Delco News PowerSchool Article
Web portal to keep parents informed
Newly-launched PowerSchool student/parent portal will allow parents to access students' grades and attendance
- This is the result of an interview I did after trying out PowerSchool for a year before public release at Haverford High School--Plaz 16:58, 26 February 2007 (EST)
HAVERFORD TWP - The school district took a step towards the brave new world of online, real-time classroom feedback Feb. 5 with the launch of the new student/parent portal, called PowerSchool.
By signing into the portal online, students and parents in the middle school and high school will be able to access students' grades and attendance, teacher comments and daily announcements.
"We are all benefiting from seeing an accurate snapshot of any one student at any one time," said Jane Greenspun, director of the district technology services. "It's really a wonderful tool for students to take ownership of their own learning."
Greenspun said the Web site is designed to help students, first and foremost, many of whom are at ease using technology as an organizational tool. Over 3,000 students in both schools will have access to the portal.
"Students can actively participate in what is going on with them," she said.
Students who tested the website during a beta period responded with positive feedback, said Greenspun, and said they used the system to clarify homework assignments and grading systems.
"I think it's a really helpful tool for students to see how they are doing in a class," said 10th-grader Michael Plasmeier, who participated in the beta. "It's better than having to wait for a report card."
Plasmeier said that different teachers updated the Web site differently - some provided almost real-time feedback, while others lagged a couple of weeks behind.
He said viewing his grades regularly motivated him to work harder, especially when he saw a disappointing quiz score. The Web site even allowed him to catch a couple of grading mistakes made by teachers.
Parents can also check the Web site, and receive email updates from the school. There are also links to each teacher's email address on the site.
"It gives parents an opportunity to play a role in their students' education that they haven't before," said Greenspun. "The dinner conversations have changed, to some degree."
Greenspun said that parents could progress from asking their child "what are your grades?" to "what can be done to improve your grades?"
Conversations with teachers also change.
"Many teachers love it because it eliminates many inquiries into 'how is my student doing?'" she said.
Greenspun admitted that some students would not be comfortable with parents having all of their grade and attendance records at their fingertips, but she said it was up to the parents to decide how to use the information.
Students and parents have each been provided a login password that allows them to view only information pertinent to an individual student, said Greenspun. Even if someone were to get unauthorized access to a student's profile, she said, the portal contains no private information, such as address or social security number.
Still in its first weeks of use, the site will be updated and improved over time, said Greenspun.
"Students have very much enjoyed using it," she said. "We think it is going to be a huge success."