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What you need to know for 01/21/2017

Parents can't access Schenectady school portal

Parents can't access Schenectady school portal

Schenectady schools' transition to a new parent portal hasn't gotten off the ground.
Schenectady schools’ transition to a new student information system has been delayed this semester, leaving parents without access to a web portal that shows their child’s grades and attendance.
 
Plagued by technical challenges while attempting to migrate the data of thousands of students over to a new system — called Infinite Campus — district officials have had to hold off on opening the system to parents — even as teachers are beginning to use the new system to record student attendance and grades.
 
Schenectady Superintendent Larry Spring said the district is looking to confirm home address, phone numbers and other information to make sure that the right students are paired with the right identifiers in the new system. Earlier this month, district officials mailed a letter to all families in the district, seeking confirmation about certain pieces of student information. The sooner parents return that form, Spring said, the sooner the district can get the portal up and running.
 
“We have enough errors with student and family census data that we don’t want to open the parent portal,” Spring said Tuesday. “We want to make sure that when you as a parent sign up to access your kid’s data, we want to make sure that you are accessing your kid’s data.”
 
While the parent portal isn’t widely used, Spring said, parents that do use it count on it to monitor how their children are doing in school.
 
Spring said he is confident that the parent portal will be up and running by the beginning of the spring semester, which starts in February, but that he hoped it would be open even sooner than that.
 
Parents who try to visit the district website for more information about the parent portal are met with a brief message scarce on details: “The portal is not available yet. We will keep you updated.”
 
The website does detail the kind of information that will be available once the portal is accessible: grades, assignments, attendance, behavior, state and district test scores, progress toward graduation and general announcements.
 
At a school board meeting earlier this month, parent Robert Morris expressed the frustration that many parents are feeling directly to Spring and board members. He said he used the parent portal on last year’s system — which has not been in place this school year — to keep track of his children’s schoolwork.
 
“None of the schools have a clue about what’s going on; I just keep getting the runaround about what’s going on,” Morris said.
 
“We have no information whatsoever. . . . We had a system that worked and, all of a sudden, it’s taken away.”
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