You’re busy, and want to get involved in your child’s school. Where should you start?

Dr. Angela Wilkinson, Sunrise Elementary Principal.
Dr. Angela Wilkinson, Sunrise Elementary Principal.

It’s been said that parents are their child’s first, and most important, teacher — a truism reinforced by research showing how important a strong school-to-home connection is to student success.

But what does it mean to be involved in your child’s education? Parents are busy and can’t do it all: check the backpack, monitor all of their children’s daily assignments, help with homework, attend school events, and volunteer in the classroom. So, where should they start? What questions should they be asking? How can they make the most of parent-teacher conferences? What barriers, fears, or misunderstandings get in the way of parents and teachers working together to help kids thrive?

Last year, Connect Canyons interviewed some PTA representatives to discuss the many ways families can connect with their neighborhood school.  This year, we decided to get the perspective of a school principal: Sunrise Elementary Principal Dr. Angela Wilkinson.

Speaking from her perspective as a career educator, Dr. Wilkinson shared some of the ways Canyons District schools are building bridges with families. During the pandemic, for example, schools found ways to host parent-teacher conferences remotely, which actually helped boost participation. It’s a time-saving innovation that schools are still putting to use this year.

Dr. Wilkinson also offered great insight into how parents can focus their efforts, even touching on questions parents should be asking to understand how their children’s learning is progressing so they can better support learning at home.

After all, it’s one thing to help with homework. It’s another to know that your child is missing foundational concepts — such as memorizing “math facts” (addition, subtraction and times tables) — so you can spend your time on what matters most.

“We appreciate parent involvement in the schools. We couldn’t do it without our parent volunteers,” Dr. Wilkinson said. “Last year with our not being to have volunteers in the buildings [due to state COVID19-related health protocols], it’s made you appreciate it even more.”

CSD Makes Plans to Create Own Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins at the Tuesday, Sept. 21 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education announced an administrative action to suspend the use of the current social-emotional curriculum being used in Canyons District elementary and middle schools.

While reiterating his support of social-emotional learning, Dr. Robins stressed that the plan isn’t to abandon the teaching of crucial life skills and character traits, but to improve upon the curriculum being used in Canyons’ schools.

The current curriculum, called “Second Step” will be on hold until Tuesday, Oct. 5, when Board members and the Administration can fully discuss the issue after it has been appropriately noticed on a public-meeting agenda.

At that Board meeting, the Administration intends to propose a timeline for the creation of Canyons’ own curriculum by in-house instructional experts.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, with the Board’s and Administration’s steadfast commitment to in-person learning, Canyons District has prioritized not only the physical safety of students but also their social and emotional needs,” Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins says. “This past year has brought new challenges with the spread of new COVID-19 variants and shifting health guidance. But our goal of supporting students’ overall wellness has been consistent throughout, and something I continue to wholeheartedly support.”

The philosophy behind social-emotional learning, which is required by Utah State Board of Education rule, is to engender trust, respect, and unity. But the District is finding that the Second Step curriculum, although supported by many, has links to information that may not meet the community’s expectations and needs.

Pending Board approval, Robins hopes to have an in-house social-emotional curriculum completed by the end of winter break or early January.

More information about CSD’s next steps will be made available after decisions are made about the SEL curriculum that will be provided in CSD schools.

Weekly Calendar: September 20-24

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES: Our parent/teacher conferences are coming up on Tuesday, September 21 from 3:30 – 7:30 PM and Wednesday, September 22 from 3:30 – 7:00 PM. We will be doing a hybrid model for conferences this year. On Tuesday night, we will hold traditional conferences in person where parents can drop-in to speak with each teacher. There is no need to schedule an appointment. On Wednesday, we will hold telephone conferences by appointment. There will be no in-person conferences this night. To sign up for a phone call on Wednesday evening, you can access Skyward Family Access and follow these instructions. 

FLU SHOT CLINIC: We will be holding a flu shot clinic Tuesday during parent/teacher conferences. Nursing services will be available from 3:30 – 6:30 PM in the library.

COMCAST ESSENTIALS: Do you need internet at home? As part of ongoing efforts to bridge the digital divide for students, Canyons is again partnering with the Comcast Corporation to cover monthly Internet connection costs for families in need. The program, coupled with investments to build Canyons’ stockpile of computing devices, aims to ensure all students — those learning online and inside the classroom — are equipped to succeed. If you are interested, please contact to the school and ask for Ms. Nava.

Important dates coming up:

Tuesday, September 21:

  • Parent/Teacher conferences in person 3:30 – 7:30 PM
  • Flu Shots available during conferences from 3:30 – 6:30 PM

Wednesday, September 22:

  • Parent/Teacher conferences by phone 3:30 – 7:00 PM

Friday, September 24:

  • Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day/No School

Upcoming Dates:

September 29: Vision Screening

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