February 9, 2013 7:50:33 PM
Heritage Academy is taking strides to stay up to date with technology while fostering a relationship between parents and teachers.
The private school is entering its second year of utilizing the Power School program, a web-based system that allows parents to check on their child's academic progress in real time.
Every day, teachers log into the program and upload each student's grades, current class average as well as upcoming tests and assignments. Parents are assigned their own log-on code and can check on their child's progress any time of day to see up-to-minute results. Students are also given their own log-on code so they can monitor their grades as well. In a household with more than one student, each child's grades are listed under the same account, giving the parent access to all of their children's grades at the click of a button.
Dr. Greg Carlyle, the school's headmaster, said the program has improved communication with parents.
"We've created an opportunity to have a seamless communication between school and home," Carlyle said.
Cindy Wamble, principal of Heritage Elementary, said a parent's ability to chart their child's progress regularly is far better than before, when a parent might not be aware of a child's struggles until they received a progress report or report card.
"Parents will say 'I didn't know my child was failing before I saw the progress report,' but now they can check on their grades before it gets that far," Wamble said. "They feel a part of the education process now."
Janet Lewis, the school's technology officer, said most parents not only use the program from their computer but have installed a smart phone application as well. Lewis said in the coming weeks, the school plans to update its software, which will allow the school to send parents information via text messages.
Heritage parent Judy Dunaway said the program has created an open line of communication with her son, Parker.
"I really like the system," she said. "It enables me to not only check his grades on a daily basis but to check his upcoming tests and assignments."
Dunaway hopes that Parker is learning positive study habits now so he will be prepared when he goes to college next year.
"I encourages him to use the app on his phone so he can see his average, not just his grades. I hope if he is staying on top of his grades now, then when he gets to college next year he will have trained himself to stay on top of things."
Carlyle said the program has revolutionized the way parents communicate with teachers and students.
"It's just another way to build a partnership between parents and teachers," he said.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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