In September, Principal John Dodig told administrators that all teachers in the building had to make grades available to parents and students electronically on Home Access Center by the beginning of the second semester.
“Two things are driving [the change],” said Principal John Dodig. “One is the incoming eighth grade’s parents have been used to seeing their grades electronically. Number two, in an age when I can see what’s in my checkbook from any where in the world, 24 hours a day, it would make no sense for kids not see what their grade is at any given moment.”
However, prior to second semester about two thirds of teachers had no idea how to use an electronic grade book. Last Wednesday’s Staff Development Day provided a workshop available to teachers who wanted to learn how to use the eSchool electronic grade book.
Although this concept is new to most, science teachers have been using online grade books for years. According to Dodig, some science teachers have used Jupiter Grades, a program the teachers individually purchased for 50 dollars.
Superintendent Elliott Landon is allowing science teachers to continue Jupiter Grades for the rest of the year. However, by next year, science teachers are required use eSchool as well.
“The idea is parents and kids wanted to go to one place to get all of this stuff. This is going to make everything in one place,” Dodig said.
Many students appreciate that they can now view their grades at any time. “We get to see our grades all the time instead of having to wait for teachers to hand things back,” said Josh Moskovitz ’15.
Many felt that it is more efficient to be able to access grades online.
“Now I get to know where I am in all of my classes and I don’t have to worry about going up to teachers after class,” said Leah Nelson ’15. “It saves so much time.”
Although many members of the Staples community are in favor of using eSchool, some see downsides to the switch.
“I have mixed emotions because I like how I know where I am in my classes but at the same time, it puts a lot of pressure on me with grades,” Mat Jacowleff ’15 said.
Social studies teacher Daniel Heaphy sees both viewpoints. “I think the overall effect of eSchool will depend upon the kid,” Heaphy said. “For upperclassmen it might stress them out for a little while. For students who are freshman and sophomores who are maybe a little less mature and less like to get things in on time it will be beneficial.”