Saturday, October 4, 2003
Susan Rossi, like most parents, wants to be kept informed of her children's performance in school.
But as her seventh-grade daughter gets older and the extracurricular activities and responsibilities grow, Rossi understands she may not always be able to depend on her daughter for academic updates.
Enter PowerSchool Guardian, a Web-based Apple Computer data management software program South Routt School District officials hope will allow parents to take a greater role in their children's schooling.
"In essence, it's a communication tool," Soroco High School Principal James Chamberlin said Friday. "It allows parents to log in with a password and view the grade book of each of the classes their students are in."
In addition to grades, parents can access full attendance reports for their child, teacher comments, school announcements and their child's cafeteria meal balance with just the click of a button.
Parents or guardians have access only to their children's information, and the Web page can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer.
"This is going to be real good for us to keep up on what (our daughter) is doing," Rossi said. "If something's going on, I want to know immediately."
And because teachers are required to input grades and attendance records for their students every week, the system should remain up-to-date throughout the school year.
Chamberlin said the program is intended to improve, not replace, communication between parent and student.
"We've asked parents to first communicate with their children," Chamberlin said. "We want it primarily to be a communication piece between parent and student. Ultimately, the students are responsible for the grades in their classes."
PowerSchool Guardian, which is accessible only to the parents and guardians of South Routt middle and high school students, was presented to families on Back to School Night.
"There was quite a bit of enthusiasm around it," Chamberlin said.
Last week the district mailed passwords to parents and guardians.
Implementing PowerSchool Guardian is just one of many technological advances the district has made over the past several years, Chamberlin said. The district has added a high-speed Internet network with at least one connected computer in every classroom. Last year, district teachers began inputting attendance and grades into a PowerSchool program designed specifically for instructors and staff. The PowerSchool program initially was implemented by the district to replace an antiquated data management program that couldn't integrate with the state Department of Education's automated data exchange system, Chamberlin said.
With a year to work out the bugs and get teachers comfortable with the software, the district set its sights on this year to introduce the parent and guardian segment of the program.
The program also should help the district meet its goal of improving communication with the community and increasing parental involvement, Chamberlin said.
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