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"School loop" in middle school for grades/assignments

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I don't know if this is something that's common or not, and am wondering whether to mention a system that's similar to it in my WIP. Our school district has a "school loop" that each parent and student signs up for at the middle and high school levels. Grades for each assignment and each class are recorded, and homework is listed. It's updated throughout the day, and both students and parents can check in to their individual "portal" at any time.
Just curious what other systems middle schools use, or if this is commonplace now.
#1 - January 05, 2012, 02:16 PM

Sarah C. Pilon
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I live in Ontario, Canada and I've actually never heard of this. I must say, it's a really neat idea though.
#2 - January 05, 2012, 02:54 PM

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There are at least two programs that I know of, and I think most middle schools and high schools are going this route. Esis is the one my middle and high schoolers use now (Ohio), but we were using Edline at our old school (Florida) (and that was several years ago) where both parents and students can keep up with current grades, etc. Firstclass, Blackboard, Study Island and Aleks, are other school resources for studying, and classwork. It seems that every year the schools become better at using online services to communicate with students and parents, and from what I know it's become pretty common across the country.
#3 - January 05, 2012, 03:09 PM
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It is pretty common. Sycamore Education and Powerschool both sell systems that can include this feature as well as things like managing student schedules, lunch room, etc. Interestingly I know of one local high school that intentionally does not offer this service anymore because they found it tended to shift responsibility away from the high school student and onto the parents and they didn't think that was a good idea for college bound kids.
#4 - January 05, 2012, 03:23 PM

Thank you! Do you know what schools usually call it??? Is "School Loop" just something from our district?
#5 - January 05, 2012, 03:33 PM

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Our system also uses PowerSchool. We call it PowerSchool.
#6 - January 05, 2012, 04:02 PM

I've usually heard it called by the product name, Powerschool, Sycamore, etc. I haven't heard the term "school loop", but it could be a regional thing. If I was putting it in a book I'd make a fake product name and go from there.
#7 - January 05, 2012, 04:06 PM

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FWIW, I Googled SchoolLoop and found this, so it looks like the name of the actual system. A bit more advanced than PowerSchool, from the look of it, or at least the implementation of PowerSchool my district uses.

EDIT. I agree about making up your own name. Just Google it to make sure it isn't already being used!
#8 - January 05, 2012, 04:06 PM

There are different brands with different names that have been mentioned in previous posts. My guess is School Loop is probably the name of your school's program or operator. For a WIP, I would either make up a name that explains what it is "I looked on my CheckYourGrades page. Ugh! Another 'D'! So much for my weekend." Or use a generic reference "I checked Mrs. Williams' school web page. Outdated again! How on earth was I ever supposed to get caught up if she never updated her assignments!"

There's a lot of regional variation and a lot of variations within districts too. I've had to learn two different systems the past two years on both the parent and employee side of things and both were constantly being modified. I think it's rapidly evolving. At least I hope so. I've used Infinite Campus and Powerschool but also have had access to Blackboard and another program for Special Ed called SEAS. That's in two different districts in two different states (SW Ohio and Nebraska).

They are great when used well, operating well and up to date. They can also be a huge source of stress from the parent/student end. If teachers input assignments that aren't graded, it can drop a grade to an F because the computer factors in the total points to be graded and doesn't understand blank scores. The teachers tell me that what they see is different than what the students and parents see, so they are often not aware of some of the effects of what they are doing on the student's page. On the employee end, I've spent a lot of time writing evaluations/goals/IEPs/progress notes to have them disappear into cyberspace. I have a love/hate relationship going here.
#9 - January 05, 2012, 04:12 PM

Thanks, everybody. I'll take your advice and make up a name.

And yes, from the parent side, there are wonderful advantages to this system--no one can ever be clueless about his or her child struggling in a class--but there's a lot of stress too. I've definitely learned not to over-react, particularly when I see a big fat zero on an assignment (does it have to show up in red when everything else is black???) The first day my daughter got one in sixth grade I thought she'd be hysterical because she's such a conscientious student. But when she got home from school, she was upset all right---about managing to lose the lock to her PE locker and having to pay $5 to replace it! (I don't know how this happens, but whatever). She didn't even mention the zero in pre-algebra until I asked about. And it turns out it was one of those things where she didn't know she had to show her work and wound up getting credit for the assignment after all, but the teacher hadn't updated it.  So anyway, there's a learning curve with this system.
#10 - January 05, 2012, 04:43 PM

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We had something like that in Oklahoma. It was called Parent Portal I think.
#11 - January 05, 2012, 05:33 PM
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Our district in upstate NY uses the term "Parent Portal" as well. It is very new to us, and I don't even think the other middle school in our district is using it - I believe our school is piloting it here. I can see my younger daughters' schedules and report card grades in it as well, but only the middle schooler has the detailed data you describe.

Amy
#12 - January 05, 2012, 06:43 PM

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Our middle school (I think high school too) uses Skyward for this (& call it Skyward or "Family Access"). On a couple of occasions I've caught things that didn't look right to me, brought it up to the teacher, and it made a big difference in my daughter's grade. There was an extra credit 100 that hadn't been averaged in, a "lowest grade" that was supposed to be dropped but wasn't, and an extremely low class average on a test--coupled w/daughter's explanation of total misunderstanding on the directions--that I brought up with the teacher and he agreed he must not have been clear and let the whole class retake it. These were all in different classes. So I think it's a great system, but it also makes me wonder how many of these things went unnoticed before it was implemented...or still do, for those parents who don't log in and check it.
#13 - January 05, 2012, 08:08 PM
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My kids K-9 charter school uses something like this, too.  We call it the SIS (which I think stands for Student Information System, but don't quote me on that).  It looks like it's been put together by our state's Office of Education, but I have no idea if just the charter schools use it or if the school districts do, too.

BTW, yes, all grades use it, elementary and middle school.  Even the Kindergarten classes use it.  (And, yes.  Our K classes have homework every night.  It's an academically rigorous program, but a good one.)  But I digress...
#14 - January 05, 2012, 08:37 PM

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A note about the way the middle school handles Esis here. Every Monday the kids are required to check their current grades on Esis, and all parents know this. They start this process in sixth grade and, from what I've seen, this promotes a good self-check habit. I don't get a blank look when I ask about grades (like I did with my older kids). So all I do is ask my son how it's going, and I KNOW he has current information. He usually takes me right to the computer to show me himself.
#15 - January 06, 2012, 05:31 AM
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My son was enrolled part time in an online school called Giant Campus, and they had something like that too ... but I forget the name of it. Again, I had a password where I could go in and see all the assignments, my son's work, his grades, his teacher's comments, etc.
#16 - January 06, 2012, 06:19 AM
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Cindy, even in our district I've had four differnt systems for my kids in the last two years. We had Edline in the public middle school. To save money, the public high school hired a kid to do a similar system just for the school, which they called something else. Then this year the high school changed to School Loop. My youngest child, at private school, uses a similar system called Angel something.
#17 - January 06, 2012, 09:02 AM
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We have Zangle for checking grades, assignments, absences, state test scores...
#18 - January 06, 2012, 01:48 PM

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Ours have it (middle & upper school). Everyone calls it by the software/service name.
#19 - January 06, 2012, 01:49 PM

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