Parents get window into classroom

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Milah McGraw uses the new parent portal offered by the Concordia Parish School District to keep up with how her three boys are doing at school. Since the system was started, McGraw says she logs into the portal from her home computer each day to keep up with their progress.

VIDALIA — The bad-old days of staking out the mailbox to intercept not-so-sterling report cards are over for students in Concordia Parish.

Parents and schools are catching up with the information age with a new “Parent Portal” in the parish so that not even the slickest student can shield their parents’ gaze from their grades.

The Parent Portal, which is available online, allows parents to log into the grade book of their child’s teacher in “real time,” giving them daily updates about their child’s schooling.

“I think it’s excellent,” Vidalia parent Milah McGraw said.

McGraw has three children in the Concordia Parish School District in second, fourth and seventh grades at three different schools.

Milah McGraw turns around from her home computer to help her oldest son Kodi with his social studies homework Monday evening. McGraw uses the computer to log into the Concordia Parish School District’s parent portal to keep up with Kodi’s progress at school.

The portal will allow a parent to link all of their children to them, so they can view all three of their children’s grades using a single log-in.

While she said teachers did a good job of communicating her children’s grades before the new system, the portal will be a more efficient way to keep tabs on her children’s education.

“There are kids who don’t necessarily do what they’re supposed to do, and I have one like that,” she said.

The system also allows McGraw to see what assignments her children have for homework or if an assignment was incomplete, giving her an opportunity to talk to her children about it.

In addition to grades, parents can also view updated records of their child’s attendance, behavior, assignments transcript and fees on the portal.

“(The system) should provide for good follow-up between parent, teachers and students and better communication and better outcome,” Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein said

In order to create an account, parents must register for the portal by going to jpams.cpsbla.net/jpweb or clicking on the sidebar on the school district’s website.

The Parent Portal, which is part of the school board’s student information system, is used in more than 50 districts throughout Louisiana.

Blankenstein said each school has a representative parents can contact for help using the new system.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to help our parents stay involved in their children’s education,” CPSB Director of Academic Programs Paul Nelson said.