Parent Portal Opens at Hawthorne High School

Jessica Terrizzi, Opinion Editor

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The Hawthorne School District has opened the Parent Portal into PowerSchool, allowing parents to check their children’s schedules, grades, and attendance at any time on the computer. Not everyone in the school is in agreement, however, about whether this is a good or bad addition to the educational system.

This program, which is being rolled out in November one grade level at a time in both the middle school and high school, gives parents an ID number that allows them into the portal. Directions and guidelines for using the portal are available on the district website under “Parent Portal.”  It is hoped that this program will increase the communication among parents, teachers, and students. The administration hopes that this new part of the learning experience will encourage students to have a feeling of increased ownership of their learning.

Students and families have mixed feelings towards the new addition to Hawthorne public schools. Some may feel that it’s a good idea because it will help parents to be proactive with their child’s education. For example, if a student is doing badly in one of his or her classes, the parents have the chance to step in and help the student improve. With PowerSchool, students will no longer have to dread report cards and progress reports because their parents will already know what is going on with their grades. This new part of HHS is also a good transformation because if a teacher makes an error with a grade, the students and their parents will be able to catch it early on, before the mistake harms the grade.

Sarah Kearsley, a junior at HHS said, “I think PowerSchool is a good idea because it’s a more organized way to keep track of my grades. If my parents want to know my grades, they can just go and check it online, which makes it easier.”

Others say that the Parent Portal is a bad idea because of the negative aspects. At the beginning of the marking period when there is only a small amount of assignments, one bad grade could bring down a student’s average dramatically. If the parents see this before the student has the chance to raise the grade with other good assignments, the situation could cause problems. Another potential downside is that some teachers take longer to grade assignments than others and may have a different type of grading system. Giving parents the ability to see every grade the child has may lead to an increase in the amount of parent-teacher phone calls or meetings. There are only so many things a teacher can do, so parents should have their child talk to the teacher first. If that does not work and the parents are positive that their child didn’t misunderstand the teacher’s grading policy and the date of the assignment, the parents should then email the teacher.

Explanations of how parents can best use the new program are available on the Hawthorne School District webpage (www.hawthorne.k12.nj.us) under “Parent Portal Guidelines.”


 

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