PBC schools to get new website for grades, emails
Palm Beach County’s students, accustomed to immediate information through their cellphones, soon will be able to use those devices to find out what they got on an exam, how many absences they have and even learn what, to some, is the most important statistic: their class rank.
All of it and more will be on a new web platform called Student Information System Gateway, known to many as SIS, available to students and their parents for the new school year.
School begins Aug. 13, but parents will start getting letters in the mail this week detailing how to log in to the new portal, which replaces a communications website the district had used since 2004, Edline.
It was challenging to email teachers through Edline or find out a test score on the same day an exam was given. But with SIS, students and parents can get not only detailed information on the student’s grades, but also upcoming assignments, GPA and how many credits and community service hours a high school student still needs before graduation. They can also email a teacher with just one click.
“Students think in the mindset of instant,” said Darren Edgecomb, principal at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, which piloted SIS last year and got 100 percent participation from students. “Once the teacher inputs it, they can see it instantly.”
The school district piloted the site at nine schools last year, including Boynton Beach High, Spanish River High in Boca Raton and Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.
The site exhibits not only grades in school, but also standardized test scores. Parents and students can sign up for email or text alerts if they want to be notified that a grade has dropped below a certain number.
They see the same screen guidance
counselors use when families come in for meetings.
Visiting the principal or guidance counselor used to be the only way to find out a student’s coveted class rank.
Some competitive students want to be in the top 10 in their class to ensure they are accepted to a good college. Now, the ranks will be updated in students’ accounts, probably once a semester, said PJ D’Aoust, one of the Palm Beach County School District’s directors.
Easy access to the site likely will reduce visits to overworked guidance counselors. The American School Counselor Association recommends one counselor for every 250 students, but Palm Beach County high schools have one for every 435 students.
Palm Beach Central teacher Elizabeth Kelley used SIS last year and said the site offered her answers that used to be more complicated to find, especially related to student absences and make-up work.
“If someone is in testing or on a field trip, I know why they’re not here,” said Kelley, who teaches economics. “You can attach instructions for a project, so the student doesn’t have to ask me for it 17 times.”
The site will be available in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and Creole.