Parents looking to stay abreast of their child’s educational progress, as well as having daily and weekly contact with their teachers, are sure to be pleased with Parent Assistant, a new interactive online program that will be introduced in the Sampson County School system with the start of the 2012-13 school year.
A trial run of the free program was initiated in the spring at Plain View Elementary, Midway Middle and Roseboro-Salemburg Elementary School, said John Gilmore, director of technology and accountability with Sampson County Schools.
“We wanted to do a soft run to make sure everything was working properly, and Parent Assistant was a big success,” he explained. “We didn’t hear any negative comments. The principals were happy with it and the parents that went in and accessed it online were also very pleased, so, we are looking forward to doing the full roll-out this year.”
With the Parent Assistant Program, Gilmore said parents, who will be given log-in account information by their children’s principal, can see their child’s progress reports, test results, attendance, report cards and transcripts. Most will be updated weekly, some daily.
“The teachers will go on and post students’ grades or their progress,” Gilmore noted. “There is even a space where the teacher can submit comments to the parent and vice versa. They just have to check their account.”
Gilmore said the technology crew had to begin setup of the program last fall to work out the kinks before they began the test run of Parent Assistant.
“It is set up through NC Wise,” he explained. “The thing we had to work out was the issue with parents who had more than one student at different schools.”
For example, a parent wouldn’t want to have three different log-ins/passwords, if that parent had three children in elementary, middle and high school.
“The way we worked it out is if a parent is in that situation, they just log-in and all three of their children will pop up,” Gilmore said. “They will just have one account, that is where all the work came in. We finished that up and DPI rolled it out for us and we just asked schools who would offer to help us test it. Plain View, Midway Middle and Roseboro-Salemburg offered, and it went off great with everyone, so we are feeling really good about officially launching it this year in every school.”
Although it seems like it possibly could, Gilmore said Parent Assistant should not put more work on educators in the classroom.
“They already have to enter each student’s grades into NC Wise, that is how report cards are generated,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any additional effort on the teachers. The only thing with Parent Assistant is that if teacher waited until the end of a semester to put in grades before, they are going to have to start keeping up with it daily because parents are going to want to know. It is a good thing because there will now be an open line of communication directly between the parent and the teacher.”
Superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker said Parent Assistant will make things more efficient for both the parent and educator.
“Any time we can make communication between parents, teachers and the school easier and more efficient, we need to take advantage of the situation,” he said. “Hopefully, Parent Assistant will allow a lot of parents an almost on-demand progress reporting, i.e. parents will be able to see missed assignments, test and quizzes, etc … on a weekly basis instead of having to wait for the usual mid-term progress reports.”
Parents will get their first introduction to the Parent Assistant program next week during open houses.
“I can tell you, we are just really excited about the program,” added Gilmore.
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