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?