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 CAB Board Purchases Web Grading Software

October 1, 2008 - The Charles A. Beard School Board voted at its Sept. 16 meeting to authorize the purchase of software that will soon make it possible for parents and guardians to access their students’ grades on the Internet.

“I think this is really, really good for students. ... I think this is really good for parents,” Board Vice President Steve Dalton said. Saying he thought it was “absolutely unacceptable” for students and parents not to know how students are doing until midterm, he said allowing student grades to be accessed via the Internet could serve as an early intervention for struggling students.

Dalton told other board members and the public in attendance that CAB’s current contract with its teachers only requires teachers to update grades twice each nine-week grading period. Because they cannot be required to post grades more frequently than this, he said teacher participation would be voluntary, although he said many already post grades on a more frequent basis.

At Dalton’s urging, the board voted 5-2 to purchase a software module that will allow parents and guardians to access their students’ grades on the Internet. The cost is expected to be between $3,000-$4,000 a year.

Board members Wade Beatty and Leah Kopp both voted against the purchase. Both had said they wanted additional input from the Classroom Teachers Association before voting.

Toward the end of the meeting, during public comments, CTA President Tom Crawford addressed the board about this issue. He first said he thought there was no excuse for a student not knowing how they’re doing in their classes, saying, “All they have to do is ask a teacher.”

Crawford said he was concerned that CAB’s current system, which the new software module would work with, may not be used very much longer. He said he was “really disappointed” that the board acted on this issue without doing more research.

Dalton replied that the board had done its research over the past three to four months. He said the board felt it made sense to go ahead with a product that works with the system CAB currently has in place.

Crawford accused the board of “shoving something through real quick.” Remarking that the CTA had been trying to work with the board on this issue, he said, “Obviously, you have no desire to work with us.”

In a memo sent to board members two days after last week’s meeting, Superintendent Gary Storie said of the new software, “It is, indeed, a very good program and has great potential to help facilitate communication between the school and parents in a positive way.”


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