Web-based program helps parents stay in touch with teachers

Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2004

Between crumpled papers in kids' backpacks and insistent pleas that "I don't have any homework," it's not always easy for parents to get a handle on their students' progress in school.

That's why the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is offering a new tool to help students, parents and teachers stay in touch.

The tool is EdLine, a Chicago-based company that provides Web hosting for kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers across the country. The company offers a Web-based set of services that can feature everything from individualized calendars to student forums to grade information.

Jim White, the KPBSD director of information services, explained that the district is primarily using the program to help students and parents keep up-to-date on grading.

It works like this:

Each course, teacher and school has a Web page on the site, which parents and students can access using a personalized account. Students can set up passwords to look at their own grades, while parents can set up accounts so they can check all their children's grades at one place.

Using a standardized, Web-based grade book, teachers throughout the district upload student test and homework scores weekly, giving students and parents a constantly updated look at kids' progress in school.

Information such as assessment test data, attendance records and report cards also can be uploaded by teachers and viewed by parents and teachers at the site.

While EdLine has a wide range of possible services, White said the key point for the district is the constant ability to track student achievement.

"The real power is in capturing the grades, where students are at currently," White said.

Use of the program piloted last year at several schools serving seventh through 12th-grade students. This year, use of the program will be mandatory for teachers in grades four through 12.

"We're really trying to partner with parents to give them the information teachers have so they can be bigger part of knowing where kids are at in the educational process," White said.

So far, he said, the program has been popular with the families who have used it. In fact, he was surprised by the re-sponse from students, he said.

"Students want to see where they're at right now, too," White said.

Parents and students will be given information on how to set up accounts at the beginning of the school year. From there, it's a matter of regularly checking the Web site to stay up-to-date.

Use of the program requires access to a computer and the Internet but is free to parents. The program is designed to be user-friendly and operates on a simple point-and-click format.

"It's very easy to use," White said.

For more information on the program or a live demonstration online, visit www.ed line.com.

By JENNI DILLON

Peninsula Clarion

Between crumpled papers in kids' backpacks and insistent pleas that "I don't have any homework," it's not always easy for parents to get a handle on their students' progress in school.

That's why the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is offering a new tool to help students, parents and teachers stay in touch.

The tool is EdLine, a Chicago-based company that provides Web hosting for kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers across the country. The company offers a Web-based set of services that can feature everything from individualized calendars to student forums to grade information.

Jim White, the KPBSD director of information services, explained that the district is primarily using the program to help students and parents keep up-to-date on grading.

It works like this:

Each course, teacher and school has a Web page on the site, which parents and students can access using a personalized account. Students can set up passwords to look at their own grades, while parents can set up accounts so they can check all their children's grades at one place.

Using a standardized, Web-based grade book, teachers throughout the district upload student test and homework scores weekly, giving students and parents a constantly updated look at kids' progress in school.

Information such as assessment test data, attendance records and report cards also can be uploaded by teachers and viewed by parents and teachers at the site.

While EdLine has a wide range of possible services, White said the key point for the district is the constant ability to track student achievement.

"The real power is in capturing the grades, where students are at currently," White said.

Use of the program piloted last year at several schools serving seventh through 12th-grade students. This year, use of the program will be mandatory for teachers in grades four through 12.

"We're really trying to partner with parents to give them the information teachers have so they can be bigger part of knowing where kids are at in the educational process," White said.

So far, he said, the program has been popular with the families who have used it. In fact, he was surprised by the re-sponse from students, he said.

"Students want to see where they're at right now, too," White said.

Parents and students will be given information on how to set up accounts at the beginning of the school year. From there, it's a matter of regularly checking the Web site to stay up-to-date.

Use of the program requires access to a computer and the Internet but is free to parents. The program is designed to be user-friendly and operates on a simple point-and-click format.

"It's very easy to use," White said.

For more information on the program or a live demonstration online, visit www.ed line.com.



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