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.

Monday Mustang Message for September 20-24

Welcome to our Monday Mustang Message for the week of September 20-24, 2021.

  • Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on this Wednesday and Thursday, September 22-23. If you haven’t yet signed up for a conference time with your child’s teacher, please make sure to view the post sent to you on ParentSquare to sign up. If you need assistance, contact the office or your child’s teacher.
  • Boo to the Flu Clinic will also be held during conference times this week, from 4:00-7:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. If you have insurance, please bring your insurance information. If you do not have insurance, there is no cost for your flu shot at Midvale Elementary.
  • Due to conferences, SCHOOL RELEASES EARLY AT 1:25PM ON THURSDAY. Also, there is NO SCHOOL ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24.
  • Our Utah Partners for Health Mobile Vision Clinic will be held on Tuesday, October 5. If you are concerned about your child’s vision and are interested in learning more about this clinic, please contact Heidi Sanger on ParentSquare or at 801-826-8794.
  • If your student has food, clothing, or other similar needs, please feel free to contact Heidi Sanger on ParentSquare or at 801-826-8794 to learn about resources that may be available for your child.

Thank you and have a great week!


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