As young children, handing your parents a report card can be one of the most stressful, agonizing, and, alternatively, joyous occasions signaling the end of the term or the school year.
One of the most interesting takeaways from this month’s school board trustee meeting on Dec. 13 was the presentation from SD72 Communications Manager Jennifer Patrick and District Educational Technology coordinator Shannon Hagen. The new ‘Parent Portal’ launched by SD72 earlier in December, is a website and all-in-one app which provides a much needed and special assist for parents of students with regards to their child’s work and life balance.
Kitchener, Ont.-based IT company School Bundle, a company with three decades in e-commerce in the childhood education sector, was tasked to assist in developing SD72’s website and, ultimately help to develop the application of which nearly 1,300 parents around the community have signed up so far.
“We needed to move into a new platform for the district and websites because the previous system, developed by Microsoft, was ending their technical support,” said Patrick. “We saw this as an opportunity to modernize and enhance our overall online communication with both parents and students.”
The app and parent portal was piloted earlier this year with the participation of several elementary and middle schools over a trial of two months, including Ecole des Deux Mondes and Quadra Elementary. The app will provide real-time, up-to-date notices for important bulletins affecting students.
“If parents have the app downloaded and notifications enabled, parents will see notices such as changes to busing schedules, or school closures,” said Patrick. “This will also be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information from the student’s school and the district, as opposed to having to go to multiple ways of obtaining that information, like various websites, news letters and emails.”
Another unique and interesting thing to point out is that the application, unlike previous online measures, will also feature a real-time, up to date student schedules and, you guessed it, student grades. This certainly begs the question: Does this mean the end of report cards as we know it?
Not so, says Patrick, but it does add another dimension to it.
“It’s fair to say this does add another way for parents to view their children’s report cards. We will always continue to provide report cards for those families that prefer that method. It’s just another modern and environmentally-friendly option where parents don’t necessarily have to worry about a report card getting lost on the way home.”
For more information on SD72 and the Parent Portal, visit www.sd72.bc.ca