Past Principal's Messages

  • First week of school

    Posted by Thomas O'Connor on 9/8/2020

    September 08, 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.

    Respectfully,
    Principal Matt Yost

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  • Distance Learning beginning September 8

    Posted by Thomas O'Connor on 9/3/2020

    September 03, 2020

    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.

    Respectfully,

    Principal Matt Yost
    Matthew Yost

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  • Quick update on our opening plans

    Posted by Thomas O'Connor on 8/29/2020

    August 29, 2020

    August 29, 2020

    Dear Parents and Guardians of Grand Canyon School students,

    This is a quick update on our opening plans.

    On Saturday, August 22, the School Board held a Special Board Meeting to consider the impact of the current state of COVID-19 outbreaks in the local community, along with the Guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services for a safe opening. Out of concern and caution, the Board made a decision to begin Distance Learning for ALL students beginning on September 8.

    We will provide on-site support services to as many students as possible, however we are limited by physical space—important for social distancing; and the availability of staffing. This is because our teachers will be focused on our Distance Learning Program. As a result we may have to limit the number of requests we can honor. We will prioritize requests as follows:

    1. Children of parents who are designated “essential workers,” and need a place to go so their parents can fulfill their job duties
    2. At-risk students, based on District criteria
    3. Children who need access to the internet in order to complete their distance learning activities

    Please be aware that on-site support services for most students are not direct instruction time. Currently, we are unable to provide transportation for students. The supervision provided by the school will meet school safety requirements. Requests for academic assistance during this time should be directed to the student’s Distance Learning teacher(s).

    If you are interested in receiving on-site support services, please contact the school office at 928-638-2461. We will do our best to accommodate as many requests as possible.

    You can expect to receive more communications from us about the beginning of school, Distance Learning, and other critical items in the very near future.

    Sincerely yours,
    Matthew Yost, Principal

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    Agosto 29, 200

    Estimados padres y tutores de los estudiantes de la escuela Grand Canyon,

    Esta es una actualización rápida de nuestros planes de apertura.

    El Sábado 22 de Agosto, la Mesa Directiva Del Distrito Escolar tuvo una Reunión Especial para considerar el impacto del estado actual de los brotes de COVID-19 en la comunidad local, junto con la Guía del Departamento de Servicios de Salud de Arizona para una apertura escolar segura. Por preocupación y precaución, la Junta tomó la decisión de comenzar el aprendizaje a distancia para TODOS los estudiantes a partir del 8 de Septiembre.

    Brindaremos servicios de apoyo y supervisión dentro de la escuela a tantos estudiantes como sea posible, sin embargo, estamos limitados por espacio, que es importante para el distanciamiento social; y la disponibilidad de personal. Esto se debe a que nuestros maestros se centrarán en nuestro programa de aprendizaje a distancia. Como resultado, es posible que tengamos que limitar la cantidad de solicitudes que podemos atender. Daremos prioridad a las solicitudes de la siguiente manera:

    1. Hijos de padres designados como "trabajadores esenciales" y necesitan un lugar adonde ir para que sus padres puedan cumplir con sus obligaciones laborales
    2. Estudiantes en riesgo, según los criterios del Distrito
    3. Niños que necesitan acceso a Internet para poder realizar sus actividades de educación a distancia

    Tenga en cuenta que los servicios de apoyo y supervisión en la escuela no será tiempo de instrucción directa. Actualmente, no podemos proporcionar servicio de transporte para los estudiantes. La supervisión proporcionada por la escuela cumplirá con los requisitos de seguridad de la escuela. Las solicitudes de asistencia académica durante este tiempo deben dirigirse al maestro (s) de aprendizaje a distancia del estudiante.

    Si está interesado en recibir servicios de apoyo y supervisión en la escuela, comuníquese con la oficina de la escuela al 928-638-2461. Haremos todo lo posible para satisfacer tantas solicitudes como sea posible.

