MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Superintendent Ronald Taylor has announced Canvas as the new Learning Management System the district will use for the upcoming school year.
The Canvas system will not replace PowerSchool; however, it will replace any other educational technology programs that students and teachers may have been using. PowerSchool will continue to be the district’s student information system where parents can check their child’s grades. On Canvas, parents can view all the work their child has submitted.
“I’m personally very excited about bringing Canvas to this K through 12 environment,” said Board of Education member Tony Mazzocchi during the July regular meeting. “I am hoping that this is something that is enduring,” he added.
“I hope… that there is some way the administration can ensure that 100% of teachers are using it in a very organized and consistent fashion,” he added, and praised Canvas for its “intuitive” interface.
In Canvas students will be able to submit work and receive individualized comments and feedback. The calendar function also means that students can easily see when their teachers post and change assignment due dates. Teachers will be able to integrate third party applications like YouTube and Khan Academy into their lessons in addition to using WebEx or Google Meets for live instruction.
Parents who wish to become more acquainted with the Canvas system before the start of the school year can watch the Canvas 101 video that Dr. Taylor included in his announcement. The district also says that it plans on working with Canvas to hold virtual training sessions for parents to supplement the written and video instructions that are already available online.
Canvas is compliant with levels A and AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1. This means Canvas’ levels of accessibility are “substantially equivalent” to section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 508 is a 1998 amendment to the law that requires all Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. The level AA standard for compliance with section 509 is set by the U.S. Access Board, a government agency dedicated to ensuring equal access for people with disabilities.
The Board of Education voted to approve the purchase of Canvas during its July 20 regular meeting. The three-year contract with Instructure Inc., the company that developed and publishes Canvas, will cost the district a total of $185,250. The first year will cost $76,875 and the following two years will each cost $54,187.50.
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