1 Thing the West Hempstead School District Could Do Right Now to Increase Parental Involvement

I think this one change could increase parental Involvement in the West Hempstead School District. Do you agree?

I was able to attend the Feb. 2 meeting of District Administrators, Teachers and Board of Education Trustees. Please see the

They talked amongst themselves about how they possibly could raise student achievement, connect more with parents, parents needing to be more involved, etc. while also being aware of the tough economic times we live in. As a strong advocate of parents being involved, I couldn’t agree more with them about parental involvement being an integral part of a child’s education.  I am also a big proponent of being cost conscious so here is a low cost point (possibly free) learned from that meeting that I feel could be instituted immediately and one that may increase parental involvement.

PowerSchool was an important topic discussed at the meeting. For those that may not know, PowerSchool is the District’s platform for displaying and disbursing student’s information to parents from Middle School through High School. Each student is assigned a unique ID and Password. (By the way, if you need your username and password, please call the school.)

By accessing PowerSchool, parents can contact teachers via email, as well as view grades and attendance.  In addition, parents may select the option of receiving daily/weekly/monthly emails of the information pertaining to their child.  As I understand it, parental usage during the school year can be monitored by both the District and Teachers. Apparently, PowerSchool usage is so low in West Hempstead that I hear about it from the Teachers nearly every time the subject comes up.

So...if it is known that PowerSchool usage by parents is so low, why keep doing the same thing? Now, this certainly is not my idea, but I wish to bring it to the forefront…Why can’t the default settings for PowerSchool be set to at least send out a monthly grade email to all parents who have not accessed their child’s grades this year? Yes, the District would need to get email addresses of those parents, but I do believe that the task is worth it and will have a big payoff in student achievement in the end.

If the School District meeting outlined above, wishes to get parents involved and the current usage for PowerSchool is low, this modification would seem to address both issues fairly easily and cheaply so why not make the change as soon as possible?  Hopefully those parents who did not previously have their child's grades would now be armed with information and could engage their children in discussion about school more often. Possibly, with a little encouragement by parents, grades, student involvement and student achievement would all go up.

We still have more than four months remaining in the school year and I think in that time a big difference can be made...so....why shouldn't the WHUFSD make the change this month?

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Marshall W. Myers February 13, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Manny-I agree that parental involvement is vital to the success of students and the school district. What about the involvement of the community at large? Everyone pays school taxes whether or not they have children in the schools. I have espoused two ideas in the past: The school board should be "hitting the streets" and making presentations to other community groups within West Hempstead, ie the West Hempstead Community Support Association, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Having public meetings is simply not enough. Secondly, a presentation should be made to the real estate brokers who sell the homes in the community. For example, the Westbury school district has a realtor breakfast every year (at the school) to discuss past accomplishments, and current and future programs. For the students and the district to thrive, the schools need the feedback and support from the ENTIRE community.
Manny Martinez February 14, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Hi Marshall-Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that community involvement is very important for the overall success of our schools. We need A LOT MORE residents to be involved and to present and discuss their ideas to School Board members and School Administrators. I too have suggested that budget meetings be held at St. Thomas and HANC but apparently that option is not being taken. As for your Realtor breakfast, I never heard about that before but that seems like a VERY good idea and one that the District should consider. Take care and see you around town.
Sonia J Lopez August 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Powerschool is such a great tool for parents. I used it often when my oldest was a student at the WHHS. My son wasn't exactly forthcoming as to how well (or bad) he was doing in school (teenagers, bah!) and I didn't like surprises when those progress reports came in the mail. I have an idea, mind you, I don't know much about technology or how much it would co$t our district to implement, but, can the website be made into a mobile app? These days most adults I know are walking around with a smart phone, so why not put Powerschool at the end of their fingertips? Just this past weekend we got one of those "post card looking" mailers from Nassau County advising of the transformation of their website into a mobile app and both my husband and I downloaded it to our IPads, the app it's very user friendly. Again, this is just an idea. I don't know what it would entailed in terms of costs and privacy issues.
Manny Martinez August 21, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Hi Sonia...Thank you for your comment. Studies have shown that involved parents make a BIG difference in a child's education. I think PowerSchool is a great tool however as I understand it, few parents actually use it. (Apparently teachers can view who is accessing the system but the numbers are not very high.) The blog above is simply trying to make the case for better use of the technology we already have and not spend new money. As for your idea about a mobile app ....Try visiting and discussing your idea with Adminsitration at 252 Chestnut Street, West Hempstead, NY 11552 or via phone: (516) 390-3100. Let us know what they say. Take care and have a great day!


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