A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 12/05/2017

Dear Canyon Community,

Great news:
I hope you all had a wonderful week with your children. I am certainly grateful for the bridge reopening, but mostly for this wonderful community that pulled together to support one another during such upheaval. Thank you for making it work for almost SIX months!!

Our own alumnae, Clara Holland, entered and WON a Costa Rica Outward Bound photo contest; the first place prize was a $300 scholarship to Outward Bound which Clara has graciously donated to Canyon. Thank you Clara! We can’t wait to see the picture. Rumor has it, prints may be for sale at the art faire!

We had a former parent lodge a complaint with the California Department of Education about our snack program. These things require serious legal attention and we take all complaints seriously. Our school handbook states that our snack program is optional. If parents feel compelled to participate, they should know that they have a right to opt out of the snack program. Just let your room parent know that you would like to opt out and send in your child’s own snack. The legacy of having a shared snack was created to both distribute the responsibility of remembering to pack it (do it once monthly for the class and don’t worry the other days) and to build community in the way that sharing food does. It is our intention that a shared snack reduces parental burden and supports a cohesive community.

Upcoming dates:
All three classes will be on field trips Friday, December 8th. Mark your calendars! Friday, February 9th is a parent’s night out. The 8th graders will babysit (a Costa Rica fundraiser) and parents can go have a little adult time— stay tuned for more details…

Volunteers:
A huge thank you to Erika McDaniel and Maggie Harper who have volunteered to watch the last children picked up on Friday, December 15th. Lunch will be served at noon, pick up is at 12:35 at the latest. Please be prompt getting your children. I am sure Maggie and Erika will be eager to leave, and the kids always look a little sad when they are the last ones here at pick up. Thank you also to Lisa Gaiser and Jorgen Jensen who have kindly offered to serve lunch at the art faire.

Ruby and others on the CATSS board will be finishing two year terms this year and the CATSS board is actively seeking new Board members for next year. Please consider participating in the CATSS board as it is a great way to both learn about and support the culture and traditions of the school.

Healthy CA Survey:
In the next few weeks, your child (grades 3-8) will be asked to take a survey at school. The California Department of Education requires schools and districts to ask students about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues, as well as questions about school safety and the learning environment. Participation in the survey is voluntary on the part of the student, and we hope you will give permission so that your child’s opinion and knowledge can be part of the information gleaned from the survey. The survey is anonymous. No names or any other identifying information is connected to the answers except for the name of the school. If you have questions, please contact Ramona or Lucia. If you wish to view the survey, you may do so at the school office.

Performances:
Our winter performances will be Thursday, December 14th at 7 PM. You are also welcome to attend the dress rehearsal at 8:45 that morning. Judy’s class will perform first. There will NOT be a book exchange after their show. Therefore, parents of K12 students will either reclaim their children for the remainder of the performances or take them home. After the 345 show, we will have another very brief intermission at which time families with young children may choose to depart. There will be no refreshments until after the final play. The next day all three classes will have parties.

Parties:
Classes will have book exchanges or gift swaps on Friday morning December 15th. Participation in these events is optional. But please let the classroom teacher know if you will not be participating or plan to be absent so that the teacher can make sure all children present receive a gift of some sort.

A reminder that the party to celebrate Esperanza’s retirement will be held on January 20th. Early bird pricing is available until winter break. Get your tickets now! Contact Ramona if you need an invitation.

Finances:
Parents who use aftercare who are not paying bills on time will see late fees on their bills. This is a self funding program and parents who use aftercare need to pay on time or speak to Camille about a payment plan.

