During this week's parent-teacher conferences, parents in the R-6 district will be introduced to the option of signing up for a new program launched by the district, ParentLink -- an Internet-ready program that will allow parents to access timely information about their students' progress in school.
"We have a very good turnout with parent-teacher conferences -- about 90 percent -- so we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to introduce the program to the parents," said R-6 Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller.
Parents who sign up for ParentLink will be able to access their child's course schedule, current day attendance, attendance history, quarter and semester grades, grade history, mid-quarter and progress grades to date and lunch history and balances.
Parents of prekindergarten and kindergarten students will have access to only current day attendance, attendance history and lunch history/balances.
In addition, current assignment and test grade information will be available for parents of students in eighth and ninth grade only.
"The junior high teachers were already entering their assignments in a program, and they seemed more technologically receptive to doing this," Borgsmiller said about why the junior was selected to pilot the program. Next school year assignment and test grade information will be added in grades 10, 11 and 12. Then during the 2007-2008 school year, seventh grade will be added.
"Our entire goal is to give another way for parents to access information about their children on a timely basis," Borgsmiller said.
Often times parents have reservation about calling a teacher at home for information about their child's grades or homework assignments, Borgsmiller noted. ParentLink will provide an opportunity for parents to get some of those answers, he said.
"There's always some child, from time to time, who is not doing assignments, and parents can view the Web site and see the homework assigned," Borgsmiller said.
To register, parents will be required to provide a picture ID, e-mail address, and they will fill out a form. If parents don't sign up at conferences, they can sign up at the building their children attend. If parents have more than one child attending school, they can sign up at one building, Borgsmiller noted. Once the school has entered a parent's information into the program, the parent will be sent an e-mail containing login information. Additional information will be available for other buildings in the future, Borgsmiller said.
Last week Scott County R-4 (Kelly) Schools also introduced ParentLink to its parents during parent-teacher conferences.
Kelly Schools technology coordinator Reatha Paul said she thinks the program is one parents will view as positive.
"The only thing they have to have is an e-mail address," Paul noted. "I'm hoping if anyone doesn't have one, we can sign them up for a Hotmail or Yahoo account."
ParentLink is a module to the School Information Systems students record program. The only other area school district to implement ParentLink is Jackson R-2, which has had the program for a couple of years.
Paul said she thinks the lunch account balance information will be very beneficial to parents.
"Our offices get numerous calls about how much money is in their kids' lunch accounts," Paul noted.
Although the information for ParentLink is updated hourly, Paul said parents will not have access to live data.
"We will maybe try to update it by noon so if a child isn't in school and their parents don't know about it, they will know before the day is over," Paul explained.
According to the district's Web site, the program is available to parents of high school students. In the future, Kelly's goal is to include more grades in the elementary, Paul said. The goal at Kelly is to have the program available for parents to view sometime this quarter.