Do online report cards make the grade?

More Capital District schools are moving to digital reports to allow parents an easy way to monitor a child’s progress

Years ago, parents might have only known how their child was doing once a piece of paper arrived at home. Many school districts now allow parents to monitor progress from home.

Guilderland is the latest school district transitioning to paperless report cards for all students, which will save around $10,000 in paper and mailing costs annually. The environmentally friendly switch will be fully implemented this school year after doing a trial run at the high school. Report cards had been available online for all students since last school year through the district’s SchoolTool Parent and Student Portal.

Parents are provided with more than just report cards, such as student attendance, assignments, grades and scheduling.

Demain Singleton, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at Guilderland, said there are several benefits to a paperless reporting system.

“Not only does the shift save money in terms of printing and postage, but more importantly it provides real-time access and online storage for student grades as they are recorded by teachers,” Singleton said in a statement. “Parents no longer need to worry about missing or misplacing their child’s report card, as all of the information will be available on their individual parent portal account throughout the year.”

Feedback was “very, very positive” through the initial implementation at the high school, according to Singleton.

He said transitioning to a paperless reporting system happening widely across public schools.

Bethlehem Central School District adopted a paperless approach a few years ago and is implementing a new online portal for parents, students and teachers. Bethlehem had been using the “BC@Home” portal and is switching to Aspen.

Jo Ellen Gardner, spokeswoman for Bethlehem Central, said the Aspen portal would be a better system for parents to track their child’s progress.

“The expectation is the same as in the past with BC@Home, with teachers posting interim progress reports and report cards,” said Gardner. “Teachers are now being trained in how to use Aspen. There is a as sense as teachers become more familiar with Aspen they will be able to integrate it into their classroom practices.”

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