Student grades may soon be moved online

Published 11:19pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

After a long discussion and several tangents from Selma City School Board members about implementing a new grievance policy, one board member spoke passionately about parent and teacher relations and communication. His discussion led to a decision by the board to ask each school in the system to put student’s grades on an online program, where parents can then access grades through a password.

“I have one child at R.B. Hudson and one at Selma High School and that is why I spoke like I did tonight,” Dr. Udo Ufomadu said.

He explained to the board members in Tuesday’s work session that he had been trying as a parent and not a board member, to get in touch with a teacher at Selma High School concerning his son’s grades and was unable to do so on numerous occasions.

“So when I went to pick up the progress report for my son at R.B. Hudson, the principal said the report wasn’t quite ready — but — she gave me a password and a user ID and right there she let me go online and see everything on his record.”

Ufomadu experienced what many other parents have in using the iNow system. It requires teachers to update student’s grades into the system constantly, but it also gives parents a play-by-play of their student’s progress in school, IT Director for Selma City Schools, Earl Coleman said.

Coleman also brought it to the board’s attention that this program is available free by the state and to his knowledge has been around since the 1990s.

“It gives the parents more of an insight as to what their kids are doing on a regular basis,” Coleman said. “From where I see it, it is positive for the parents and it lends itself to good parent involvement.”

Coleman said teachers would not have to be doing anything they haven’t already been doing. Teachers already enter their grades into a computerized system so not much training will be necessary.

When Ufomadu questioned superintendent Gerald Shirley privately about how one school operates with this system and others do not, he discovered this was on an optional basis for each school administration.

School Board President Henry Hicks asked for Shirley to get each administrator on board for the iNow system and take advantage of it.

“The board has empowered the superintendent to communicate with the principals and get this started,” Ufomadu said.

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