The school chose to adopt Canvas as our Learning Management System (LMS) to facilitate the timely communication about student progress and responsibilities between and among the students and faculty. As a high school, we support students as they develop their skills and build experience as independent, resourceful learners with a strong sense of self-efficacy. To this end, we try to focus our use of Canvas in particular ways aimed to support that goal:
- Students use Canvas to see both their upcoming assignments and feedback on past assignments.
- Faculty use Canvas to post upcoming assignments in their classes and to post feedback to students about their past assignments.
- Faculty advisors have the special role and responsibility of coaching and guiding student advisees in their studies and life at the school. So that advisors may have timely information about students without adding a communication burden to other faculty, advisors have access to the Advisor Dashboard and may log in to observe their advisees in their classes in Canvas.
- Staff may also log in to Canvas, as needed, to facilitate access to information regarding the “life of the school” (e.g. the Deans’ Daily or Faculty Resources).
As a school, we believe that the advisor serves an integral function in the life of the student, acting as a coach and the primary communicator with that student’s family about that student’s progress. The advisor’s communication with families is crucial, as s/he is able to provide meaningful context, goal-setting, and guidance alongside raw feedback, integrating the information from all parts of a student’s life into a meaningful whole.
To support the work of advisors, the school has chosen not to include other adults in the Canvas LMS, not to exclude them, but to promote the inclusion of the student (and advisor) in conversations about the raw data presented in Canvas. Parents and tutors, while not provided with logins to Canvas themselves, may access a student’s Canvas information by engaging the advisor or student in conversation and logging in together. Similarly, to promote this conversation around self-efficacy in our students, the Canvas Parent app is not enabled for our School. It is our hope that this will promote a norm of student-led learning, with the support, encouragement and guidance of the adults in their lives.