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What Is Canvas?

Canvas is a cloud-based learning management system, also referred to as an "LMS".  It's a system that supports teaching and learning by connecting many of the tools educators use with students in one easy, accessible place.

Our Canvas system is used by teachers and students in grades 6-12. All of the courses these students have on their current schedules appear in Canvas, as "tiles" on their  "dashboards".

In addition, as seen in the example below, Canvas "courses" are often created for  extra-curricular activities students participate in:

What Is A Canvas Parent Account?

Canvas Parent enhances the potential for parents to engage in the educations of their children.

Canvas Parent Accounts Look Like Canvas Student Accounts

Parent accounts feature "dashboards" containing "tiles" for each course that each child is taking. From this location, parents can review upcoming or past assignments that students are given, and become accustomed to the interface that students are using.

Parents can configure their accounts to receive alerts for assignment and grading activity. But, parents should note that not all student work is submitted via Canvas. While grades earned in Canvas are synced to Powerschool, a parent would need to log into Powerschool for a complete record of grades that a student has earned during any particular marking period.


Access Canvas From A Web Browser Or An App

Parents can log into Canvas with any web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari). Or, parents can use the Canvas Parent apps available for Android or iOS.

A "Pairing Code" Is Needed

In either case, a parent needs a 6-character "pairing code" for each student he/she wishes to observe. A student can generate a pairing code for his/her parent from within that student's Canvas account.

Directions for generating a pairing code follow below.

Links To The Canvas Login Pages

There are two links to the login pages for Canvas within the "Quick Links" menu on the District website:

Students and teachers use the first link, as they authenticate to Canvas using their school district email addresses.

Parents create their own Canvas accounts using their personal email addresses as usernames. And so, the parent account login page is at a different web address.

How To Create A Parent Account For Canvas

  1. Access the Canvas Parent page from the Quick Links menu on the District website (which goes to
  2. Select "Click Here For an Account" in the upper right-hand corner:
  3. Enter your name, your email address, a password and a student pairing code for your child in the Parent Signup window:
  4. Check the box to agree to the terms of use, and click on the "Start Participating" button
  5. You can begin navigating Canvas Parent immediately:
  6. Directions for entering "pairing codes" for additional children follow below.

How A Student Generates A Pairing Code For A Parent

A student can generate "pairing codes" for his/her parents/guardians. A separate pairing code must be created for each observer who will link to the student's Canvas account.

  1. In the menu on the left, click the Account button and then the Settings link:
  2. Click the Pair with Observer button:
  3. Copy the 6-character pairing code. Note that it will expire after 7 days or its first use:

Managing A Canvas Parent Account With Two Or More Students

How To Enter Additional Pairing Codes

In order to create a Canvas Parent account, you needed to enter a pairing code for the first of your children. Here are the steps to enter more:

  1. Click on Account and then Settings:
  2. Click on Observing:
  3. Enter the next student's pairing code and click on the "+Student" button:
  4. Repeat Steps 1-3 with additional pairing codes


How To Differentiate Course Tiles On Your Parent Dashboard

The labels on course tiles include the name of the course, the school year, and the last name of the teacher. Student names are not included. Here's an example:

You can replace the names on course tiles with "nicknames", and also change their colors, to tell them apart. 

  1. Right-click on the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner of a tile:
  2. Enter a nickname that helps you, and/or choose one color for all of one child's course tiles, if you find that helpful:
  3. Then, click on the Apply button. Note that if course nicknames begin with the child's name, that child's course tiles will all be grouped together alphabetically on your dashboard.


Overview Of The Features In A Canvas Parent Account

This overview covers what a parent sees from within a web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. For overviews of the iOS or Android apps, see the sections below this one.


The Dashboard is the first thing you see when you log into Canvas. It contains tiles for all current courses in the middle pane, and an activity stream to the right side. You can return to the Dashboard by clicking the Dashboard button in the global navigation menu on the left-hand side:

Course Tiles

Each course tile in the middle pane of the Dashboard includes the course name, the term/year, and the teacher last name. Symbols along the bottom of each course tile notify you of announcements and assignments.

Global Navigation Menu

The menu on the left includes buttons for Account, Dashboard, Courses, Calendar, Inbox and Help.

Account Button

A parent uses the Account button to edit his/her Notification Preferences and Account Settings, or to add pairing codes for additional students under Observing.

Courses Button

A parent can click on the Courses button, scroll down to the All Courses link, and then click on the stars to the left of course names to choose whether or not to display that course on the Dashboard. If the star turns from white to orange, then the course will display on the Dashboard. In this screenshot, the ELA course will show on the Dashboard, and the Directed Study will not:

Calendar Button

A parent can click on the Calendar button to manage which course calendars will display in this merged calendar view. Clicking on the squares to the left of each course name to color them or turn them white determines which courses are part of the merged calendar view (up to 10 can be shown at a time):

Inbox Button

Announcements sent to courses show in the Inbox as well as in the course itself.

Help Button

Parents can click on the Help button and the Search the Canvas Guides link to find more info in the knowledge base maintained by Instructure, the company that sells Canvas.

Activity Stream

The right side of the Dashboard includes a listing of assignments/events under Coming Up:
Also, a parent can click on the View Grades button in this column to see a listing of scores for assignments graded in Canvas. Note; not all assignments are managed in Canvas. Only Powerschool lists all student scores earned for a particular marking period.




Canvas Parent Guide for the iOS App (PDF or video)

To configure the Canvas Parent app with the "Find My School" tool, enter "Regional School District 18 Parent". The "Regional School District 18" option only works with the Canvas Student and Canvas Teacher apps.

Instructure has published a Canvas Parent Guide for the iOS App.

Instructure has also made a video tour of the Canvas Parent App available.

Canvas Parent Guide for the Android App (PDF or video)

To configure the Canvas Parent app with the "Find My School" tool, enter "Regional School District 18 Parent". The "Regional School District 18" option only works with  the Canvas Student and Canvas Teacher apps.

Instructure has published a Canvas Parent Guide for the Android App.

Instructure has also made a video tour of the Canvas Parent App available.

How To Obtain Help With Canvas As A Parent

Within Canvas, click on the Help button in the menu on the left side:
Then, click on the link to Search the Canvas Guides. Here you can browse for content, search by keyword, or download manuals.

If you are having trouble creating a Canvas Parent account, or logging into a Canvas Parent account you created previously, email Tammy Noyes.

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