A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 02/28/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

Things are busy here at school! Mid-winter is a wonderfully productive time in schools. The kids are hard at work and making strides with the content and not yet thinking about spring break. This is a great focused period with lots of academic and emotional growth. When the kids come back in April, it feels like we get on an accelerator and the pace ramps up until summer.

We have 40 responses to the parent survey. It would be great to hear from the remaining families. Please reply to the survey.

In honor of Black history month, Kirsten’s class has been choreographing movement pieces with Jody Powers that accompany students recitation of Maya Angelou poetry. Judy’s class is memorizing and reciting poems by Maya Angelou as well and 678 is conducting research on people. This is all be shared in assembly with buddies over the next few weeks. These projects are great, and at the same time, I feel personally conflicted about the notion of Black History month. It seems like the contributions of Black (and other under-represented groups for that matter) should be a key focus of our curriculum all the time. Once the kids can think abstractly (like 9 years old and up), I think it is important to constantly question whose story are we hearing? Whose voice is not being heard? Which books are we selecting for ourselves and our kids? Are the authors always people who look like us and reflect our experience or are we intentionally seeking out work by narrators with another perspective? It is a good question for all of us. Schools have traditionally taught a dominant narrative, but the history of all groups of people (black, brown, LGBTQ) is AMERICAN history– We are working to actively diversify our curriculum and welcome your suggestions for books, etc.

On that subject, I have been thinking it would be great to have a parent book group. Is there a title (maybe a parenting book) that people would like to read and discuss? Some ideas that are intriguing to me include but are not limited to:

Quiet by Susan Cain

The Parents We Mean to Be by Richard Weissbourd

The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel

The Explosive Child by Ross Green

Unselfie by Michele Borba

If you might be interested in a book group or if you have a different idea, please email me.

The Fundraising committee met last night to plan our big party fundraiser on April 27 (mark your calendar! Save the date!)– Lola Leeds has admirably broken up the work into many subgroups. If you are remotely interested in helping in any way, please contact Lola. Many hands make lighter work:)

Finally, as many of you know, we have some budding climate activists in our community. We started an afterschool club to involve kids in the movement to support the Green New Deal. Some of our kids were seen by millions in the now viral video https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2019/feb/23/dianne-feinstein-rebuffs-young-climate-activists-calls-for-green-new-deal-video (this is an abridged 3 minute version). As a point of clarity, I just want to let everyone know that we at the school support the kids’ activism and civic engagement, but it is coming from kids and families. The 678 kids spent some time this week reading parts of the Green New Deal document in an effort to better understand it so they can have informed opinions. If you have any questions or concerns about all of this, please get in touch.