Thank you to CEF for sending out their email this week. I have received some questions about what CEF pays for. CATSS fundraises for field trips, enrichment and community events. CEF fundraises for our budget shortfall. California has one of the lowest rates of education funding in the nation. We know that some people can not afford to give each year. Contributing to CEF is entirely voluntary. However, my understanding from CEF is that they have received pledges for 20% of the amount of money that needs to be raised for this year. If CEF is not able to raise the necessary funds, we will be forced to lay off all the support staff (Lily, Sequoia, Steve, Camille), and if that is insufficient, then we will have to reduce our numbers by revoking inter district transfers until we could get to just two classrooms. These are dire steps, and I hope we will never have to do any of these things. Canyon has no parcel tax. CEF is funding the school’s basic operational shortfall. I don’t want to scare people, but if you have been on the fence or unclear about the value of this contribution; please know that it is essential to the functioning of the school.

Best,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 11/01/2017

Dear Canyon Families,

It was such a treat to see so many of you in your Halloween finest. A huge thank you to all who volunteered so much time to make such a wonderful tradition come to fruition. The school portraits are posted in the foyer. They are GORGEOUS! Please have a look, order a portrait package and support the school.

Upcoming dates/events:
Soul Shoppe will be providing a parent education night Thursday, November 9th. This workshop is starting at 6:30. There is no school Friday, 11/10 for the Veteran’s day holiday. Tuesday 11/14 is Opera a la Carte at 9 am.

Mark your calendar:
11/09 Soul Shoppe PARENT education night 6:30 pm
11/10 No School
11/14 Opera a la Carte performance @ 9 am
11/17 minimum day (no aftercare)
11/20-24 No School Thanksgiving Holiday Week
12/03 Art Faire
12/14 Winter performances
12/15 minimum day (no aftercare)
12/18-1/02 No School Winter Break

Aftercare Update:
Aftercare has hired John Holland to build shelves outside building C to better house art supplies in an easily accessible way. Late payment fees have not been enforced, however, if parents continue to pay late aftercare will be forced to assess late fees. Aftercare would like to purchase a kiln with the goal of having a pottery component in aftercare. Camille is wondering if we have any potters in the community who could help by offering advice in the selection of a good kiln for our site. Camille has determined where it should go and how it should be housed– we just need to select it and purchase it. Wendy Avolino is our new kindercare teacher. She grew up in Canyon and in the process of moving back. Our after school enrichment classes have been well received and well attended. We attempted to run an after school spanish class, but did not have the enrollment to get it off the ground. There was some confusion about the price– my understanding is that the more students that sign up, the lower the price can be. There was an initial price predicated on 13 kids enrolled, but with fewer than 13 the price was raised to reflect the instructor costs. We will try again to run the program in January.

General Safety:
Please discourage children from running across the parking lot when people are pulling in and out. It is best to drop kids at the walkway and then go park the car. We recently learned that we should be collecting additional information from drivers on field trips. Please provide a photocopy of your driver’s license and declaration page of your insurance in addition to completing the Canyon School Field Trip Driver Information form. Judy, Camille and Wendy, the new Kindercare teacher, have spoken to all students in K12 about staying away from the gate by the play yard and the potential danger of Pinehurst Road.

Visual Art Curriculum:
As you know all students have visual art with Esperanza on Wednesdays. Below is a brief informal synopsis of our art curriculum. Also, I have attached a brief one-pager on Los Dias de los Muertos taken mostly from the Oakland Museum of California. We use the OCMA curriculum to learn about this regional celebration.

Semester 1
Color and Composition – (mostly 2D work on paper)

Semester 2
3D Design – Last year was paper mache, this year is wire sculpture, which may include some paper mache and various clay media with the armature being wire instead of cardboard…

At various points during the year do stand alone projects that relate to a specific activity or event, for example over the next few weeks we will be creating materials for the Dia de los Muertos ofrenda. In December and May we always do set design and some work on props.

