A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 09/24/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

We are always busy here at Canyon School.  It sounds like the 345 camping trip was a fabulous success.  The 678 group departs tomorrow for Calaveras Big Trees Park. It should be wonderful! This Sunday is our walkathon, which is a huge fundraiser for CATSS and always a wonderful time.  If you have never been, it is a delightful day with a party-like atmosphere. There is music and sunshine and lots of adults enjoying the opportunity to catch up while flocks of children run past, or walk holding hands and singing… At noon everyone takes a break and enjoys the taco truck and then the whole thing continues for two more hours.  Adults can chat with each other or walk with the kids and get in a little quality time. It is a delightful day! So please come! PLEASE remember to have all walkers bring a reusable water bottle (preferable with their name on it). We want to cut down on our single use waste and would prefer not to use disposable cups. The greenest way would be for each kid to bring a water bottle that could be housed at the water station.

For those of you who received the “reverse 911” or “robocall” from an unfamiliar phone number, I have resolved that issue.  It turns out that the calls appear from a random number and caller ID picks up whoever that random number belonged to last. I have changed the settings (technical genius!) and now you should receive the calls from…. Canyon School!  So I imagine that will be clarifying. At this point, despite the red flag warning over the next two days, we have not heard any chatter about PG&E shutting down power in our area. If we do, we will keep you posted.

We have heard that there will be a power shut off in Canyon on Saturday, October 5th for routine maintenance.

Camille and I have been working on getting afterschool enrichment up and running.  Wolfpack will be back with archery, there will be an afterschool art class and our very own James McNeil will be offering a middle school class to teach kids to use tools and do simple repairs. Stay tuned for details and sign up information. In the past, coordinating enrichment has been a parent volunteer role.  I would love it if someone would like to take it off my plate. Please let me know if you are interested!

I have been working on trying to explore transportation options for students getting to school from outside of Canyon.  This would be beneficial for our community in many ways. It would reduce the carbon footprint and related traffic of so many cars coming to Canyon.  It would make parents’ lives easier. I also believe it would improve our attendance AND make the school more accessible to potential students who do not have the capacity to be driven here every day.

So far I have learned that student transport is expensive and complicated.  I had lengthy discussions with First Student, the bus service that serves LaMorinda; their service is around $900 and that is with 60% of it being subsidized by local taxes.  I am currently working with another transport company that was going to try and run a route and see if it would be feasible. I should have some information back from them later this week. Stay tuned!

I want to clarify the billing process for lunch.  In the mornings, the teachers ask students who will be getting school lunch and students indicate the desire to have school lunch at that time.  That record is what Misty uses to determine the quantity of food that she should prepare for the meal. That record is used to indicate a child has signed up for lunch, much like if you ordered food on an app and then went and picked it up.  We always try to accommodate our community and make our systems responsive. If a child goes home sick and doesn’t eat the lunch they requested, we would take it off the register and not charge them. If a child forgets to order lunch, we can always feed another person.  If you do not want your child to order lunch, that is a conversation you need to have with your child. We will not refuse a child lunch if they ask for it.

There has been some communication about the lunch cards in the past.  The lunch card is a record of the lunches you have paid for. When your child gets lunch they put their lunch card in the box and Ramona cross checks that with the orders.  If your child does not have a lunch card, we write their name down and attempt to alert you that your child needs a lunch card. The lunch card is not the ultimate authority, it is a second piece of information.  Kids who are servers grab their lunches from the kitchen and often forget to put their lunch cards in the box. Kids forget to put their card in the box. The card is a record of what you have paid. The lunch count is the order for the meal.

Our lunch program is very special.  How many kids get a freshly cooked meal at school with real dishes and flatware? We encourage you to come and join us for lunch.  Our lunch program often loses money because of the costs of ingredients; the more people who buy lunch, the better it is for the lunch program and the school.

Our auditor takes lunch debt very seriously.  If you followed any of the national news stories about lunch debt, some districts handle it in ways I find to be shameful and horrific.  Kids are given “alternate meals”, publicly shamed or their families threatened over nine dollars. We are never going to do any of those things.  If your child wants lunch, we will feed them. If you are in arrears, we will alert you and encourage you to pay off the debt. If you do not want your child to order lunch, please make sure your child understands this.