Teachers poised to provide new material, instruction for distance learning
E-learning. Virtual classrooms. Online instruction. Distance learning has gone by many names as it has evolved over the years. But call it what you will, it will be the primary means of delivering instruction to kindergarten through 12th-grade students in the coming weeks.
As a result of the dismissal of schools in Utah until May 1 to stem the spread of COVID-19, Canyons District students for now will continue their academic growth and achievement online.
“This is an unprecedented time in the history of our country, our state, and our school district. While many things may seem uncertain, especially in the minds of our children, Canyons District is striving to maintain the strong relationships that were made in the classroom from the first day of the school year,” says Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe.
“We have appreciated the patience of Canyons families as we’ve spent the last two weeks getting technology into the hands of the students who need it and allowed time for our teachers time to get ready to teach their kids in a new way,” Dr. Briscoe says. “As we move into our new normal, I have no doubt that, by building on our already-strong school-to-home connection, we can continue guiding our students to high levels of achievement.”
As CSD pivots to remote learning, Dr. Briscoe asks for understanding and cooperation as students and teachers connect online. If you have questions about the technology or lessons, please reach out by phone or email to your child’s teacher. If you don’t hear back after 24 hours, please contact the principal of your child’s school. If you need more assistance, please call the Canyons District Office at 801-826-5000 and ask for the Office of School Performance.
Canyons has followed a three-pronged approach since the announcement that schools would be on a “soft closure” March 16-27.
The first step: In the first two weeks of the dismissal, a soft freeze was placed on grades until the end of third quarter on Friday, March 27. Students were not penalized if they did not engage in learning opportunities — but they could complete missing assignments to improve their scores and grades.
This also allowed a period of time for families to adjust and become accustomed to learning at home.
The next two steps, taken simultaneously, included ensuring teachers had the time and training to move materials online, and getting technology to the children who do not have access to a device at home.
For the past week, Canyons District schools have been checking out Chromebooks to students so they can be prepared to begin distance learning. Parents of children who do not have access to a device are strongly encouraged to call their child’s school to get a Chromebook.
All three steps led us to where CSD is now: At the cusp of providing new instruction and the assignment of work that could count toward a grade in a class.
On Monday, March 30, students are encouraged to review lessons in digital literacy, etiquette and citizenship on the Parent Connections portal.
On Tuesday, March 31, new material will be introduced to students via Canvas and video conferencing systems. This is the start of a new mode of thinking for Canyons students.
True, classes are not being held at the school — but instruction will continue, mostly in an online format, until the May 1 end of the temporary dismissal. To be clear, even though state education officials have waived the requirement of districts to hold 990 hours of instruction over 180 days, school is technically still in session.
With the districtwide launch of online learning and teaching, Canyons District educators have been asked to use Canvas as the common learning management system. That is where assignments and guides for learning will be posted. Teachers also have the option of posting a pre-recorded message to their students or conducting video conferences using such tools as Google Meet, which is already loaded on Chromebooks.
Canyons District’s special-service providers, such as school psychologists, counselors, social workers, and Speech Language Pathologists, may work with students independently as is needed to meet the needs of individual students.
For now, here’s what parents can do to make the transition easier and set students up to succeed.
- Contact the Main Office of your child’s school if you are in need of a computing device. Schools are loaning Chromebooks to students who demonstrate need. Each school has developed its own check-out process for distributing the devices, while honoring the state’s recommendations for social distancing.
- Become familiar with the instructional tool Canvas, your home base for all online learning. Students should start logging in to Canvas now to check their dashboard and class home pages for daily instructions and assignments. Parents can obtain their child’s Canvas login and password through the Skyward Family Access Portal. After logging in, click on the “student login” tab in the left-hand menu, then click on the “student login/password” link to a report showing your student’s Canvas ID.
- Through Canvas, teachers may direct students to other online resources and tools. Teachers also may schedule real-time lessons and check-ins through Google Meets. Lists of commonly-used online tools, and login information, can be found on the Parent Connections portal.
- The third quarter will end Friday, March 27, and the new quarter will start on Monday, March 30, marking the start of a new grading period. This is true for all Canyons schools, except Brighton High, which is now on its third trimester. Students are encouraged to work with their schools to make up any missed tests or assignments before third-quarter grades are finalized.