The four part lesson structure is as follows:
Opening – This is where the skills are addressed and contextualized. During this time we may look at examples of an artist whose work is relevant to our subject. (In K12 this period includes singing and informal Spanish language as well)
Drawing journals- Into to the lesson with a drawing technique, such as value scale, contrast, proportion, perspective, folded in. (We usually use our wonderful class set of prismacolor pencils but they will use charcoal, graphite sticks, pastels, and pens at various times)
Main Lesson – So far this year lessons have included color wheel, color theory (warm / cool, complements, analogous, etc) in both torn and cut paper collage and paint.
Free Exploration of the Media – This part allows kids who have longer attention spans to continue to work on their piece from the main lesson, so you may not see a “free piece” from each week. As the kids get older there is more time spent on contextualization, cultural significance, or focus on a particular artist or theme in art. For example we may feature artists such as Basquiat during Black History, Frida Kahlo or Ruth Asawa during Women’s History month, Egyptian art when studying Egypt etc.

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 8/30/17

Dear Families,

We had a fantastic first day of school. Thank you so much to the CATSS board for putting on such a lovely welcome coffee! I was able to capture a brief video of the K12 parents saying goodbye; I posted it on the Canyon facebook page if you would like to see it. The Kindergarteners and new students settled into the routines quickly and integrated well.

Each classroom has been busily establishing routines and supporting the children to re-acclimate to being together. It is a treat to get to hear them tell each other what has been happening since we were all together last. The children all did boundary walks to learn (or remember) the guidelines for safe movement around campus. Ask your student what they remember about the boundaries and safety expectations.

The children got to meet their new buddies in the assembly at the end of the day. We will be making sure to set aside time for 345 students and 678 students to do morning walks with their K12 buddies consistently this year.

The staff has been busy over the summer preparing for the year. We had a staff training from Soul Shoppe so that all the adults in the Canyon community would have a common understanding of social emotional learning and use consistent language with the students. Randy, from Soul Shoppe, will be back Tuesday, September 5th for the first of three student workshop days. You will find information about this up-coming workshop in your mailboxes. Our Soul Shoppe parent education night is scheduled to be Thursday, November 9th from 6:30-8. Don’t miss it!

Friday is supposed to be a very hot day. We plan to do water-based buddy activities in and around the creek on Friday afternoon. Feel free to send kids in bathing suits or clothes that are fine to get wet. We are also requesting cool refreshing snacks and additional treats (COLD fruit, healthy popsicles, etc).

We can always use help with lunch and recess. If you’d ever like to volunteer to help with lunch/recess duty, you can earn a free lunch:) Contact Ramona if you’re able to help out.

Please check backpacks for welcome letters or additional information from teachers.

Can’t wait to see you all again tomorrow!

Best,
Lucia

A Message of Welcome from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 08/17/2017

Dear Canyon Families,

I hope you have had a wonderful summer full of long days, great books, and delightful family adventures. We at school are hard at work getting ready for the return of the students on Wednesday, August 30th. Teachers have been setting up their classrooms, planning units of study, learning new curriculum units and getting excited for the new year.

Last year we initiated an intentional focus on social emotional learning and school climate. We brought in Soul Shoppe, which was very well received by the children. We are continuing this effort by having summer professional development with Soul Shoppe, a parent information night in the fall, and workshops for all students throughout the year. Creating and maintaining a safe and welcoming learning community is paramount in a thriving school environment.

Having witnessed the events in Charlottesville this past week, I see pervasive despair about the recent uptick in blatant displays of racism, bigotry and white supremacy. The only way to effectively combat hatred and ignorance is to call it out by name and teach students (and each other) to identify and oppose bigotry and oppression in its many forms. We know from research, and from history, that being passive in the face of oppression only emboldens the oppressor. I hope you will join me in strengthening our actively anti-racist, inclusive community. Our children need to learn the history of this country, so we can in the words of scholar Brene Brown, own our story and write the ending ourselves. In order to transform this nation, we must recognize its legacy of white supremacy and work together, as a united community striving for peace, harmony, and justice for all.

Staffing:
I am pleased to report that in addition to all of the beloved Canyon staff returning for the 2017-2018 school year, we have also hired Steven Day as our new 678 classroom teacher! Steven comes to us from the Oakland schools where he has taught middle school for 6 years. He began his teaching career through Teach for America in New Jersey and brings many skills and talents to our faculty.

