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SchoolTool and other Parent Portals in K-12 Education

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Parent Portals are gradually becoming an invaluable part of the K-12 education application environment.

I've just had my first hands-on introduction to Parent Portals. I live in the Wappingers Falls school district in New York state, and they've just launched the SchoolTool parent portal. I love this idea and I'm delighted to see it taking root here.

In today's feature post we'll examine some of the features these kinds of tools can offer and take a brief look at some of the products available in today's marketplace. I've coupled this article with a video blog post in which I discuss this application genre and take a look at the web pages of some products.

One thing that I learned in my initial research that was a bit unexpected is that many parent portals are modules within Student Information Systems (“SIS”). While SIS applications have been common in higher education for years now, the applications used in higher ed normally do not include this type of function, which is not surprising considering the older age of the students, and FERPA regulations. In K-12, it seems that the use of SIS apps is a newer, growing trend, and it makes a lot of sense to deliver some level of Parent Portal functionality with these tools, since it is in many ways a logical extension of some of the existing functionality in an SIS.

Of course, to the end user, whether or not a Parent Portal is delivered as a module of a larger SIS system is really irrelevant.

Common features of Parent Portals

  • Attendance
  • Grades
  • Past report cards
  • Student schedules
  • Assignments and due dates
  • Contact info for all the student's teachers and other school contacts
  • Reports filed on their child (academic, discipline, counseling, etc)
  • State-level assessment results
  • Sports schedules and other school calendars

Parent Portals shown in this video

Feedback, Comments?
Is your school or school district using a Parent Portal? What do you think of it? What are it's pros and cons? Which product are they are using? We'd love to hear reader feedback on this, so please comment and share your experiences, and don't hesitate to ask questions as well! Thanks.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Learning about Lecture Capture Technology
8 Engaging Videos Advocating Better Integration of Technology in Education
Portal Applications for Higher Education

8 COMMENTS

  1. Parents’ involvement in their children’s education is extremely important. Looking at how this idea has grown in popularity over time (it has crossed borders – from developed countries to developing ones) one would agree that a parents portal must be a part of every good student information system. Our student information system works with schools in Asia and our data show that more and more schools are signing up for our product https://theschoolware.com because it is offering a parents portal to schools to reach out to the parents of their students in the best possible way.

  2. I think the “Parent” part of the Portal is only 20% of the solution. At our district we provide students the exact same access under their own login. We want the students to take responsibility for their own learning and it’s better if they monitor their own grades. Having used a paper based “portal” 20 years ago when I was in the classroom I found providing this information very useful to students.

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