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Connect Canyons

Education Podcasts

Learning is about making connections, and we invite you to learn and connect with us. Connect Canyons is a show about what we teach in Canyons District, how we teach, and why. We get up close and personal with some of the people who make our schools great: students, teachers, principals, parents, and more. We meet national experts, too. And we spotlight the “connection makers” — personalities, programs and prospects — we find compelling and inspiring.


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Learning is about making connections, and we invite you to learn and connect with us. Connect Canyons is a show about what we teach in Canyons District, how we teach, and why. We get up close and personal with some of the people who make our schools great: students, teachers, principals, parents, and more. We meet national experts, too. And we spotlight the “connection makers” — personalities, programs and prospects — we find compelling and inspiring.




Ep 77: Celebrating Mont Millerberg: A Legacy of Educational Advocacy and Community Service

Today, we honor a man whose impact on education and community service was as profound as it was heartfelt. Mont Millerberg, the cherished vice president of Canyon's Board of Education , left us with a legacy that echoes in the corridors of Hillcrest High and the streets of Midvale. Amanda Oaks, Dr. Rick Robbins, Denise Haycock and Jeff Haney share stirring tales of Mont's dedication to equality in education and his fair, loving spirit. The stories span from his pivotal role in the District's founding to his tireless advocacy for every child's future—Mont's life is a mosaic of commitment and caring that will continue to inspire. As we pay tribute to Mont's memory, you'll also hear intimate reflections on the servant leadership he and his wife, Kris, embodied. They raised their family on pillars of hard work, community care, and faith, setting an example that many strive to follow. Mont's approach to serving on the board was marked by innovation, kindness, and a remarkable connection with those around him. From flipping hot dogs at school functions to knowing each attendee by name, his genuine warmth and the indelible bonds he fostered are the essence of his enduring legacy. Join us in celebrating Mont Millerberg—a true advocate for education and a beacon of service in our community.


Ep 76: Digital Diet: Helpful Conversations for Families to Regulate Screen Time

In Canyon District, we teach and model digital safety and citizenship every day in our classrooms. Our goal is to empower students to use technology responsibly. More than that, we want them to use it to create, investigate, collaborate, and analyze - and we view parents as valuable partners in this endeavor. In a recent episode of Connect Canyons, we hear from teacher specialists Katie Gebhardt and Jonathan Stewart who work to support teachers and parents alike in this endeavor.


National Library Lover’s Month – How Canyons Students are Drawn to District Libraries

Ever wondered about the hidden gems that ignite a lifelong love affair with reading? Anyone who is fond of books knows that feeling of walking into a room with floor-to-ceiling books and taking in a deep breath. There have been a number of studies looking into that smell of old books – Is it vanilla? Grass? Maybe a hint of leather? Whichever smell comes to you first – Bibliophiles can all agree – It’s a wonderful feeling to step into a library and wonder at the possibilities hidden in thousands of pages. Within Canyons School District, from August of 2023 to January, Canyons students checked out more than 370,000 printed library books. Adding to that, roughly 8,000 students checked out over 75,000 ebooks and audiobooks. In a recent episode of Connect Canyons, we celebrate of National Library Lover’s Month, and hear from some of Canyon’s biggest book lovers about what draws our students to our libraries.


Bonus Episode 74: From Sidelines to Super Bowl the Impact of Coaching Excellence

Few other events bring the country together like the Super Bowl. Last year's battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles drew the largest numbers of viewers in history. 115 million people tuned in to watch. Whether you're a football fan, in it for the snacks, for the ads, or the halftime show - the Super Bowl is a uniquely American tradition which, for some, borders on a national holiday. On this special bonus episode of Connect Canyons, we chat with two of Canyon's newest head football coaches as well as Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins. Coaches Albertson and Burdette discuss the values and camaraderie students gain from team sports and groups.


Episode 73: Hillcrest Theater Set to Raise the Curtain on American Debut of The James Plays

“All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players.” It's a quote you may have heard before, particularly those who are fond of theater. But the beginning of this monologue from William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" has become a popular turn of phrase, understood by many outside of the world of performing arts. It just goes to show good theater can live on for centuries and take on new meanings. It's a tradition the Hillcrest Theatre Department hopes to continue as they set to lift the curtain on an American debut nine-years in the making. Nearly a decade ago, Hillcrest theater teacher Joshua Long took a trip to London. While he was there, he spent the day at the Royal National Theater where he first set eyes on “The James Plays,” written by Rona Munro.


CSDtv Broadcasting Students Gaining Hands-on Experience in Digital Age

Here at Canyon School District, we strive to provide our students with opportunities for hands on learning to ensure every Canyon student graduates college and career ready. CSDTV is joining in these efforts with a new student program. Currently in its inaugural year, CSDTV has 112 student broadcasters learning about all things broadcasting. From live streaming and commentating Canyon sporting events to news broadcasts, student run podcasts, and talk shows, CSDTV allows students to choose their own journey as they learn critical thinking, team collaboration, career exploration, and much more.