New Families:
We have new students and families joining us in each class. Please take the opportunity to strengthen our community by introducing yourself to new children and their families. If you are a new family, welcome!

Calendar:
We have made slight adjustments to the academic calendar. Fall conferences will be held the last week in October, as we are trying out a semester system, and thus report cards will be sent out in January and June. The October conference will give parents and teachers an opportunity to communicate about hopes and wishes as well of concerns well in advance of the marking period. Parents and teachers are also free to initiate meetings at other times.

You will note that January has several long weekends which staff will use for professional development and families can use for planning a getaway without missing class.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer. I look forward to hearing the children’s stories when they return. It is lovely to have a break for quiet work and reflection, but schools are a place that are at their best when they are full of children. I eagerly anticipate their return and yours.

Warmly,
Lucia Sullivan

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/27/2017

Dear Canyon Families,

I am thrilled to let you know that in order to support our collective desire to have the healthiest school climate, I have contracted Soul Shoppe (http://www.soulshoppe.com) to provide classroom based anti-bullying training. They will provide their first workshops on May 8th. They will do workshops (targeted to the age groups) in each classroom in the morning. They will stay and provide additional programming in the afternoon. I plan to have them do additional workshops next year, as well as a parent night at a CATSS meeting in the fall.

As you may know, our water fountain filters need to be replaced, and until the new filters arrive (I believe CATSS ordered them last night), the water fountain is not operating. Please send your child to school with a reusable water bottle that can be refilled at the sink.

CATSS is buying new tables for the multipurpose room. Can someone go to Costco to get them? We need 6. Please connect with Ramona about
The details.

I’ll be in Fairfield next week for four days of Restorative Practices Training. I will be checking email regularly but will not be in the building. I look forward to sharing what I learn with you.

We all know what a busy time of year this is. Below is a list of upcoming dates you may want to mark on your calendar.

Warmly,
Lucia

Upcoming Dates:
May 1 author visit 1 pm
May 4 Hearing screening
May 8 Soul Shoppe presentations in classes
May 9 Board Meeting
May 11 K12 Camping Trip
May 12 Costa Rica Departure
May 16 Kayak trip 567 (who wants to come with me? So fun!)
May 24 Costa Rica Return presentation (7th grade parents may want to come)
May 25 Family Science Night
May 29 Memorial Day no school
May 30 Kindergarten Orientation/Step up Day
May 31 Capoeira Sharing at Assembly
June 8 Spring Performances
June 13 All School Picnic
June 13 Board Meeting
June 15 Graduation
June 16 Last day of school (ends at 12:35, no aftercare)
July 8 and July 30 Summer work days

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/19/2017

Dear Canyon families,

As you know the bridge to Moraga has been closed indefinitely due to concerns about its seismic stability. We know this creates a great inconvenience for many people and we will make an effort to share short cut tips that are successful for others navigating the same detours. Rachel Berger and Jenn Lynn have some ideas about getting kids over the bridge. Please contact them directly if you’d like to collaborate with them on this. Also, Sarah Keller had some alternate route information which I will paste at the bottom of this email.

The Informational Technology committee met yesterday and began work on the development of a new district technology plan, with tasks including but not limited to migrating from a server to cloud storage, developing a district vision around educational technology use, creating an equipment replacement cycle and the development of a curriculum trajectory related to technology skills.

Yesterday we also began our CAASPP testing. Students in grades 3-8 complete computer adaptive tests (this means the problems get easier or harder based on their answers) and performance tasks in Math and English Language Arts. Students in grades 5 and 8 are also tested in Science.

On thing parents have been asking for is a more robust google calendar on our website. A huge thank you to Sarah Keller who has volunteered to do this for us. Let’s work together collaboratively to ensure that she gets field trips, performances, camping trips and any major events that should be on a public school-wide calendar.

