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School board hears discussion of software for online grades

Students’ grades, attendance, progress and other matters may go on-line next semester for parents to view on their computers at home.

Picayune Memorial High School Co-Principal Christie Pinero and district computer specialist Freddie Parker appeared before the school board for the Picayune Municipal Separate School District to explain software the district would like to purchase that will allow parents — and students — to keep track daily of their children’s grades, homework, discipline and attendance from their home computers.

Students and their parents will be able to access the information only by establishing a unique password that will allow only that student and that set of parents to access a student’s information, Pinero said.

The board approved purchasing a license to use the software after Pinero’s and Parker’s presentation.

Pinero said during a break between public sessions of the meeting that the earliest the school system could begin putting the information on-line would be with the beginning of the second semester.

“The contract (for the software) is for a year and we need to contact the provider to see if we can start it in December and then have it for the first semester of next year. We don’t want the contract to include the summer when we aren’t in school for two months,” Pinero said.

She described the software as being a good way for parents to keep track of their students and help them with their school work since teachers can enter the homework students have each night, including even vocabulary words for elementary students.

Pinero said her survey of teachers found most of them favored it and her survey of students found that most of them had the Internet access at home. The software, if it is installed, would be in the form of a “page” on the school district’s Web site.

The board also approved paying a paraprofessional for two weeks during the school dayto help high school students prepare for the ACT test by teaching test-taking skills. The board also approved Saturday tutoring in math, science and English for students who need the help to get ready for the ACT, which is used by many colleges and universities in making decisions on admitting students to the schools.

The ACT preparation proposal had been suggested to other board members by board member Ginny Dodd at an earlier meeting. Dodd also wants to see if Picayune can become an ACT site for administering the test.

In other matters, the board:

— Approved personnel matters.

— Approved consent items, including payroll certification, petty cash and the claims dockets.

— Approved the use of school facilities by the American Cancer Society and by Picayune Junior Auxiliary.

— Accepted four Jordan Fundamentals grants.

— Approved applying for a grant of $103,190 to support the district’s extended school summer program.

— Approved financial matters.

— Approved advertising for a superintendent.

Adjourned.