Online tools like Parent Portal help parents in Columbia County keep track of their children's grades and assignments. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 10, 2011)
News 12 This Morning / Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2011
EVANS, Ga. -- It is day three of school and teachers in Columbia County are already using Parent Portal. This year, the system has some new upgrades.
If you have a child that is starting off at middle school this year, and you're not sure how to keep track of all their teachers and classes once you drop them off at school, then Parent Portal is what the school district wants you to use to keep track.
For busy parents like Mike Sleeper, who is also a school board member, the Parent Portal provides a way to keep track of his son's progress.
"It's amazing," he said. "You didn't really know what was going on with your child, you weren't quite sure what assignments they had."
Now, he has an all-access pass to his son's sixth grade classes.
"I can see every class, every assignment, tests, everything," Sleeper said. "My eyes are now open to what's going on with my child."
Angie Deming, of the Columbia County schools' student information team, says there are new upgrades that help teachers navigate better and it's easier for them to put in grades.
"This year, the new teacher tools, which cut down on a lot of putting in percentages, setting up new categories; now it's more check this box, fill this out," Deming said.
The new design layout is user-friendly for parents like Sleeper who want all the information in one place.
"I've looked at my child's schedule, seen when the progress report will be," Sleeper said. "I've seen my child has a quiz coming up on Thursday."
By making sure the information parents need is only a few keystrokes away, Sleeper hopes other parents will take a more proactive approach at home.
"If they don't have the information, they don't really know what to do," he said. "They may not know where their child needs a little help or may not know their child really didn't turn in an assignment."
As the school district tries to keep up with the digital age, this Parent Portal tool is helping moms and dads keep on eye on the classroom from home.
It is mandatory for teachers to use it in Columbia County. Parents in Columbia County can gain access only if they have a child in middle and high schools.
Parents in Columbia County can access Parent Portal at: here.
A PDF with detailed instructions for logging on can be found here
Parents in Aiken can access the Parent Portal website here
In Richmond County, the school district may not put up the link until the third week of school because the school district is still in the process of transitioning to a new student information system.