    Espere recibir más comunicaciones de nuestra parte sobre el comienzo de la escuela, el aprendizaje a distancia y otros elementos críticos en un futuro muy cercano.

    Gracias por su attencion,
    Mattew Yost, Principal

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  • Update on the status of the Grand Canyon schools

    Posted by Thomas O'Connor on 8/18/2020

    August 18, 2020

    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 grandcanyonschool.org. 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: https://ewscripps.brightspotcdn.com/1a/12/3198fd6f4154a45e85e2031c045f/safely-returning-to-in-person-instruction-1.pdf

    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 myost@grandcanyonschool.com. 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.

    Respectfully,
    Principal Matt Yost

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  • Update on the status of the Grand Canyon schools

    Posted by Thomas O'Connor on 7/27/2020

    July 27, 2020

    Update on the status of the Grand Canyon schools

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

    Since the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the administration team and teacher team have met multiple times a week researching, investigating, and collecting data to develop plans for a safe school reopening. Our unwavering goal is to provide a safe environment for students and staff, while providing high-quality educational opportunities. No reopening plan during the COVID-19 pandemic is set in stone, and we expect our current plan to continue to evolve as more information is provided from the scientific community, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS), The Arizona School Risk Retention Trust, Inc. (The TRUST-AZ School Legal Counsel) and the Coconino County Health Department.

    More details about the GCS reopening plan will be provided soon on the school website. Currently, the website contains:

    • 2020-2021 Student Learning Options and Protocols Presentation and Video
    • Frequently Asked Questions developed from parent and guardian questions
    • Links to Governor's Executive Orders

    On July 23, 2020, Governor Doug Ducey, together with Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, released executive order 2020-51 Arizona: Open for Learning. Key points of this executive order and subsequent Governor's briefing are:

    • AZDHS is being directed to develop school-reopening benchmarks based on public health data to be shared with schools and school boards by August 7, 2020.
    • AZ commits to school districts utilizing distance learning models for instruction to be fully funded, as well as a state promise of continuity of pay for all educators.
    • Requirements that all districts provide on-site learning opportunities for vulnerable student populations.
    • Support of school policies that support safety and student learning, including a statewide requirement for face coverings for teachers, staff, and students over the age of five.

    We expect more details to follow from the Governor's Office, and we are working with our partners throughout the state to fully understand the implications of this message. We welcome the additional support and commitments to education by Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman.

    Grand Canyon Schools is working steadfastly towards the first day of School, which is rapidly approaching on September 8, 2020. We began online registration last week, on July 20, 2020, and we will continue online registration throughout the month of August and into the new school year. If you have not done so already, we encourage you to register as soon as possible, as this helps us plan our student groupings and teacher assignments. Within this online registration is a description of the three reopening models we are hoping to offer to start the 2020-2021 school year. We request that you provide your preference for enrollment that best fits your student’s needs in the online registration document.

    Starting this Tuesday, July 28, 2020, we will begin offering on-site appointments for parents and guardians who need a computer or support completing the online registration. Please call 928.638.2461 to set up an appointment. Also, beginning this Tuesday, the Town of Tusayan will be offering access to computers, by appointment, for online registration at Town Hall. Please call 928.638.9909 to set up an appointment.

    Grand Canyon School is committed to open and transparent communication, and to continue and build on this commitment, I will be sharing weekly updates via the school website about school reopening plans, school registration, and school updates. I want to hear from you, and I want to provide you with the opportunity to reach out and ask questions.

    My email address is myost@grandcanyonschool.com. 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.

    Sincerely,
    Matthew Yost, Principal

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  • School Opening Update

    Posted by Thomas O'Connor on 7/20/2020

    July 20, 2020

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Grand Canyon Unified School District will reopen on September 8, 2020. The Governing Board met on July 15, 2020 and developed the following guidelines for re-opening our schools. On July 1, 2020 Governor Ducey released an executive order stating that schools will not be allowed to have students physically on campus until August 17 th or later. Teachers, Administrators and staff have given a lot of input and thought put into this plan. We have taken recommendations from the appropriate governing bodies and health departments. Everyone involved has taken the current situation with the pandemic very seriously.

