022
• April 22, 2022 (except Brighton High)
• April 29, 2022 (Brighton High only)

Remote Fridays are days of learning. Students are expected to use the time for independent study and will be provided learning packets or access to assignments on CSD’s common online-learning management system, Canvas.  Teachers will report to school for work and use the time to collaborate with peers, create lesson and intervention plans, and provide any needed outreach to students. They will also hold virtual office hours by appointment for students and parents.

Schools may schedule family meetings on Remote Fridays to review Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), Distance Learning Plans, and 504 accommodations. But this time is not intended to be used for athletic or performing arts practices.

A sack lunch — and breakfast, for students who have a breakfast program at their school — will be sent home with students on Thursday to help fuel their Friday learning. All students will be offered a sack lunch, but they are not obligated to take one.

The goal with Remote Fridays is to support teachers in supporting students. Teachers are reporting increased rates of exhaustion and burnout due, in part, to such pandemic-related stressors as staffing shortages. 

A nationwide labor shortage has made it difficult to hire school support staff and find enough substitutes to cover for teachers who fall ill or have to be pulled from the classroom for District-sponsored trainings. District Office staff are volunteering as substitutes, and the District has suspended the rollout of new initiatives and postponed teacher trainings that aren’t state-mandated or required as a condition of a grant. But the District’s pool of 300 substitutes is not enough to cover classrooms, and teachers are having to combine classes or fill in for one another on their preparation periods, leaving them little planning time.

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