What is Canvas?

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that allows teachers to provide instructional support, class calendars, assignments, and resources for students in a safe online environment. Canvas is an integral part of instruction in all Central Carolina Academy classrooms.

What is the difference between PowerSchool and Canvas?

PowerSchool is our Student Information System (SIS) and is used as the official academic record platform. The table below gives information on the functions of each system.

PowerSchool (SIS)

Canvas (LMS)

  • Attendance
  • Historical Grades
  • Transcripts
  • Demographics
  • Courses
  • Schedule
  • Report Cards
  • Enrollment
  • Assignments
  • Events
  • Discussions
  • Announcements
  • Assessments
  • Grades
  • Calendar
  • Learning tools

How is Canvas “better” for checking student grades/learning?

PowerSchool excels at student information whereas Canvas is better for communicating student learning. For example, using Canvas, parents have the opportunity to see the assignments and other events from ALL courses posted on ONE calendar. With many of those assignments, you can verify that your student did, in fact, submit work and even WHEN it was submitted as all activity is digitally timestamped.  You can also see the assignment directions and expectations and upcoming assignments.

Using the course Grade summary page, you can view grades based on "What-If" scores so that you know how grades will be affected by upcoming or resubmitted assignments. You can test scores for an assignment that already includes a score, or an assignment that has yet to be graded. Canvas also allows parents to communicate clearly with teachers through assignment and submission feedback channels.

What does Canvas offer parents?

Canvas will give parents the everyday overview of their child's learning interactions including calendars, newsletters, assignments, grades, submissions, and assessments. Parents will need to create a Canvas Parent Observer account to view their student's daily grades.

What is an Observer role in Canvas?

Observers have limited permissions that allow them to see what is going on in a course and a calendar of assignments. Like students, Observers cannot view a course until it is published and the course has started. For assistance with Assignments, Test Dates, Quizzes, or other Canvas course content, please contact your child’s teacher.

What can Parents view in Canvas online as an observer?

Below are the features available to Parents. Please note that not all courses use all features.

  • Set your Notifications
  • View the Dashboard
  • View the course Syllabus
  • View prompts but not participate in Discussions
  • View but not submit Assignments
  • Preview and download some Files
  • View the Modules Page
  • View Canvas Grades (Web only)
  • View the Calendar
  • Communicate with the teacher

What can Parents view on the Canvas Parent App? (Guide)

Below are the features available to Parents. Please note that not all courses use all features.

  • Grades
  • Submission Status
  • Calendar
  • Announcements
  • Syllabus


How do I set up my Canvas Parent Account?

Canvas Parent Accounts can be created on desktop computers. Parents can also download the Canvas Parent App from the Apple App Store for IOS devices and from Google Play for Android devices.

Click this link to access the CCA Canvas Parent Account Setup Guide

Can I view multiple children on one Canvas Parent Account?

Yes, in your  Observer account settings, you will see "Observing" under your personal settings and the option to add another child.

You will need a pairing code from your child's Canvas settings. How to generate a pairing code. 

Canvas Tips:

Customizing the Dashboard:

  • Canvas offers users many ways to customize their Dashboard.
  • Click on the link below for more details:
  • https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-4431 
  • TIP: Multiple Children? Color code each child's course title or Give each course a NickName to help distinguish each child's courses.

Too many Canvas Notifications?

Parents can adjust Canvas Notifications:

From your Canvas Dashboard:

  • Click on Account
  • Click on Notifications

Set the frequency of the different Canvas Notifications throughout the school year as the need arises.

What if I forgot my Canvas Parent account password?

Web: Go to centralcarolinaacademy.instructure.com and click on "Forgot Password"

Mobile: Click on "Forgot Password"

Enter the email you used to create the account and Canvas will send you an email to reset your password.

What do the icons and colors in the Grades page represent?


Questions? Contact Mary Tatum @ mtatum@ccasanford.org.