Cant wait for your report card? Check Students Achieve

Eric McCarthy newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on April 23, 2010
Charles Murphy, principal of Westisle Composite High School, explains the objectives of Students Achieve. Its an online communications tool that enables teachers to keep parents informed on how their children are doing in school. ERIC MCCARTHY/JOURNAL PIONEER

EKNSDALE - Westisle Composite High School principal Charles Murphy sees great potential in the Students Achieve communications system.
Teachers can post marks and attendance records online so parents can track how their children are doing. The information is password-protected and parents can only access information about their own children.
"The parents are more informed, and the more information you have the better off you are," Murphy said.

EKNSDALE - Westisle Composite High School principal Charles Murphy sees great potential in the Students Achieve communications system.
Teachers can post marks and attendance records online so parents can track how their children are doing. The information is password-protected and parents can only access information about their own children.
"The parents are more informed, and the more information you have the better off you are," Murphy said.
The system will only be fully functional at Westisle in September, but a few teachers are going live with it immediately.
"We want to see: When you're having parents accessing it, when we have teachers uploading to it, when we have all of those demands on that system at the same time, how is it going to act?" Murphy said.
He is aware of technical issues associated with bandwidth. Entering data is a slow and tedious process when several teachers are doing so at the same time, he admitted. He is hoping the bugs can be worked out and the system made faster by September.
While Westisle is just now getting its feet wet with Students Achieve, some schools, like Kensington Intermediate Senior High have been using the system for four years.
Principal George Aiken said he is finding Students Achieve is helping to keep parents more informed. He said there might be fewer parents showing up for parent-teacher interviews, but the ones who are attending have a clearer idea of what to expect before they arrive.
"You don't have to wait until the report card comes out and then be surprised with where the marks are," Aiken said.
It can lead to more communication between parents and their children, Murphy said. If a child heads off to school in the morning and the parent finds, in checking Students Achieve that he was marked absent, he said, "it's certainly a good conversation-starter."
"Any places that have used this type of software," Murphy said, "it lures more parents in, because, at the end of the day parents want to know how their students are doing."
In Kensington, Aiken says the system is performing well. He agrees it slows down a bit just prior to report card time, when usage is heaviest.
Western School Board superintendent Dale Sabean said all schools now have access to the new system.
"It's coming in stages," he said. "As schools get ready, or feel they're ready, they move forward."