Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Thu, Oct. 21

Letter to the editor: Grand Canyon School on track for success

Great things are happening at the Canyon.

I am proud to say I am superintendent of the Grand Canyon Unified School District. June 30, 2016 marks the end of two years as superintendent. I wake up every morning saying a thank-you prayer - thanks for having such a wonderful staff by my side, thanks for the opportunity to be part of the Canyon community, and thanks for being able to live in the greatest national park in the world. Of course, our school, like so many others, has its challenges, but every day we come to work excited about being part of the family that works so hard to support the children of the Grand Canyon.

The 2015-16 school year saw many positive changes. The first is that the current administrative team will return intact next year. We are losing only two teachers from our entire staff, both of which had husbands who were transferred to other jobs outside our local community. Other than that, we are ready for next year. We even have the teacher schedules completed.

• During the past year we implemented;

• A shared vision and mission;

• Professional development to improve student achievement;

• A new curriculum called Beyond Textbooks which is currently used by eight of the top ten districts in Arizona;

• Teacher collaboration to promote professional learning communities and;

• A rigorous evaluation system.

Of course, all of these are designed to improve student learning and achievement. Stay tuned in June/July for our AZMerit Test results.

Dr. Charlotte Wing, our academic coach, summed it up best when she noted how "...the District has shown such amazing growth."

Also on the minds of many of our patrons recently was the temporary accreditation assigned the school in spring 2015. On May 10, the District received the certificate indicating the high school was fully accredited for a five year period by AdvancEd evaluators. Yes, we are fully accredited.

Additionally, our new Head Start Program was opened to the public in the fall. Head Start is a government program that helps 3 and 4 year old children to gain a "head start" in school before they start kindergarten. A small but personal class of four children "graduated" this spring and will enter kindergarten in the fall.

Yes, good things are happening at the Canyon. This is due in large part to all those who work so hard to support our efforts. A big "thanks" to all those who believe in our school, and especially to all the wonderful employees that made good things happen in GCUSD #4.

Shonny Bria, Ph.D

Superintendent, Grand Canyon School

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