‘Parent Portal’ will allow parents to see children’s grades, other info

Published 11:19 am Friday, December 16, 2011

Parents of Decatur County school children will soon be able to use a new website to keep up to date on their children’s grades, attendance rate, and other information.

Dr. Fred Rayfield, superintendent of the Decatur County Schools, told members of the Board of Education about the new “Parent Portal,” at the board’s planning meeting Thursday evening. Rayfield said the new website will tentatively be activated in mid-January, and parents will soon receive letters about how to use it.

The new “Parent Portal” website will allow a school parent to log in with a unique username and password, and view information pertaining to their child. That information might include grades and attendance records, as well as records of whether a child has turned in individual assignments.

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“We’re just creating an electronic avenue to make it more convenient for our parents to stay informed about how their children are doing in school,” Rayfield said.

Steve Dunn, the technology director for the Decatur County Schools, said the Parent Portal will also include a page for contact information. If a parent changes phone numbers or addresses, they will be able to log into the portal and quickly update them.

Dunn explained that there will be an “app” available through the Android Market that will even allow smartphone users to view the information straight from their handheld device.

“Parents will even be able to see if their child owes any money, like library fines,” Dunn said. “It’s going to be a great tool for parents to stay informed of their progress.”

Rayfield said that teachers have already been educated on the Parent Portal, and have been asked to update their information at least once a week. He noted that teachers are already recording their grades electronically, and it should not be too cumbersome to also update the Parent Portal at the same time.

“This obviously creates a high level of accountability for our staff, to be sure the information is accurate and up-to-date,” he said. “We can’t go two months without posting any grades, but it would also be unrealistic for parents to expect that a child’s 2 p.m. test might be on the website by 4 p.m. that same day. I think both sides have realistic expectations.”

Rayfield said any disputes or conferences between parents and teachers will still be held “face-to-face,” but hopefully the Parent Portal will cut down on the number of mundane phone calls and emails that teachers receive.

“I know that our parents have been requesting something like this for a number of years, and we’re excited about it,” he said.