Online grades help mom track son’s progress
The worried mom of a high school pupil is pleased to get online access to information on her son’s academic progress after months of failed attempts.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said yesterday that she would now be more “in tune” with her 15-year-old son’s schooling.
She added: “I can actually see where he needs help before I get that report card.
“You have things on a day-to-day basis, like assignments for the week and things like that — these are things that I can follow on a weekly basis.”
The woman said that she had contacted the Berkeley Institute in September after she hit problems getting in to the PowerSchool Parent Portal.
The online tool was designed to give parents access to pupil grades, assignments and attendance records.
The 38-year-old Pembroke woman received an e-mail that advised that the school had experienced “a few issues” with parental access to the online database.
It added: “Please note that the ministry is aware and are diligently working to resolve the issue.
“We will advise once the issue has been rectified and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
The woman said that she was later advised by the school to contact the Ministry of Education about the problem.
She added that she had finally been able to access the online information.
She said details on some of her son’s classes were missing.
The woman added: “If you are putting this in play, it should be mandatory for the teachers.”
She said that she did not know her son had struggled in his history class last year.
The woman explained: “I got a last-minute phone call telling me that he had to do summer school.
“Had I had access to PowerSchool I would have known this and I would have found out what his difficulties were.”
The woman said that she had received one report card for her son since September, which contained letter and number grades, as well as teacher comments.
Shannon James, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said that pupil grades were being logged into PowerSchool by high schoolteachers.
He admitted that not all primary and middle schoolteachers had been adding grades to PowerSchool due to concerns over the introduction of standards-based grading.
Mr James said that primary and middle schoolteachers were maintaining a hard copy of pupil grades “so that when PowerSchool and the method to enter grades is ready they can be inputted”.
He added that grades were added “as assignments are completed — and this will vary from teacher to teacher”.
Mr James said that parents without access to a computer or who had problems with the system could contact their child’s school for a copy of their grades.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education confirmed yesterday that there was a “variance from school to school” in the addition of pupil grades to PowerSchool.
She promised the variations “will be reduced this month forward” and that teachers would be expected to update grades every two weeks “as the Bermuda Public School System moves towards standards-based grading”.
She added that PowerSchool “is currently functioning properly and is available and accessible to all parents”.
She was speaking as the Department of Education issued an update on “various changes” to the online platform “caused by required updates to the system”.
The spokeswoman said: “Parents should be aware that required updates made to PowerSchool have caused a minor change to how they interface with the login portion of the programme.”
• Parents with questions or concerns about PowerSchool should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org