Speaking of which, Ken Pitts, will be having the students offer a Capoeira sharing performance at our school assembly Wednesday, May 31st at 1 pm. For anyone who has wondered about what happens in Capoeira, this will be a wonderful opportunity to observe the students’ progress.

The walkathon is this Saturday!! This is our biggest (and only) fundraiser. For those who may be new to the event, it is also a lovely social event, and a great opportunity to get some exercise. Remember to bring $9 for the taco truck lunch. I look forward to seeing you all there!

The Science Fair will be May 25th. Students in K12 will continue the tradition of the Invention Convention. Students in 3-8 will work with Sequoia and staff at school to create a showcase of their learning in Science throughout the year. So, parents of older kids will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of our Science Curriculum. Further information will be forthcoming.

Finally, as we begin to develop a hiring process to look for a middle school teacher after Esperanza retires, I would love parent volunteers who would like to participate. Please contact me if you are interested.

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from Esperanza

by Esperanza Surls on 02/23/2017

“To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn,
and a time to every purpose under heaven,” 
– Pete Seeger via Ecclesiastes

Dear Canyon School Community,

As you may have heard, I have decided to retire next year. As the news has spread, I have received many questions about my reasons for leaving. The short answer is that so many things are going so well. Now that our beloved school has such a competent and visionary leader and staff, I feel comfortable leaving the bulk of the work in their capable hands.

As I pass into the winter of life, I find I have to work hard to maintain the stamina for all the things that I want and need to do. I am very fortunate to have both my parents nearby, but they are at an age where they will need more of my time and energy. I have a high school student at home, three grandchildren, and the promise of more to come. I find that I need more time to devote to my practices of visual art, music, and writing. I am also looking forward to having more time to travel, garden, and to simply roam the hills.

Despite the many things I am looking forward to after my retirement, I have no intention of severing my ties to Canyon School. It has been an important part of my life, and the life of my extended family since I arrived here at age 11 and truly loved school for the first time. I was a student rep to the school board as an 8th grader. I was employed here as a teacher’s aide in 1975-76, a cook in 1979, a teaching assistant in 1989, and as a teacher since 1990. My brothers and sisters, three of my children, and several of my nieces and nephews have attended our beloved school. I plan to continue as the Wednesday art teacher, to be a backup sub, and to serve on various committees. I will leave templates, examples, and curriculum guides for the middle school and art programs.

I am grateful to be part of this wonderful institution which has provided me with so many decades of joy and purpose.

Love,
Esperanza

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 02/16/2017

Hi Folks,

We had a lovely assembly yesterday. Buddy groups are continuing to get to know each other better. We are reviving the tradition of singing at assembly and are developing a cache of known songs. We discussed being gracious recipients of a gift (or valentine). And we talked about intent vs. impact when we laugh and make jokes. Our intent may just be silliness, stress release or attention, but we are responsible for the impact (is our joke or laughing going to hurt someone’s feelings?). I look forward to seeing many of you at the CATSS meeting tonight.

A few key reminders or updates:
Thank you to all who came out for the workday, and those who volunteered outside that day as well (washing dish towels, shoveling mud, etc)!

From here on out we are a Pokemon card-free school. PLEASE DO NOT LET KIDS BRING POKEMON CARDS to school. They have become too much of a distraction and create too much conflict as their ownership is often in question. Thanks!

Please do not park in front of the small pedestrian back gate by the playground (on the far left side if you are looking at the playground from the street). The recycling guy could not get the barrels through the gate on Tuesday morning because there was a car blocking the gate.

There is no sanctioned use of personal technology at Canyon School for students. If your child has a phone or other personal technology, they MAY NOT USE IT at school. ALL devices will be confiscated if seen, and will be held until a parent picks them up. This includes aftercare. Thanks.

The email list permissions have been changed so that we will no longer use the list as a free flowing forum. School will send announcements (and you are welcome to reply to us personally). Room parents and CATSS also have capacity to send emails. If you would like to send an email to the whole community please forward it to Ramona.

