Canyons to Bring Back Six ‘Remote-Learning Fridays’

In acknowledgement of the continued pressures faced by teachers and staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canyons Board of Education has approved a plan to set aside six Fridays in the coming months for student remote learning and teacher preparation and planning.

The first “Remote-Learning Friday” will fall on Nov. 5, 2021, giving families time to adjust their schedules. Thereafter, the Administration will schedule five additional remote-learning Fridays. The schedule will take into account schools that are on a rolling ABAB calendar so as to avoid a disproportionate share of the Fridays falling on A or B days.

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 office hours by appointment for students and parents.

This time is not intended to be used for athletic or performing arts practices.

“The goal here is to support teachers in supporting students. Teachers need more planning and collaboration time to ensure students have the resources they need to excel, and students need more time to catch up on unfinished learning,” said Canyons Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle.

Similar to last year, teachers are reporting increased rates of exhaustion, stress, and burnout due in part to staffing shortages but also to student absenteeism, which requires additional instruction and remediation.

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 need for substitutes is so acute that it’s still requiring teachers to combine classes or fill in for one another on their preparation periods, leaving them little planning time.

In addition, high rates of student absences, due to illness or students being placed on COVID-19-related quarantine, are resulting in teachers having to invest extra time on interventions to keep students on track with their learning.

The Canyons Board of Education will consider at an upcoming meeting the proposed schedule for future remote-learning Fridays. As soon as the schedule is finalized, families will be directly notified through the District’s official communication channels.

CSD Students Urged to be Good Digital Citizens, Avoid Social-Media Challenges

Here’s a challenge we can agree on:  Let’s challenge each other to be kind, respectful, friendly, and show pride in your school.  And you don’t even need to video record yourself doing it.

Canyons School District is taking a strong stand against social-media challenges, especially since the recent “Devious Licks” TikTok trend caused thousands of dollars in damaged or stolen property at CSD schools.  Just at one high school, $2,000 worth of soap dispensers were stolen or broken.

Word also has started to spread online about additional monthly TikTok activities that encourage students to participate in yet more disruptive, illegal, and even assaultive behaviors.

One of the latest online “challenges” urges students to video record themselves slapping teachers or school staff members.

To be clear, this will not be tolerated in Canyons School District.

CSD schools will continue to ensure that students understand our expectations for acceptable behavior. The consequences for the assault of school personnel, or vandalized or stolen school property, may lead to the involvement of law enforcement or disciplinary action in line with Canyons District policies.

These continued challenges also represent a teachable moment as they highlight the peer pressure students sometimes encounter on social media — one of many topics that our school will be addressing during Digital Citizenship Week, Oct. 18-22.

The Lunch Bunch: CSD’s Cafeteria Workers Go Great Lengths to Fuel Learning With Healthy, Mouth-Watering Food Choices

For some students, knowing what’s on the lunch menu might not be the most important part of the day. But for Canyons District’s Nutrition Services Department, it’s everything.

From taste tests to strict health requirements, locally sourcing ingredients and analyzing what’s a popular meal and what’s not, Canyons goes to great lengths to make sure students have healthy, delicious food choices every day at school.

This is the second year that all children have received school lunches and breakfasts at no cost, regardless of their family income, thanks to a waiver provided by the USDA — a massive operational challenge that CSD’s cafeteria workers have pulled off, despite pandemic-related safety challenges and supply-chain and labor shortages. Unfilled this year are 65 kitchen and cashier positions, reports Canyons Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas. In addition, the supply chain of food items, paper products, and cleaning supplies has slowed considerably.

But Canyons District’s lunch crews still manage to serve up smiles, and healthy schools, every day. In honor of #NationalSchoolWeek, we invite you to tune into this mouth-watering episode of Connect Canyons where we take you behind the scenes of Canyons’ Nutrition Services Department.

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