Episode 71: Champions On and Off the Floor

It’s no wonder the Hillcrest High School Drill Team are 28-time regional champions and seven-time state champions, with their eyes on an eighth. Two members of the coaching staff have dance, and Drill in particular, in their blood. As we learn in the latest episode of Connect Canyons, Chelsea Divine and her brother Carter Williams stared dancing almost as soon as they started walking and followed in their mother’s footsteps, “Our own mom was a member of the Hillcrest Drill team,” says Drill coach and Healthy Lifestyles Teacher, Chelsea Divine, “so the legacy runs deep in our blood.” Carter Williams, Hillcrest Drill Coach and member of the Weber State Dance Team, says it was his sister, Chelsea, who helped him see dance could take him beyond high school. “Chelsea kind of paved the way for all of us siblings to know dance is actually a possibility,” says Carter, “because after high school Chelsea proceeded to be a part of the professional dance company, Odyssey. I feel like it just really showed my other sister and I that it’s possible to dance after high school.” Carter says the hours he danced all paid off as he joined the competitors on Season 17, making it to the top six of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Not to mention, he is a two-time National Latin Champion and four-time World Latin Finalist in ballroom dance. Chelsea and Carter won’t toot their own horns about their accomplishments, but they are more than happy to brag about the accomplishments of the young women competing on Hillcrest Drill.


Episode 70: Putting Wellness First How One Room is Helping Students Manage Emotions

Fred Rogers once said, “I'm convinced that when we help our children find healthy ways of dealing with their feelings, ways that don't hurt them or anyone else, we're helping to make our world a safer, better place.” In today's world, we're faced with all sorts of challenges and stressful situations, from the simple everyday tasks of getting to school on time and making sure projects are finished to the heavier unexpected obstacles. Sometimes all we need to do is to take a moment to recenter ourselves, and as we learn in the latest episode of Connect Canyons, schools are providing room for just that. Wellness rooms have become important tools in our schools.


Episode 69: Applying for Preschool: How Canyons Works to Help Children Succeed Early in Education

“Children love coming to our preschool programs,” says Terri Mitchell, Early Childhood Program Administrator in the latest episode of Connect Canyons. In this episode, we learn how Canyons early childhood educators are trained to guide children through meaningful interactions, turning everyday play into opportunities for learning and development. With applications open for tuition preschool, Ms. Mitchell covers how and when to apply for preschool – hint, apply now – as well as how work in the classroom covers everything from early literacy and numeracy, to science and life skills, proving that what may look like simple play is in fact a strategically designed learning experience.


Episode 68: New Year, Same Goals: Local Ninja Warrior Shares How Failure and Consistency Are Key to Achieving Goals

It’s the time of year where the idea of setting new goals for a new year becomes a main topic of conversation. Are you setting goals? How do you keep your goals not just through January but all year long? Eastmont Middle School Principal Stacy Kurtzhals and her son Tyler have been working toward the same goal since Tyler was a little boy – Becoming an American Ninja Warrior. When Tyler was 8-year-old, he saw his first episode of American Ninja Warrior, “It looked like a giant playground at the time,” says Tyler. “So as a kid, I was really interested and from there I just found stuff in my backyard to play on.” Soon, Tyler’s father was building him obstacles to work with, and the family was traveling to competitions. “I was selected for American Ninja Warrior Junior about five years ago,” says Tyler. “After that I was introduced to this whole world of different competitions, different people, and it just turned into this community that I love.”


Ep 67: How a Canyons Teacher is Connecting with Students One Song at a Time

In Canyons, students aren’t the only ones who know the apprehension of auditioning for a role or the thrill of a standing ovation. Teachers like Hillcrest High’s RaNae Dalgleish bring to the classroom first-hand experience as professional artists — in her case, as a member of one of the most prestigious choirs in the world. Having a professional life outside of teaching can be taxing but is also personally fulfilling, as Dalgleish attests in the latest episode of Connect Canyons. Whether she’s directing Hillcrest’s award-winning choir or traveling overseas with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, sharing the love and light of music is a great privilege and her life’s joy.


Episode 66: Canyons Parents Embrace the Spirit of Volunteering Year Round

Tennessee may be the volunteer state, but here in Utah, we have a strong history of coming together to help one another. For many years, Utahns have led the nation in volunteering, and this year is no different, according to research by Volunteering and Civic Life in America. Here in the Canyon School District, we also have a strong corps of volunteers, and we're constantly grateful for those members of our community who give the gift of time to our schools. On the latest episode of Connect Canyons, we hear from two Canyons volunteers who have been working with students and schools for many years and all across the district. They share the positive impact they have seen inside classrooms and how volunteering has helped their families and themselves grow.


