WyoCourses 2.0 September Newsletter

Update from the Wyoming Department of Education  |  view online |  website

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Adoption Consultant Update

Travel map

A contrast of seasons; if July was the calm, then August was the storm. As a meteorologist, there’s nothing I love more than a good storm (as long as nobody gets hurt). The first two weeks of the month were shorter trips focused along the Interstate 80 corridor in southern Wyoming. The most exciting part of these two weeks, was being introduced to our newest Canvas district, Albany County School District #1 (ACSD #1). I had the privilege of speaking with district- and building-level administrators, introducing them to Adoption Consulting and the Canvas platform as a whole. I believe the efforts of other Canvas districts around the state will prove beneficial in getting ACSD #1 up and running on Canvas.

Outside of my visits to ACSD #1, I co-led a breakout session on “Gamifying your Classes” at the Roadmap to STEAM Conference. Alisa Cook from the WDE and I led the session and showcased how to use Canvas Modules to create a sequence, and quizzes to lock that sequence until a proper code was entered, releasing information about users (or students) next steps. I also was able to re-visit my friends in Uinta County School District #1, as well as make new friends in Sweetwater County School District #1. 

After these two partial travel weeks, I embarked on Roadshow IX, a week-long adventure which took me to: Glenrock (Converse County School District #2), Upton (Weston County School District #7), Meeteetse (Park County School District #16), Pavillion (Fremont County School District #6), and Riverton (Fremont County School District #25). Every visit was unique, tailored to the specific needs of each district. My activities spanned working with administrators to prepare for the school year, to supporting district-led Canvas training initiatives, to working 1:1 with teachers during a workshop-style day. Every district is unique in their needs, and Adoption Consulting is designed to meet those needs, while helping to create a local knowledge-base with local Canvas experts. 

My final week of travel during Roadshow X was geared toward K-12 districts beginning a Canvas journey. I was pleased to introduce Canvas to middle and high school teachers in Johnson County School District #1 during my day at Buffalo High School. We had some great discussions on how Canvas can solve some of their classroom pain points, and how it could potentially change the way they have students submit work (hint: students can submit video evidence of their progress). I then traveled to Lusk, and worked with the Niobrara County School District #1 teachers as they are getting prepared to go all-in with Canvas this year. My travels continued back to Sheridan, where I worked with the teachers of the Schiffer School, an alternative high school in Sheridan County School District #2. We did a high-level overview of Canvas in the morning, and then they stayed busy building content in the afternoon. Finally, I traveled to Riverton, and Central Wyoming College to deliver four more advanced sessions, to help the college faculty prepare for their fall classes.

Overall, I traveled nearly 5,000 miles over these four weeks (3,800 driving), visiting most corners of the state. The common theme among all of my trainings is the excitement surrounding Canvas. That excitement extends to me personally as well; I am looking forward to the second year of Adoption Consulting in Wyoming. I hope to see many of you again, and some for the first time, as I continue to work toward universal Canvas adoption for all students in Wyoming.

David Signature

District Spotlight

Sublette County School District #1 and Converse County School District #1

Both of our spotlighted districts this month have begun using Canvas for non-academic classes, specifically for the creation of internal professional development and training. I met with Jay Harnack, Superintendent of Sublette County School District #1, in Pinedale in June. It was his desire to create some courses that could be used for internal professional development. As of this fall, Superintendent Harnack has created courses for “orientation, required training for administrators on our evaluation plan, etc.,” even using badges (via Badgr) to track completion. Sublette County School District #1 is also working toward creating a series of Canvas courses for their graduating seniors aimed at helping them navigate the college application and admission process.

Similar things are occurring on the eastern side of Wyoming. In Converse County School District #1, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Andrea Gilbert has been leading the charge to create internal professional development courses, as well as driving innovation within the administrative team. Dr. Gilbert is using Canvas to house and link resources (from Office 365), so that meetings of the district’s administrative team are now run through a Canvas course. She has also created a professional development template course, which is modeled after similar efforts of the University of Wyoming.

Both Sublette County School District #1 and Converse County School District #1 are using Canvas beyond the traditional student focused classroom with much success.  A Canvas course does not have to be just student-facing; districts can use Canvas courses for organization, communication, training, and as a repository for resources. The WDE has made a Canvas course template available for any school leader or administrator wishing to use Canvas as a communication hub for their school. If you have any questions about this process, or other ways to use Canvas for these purposes, email David Stokowski, Canvas Adoption Consultant to Wyoming.

Canvas Best Practices 

Using Canvas for Non-Academic Courses

For districts who are already using Canvas for student-facing course content, a natural progression is to look for other methods to use Canvas outside of the traditional classroom. We will highlight a few ideas where the Canvas student experience can be used by teachers and staff. Districts and buildings may employ a “Principal’s Corner” style course, curated by an administrator, where building-level information (e.g., faculty meeting minutes, school events) could be housed. Professional Development in Canvas (the topic of one of our monthly meetings listed above) is a great meta-cognition tool, as well as a simple way to house training for all staff - not just teachers. Finally, using Canvas to facilitate extracurricular activities can create spaces for students to see information about their club or sport and use Canvas to interact with their sponsor/coach in Canvas.

For administrators, these courses are easy to create and monitor since they will live outside of the purview of the data connection with PowerSchool or Infinite Campus. District-wide administrators can add these courses directly from their administrator space in Canvas by selecting on the “+ Course” button inside of Canvas on the Courses page. Once the course is created, you would enter the course, go to the People link, and select on “+ People” to add the leader of the course as a teacher. Of course, if teachers have the “Add a New Course” button on their dashboard, they could create one of these courses themselves. Once the teacher accesses the course, they can then go to People, select on “+ People” to add their “students” to the course.

Statewide Adoption Consulting Meeting

September 24, 2019

Since Adoption Consultant David Stokowski started in October of 2018, he has held monthly meetings with district leaders, technology directors, principals, and anyone else interested. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the state of adoption consulting in Wyoming, and also to demonstrate new Canvas features. For the 2019-2020 school year, there will be an adoption consulting meeting starting at 10 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Expect to see your September invite coming soon after the newsletter. As always, if you want to be a part of these meetings, email David to get added to the list.

Statewide Canvas User Groups

Relaunching in September 2019

Due to David’s travel schedule in August, the fall launch of the Statewide Canvas User Groups has been pushed to September. As always, if you want to be on the list for any of these meetings, just email David. Stay tuned for email updates on these meetings, and a personal invitation to join. 

Here are the groups launching in the fall:

  • Canvas for Elementary - Let's collaborate and see how Canvas can aid in the elementary classroom. Each month, we will devote time to learning about new successes that the group's members have seen, as well as provide a space to brainstorm future ideas to implement in their elementary classes. 
      • First meeting date: Thursday, September 12, 2019, 3:45 p.m.
      • Meeting link
  • Canvas for Professional Development - District leaders, principals, curriculum designers, or other users interested in creating professional development in Canvas will find this group useful. Each month, we will discuss how Canvas is being used for professional development around the state, celebrating successes and discussing how to bring effective and creative professional development to all staff members.
      • First meeting date: Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 3:45 p.m.
      • Meeting link
  • Canvas for Online/Secondary Classes -  Many districts around the state are working to create online versions of their traditional courses. Canvas has rich tools that can help to create exciting and engaging online courses for any age student! During our monthly meetings we will discuss best practices and share wisdom learned from our experiences teaching online using Canvas.
    • First meeting date: Thursday, September 19, 2019, 3:45 p.m.
    • Meeting link

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calenderly 

Phone: 307-777-5315