An increasing number of teachers in the Sooke School District are jumping on board with technology as a way of updating parents on a child’s progress on an on-going basis.
It’s called Fresh Grade and is a software that allows teachers to post digital portfolios of a child, showing parents how they’re progressing between the three report cards handed out between September and June.
For example, teachers can walk around a classroom and use an iPad to record a child reading a story, learning to count or sort. It then gets uploaded to a website and parents can login to see how their child is doing in the classroom.
“They (parents) can actually see what their child is doing in school as opposed to getting a three-times-a-year summary,” said Jim Cambridge, Sooke School District superintendent.
The initiative started three years ago as a pilot project with 15 teachers throughout the district. But in recent years that number has since ballooned to hundreds of teachers who have chosen to use the Fresh Grade software.
It’s a tool that’s become popular mainly among elementary school grades, while 20 to 30 per cent of teachers in middle school have shown interest in it, as well as some secondary school teachers. Cambridge said the district’s Parent Advisory Council has received positive reviews from parents, too.
He acknowledged that it may be difficult for parents to balance students’ priorities, but having a tool that allows them to track a child’s progress helps ensure they don’t fall behind.
“If you’re constantly aware of how your child is doing at school, you tend to not let it slip,” Cambridge said.
“If you as a parent understand how your child is doing, then you can can be part of the equation of supporting them. If they need support in reading and you’re learning about that early on, then there’s an opportunity for you to support what’s happening in the classroom, perhaps by reading to your child or supporting them and making sure they have time to do homework in a quiet suitable place.”