    While we understand that there is no “perfect plan,” we have tried to develop a plan that emphasizes safety for all students and staff, while providing a quality learning environment for all of our students. We also realize that this is the current plan, and as the pandemic situation changes, the plan very well could change. We will continue to reach out to our community and staff when making changes and make every effort for the best possible school year considering the current circumstances.

    Sending Students to school:

    First and foremost, if your child is sick, please keep them home. If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms they must not come to school:

    • fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, or chills;
    • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
    • muscle aches;
    • sore throat;
    • headache;
    • fatigue;
    • congestion or runny nose;
    • cough;
    • vomiting;
    • diarrhea;
    • new loss of taste or smell;

    We want all parents and students to know that students who miss school this year will have additional support in catching up on missed instruction, making up work and having access to teachers.

    Student School Drop Off and Walk Up Procedure

    • Drop off your student right before the start of school at 7:50 am. Students will be required to go directly to their first class. Student will not be going to the MPR for breakfast, but will be served in their first period classrooms.
    • A school staff member will take temperatures as students enter the building. Students will be taught proper physical distancing while entering school buildings. Any student with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent to a quarantine area to wait for parent pickup.

    Protocols for Students boarding the bus in the morning:

    • Students will be screened with a no-touch thermometer. Parents will be contacted if a student has a fever of 100.4 or higher. Current plan is to have a roving school van to safely supervise/transport any students who has a fever until the parent can be contacted.
    • Students will be required to wear a face covering while riding the bus. We will have disposable face coverings available for each student, but we encourage the use of student personal face coverings.
    • Assigned seating with families sitting together will be used during bus transportation to and from school. Students will load from back to front and disembark from front to back in order to limit exposure to as few other students as possible.

    Regular practices during the school day

    • Face coverings will be required when physical distancing can not be maintained.
    • GCUSD will be providing a Chromebook to each student in grades 3-12 to use for the year. They are to have that device at school each day. (IPADs and similar devices are being secured for PK -2 grade students). No other devices will be available for use.
    • Lockers will not be issued during the 20-21 school year.
    • Recess will be held, but classes will be staggered as to limit contact between children.
    • Additional sanitization will be performed throughout the day. High contact areas like doorknobs, drinking areas, bathrooms, will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • We expect that students will be changing classrooms in a limited capacity to reduce contact between students and time in the hallways.
    • Traffic directional signage will keep hallway traffic from excessive interaction.
    • Students who show symptoms during the day will be sent to a quarantine area to wait for parent pickup.
    • Breakfast and lunch is being planned to be served in the classrooms.
    • GCHS will have closed campus for lunch.
    • Hand washing and hygiene practices will be done and taught throughout the day.
    • All Elementary classrooms will have handwashing stations within the classroom.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the hallways and classrooms.

    Special Needs

    • GCUSD will work with parents to develop a plan for success for any student that this plan does not accommodate. That could include extra precautions taken at school or having the opportunity to work from home in extreme scenarios. Please contact Principal Matt Yost if you feel this pertains to your student. We will work together to develop and appropriate course of action.

    Athletics

    • GCHS and GCMS will follow the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) guidelines in participation in athletics. We expect these guidelines will change throughout the 20-21 year. AIA has stated that Fall Practice will not begin until at least August. Current plan for when teams begin practicing will be in small groups with temperature checks before practice. Athletes will not be allowed to change or shower at school. We are unsure if the AIA will hold fall sports at this time. Our intentions are for HS and MS Fall Athletics to proceed, if there is a season. We are planning to follow AIA guidelines.

    The Administration understands that this letter does not go over every detail of the GCUSD re-opening plan, but it should serve a general idea of what to expect this upcoming school year. I want to personally thank everyone for their continued support as we all work together to provide the best instruction for our students in the safest way possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

    Sincerely
    Matthew Yost, Principal

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