One can just imagine the simultaneous rolling of the eyes that occurred when Brainerd School District teens read Tuesday's Page 1A story about the school district's enhanced Web site.
Starting this fall, Brainerd School District parents can find out a lot of interesting information about their student. They can find out if their child is facing any disciplinary action, how they're doing academically, how much money is in their food service account and even what their high school age child had for lunch that day.
No more of those disciplinary notes from school mysteriously getting lost before they reach the parents. No more ambivalent shrugs from the student when a parents asks how she's doing in algebra. Now parents with access to the Internet can look the information up themselves.
It's enough to make an exasperated teen go up to her bedroom and close the door in a quest for at least a little bit of privacy in this computerized age. No more of those disciplinary notes getting lost on their way home. No more big surprises when the report card arrives in the mail.
In all seriousness, the enhanced Web site can be a great tool for both parents and students to communicate with district teachers. Accurate and updated information will be the key to making this system work. If parents call up a school Web site and it hasn't been updated in a month they'll soon give up on the program. Granted, it's one more burden for the teaching staff, but it's a task that can yield tremendous benefits.
Educators have always stressed that parents have a vital role to play in the learning process. They've told us that encouragement and involvement on the part of a parent can be a big factor in a child's success in school.
The Brainerd School District's Family Access program can make great strides in keeping parents informed about what's going on in their student's classroom. It's a tool that every parent, teacher and student should be encouraged to use.
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