05/14/12 — Parents now can access grades, etc. online

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Parents now can access grades, etc. online

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 14, 2012 1:46 PM

Parents who want to know more about their child's progress in school will be able to track it online, thanks to a web-based initiative being introduced in Wayne County Public Schools.

The Parent Assistant Module, or PAM, runs in tandem with NC Wise student information management system, which tracks attendance as well as grades.

Robert Yancey, director of testing/NC Wise for the district, said the program will allow parents to become more involved in the educational process.

"At any point in time, parents can log on and be in the loop," he said, explaining that in the case of grades, there might be a 24-hour delay.

Schools have recently been notifying parents about the program and how to log on.

The program essentially serves as the equivalent of a progress report or interim report card, Yancey said.

In addition to monitoring progress in all the courses the student has taken, as well as absences, parents will also be able to change or update emergency information and contacts.

At this point, 61 percent of the schools are fully operational with the system, Yancey said, and the remaining 39 percent are expected to be finished within the next week.

During a presentation to the school board, Yancey explained that the free program, provided by the state Department of Public Instruction, was optional to districts but Wayne County chose to take advantage of it.

"What about high school?" asked board member Thelma Smith. "Will they have an opportunity to help provide input as to what a child should take?"

The program was not designed for that, Yancey replied. Likewise, it does not offer the option to register online for courses, he said.

"How often is information updated for attendance?" said board member Arnold Flowers.

"Every 24 hours," Yancey said. "It pulls it from the NC Wise system."

Board member Len Henderson asked whether teachers decide what information to post online as far as grades.

"There's a component within it, where they create assignments, put in a date," Yancey said. "Basically, they're telling the NC Wise system to post an assignment on this date for the PAM. Some schools do it every week."

Board members said they favored having such a system available for parents in the district.

Board member Rick Pridgen said it would be especially beneficial in response to parents' concerns that they have not received a progress report or wished they could have been apprised of problem areas before report cards came out.

"Now you have got it in almost real-time and if you take the time to go online, you can find out what's going on," he said.