Friday, December 9, 2011

Parent portal 1st impressions

different school system, same portal
After a call to the help desk and several hours of waiting, my Parent Portal account is now working. I didn't do anything wrong. There's what strikes me as a pretty big bug in the system (but I was told it would be fixed very soon). You have to enter all your kids when you first log into the system. If one teacher, or school, is more swift on giving you the access numbers you need wait for the slower party. There is no way to enter an additional child once you have created your account without a call into the North Ave. IT help desk. This warning is probably too late, but there you have it. And if you don't work by a phone that you can sit on hold on... oh well.

So, now, nearly half way into the school year I can see all sort of grades on line. 

Some pluses and minuses that strike me right off the bat:
+ This should mean no report card or status report comes as a surprise. 
- It seems like I'm going to be micro-managing how swiftly teachers use this online tool. So far there seem to be very few posted assignments, so the idea of keeping up with homework before a bad grade shows up isn't going to happen. These updates every two weeks? I guess we'll see. If I see a teacher not using this tool can I give them the same level of grief they give students who don't follow rules? And who would I tell, or is it just going to be another source of friction at meetings? This is worse case, but theoretically, I can see problems.
+ It's nice to know all sorts of information, for example, didn't that absence excuse get turned in? I know I wrote it.
- The interface seems needlessly complex, but I can work through it. I'm not sure what percentage of parents can.

That's all I've got for now - I'll keep you posted as the year goes on.


  1. I liked seeing grades and comments but was otherwise unimpressed. I'm always shocked by how clunky these institutional portal type things are. Like, really? They've been around for a long time now. But my husband's in the tech field so I might be biased :)

  2. @Stephanie
    I agree - very clunky, and if you're trying to draw in parents who aren't experienced with any account-type website I think it might cause some to give up.
    PS - you got comments? I'm jealous :-)

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