January 7, 2012
No test score, absence, or tardy can easily go unnoticed now that Olentangy schools have made grade reports available online.
For about a month, the district has allowed parents or guardians to take an electronic peek into teachers’ grade books on a daily basis.
“It’s a great step for our parents to become really interactive with our students’ performance,” said school board president Julie Wagner Feasel.
The program, PowerSchool, shows a student’s composite grade for the nine-week semester, explained Wagner Feasel. That score is also a link, which brings up every graded assignment, every quiz score, every attendance — everything that constitutes that grade.
“Teachers are putting their grades in the system anyway,” said Wagner Feasel. “Now this allows the parents to view them.”
Olentangy began converting from eSIS, an internal database, to Powerschool last summer, according to Olentangy local schools technology director Keith Pomeroy.
Parents’ log-in information was distributed the beginning of the second semester, Pomeroy said, after the district ensured the program was compatible with keeping records mandated by the state.
“The most interesting thing we’ve had happen is that students were demanding access after their parents got it,” Pomeroy said. “We were focused on parents first, but students wanted access right away.”
Now, the majority of students now have access to their own grades, Pomeroy said. Parents’ log-ins, however, allow them to view all their children’s grades simultaneously.
The next step in the process will be to make elementary students’ grade accessible online, which Wagner Feasel said could happen next year.
Ultimately, she added, the goal is to eliminate the printed report card.
That may not be for another one to two years, however. Wagner Feasel said the schools are still focusing on getting everyone comfortable with the new program.
Those who do not own a computer may access the grade reports from a public library, Wagner Feasel suggested.
The costs associated with the program were not immediately available. However, as Wagner Feasel pointed out, the new technology would eventually spare the district the postage costs of sending report cards.
“I would say most districts in the state are doing (online grade books) at this point,” Pomeroy said.
Upper Arlington, Bexley, and Westerville districts are also using PowerSchool, Pomeroy said. Delaware City and Big Walnut are using alternative online grade book programs.
ProgressBook and eSchoolPlus are other commonly used grade book systems.