As some of you may know, Gilman has begun the process of switching to a new learning management system called Canvas. This process is a significant undertaking, mostly because it requires an investment of time by our faculty to learn how to use this truly robust tool effectively for the benefit of your sons. Although we have made the jump into using Canvas throughout the School this year, we consider this year to be the first of a two-year process of learning, exploration, and experimentation as our faculty become fully versed in using Canvas. Therefore, we ask for your continued patience as we continue to weave this tool into our teaching and learning at Gilman.
At Gilman, we believe that your son's educational success is rooted in his ability to take more responsibility for his own learning as he grows. As such, in the Lower School, Canvas is primarily used as a tool for parents to understand the content being covered in school, as well as for more static information like class schedules and helpful resources.
In the Middle School, we begin training the boys to use Canvas as their primary learning platform, while still giving parents a direct window into the learning experience of their sons. The Middle School years are ones of transition, in that the boys begin understanding how to manage their learning, while parent access to and engagement with Canvas is encouraged.
Once your son arrives in the Upper School, we encourage him to take full ownership of his learning, communicating directly with his teachers in and out of the classroom to ensure that he has all of the information and support he needs to succeed. As such, we do not provide direct parent access to Canvas. Rather, we encourage parents to have conversations with their son regarding his learning, and if they desire to see Canvas, they should do so by having their son log in and show them his Canvas classes.
In summary, parent access to Canvas is as follows:
- Lower School: Homeroom teachers will provide parents with a public link to their son’s grade-level Canvas page which does not require a login. This site will not contain any private information about you or your son.
- Middle School: Parents will receive instructions shortly on how to create a Canvas account in order to access their son’s classes.
- Upper School: Parents should sit with their son to review his classes in Canvas. Parent access to Canvas can be granted if it is determined in conjunction with the teacher, advisor, Head or Assistant Head of Upper School, parent, and student that additional parent support is needed.
One of Canvas’ features that is utilized by some teachers is the built-in Gradebook. This allows assignments and assessments that are managed through Canvas to be graded there as well. Some teachers have opened up their Canvas Gradebook to their students, which allows the teacher to provide assignment feedback to students electronically. In granting this access to students, Canvas inherently grants similar access to parents. We simply caution parents that if you see that your son’s class has Gradebook access, the grades displayed are not a reflection of his report card grade, as not everything that goes into his report card grade is included in this online Gradebook. Also, since we are not requiring teachers to use the Canvas Gradebook, some classes will not have a visible Gradebook.
Canvas allows parents to receive notifications (via email and app) about postings within the Canvas class page. Initially, many of these notifications are turned on when you create your Canvas account. If you feel that you are receiving too many emails, once you log into Canvas, go to the Account tab, click on Notifications, then adjust your notification settings according to your personal preferences.
We are excited about the launch of Canvas and the way in which it will enhance teaching and learning at Gilman. Further, we thank you for your continued support and patience during this implementation. Please know that we are here to answer any questions that you may have. Just send us an email at email@example.com.
Director of Technology