Parents accessing kids’ online grades

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SALEM TOWNSHIP – Eighty percent of parents with kids at Mt. Abram High School have gone online to check their children’s grades this year, Superintendent Quenten Clark said Friday.

“It’s a great system, and it works well,” he said, describing the PowerSchool program that allows teachers to post their students’ grades on a Web site that can be accessed by parents and students. “They can go online and they can do what’s called a quick lookup to see all the child’s grades. If they click on the grade, (the program) gives them every single grade the teacher’s put in the grade book.”

Not just anybody can access the files, he said. The student, their teacher, the principal and the child’s parents have the only access.

Clark said the program has been in use in other SAD 58 schools for years but this is the first it’s been a hit at the high school. One of the great things about PowerSchool, Clark said, is that when parents can check their children’s grades regularly there are “no more surprises.”

“Used to be, you’d get a report card at the end” of each semester, “and maybe mid-quarter.” But since teachers began posting grades online with PowerSchool, “now a parent can go online anytime. It’s really a very powerful thing, in terms of connecting parents and teachers – I think grades are (getting) higher because of this.”

Clark said there has been opposition to the program in other school districts – SAD 9 among them – partly because some teachers fear posting kids’ low grades might raise the ire of parents. But “at Mt. Abram” parent anger at low grades has not been directed at teachers. Instead, Clark said, he expects parents are noticing early when their child, say, fails to turn in an assignment or doesn’t do well on a test.

“Now the parents can go online and see if the kid’s done their homework,” Clark said.

“Kids always do better when their parents are involved,” he added.

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