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.
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.
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!
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.