Jan. 22, 2007

New tool for communication

Parents will now have easier access to their child’s school information

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

In an effort to communicate more effectively with parents, Parent Portal software will be accessible to parents of students at Dassel-Cokato schools through the DC web site.

This site will allow parents to access their child’s school related information including grades and lunch accounts.

“This is a great opportunity to build communication between parents and teachers in order to support our student’s education,” said Pam Beckermann, middle school media specialist.

Information that will be available through Parent Portal will be grades, lunch account balances, standardized test scores, attendance records, contact information, and immunization records.

A teacher’s computer grade book will be linked to Parent Portal making grades up-to-date, according to Paul Beckermann, high school media specialist.

Parents will have an opportunity to be introduced to Parent Portal during middle school and high school conferences this week (elementary registration will be available during March conferences). During that time, parents can go to the specific media center, where help will be available.

There, parents will create a login name and password and have the opportunity to test out the system. Registering will take approximately 10 minutes.

“Parents will be able to play with the software while there is help here, before they get home,” Pam Beckermann said.

If parents are unable to attend conferences, there will be additional opportunities beginning in February to activate their accounts.

Parent Portal is easy to use and can be an effective tool in communicating student information, according to Paul Beckermann.

“It needs to be user-friendly, or it won’t get used,” he said.

The new software was purchased with money from the Microsoft settlement. The district received a $128,677 voucher through the settlement which the district used to purchase it, according Tina Palmer, district business manager.

“Without the Microsoft funds, we wouldn’t be able to purchase the software,” said Jeff Powers, superintendent.

This is a great opportunity to give parents better access to school and information on their children, Powers said.

Powers hopes there will be a lot of parents interested with the site and that it will work well.

Parent Shari Johnson of Dassel thinks it’s a wonderful idea. She is a mother of three students, one in the high school and two in the middle school.

Parent Portal will allow her to keep up-to-date with her children’s grades instead of waiting for the report cards to come home, Johnson said.

Using technology in such a creative way to communicate is a progressive idea, especially since so many adults are at the computer checking messages already, she said.

Johnson also hopes this will allow teachers more time to work with the kids instead of having to contact parents.

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