I am thrilled to announce that Peggy Lynch has joined our staff as an instructional technology teacher. She will be working in classrooms on Monday afternoons bringing her expertise as a tech teacher in Moraga and assuring that our students have the technology skills they need to effectively use our hardware and software.

It is with very mixed emotions that I share that Esperanza has formally decided that next year will be her last as 678 classroom teacher. She assures us that she will not retire until we have excellent staff hired and trained and will stay on after as the art teacher. Details to follow as they are ironed out.
Regarding field trips, first of all, thank you all for driving. We want to reiterate our policy that we will not leave school until all drivers have arrived. Please be here on time!

Friday we have an author’s visit (http://www.keirgraff.com). Keir Graff will be here at school speaking about his new book Matchbook castle. There is an order form that was sent home if you would like to purchase a signed copy of the book for your child.

Our new Intervention program is up and running and we are implementing initial math assessments. In a previous email I shared about the Response to Intervention model (RtI). Sometimes students have academic knowledge gaps, and moving the class along while also helping a small group catch up is a perennial challenge for all teachers. This web-based program conducts a diagnostic assessment which targets precise learning gaps (and areas of advanced attainment) and creates a sequential, explicit learning path with lessons, practice and assessments to fill in knowledge gaps. We are eager to get the program fully implemented for all kids with identified needs and hope that it will “work its way out of use” by filling in the gaps and making itself obsolete. This is part of the general education program and is not specialized instruction or part of special education. I will reach out to parents whose children will be using the intervention program regularly so that you are able to use it at home if you would like.

As always, I am always available to speak with you about any concerns or hopes and wishes you my have.

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 01/25/2017

Greetings Canyon Families,

I came across a wonderful article that articulates why Number Sense is a key component of modern math instruction. It can be challenging to succinctly explain mathematical pedagogy and this article does a great job of outlining how and why mathematics instruction has changed over time. I think it is a great read!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/all-the-mathematical-methods-i-learned-in-my-university_us_58693ef9e4b014e7c72ee248

This Saturday, January 28th will be a workday from 10-12. Please join us (especially if you have not yet had an opportunity to volunteer). There is a sign up below– please sign up if you are coming. Thanks!
www.SignUpGenius.com/go/30E0F4AADAC2CA6F49-canyon

Also, I took my kids (ages 8 & 11) to see the new film Hidden Figures a few weeks ago and was really struck by its power. Both in the ways it highlighted the contributions of black women (who were not mentioned in the Right Stuff, a movie about the same events, but with a focus on the astronauts) and makes explicit the function of mathematics in “real” life. In fact, during a particularly climactic scene, my 8 year old gasped, “this is why math matters!” Apparently, it was well researched and sources say it was quite accurate. The film is set in 1967 and the systemic racism is everywhere (separate bathrooms, etc), but the contributions these women made was incontrovertible, and like any good story some people change as a result of encountering them. I would highly recommend it for kids 8 and up– And thinking about lesser known stories has inspired us as a staff to use this use this year’s Women’s History Night to explore the stories of these and other “hidden figures”. Our youngest kids often keep their focus on family members, and that is wonderful and appropriate. At the same time, we will be encouraging the older students to find a woman to study whose story may be lesser known. We want to make sure that our students understand that in large part the history we learn is the history that gets talked about and we can broaden that conversation by making intentionally inclusive choices.

Upcoming Events:
1/26 Lunar Feast (lunch for all:)
1/28 Parent workday
1/30-2/3 Sex Education in grades 5-8 (Parents of these students were given an opt out permission slip. We assume you are in unless you opt out)
2/10 345 Field Trip
2/14 Board Meeting
2/15 K12 Field Trip
2/20 No School (President’s day)
3/01 read Across America
3/02 Pi Day
3/06 No school
3/14 Board Meeting

Hope you are all staying warm and dry!
Best,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 12/08/2016

December 2016

It is hard to believe that 2016 is coming to an end already. As we prepare for the new calendar year, I’d like to reflect on the fall and look forward to the remainder of the year. These last days are very busy.

