Parents and students soon will be able to view grades and assignments online.

Parents and students soon will be able to view grades and assignments online.

Administrators in the New Albany-Plain Local School District plan to open the Electronic Student Information System (ESIS) to middle school and high school parents and students in the fall.

Madeline Partlow, director of teaching and learning, said the new system would help students become more engaged with their grades and assignments and allow parents to have a bigger role in their children's studies.

"We are really hoping that it's a great tool that parents can use to continue their conversation with their children about their progress at school," she said. "Parents will be much more informed, and, as they are having the discussions with their child, this should provide clarity on a much more regular basis."

Teachers already use the system internally to report grades.

"We have been using it in terms of interim grades and end-of-quarter grades," Partlow said.

She said the district had hoped to roll out the system earlier, but computer glitches prevented it from doing so.

Partlow said she has been working with district technology coordinator Jon Stonebraker to fix the problems and collect data on the system.

Stonebraker said the district has been using the parent portals on the district's website, www.new-albany.k12.oh.us, since 2006 to report quarter-end grades for middle school and high school students. He said 80 percent of families have chosen to use the portals to access the information.

"This fall, teachers in grades six through 12 will be able to post individual assignment grades online as well," he said. "We hope it will eliminate the need for interim reports, since students and parents will be able to log on at any time to view current grades class by class and assignment by assignment as they are recorded."

The ESIS is similar to PowerSchool, which some local districts use to allow online access to grades, assignments and other student data for families.

Like PowerSchool, parents and students would be given login names and passwords to access the information.

"The things those systems do pretty much allow what the teachers see for that student to be seen by the parent," Partlow said.

She said the next step is to train the teachers and let families know the system is coming.

"What our plan is now is we are going to do some electronic e-mail blasts to parents to let them know about this," Partlow said. "(Staff members) need a little bit of professional development and training."

Partlow said the ESIS system fits in well with the district's strategic-planning process.

"We really do believe part of our strategic-planning process is helping students really take ownership in their learning," she said. "As these things come online, and students are having more conversations with their parents about how they are doing on a daily basis, we really hope it builds student and family ownership in the process."

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com