Sys­tem helps par­ents track kids at school

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By TARANNUM SHAIKH

Wor­ried par­ents can now track the move­ments of their school chil­dren, thanks to a new par­ent por­tal sys­tem.

KA­MAR was set up in 1999 as a school ad­min­is­tra­tion sys­tem that al­lows staff to ac­cess the records of a stu­dent to mon­i­tor at­ten­dance, re­ports, pa­per re­sults and more.

In the past six months many high schools with KA­MAR – School Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Mark­book and Re­ports – have set up a por­tal sys­tem to help par­ents keep track of their chil­dren.

Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School deputy prin­ci­pal Mark Ri­val­land says the por­tal is an im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the sys­tem.

‘‘There’s been a huge move over the last few years to in­volve par­ents more. This was just the next step. It’s avail­able to ev­ery­one, just to make every­body more aware.’’

Mr Ri­val­land be­lieves that as a re­sult par­ent-teacher in­ter­views are more ef­fec­tive and don’t in­volve sur­prises.

‘‘Feed­back has been very pos­i­tive. Mostly it’s things like par­ents are sus­pi­cious of their kids’ at­ten­dance at school so they check the por­tal,’’ Mr Ri­val­land says.

But with coun­selling and nurs­ing ser­vices read­ily avail­able, stu­dents are con­cerned about their pri­vacy and just how much the par­ents will know of their school life.

‘‘It’s good that par­ents can check [at­ten­dance] but I think it’s kind of un­fair,’’ Mt Roskill Gram­mar School stu­dent Pranika Singh, 15, says.

‘‘You feel like your par­ents al­ready con­trol every­thing, plus you’re in school and they’re go­ing to see that too. I feel like it’s too much into pri­vacy.’’

Fel­low stu­dent Ta­paita Malu, 16, agrees.

‘‘It sort of makes me feel un­com­fort­able. Know­ing that your par­ents are keep­ing an eye on you.’’

Mt Roskill Gram­mar School deputy prin­ci­pal Jenny Barker says par­ents are only able to see whether their child is in school, ab­sent or at a school event.

‘‘Par­ents don’t see that they’re out of class.

‘‘It pro­tects the child’s pri­vacy. That’s per­haps some­thing the kids don’t know yet – we’re pro­tect­ing them.

‘‘Stu­dents have a right to a lot of things. Stu­dents have a right to a coun­sel­lor, stu­dents have a right to a nurse with­out any­one ask­ing any ques­tions.’’

Mt Roskill Gram­mar and Mt Al­bert Gram­mar are just some of the high schools that have opted for the por­tal.

KA­MAR was founded in 1999 by IT teacher Kent Len­drum for Mt Maun­ganui School.

It started as a re­port­ing sys­tem for his school and spread by word of mouth where now, 14 years later, al­most every school has adopted the sys­tem.

It was also named Busi­ness Driver of the Year by Ap­ple sub­sidiary File­maker in 2007.

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