A computer glitch is delaying the release of students' interim reports and the launch of a computer system designed to give parents real-time access to grades and other student information.

A computer glitch is delaying the release of students' interim reports and the launch of a computer system designed to give parents real-time access to grades and other student information.

The reports will be sent home with students Sept. 29, rather than Sept. 24 as planned, the district's technology director, Walt Podgurski, told the Pickerington Board of Education Monday night.

Podgurski said the district's plan was to launch the new, online "parent assist module" at the same time the reports were completed.

The parent assist module is a secure system that allows parents direct access to teachers' electronic grade books, or "teacher assist module," so that they can monitor student progress, attendance and performance.

Instead of the reports coming home with students, parents were to receive a letter from the district with a user name and password to gain access to the system.

Podgurski said that in light of the technical issues the district continues to face, printed interim reports and a letter explaining the delay will be sent home instead.

"The hope is that the parent assist module will replace interims," he said. "We're hoping this is the last time we have to send interims out on paper."

The school district tested the computerized system last year, but a new version of the software was released over the summer that seems to have some problems, Podgurski told the board.

"As more and more teachers began to use (the teacher assist module), it crashed and became unusable for large portions of the day," he said. "Teachers are having to spend an inordinate amount of time entering grades. Over the past week, that fact has detracted from other things teachers need to be doing and want to be doing."

Podgurski said the company providing the online service, the TriRivers Educational Computing Association, has been in the district to help work through the problems.

And while he is confident the problems will eventually be resolved, Podgurski told the board he is leery of giving parents access before the kinks have been worked out.

"To launch it while we still have problems with performance would put our teachers in a bad position and would likely result in a number of calls to the district from frustrated parents," he said.

The district has been working for more than 18 months to get the parent and teacher assist modules installed, tested and running efficiently. The entire system -- which also manages student attendance, discipline, scheduling, health and transcript information -- costs $26,000, or about $3 a student, to operate, Podgurski said.

Board members Monday night questioned whether the district should consider switching systems.

"It would be very difficult to be using another system by July 1," Podgurski responded. "It took us a year and a half to get ready for this one. To switch in nine months is almost impossible."