2020-2021 School Year Brings Changes to Campus

Students+returning+to+campus+receive+transcripts+and+schedules.+CHS+welcomed+back+over+300+students+who+had+been+remote+for+the+first+grading+period.

Alyson Martin

Students returning to campus receive transcripts and schedules. CHS welcomed back over 300 students who had been remote for the first grading period.

Haley Regan, Editor

At the end of August, CISD students started the new school year on schedule, whether it was physically coming back to campus or logging in from their homes. Reopening a school during an ongoing pandemic required numerous changes, including new campus protocols, such as one way hallways and pre-bagged lunches, but underneath it all, Canyon remained the same. 

Because of some families’ concerns over health and safety, school districts all across the country offered students the option of staying at home to learn remotely, or attending school in person like normal. Comal ISD was no different, except in the fact that the district offered an on-campus option at the end of August, where many districts began the school year with all students learning remotely for the first 2-4 weeks. 

Just over 1,000 students began their year back in the classrooms they hadn’t seen since March, with others utilizing Google Classroom to access their lessons at home. With the start of the second grading period, approximately 1,600 students were in-person, with 600 remote. 

With students divided in their Instructional Delivery Method, or IDO, teachers were required to quickly adapt their own teaching methods to include remote learners while “live” teaching those in the classroom. This involved utilizing several new forms of technology during a Google Meet, such as Screencastify, lapel microphones and wireless earbuds. 

“Having half of my students in my ear [has been a challenge],” longtime photography teacher Scott Bartos said. “I can walk around my classroom, and [in-person] students can ask questions. They’re comfortable. The remote students are afraid to ask questions, so it’s awkward. My biggest challenge has been making remote students more comfortable.” 

Of course, the new school year also brought some “normal” changes, like the addition of many new staff members, including changes to the administration team. Dustin Davisson began the year as the new principal after the departure of Casey Whittle in April, and Kaye Guidry and Rene Armendariz were named assistant principals.  Davisson hopes to bring together the students of Canyon during these unpredictable times, and help the campus grow as a whole. 

“It is my sincere belief that the cornerstone of any school is high standards and expectations for students, including co-curricular participation and responsible citizenship,” Davisson said. 

In his first year as a high school principal, Davisson has already made an impact on campus. Many students found a boost in school spirit since returning to school, thanks to their new leader. 

“Make it a great day, Cougars, the choice is yours,” he says every day at the end of announcements, followed by his newfound signature roar.

“I like the roar. It’s funny, but in a good way. It always makes me smile,” freshman Abby Malone said.

Another major change to the 2020-21 school year was the move to a smaller athletic division. With the opening of Davenport High School, Canyon’s attendance zone was split in half. The decrease in students led to Canyon moving into the 5A conference, which has had a positive impact on several athletic teams. 

“I think [moving to 5A] was a real confidence boost to our guys,” football coach John Ford said. “We dropped down from such a competitive district with schools like Steele, Judson, and Clemens, and now get to play Dripping Springs, a school that we can compete a lot more with. We have such a young team, I think it was a real confidence booster for them.” 

Despite all of these changes and the continued navigation through uncertain times, spirits are high on campus and many are looking forward to upcoming events, like Homecoming and Red Ribbon Week. 

“I’m excited to [participate] in all the events, even with the changes,” Malone said. “I’m just glad they were able to happen.”