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August 25. 2013 9:19PM

Salem district set to offer new tool for parents of elementary school students

SALEM — This year, parents of elementary school students will be able to check out their children’s attendance and schedules online.

Two years ago, the district began using the software for information such as attendance and schedules at the middle and high schools, according to Superintendent Michael Delahanty.

“Parents could check to make sure their student was present on any particular day,” he said. “We have since provided the parents at the high school and middle school with access to grades and assignments.”

Infinite Campus gives the parents the opportunity to see how their students are doing in school as well as helping them keep track of work that is due.

“Now we’re ready to roll out information at the elementary school level,” said Delahanty.

A letter has been sent out to parents giving them a password and information on how to access Infinite Campus. Initially, the elementary school parents will be able to check on student attendance, but Delahanty said the amount of information available will expand.

“Eventually, we’ll be able to provide them with grades and assignments, perhaps even report cards,” he said. “But at the elementary level, the grading and the reporting of grades is done a little differently and we have to make sure the system is aligned with how we report student information.”

The district will also begin to use Infinite Campus for its correspondence with parents, replacing the current email notification system.

School Board member Michael Carney asked Delahanty if there were any concerns with the staff use of Infinite Campus.

“The only concern we’ve experienced is the timeliness of entering grades,” Delahanty said. He said he has heard from some parents concerned that the student grades have not been entered into the system as fast as they could be.

“I think most of our teachers are working to make sure this is done in a timely manner,” Delahanty said.

Although teachers in the district have been using electronic grading for several years, that information was not automatically available to parents until last year. Delahanty said the teachers are now becoming more mindful that the grades should be entered in a more timely manner so the parents can access them.

School Board Chairman Bernard Campbell asked if there were any infrastructure or cost concerns associated with expanding the program to the elementary schools.

Delahanty said there is a dedicated server for Infinite Campus that should handle the increased use. He also said the licensing fee for the product goes by the student population of the district and not the total number of students using the product, so the licensing fee would not increase.

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