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What is Canvas?

Canvas is a web-based Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas helps teachers to assign work, receive and evaluate completed work from students, create online discussions, and manage many other functions of day-to-day learning. Canvas can make teaching and learning more effective by extending classrooms through the power of computers, mobile devices, and the internet.

What’s the difference between Canvas and ParentVue?

ParentVue is the parent portal into the district Student Information System (SIS) called Synergy. Synergy is used to record and track many things about all students and classes such as schedule, grades, and official transcripts. All teachers use Synergy in all of their classes.

Canvas is an option available to middle and high school teachers to use it as they see fit for their classes.

Is the grade book in Canvas the same as the grade book in ParentVue?

The grade books in Canvas and ParentVue can be similar, but it depends on how a teacher uses Canvas.

The grade book in ParentVue contains progress reports and final semester grades as well as records of the activities (graded assignments, exams, etc.) that are used to determine those grades.

Some teachers may align their Canvas and ParentVue gradebooks, but Canvas can record work done by students that is not used to determine final grades, so it would not appear in ParentVue. If you have questions about how gradebooks align, it’s best to contact the teacher for that class.

My child’s teacher is not using Canvas -- why not?

Teachers have the option to choose Canvas when it benefits their class. Some teachers are phasing in their use of Canvas, others may find that it’s not right for a particular subject, class, or their approach to material in their class.

How do I use Canvas?

Teachers who are using Canvas in their classroom can invite Parents/Guardians to become an observer in their classroom. If they are using Canvas and decide to use this feature, you’ll receive an e-mail with an invitation and instructions.

If you’re invited, you’ll need to create a Canvas account. After that, you can see what the teacher has chosen to share. Typically, that includes the class calendar, assignments, and content such as documents or links to videos.

Where can I get help learning how to use Canvas?

Canvas has tutorials on their website to help you understand what you can do as a Parent/Guardian observer. Check out the link below, then contact your child’s teacher if you have questions -- keep in mind that teachers have their choice about how to use Canvas, so not every class will be the same. Also, the online guides that Canvas provides will include descriptions of features that teachers might not be using.

Canvas Observer Guide​