Goals
This fall I shared with the community that our goals this year were focused on the math program and social climate. I gave a brief survey and many of you responded. I have pasted pictures of the responses below. I asked on a scale of 1-5, how well do you think we are meeting the needs of your child as a math learner? And, on a scale of 1-5, how well are we doing at establishing a friendly and respectful school climate? The average scores were 4.06 and 4.4 respectively. On the math scale three respondents gave scores indicating they are not satisfied with the math instruction their children are receiving and because the survey was anonymous, I can only encourage you to contact me so that we can discuss your concerns.

As a school, we are working hard to assess students accurately so that we understand what they know and are able to do and then are able to place them in a math course that will best challenge or support them. In the older grades we are currently offering accelerated math instruction. In the younger grades we aim to differentiate instruction so that they are challenged with their peers. We also use an approach called RtI (Response to Intervention) to address knowledge gaps. Often students who have switched schools may have missed instruction in a key area that can hamper their later achievement. RtI is a regular education intervention, where we identify a need and provide extra instruction in key skills with the goal being that students are able to successfully resume grade level work with their peers. Typically an intervention lasts 6-8 weeks.

The January 12th CATSS meeting will be a parent discussion of a book or article related to Bullying. I am reading Bully Nation by Susan Eva Porter.

A few reminders:
1. Please do your best not to schedule routine appointments or high school visits/tours in the two weeks prior to a production. The teachers work incredibly hard to get robust productions completed in a very short window of time so as not to disrupt the regular academic program. Absences during performance rehearsals can cause significant stress for the whole group. If 8th graders are visiting potential future high schools, please let us know in advance.
2. We REALLY need your help with keeping your child paid up for lunch. Last year our Auditor was concerned about the number of unpaid lunches we had on the books. Currently more than 15% of the community owes money to the lunch program. I would strongly encourage you to purchase lunch cards in sets of two or three. When the lunch program runs a deficit this causes financial problems universally. One pattern I have observed is that a child will owe 5-10 lunches and then purchase a new lunch card. What is challenging is that the new lunch card winds up only being good for 10-15 lunches (since part of it absorbed a debt) and fills quickly… Lunch cards do carry over from year to year, so please, do everyone a favor and buy lunch cards in bulk.
3. Canyon is a small school community and relies on parents to volunteer. We are in the process of creating a more comprehensive sign up of all the many needs we have around the school. If you work full time and are unable to to volunteer during the school day, there are still lots of ways to help out. There will be a winter work day Saturday, January 28th. If you can’t do that, we can always find something for you (take the blankets in the office home and launder them, take a run to the dump or the goodwill, we could go on and on…). We will also need a group of parents Friday, February 17th who can help move furniture from classrooms to the multipurpose room so that the floors can be stripped and waxed.
4. Whenever possible, please do not send snacks that are individually wrapped. Children do their best to handle waste responsibly, but wrappers inevitably wind up in the grove and creek and this is not okay. The best way to reduce litter is to prevent so many wrappers from entering the campus.
5. Forts are ephemeral. They just don’t last. Of course we want to treat each other’s creations with respect. But please do frequently remind your child that forts are like sandcastles: fun to build and amazing when they last a while.
All classes are doing some sort of gift exchange before the holiday. As a parent, I never feel like I have enough reminders– so you are all reminded.

2016 has not been my favorite year and I welcome the change of the calendar. At the same time, I am truly shocked by the rate at which it has been moving along. I hope things slow down a bit over the next few months. Today at assembly the children talked about what they were looking forward to over break. You will be heartened to know that far and away the most common thing that kids were excited about was time with family. Whatever your winter break includes, time with friends and family; flurried activities; religious observance; travel; crafts, art and music… I wish you and your family a restful, peaceful time that refreshes you all.

And as always, I welcome your feedback. Please make a time to speak to me by phone or in person if you have thoughts to share.

Warmly,
Lucia