Grand Canyon Unified District

Exceptional, courageous heart of our learning community

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Non-Discrimination Policy

  • Non-Discrimination Policy: The Grand Canyon Unified School District is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in relation to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin and disability, in admission and access to its programs, services, activities, or in any aspect of their operations and provides equal access to the Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts and other designated youth groups.  Anyone who has an allegation or discrimination complaint should contact the following compliance officer:
    Dr. Shonny Bria, Superintendent
    100 Boulder Street PO Box 519
    Grand Canyon, AZ 86023-0519
    (928) 638-2461 x 400

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Chat with the Superintendent

  • Dr. Shonny Bria

    August 10, 2020

    Learning Options at the Grand Canyon Unified School District

    Here at the Grand Canyon Unified School District, we are working to meet the diverse challenges of keeping your children safe in the midst of a pandemic, while also meeting the important need to further their education.

    We are taking steps to ensure we meet the standards set by the Centers for Disease Control, Arizona Department of Education, the National Park Service and State and local health departments for safe reopening. At the same time, we recognize that even this may not be adequate to meet the needs of your particular family situation, and so we are providing alternate learning options.

    What’s Inside


    Distance Learning.

    The Grand Canyon Unified School District is offering a Distance Learning Program plus our newly certified Arizona Online Learning (AOI) program. (We will cover the Online Learning Program at a later date.) While the girl in the photo to the right may be a bit young for our program, our goal is to serve all enrolled students who choose a learn at home option.

    Young girl at a computer The Distance Learning program follows the in-classroom curriculum and pacing. The curriculum materials are put together by our certified teachers, and is delivered through a learning management system and video conferencing tool to create a virtual classroom. While we cannot fully replicate the social interaction of an in-person classroom, video conferencing software provides a rough approximation of in-classroom instruction and offers opportunities for your children to interact in small groups under the guidance of a teacher.

    Our program is led by Ms. Lyle. She brings five years of experience as an on-line teacher to the table. The learning management system we will be using is called SchoolsPLP. The district has been using this system for several years to provide a broad range of elective classes to our high school students. The result is that we have the leadership, experience and tools to ensure your child’s success.

    While details of the distance learning program are still shifting, a typical day would likely begin with a check-in of all students at a particular grade level through our video conferencing system, essentially a virtual home room. The teacher will go through expectations for the day, identifying specific times of on-line classes, and students will have an opportunity to ask questions from the prior day's work. This would be followed by online classes taught by a teacher through the video conferencing system, as well as self-study, which may consist of exercises, math problems, or watching relevant YouTube videos on class topics, or on-line interactive activities.

    You should expect your child to be engaged in school activities for at least 4 hours each day, though that time would likely be divided into smaller work segments and corresponding breaks where exercise and outdoor time will be encouraged.

    Your child’s teacher will be monitoring your child for adequate daily progress as well as opportunities for individual help when needed. Finally, all on-line teachers will work with their students to find and encourage space for positive interaction with other children.

    The greatest benefit our distance learning program, as compared to other distance learning programs, is that it preserves the all-important relationships between your child and his or her fellow students, and between your child and their teacher.

    On-Campus Learning

    School will look different this year.

    Riding the Bus

    Girl exiting a bus If you transport your child to the bus stop, please keep them in the car untill the bus arrives. For students who walk to the bus, we will ask them to maintain minimum physical distancing when waiting, something we expect to be a challenge for our students, but we ask your assistance in reinforcing observance of the COVID-19 protections.

    An aid will accompany the bus driver on all routes. When the bus arrives at a bus stop, the aide will get off the bus; greet each child; perform a basic health assessment using recommended CDC questions; observe signs of illness; and take the child's temperature. If no symptoms are observed, the child will be allowed to access the bus. If the child shows symptoms of novel corona virus, the aide and bus driver will ask that the parent return home with the child. If the parent is not available, a separate follow-vehicle (smaller bus or van) will isolate the child until a parent/guardian can pick-up the child.

