This week’s brush with tropical weather was a great reminder of the resources available at Episcopal. As the cone of uncertainty was plotted, teachers were making certain that electronic lessons were loaded and ready in Canvas should there be a need to close school.
Canvas is a learning management system that serves as an electronic portal between students and teachers. The platform houses the course content a teacher reviews during a class period, including slides, videos and links. It also serves as a hub for assignments, allowing students to submit their work for the teacher’s review. All of this means that as long as power and internet access is available, it is still business as usual for Episcopal students and teachers. Teachers simply enter lessons and students log in at anytime from anywhere. When a student logs in, Canvas creates a record of their virtual attendance. This record allows Episcopal to use emergency closure Canvas lessons in place of make-up days in the event that school needs to be closed.
Throughout the school year, Canvas is a critical component of a student’s Episcopal experience. Academic Technology Coordinator Betsy Minton says once a student reaches Middle School they are encouraged to manage their coursework as much as they can through Canvas. “Technology is a part of life for today’s students. This platform empowers them to take appropriate ownership of their school learning environment while learning the skills to achieve and thrive in the future,” she says.
Minton emphasizes that all communication platforms used at Episcopal are safe and private. She says an added benefit of having students manage their coursework in this manner is that they are also developing digital literacy skills and safe social media practices.
Even students in Lower School are being empowered to share information about their school day using appropriate communications tools. The Seesaw platform serves as the students’ digital portfolio, allowing students to share photos, text and even videos with family members instantly. Minton says parents love it!
“I get so excited when I get a glimpse inside their day via Seesaw,” says parent Amy Binck. She says she also appreciates that the posts stimulate after-school discussions with her second and fifth graders. As an added bonus, everything posted can be shared with other family members so even aunts, uncles and grandparents can take a peek inside the student’s day.
Students can easily share photos and information from their day using Seesaw.
There are also resources available to help Episcopal parents feel fully connected and involved in their student’s learning journey. PowerSchool, the Student Information System, houses all essential records and serves as the main resource for parent/teacher communication in all divisions. PowerSchool provides access to grades, attendance and report cards. In addition, critical and time-sensitive communication, such as an unexpected school closure, is disseminated through the
PowerSchool email system. If parents desire more frequent updates about their child’s assignments and grades, Minton says the Canvas platform also provides observer access through the website or a parent app which can be used to monitor their child’s progress throughout the year. The app can alert parents regarding their child’s performance so that parents can help their child if necessary. Members of the school’s technology team are available to assist parents with all of these tools. Minton has already trained several parents on the use of Canvas and PowerSchool. Parents who need additional assistance or training can contact Minton by emailing her and the technology team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic resources are valuable tools for students and families as they maneuver the academic year. As the numbers show, families are logging in and taking advantage of the information available. For example, below is a look at Seesaw activity between August 30th and September 5th:
For a complete list of resources and information on how to register for them, click on the links below.
Parent resources -https://www.episcopalbr.org/parent-resources.html
Student resources -https://www.episcopalbr.org/studentresources.html
Be sure to follow Episcopal on all of the following social media platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - @episcopalbr and Athletics Twitter - @EHSBRAthletics