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Online portal will give parents, students more access to records
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Parents are going to have a new way to keep up with their children’s school progress this year.

The school system is now offering portal accounts for parents and for middle and high school students.

“When students log in as themselves they see all the information on themselves,” Noralee Deason, information systems coordinator, said. “When a parent logs in with their credentials they see all the children in their household, so that keeps them from having to have an account for every child if they have several children in the school system.”

She said parents and students will be able to see grades on assignments, attendance and report cards. High school students will also be able to see unofficial transcripts. Parents will be able to verify emergency contact information, and call the school to make changes if needed. Some schools are also using the software to keep track of any fees students owe, and parents would have that information available.

Deason said the system tested the parent portal last spring. Staff members with children in the district were given a log in to test what works well, and what does not.

“We got a lot back from them as far as teachers being more specific with assignment names, and more timely grade entry, and we’re sharing that with our teachers to make sure they are aware of what the expectations will be by parents once we go fully live this year,” Deason said.

She said it will most likely be a week or two after school begins before parents begin to see grades posted in the portal.

The new portal does not require any additional record keeping for teachers.

“It’s connected to what (teachers) are already doing, which is what’s great about it. The only change for teachers is having to make sure they’re timely in entering their grades, and specific with their assignment names,” she said. “In the past it was just for teacher use, they could abbreviate things so that they understood them, now they have to be more careful to make sure that parents and students understand the assignments and things like that.”

“I think the benefits will be tremendous as far as keeping up with your progress on an ongoing basis,” Deason said. “For teachers to have to print out progress reports constantly is just too time consuming for them.”

She said it will allow parents and students to keep track continuously of progress, and not have to wait for progress reports to know how a student is performing in school.

Deason said the portal may not be beneficial to parents of children in kindergarten because those students do not have traditional grading.

She said it is important for parents and students to have reasonable expectations of teachers using the portal.

“Teachers are expected to typically put in grades once a week, but long term projects may take longer than that,” she said. “Because a child takes a test today does not mean that a teacher is going to grade it and enter that data today.”

Deason said it would not be reasonable to expect a teacher to test 100 students, and have all of the tests graded and entered by the end of the day.

Students in middle and high school have already received their portal access information.

She said the system used the student portal for final report cards to save money on postage costs.

“That way the students could log in with their IDs, it was much easier to give IDs to them because we know who they are, we went ahead and issued all of those so the students could go online and print out their report cards from home once they were released. That worked out a lot better than spending a lot of money on postage right now when we’re trying to cut back where we can.”

Parents who pre-registered by July 26 will be able to receive their access information at open house. Those who did not pre-register will not be able to register and pick up the information beginning on Aug. 11.

Student schedules for middle and high school students are now available on the portal.