Today, I received via snail-mail our account information for Skyward — the new student information system for Oak Ridge Schools. Skyward replaces K-12 Planet, which parents have used for a couple of years to access students’ current grades and attendance online.
K-12 Planet was okay — better than nothing — but teachers didn’t universally participate (at least at my kids’ schools), and it didn’t have as much information. Skyward is an integrated system that doesn’t require teachers to input grades separately for the web. Therefore, since it’s the same system as is used for state attendance reporting, midterms, report cards, and everything else, they should all use it.
At this point, almost all of them are. If you click the "attendance" tab, a calendar shows any day where your student was absent or tardy for even part of the day. If you click that date, it shows an explanation, e.g., "doctor’s excuse." If you click a letter grade on the grade report, it shows a detail of all assignments, tests, etc. One notable improvement for me is that one login — mine — shows information for both of my children, even though they are at different schools. With K-12 Planet, I had a different login for each school.
Each child has their own login as well, so they can see their own grades, but not their siblings’.
It’s important for parents not to go overboard on this kind of thing; don’t freak out if you see one quiz with a low grade. But it’s really helpful to log in regularly, so that if you see a pattern, you can address it before it becomes an irreversible problem. Most teachers are anxious to help if only the student asks.
There’s also a "notifications" tab where you can request reports to be e-mailed to you periodically, or if a student’s grade or assignments fall below a specified percentage.
For the parents who choose to utilize it, this will be an excellent tool for improving communication between school and home.