Episode 65: Computer Security: Becoming the First Line of Defense for Cyber Security

National Computer Security Day is November 30th. As our education system continues to develop, computer security is top of mind. Our computers are becoming faster and more advanced. They fit in our pockets, we use them in our schools, and seemingly every facet of our lives. On this week’s episode of Connect Canyons, Director of Information Technology for the Canyons District, Scot McCombs, says the first line of defense when it comes to cyber security, is us.


Episode 64: Attitude of Gratitude: How Gratitude Can Help Ourselves and Others

Lowered blood pressure, improved immune function, more efficient sleep, and reduced risk for depression and anxiety. All these benefits and more flow from practicing gratitude. It’s that time of year where we practice giving thanks. But, as CSD’s Student Wellness Services Administrator B.J. Weller believes, it’s something we can and should practice year-round for others and for ourselves. “In any person’s life, if they want to feel more happy, have better mental health, have heathy relationships, better self-esteem, that’s all based partly in expressing gratitude and finding ways to show and feel gratitude and appreciation.” Learn how in this latest episode.


Episode 63:Canyons District Salutes its Substitute Teachers

Choose your aphorism, from “it takes a village” to “many hands make light work.” There are many phrases we use every day to emphasize the importance of a group of people working together — and nowhere is the spirit of teamwork more apparent than in a public school system. Canyons employs about 6,000 professionals, all of whom play a vital role in providing a high-quality education to students, including the District’s substitute teachers. For this week’s episode of Connect Canyons, to coincide with National Substitute Educators Day, we asked two substitute teachers — Julie Hodges and Camille Ross — what compels them to step up to fill educators’ shoes when needed.


Episode 62: National STEM/STEAM Day: Understand and Utilizing STEM to Help Our Students Learn and Grow

For those who finished school before the 2000s, the idea of STEM or STEAM may as well be an entirely new subject in school, but it’s not a new curriculum – it’s a framework for teaching. In the latest episode of Connect Canyons, we sit down with Chandra Martz – Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist for Canyons District, and Cynthia Lloyd, CSD’s Elementary STEM Specialist. We discuss the basic idea of STEM and how it is being implemented in Canyons classrooms and beyond.


Episode 61 From Classroom to Career: The Impact of Special Education's Pre-Employment Services Program

The vision of success for Canyons School District is that every student will graduate college- and career-ready. That extends through the average grade levels and beyond with the Canyons Transition Academy (CTA). In this week’s episode of Connect Canyons, we sit down with Linda Hall, the Administrator over CTA as well as Brian McGill, the director of Student Wellness Services, who’s son went through the CTA program. We discuss the program, how local businesses can get involved, and the benefits to students as well as their parents.


Episode 60: Double, Double Toil and Trouble: Unmasking Halloween Safety

From zombies and vampires to Wonder Women, Barbies, and Kens, Canyons District students are looking forward to Halloween. With that excitement comes a word of caution: In the past three years, there have been 3,200 Halloween-related injuries across the country. We want to make sure this year’s spooky festivities are fun but also safe. On this week’s episode of Connect Canyons, we sit down with Sandy Police Officer Max Zackrison to talk about all things safety on All Hallows Eve.


Episode 59: Exploring AI in the Classroom

Ever wondered how AI could revolutionize the way we learn, teach, and operate in educational institutions? We promise you an enlightening expedition into the world of AI in the classroom with the insightful Jonathan Stewart and Emma Moss, both stalwarts from the Instructional Supports Department at Canyons School District. They not only demystify different types of AI - generative, reactive, and predictive, but also show how AI has been subtly influencing our lives without us noticing. In our discussion, we shed light on the successful implementation of AI in Canyons School District with their innovative guidebook, the 'View'. The duo passionately talks about understanding the value of AI for enhancing student learning, while also addressing the vital need for a safe implementation and regular impact assessment in education. The conversation also focuses on the delicate balance between data privacy, security, and educational innovation. Furthermore, they provide useful insights for parents keen on providing their children with access to suitable AI tools without compromising their safety. As we peer into the future of AI in education together, resources available for students, educators, and families come under the lens. The conversation takes a deep dive into the importance of professional development for educators wanting to incorporate AI into their teaching methods. The focus is on fostering critical thinking, creativity, collaboration among students, and encouraging families to have open, informed discussions about the role of AI in their lives. Get set to engage, learn, and rethink AI with us.


Episode 58: The 3 R’s of Bullying: How to Recognize and Respond to Bullying and Respect Each Other

The nation’s public schools are remarkably safe, and rates of bullying are on the decline. But maintaining safe, bully-free learning environments remains a priority in Canyons District — and families can help by understanding the signs of bullying and what to do if they suspect or spot it. With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, the Connect Canyons podcast crew sat down with Alta High counselor Christine Astle to discuss steps CSD is taking to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at school.