    Seating will generally be one student per seat unless in a family unit. All children will be boarding from the rear to the front with assigned seating. As of this point in time, all students and staff will be required to wear face coverings unless there is an approved medical exemption, in which case other accommodations will be made.

    School Drop-offs and Walk to School

    The administration will be changing the area in the front of the school, eliminating parking and in its place will be a drop-off lane. We ask that parents who are dropping students off by car line up in single file. As you reach the walkway up to the school office, a staff member will open the car door, assist your child to exit the vehicle, greet them and screen them in the same way bus riders are screened. Parents will be asked to remain at the drop-off location until given the go-ahead to leave by the staff member.

    We will similarly have a designated entry point for our walk-up students for screening before they head to their classroom.

    Face coverings will be required for the most part when students are in school, with mask relaxation periods, for example, when all students are at their desks or other times when physical distancing can be assured.

    In the Classroom and in the School

    Because the administration expects a fair number of students to be utilizing our distance learning program, the number of students in our classrooms should be rather small. The school will be cleaning out much of the clutter that is common to classrooms to make them easier to clean. Desks will be situated at least six feet apart, facing one direction.

    COVID-19 spaced classroom Our classrooms will have enhanced cleaning routines, with frequent routine cleaning of high touch areas. We are replacing the elementary sinks, adding no-touch faucets to facilitate more hygienic handwashing, and replacing all the drinking fountains with bottle fill stations. You should expect to see portable hand wash stations in the upper grades which do not have in-classroom sinks.

    A big change you can expect, which will be particularly apparent at the upper grade levels, is what is referred to as cohorting. We will try to keep students in the same grade level together for the duration of the day. The intention is to reduce the transmission factor, the number of people who could be infected by one contagious staff or student member. In that vein, to minimize the missing of different cohorts, recess will be staggered by cohort, hallways will look more like highways with double yellow stripes indicating lanes and direction of travel. Lunches will be served in the classroom.

    A Hybrid Schedule

    The hybrid schedule was suggested by the Arizona Department of Education, with the intention of reducing both the number of students in the classroom at any one time in order to facilitate physical distancing, and reducing the amount of time students are together to reduce the virus exposure risk.

    In a hybrid schedule, your child would be assigned to either a Group A, or Group B schedule. Group A would be on campus Monday and Tuesday, and Group B would be on campus Wednesday and Thursday. Any educational process is a combination of direct instruction and either group or individual work. Normally, these are interspersed together. With the hybrid model, the idea is to intentionally separate these into two days of direct instruction, with the individual and group work (via learning management tools) on the days when students are not in school. So the curriculum and student work is pretty much unchanged, but the order of that work is altered.

    The Arizona Governor, in an Executive Order, also requires that the school provide supervised study options to students in a hybrid model. This is intended to support parents who need to work, students who don’t have access to high speed internet, and students with special needs. The information from the Arizona Department of Education suggested that this was primarily a supervised means for students to complete the distance learning portion of the hybrid model.

    This requirement provides a good deal of flexibility, for example, the supervised distance learning could be done locally, in Tusayan or Valle for example, and we have been reaching out to develop partnerships for space where we could offer this, without having to bus students to the school campus.

    As of this writing, there seems to be low interest in the hybrid model, so we may ultimately drop this option. See the next section on change.

    The Only Constant at the Moment is Change

    We are still working out details for what happens when the school opens. Each day, new information becomes available. One day there is a research report suggesting one approach, the next day there seems to be a counter research report. The coronavirus infection rate goes up, then (hopefully) it goes down.

    If any of you reading this are military veterans, you will recall from your time in service that the military is obsessed with planning. Planning is important because planning enables practice, which enables learning, which enables adaption, which is critical when the battle starts and all that good planning goes out the window, and you have to fall back on your training and adapt.

    What we have presented here are highlights of our opening plan, and we ask your indulgence as we continue to adapt it to the changing pandemic landscape and the continuing emergence of new information.

