New Online Tool Helps Parents Monitor Student's Grades

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Chipley- By the 2015 school year, Florida will require all of the state's school districts to give parents access to their student's work on-line. But, Washington County schools decided to get a head-start on the requirement.

The district unveiled their new program, Parent Portal. It's an internet based program allowing parents to access their students grades, attendance, assignments and much more.

Washington school district officials showed off the new program Tuesday to teachers and a few surprised parents.

"We sat and listened to some parents going, 'oh, oh wow! I cant believe I found this.' And, 'Oh wow, this isn't good'" Washington County Superintendent, Sandra Cook said of the parent responses to the new site.

Instead off waiting for a call or a note from the teacher, parents can now log onto the portal and see current student progress.

"The teacher knows that the parent is looking to see what the grades are and teachers may] be a little more on task, and make sure that they put grades in a lot quicker than might normally" Cook said. "At the same time, it helps build that dialog between parents and students. Especially if you've got a child who likes to procrastinate."

Kim Wilson, the mother of a Chipley High School senior said,
"If it is an opportunity to improve communication regarding grades and progress in school then I think it could be a positive tool."

But it came as little surprise to find that freedom seeking seniors were less than enthused.

"I mean, I guess technically from a parents point of view that's good. You can avoid your kids slacking. But for us, it's a little bit worse because if you're like, 'Hey, I want to go out on Friday night' and your parents are like, 'Let's see what your grades are. Nope, you're not going out'" Kyle Hinote, a Chipley High School Senior told us.

And Hinote's classmate, Mary Helen Wilson agreed.

"If I were to make a bad grade on a test and there was an extenuating situation where I could get good credit on it but all my parents could see was the grade- it may be just me, but I'd have my phone taken and I'd be sitting at the house" she said.

Despite dissatisfied Seniors, Cook told us the district hoped to have the portal open for students to access by January.

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