    Photo Credits

    • Child with computer photo by Umut Kemal from FreeImages
    • School Bus photo by Sam LeVan from FreeImages
    • Classroom, Grand Canyon Schools stock photo

Principal's Message

  • Mr. Yost

    September 8, 2020

    Good Morning Parents Guardians, Students and Staff,

    This week is the first week of the 2020-2021 school year and we are very excited for it to begin!

    In August the Grand Canyon School Board voted to begin Distance Learning for all enrolled students on September 8, 2019 and delaying In-Person instruction until October 12, 2020. Staff have been preparing for this week and we are immensely proud of all the hard work that we have done to create the Grand Canyon Distance Learning Program.

    While we look forward to having students back on campus in the near future the Distance Learning instructional model will be offered for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year for those parents and students who prefer this offering.

    Many communications will be going home this week please make sure your phone number and email address are up to date. We request that everyone remembers that all of us are doing something new. Any time you are growing, there are challenges that require patience and grace to work through together. If you or your student need support please contact your teacher first, then the school office, we will do everything we can to help.

    Last week our teacher’s presented what distance learning looks like for their grades and classes. These demonstrations were recorded and shared on our website under Headlines if you were unable to attend. We are excited to share!

    During the past two weeks High School and Middle School Students have been registered for their classes. Schedules for each student have been shared via email and in the materials provided from the school office.  If you have a scheduling issue, please reach out to Ms. Duthie, our school counselor.

    The Grand Canyon School Board met last week and under advisement of the Administration voted to cancel fall sports for HS and MS for the 2020-2021 school year out of safety concerns.  

    We appreciate all of our parents, students and community members for your continued encouragement and understanding during these challenging and changing times. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or if I can be of support in any way.



    Principal Matt Yost




    Good Morning,

    Saturday, August 22, 2019 the Grand Canyon School Board voted to begin Distance Learning for all enrolled students on September 8, 2019 and delaying In-Person instruction until October 12, 2020. The Grand Canyon School Board has a scheduled meeting September 16, 2020 to look at the current state COVID metrics for when in person instruction will begin.

    The Distance Learning instructional model will be offered for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year for those parents and students who prefer this offering.

    We are very excited for the upcoming first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year! Many communications will be going home this week.  Please keep in mind school district employees are doing something new. Any time you are growing, there are challenges that require patience and grace to work through together

    Teachers will be reaching out to parents and students this week to show what distance learning looks like for their grades and classes. These demonstrations will be via Zoom, the platform the school is using for distance learning instruction. Demonstrations will be recorded and shared on the website if you are unable to attend. We are excited to share! Additionally, a PowerPoint with more details about the school opening will also be shared via the website.

    Grand Canyon staff have compiled backpacks with school supplies for all students including a loaner device. A Welcome Letter/ Distance Learning Syllabus will also be provided with your device. A text blast with more details about how this process will occur will go out this weekend. We expect Pick-Ups to go throughout the week starting Tuesday morning at 10:00am. During the past week High School Students have been registered for their classes. Schedules for each student will be shared via email to the students google account. Ms. Duthie is preparing a 9th grade orientation presentation that parents and students can watch at their convenience. This presentation will be located on our website. Middle School students will be contacted this week to begin setting up their classes. Please be on the lookout for a phone call from Ms. Duthie this week. Ms. Duthie will communicate with all High School and Middle School students, the current school offerings and the state requirements needed for graduation.  

    The Grand Canyon School Board will be meeting to discuss Fall sports and athletics this Thursday. Ms. Cyndi Moreno has been reaching out to student athletes to gauge interest in High School sports for the Fall season. As I mentioned last week, AIA has moved the Fall sport start date back.

    Thank you to all of our parents, students and community members for your continued encouragement and understanding during these challenging and changing times. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or if I can be of support in any way.


    Principal Matt Yost

    Matthew Yost

    Grand Canyon Unified School District #4








    Principal's Update August 29, 2020

     Message from Principal Yost


    Principal's Update August 18, 2020

    Update 8-18-2020- by M Yost 



    Update on the status of the Grand Canyon schools

     Good morning, parents, guardians, students, employees, and friends of Grand Canyon School. 

    We are currently just a few weeks away from the start of the Grand Canyon 2020-2021 school year on September 8, 2020. Our push to collect enrollment numbers has been successful, but if you are reading this and haven’t yet enrolled, I sincerely ask you to do so right away. The online registration links are on the school website We also have the option to register via appointment at the school office. Please call 928.638.2461 if you are interested in this option.

     Currently, we have the majority of our enrolled students requesting a Distance Learning option to start the 2020-2021 school year. 

     Last week I shared that the school had presented the Grand Canyon Arizona Online Instructional Plan to Arizona Department of Education. I am excited to announce that our AOI plan was approved last week. This approval allows GCS to provide a completely online option of instruction.

     Both the Administration team and teacher team didn’t rest after the AOI review process. We immediately began work on articulating the Distance Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 school year. This additional plan which is a combination of online, video conferencing and remote learning will be submitted to the state this Friday. I know teachers are excited to share details of this plan with parents and students. More details about this plan will be shared with the parents, students and community members within the next week.

     Last Thursday August 6, 2020, the Arizona Department of Health Services as designated by Governor Ducey released guidance for school reopening metrics. A link to the releases is list here:

     A recent text blast also went out the parents of GCS students with a link of an opportunity to order free face coverings. The link is also included here: ADD LINK

    Please take advantage of this opportunity if you haven’t already done so.

     On the sports front Arizona Interscholastic Association voted last week to postpone the start of Fall sports till at least August 31,2020. We will share more information as it is released from AIA.

     Lastly, we want to share that we will be passing out school provided loaner devices the last week of August for enrolled students. We are planning to pass out these devices in Valle, Tusayan and at the school office as a convenience to our families. The school office will be sharing a schedule for this process soon.

    My email address is We need your input, we thank you for your support and your understanding in reopening GCS for the 2020-2021 school year, and we value you as part of the Grand Canyon School family.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this message. Please know I want to hear from you, and I want to provide you with the opportunity to reach out and ask questions.


    Principal Matt Yost




    August 3, 2020


    Good Morning,

    I am happy to report that the Grand Canyon Unified School District has completed the ADE process for becoming a certified Arizona Online Instruction school. I am very appreciative to the team of administrators, teachers and support staff that worked on this project. The review team was very impressed with the presentation and attention to detail that we showed throughout the process. ADE will provide the district with a determination within the next couple of weeks.

    Additionally, we are doing a final push for all online registrations to be completed for students as of August 10, 2020. Please call the school office number if you need support with the registration process. We have computers available at the Town Hall in Tusayan and at the Grand Canyon School Office via appointment. To setup an appointment please call:

    Town Hall Number 928.638.9909 or School Number 928.638.2461.

    We thank all of our parents, students and community members for your continued support and understanding during these challenging and changing times. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or if I can be of support in any way.



    Principal Matt Yost




    July 27, 2020

    Principal's Update


    July 20, 2020

    Reopening Letter



Alumni Page

  • Hap and sister Jeannie

    Hello, I’m Hap Maxwell, GCHS Class of 1968.  My sister Jeannine Maxwell, Class of 1965 (pictured in the summer snow to the right) along with my good friend Judy Lee Walker, class of 1979, are working with Superintendent Shonny Bria and Principal Matt Yost to mobilize alumni in support of ongoing efforts to bring high-speed internet to the school.  

    For some background on the high speed internet project, see this short synopsis, or checkout this presentation for the gory details.

    The image below is the beginning of our alumni association, that's Matt Yost, the new incoming principle on the left, Judy Lee Walker next, then John Quinn and I'm on the right.  

    We hope to have a Grand Canyon School Alumni Association up and running in a little while, and will be reaching out to all the Alumni we know about in the near future.  If you haven't heard from me, and would like to be included, please contact the school at the contact information at the bottom of this page.



    Beginnings of an alumni group