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Let's Get PAUSD to Fix InClass

Original post made by Rajiv Bhateja on Dec 13, 2008

Hi there,

I've been working with several officials of local schools as well as the PAUSD regarding the inconsistent & infrequent use of InClass by teachers.

Only two of my child's teachers are currently using InClass. For the remaining courses, I can't tell when my child is falling behind until it's too late. Also, I can't make decisions about whether my son should go have fun on the weekend because I don't know what is impending for the following week.

In lengthy discussions with school teachers, school administrators and school board members, district officials (PAUSD and others), I have found that:

1. PAUSD has had InClass (powered by Blackboard Academic Suite) since Fall 2004. (The pilot project was conducted by Paula Hundle in Spring 2004.)

1. Administrators have no way to mandate use of InClass. This is because the teachers' job requirements are negotiated in a contract with the Teachers' Union. The current contract (signed last month) has no requirement for teachers to use InClass. So a school principal cannot tell a teacher that he/she *has* to use InClass.

2. San Jose Unified, Santa Clara Unified, Cupertino and Los Gatos all mandate that grades must be posted to a parent-accessible online system every Friday. When I cited this data to a district official, the response I received was that Palo Alto was different because we are close to Stanford, and the Palo Alto teachers have higher expectations of "academic freedom." [Wow.]

3. Everybody agrees that the InClass system has limitations and does not work well. Los Gatos parents are quite satisfied with their system (known as Aries).

4. The school superintendent has not responded to a single email on the subject, whether from me or from board members.

Many teachers use InClass successfully. Many, however, complain that it does not work properly, that it is not secure, but most of all they say that they "just don't use it."

Teachers who do not use InClass usually respond that they are very good about responding promptly to questions via email. (Incidently, PAUSD rules require that teachers respond to such requests in a reasonable time and "reasonable" is normally defined to be 24 hours.) In the last 3 months, I have given school & district officials no fewer than 8 examples where I have not gotten a response from teachers for over 5 working days.

The reasons I've heard for not using InClass are below. My rebuttals are in parentheses.
1. We've been educating children in schools for 200 years [sic] without InClass, so you shouldn't need it. (This was from a teacher. I wonder what she'd say if her doctor decided to do without CAT scans for the same reason. Also, isn't this why we have progress?)
2. Children are supposed to do this work themselves without parental supervision. It's an opportunity for them to grow. (Agreed that children should do this work themselves. However, everyone in corporate America is accountable to someone -- or should be. And parents need this info to hold their children accountable.)
3. I just don't use InClass. (Just use InClass -- many of your peers do.)
4. InClass is not secure and can be hacked. (Well, then post grades for those students where the student and his/her parents give you a signed waiver.)
5. We're working on it. (Yes, but you've been working on it since 2004 and it's still not implemented.)

The lack of online access to grades and scores in a location where Yahoo, Google, PayPal, E*Trade, Xerox Parc, etc. were born, would be ironic and shocking to those not familiar with the issues of public education. We are blocked by administrators and unions. Who speaks for the children and their futures?

It's likely that the only way to get PAUSD to implement a regularly updated, parent-accessible notification system for grades, test scores and pending evaluations is public input/uproar. I hope to submit a [long] list of signatures to the school board, highlighting the depth of feeling about this issue.

If you are a parent of a PAUSD student, I invite you to join me in this effort. My motivation is simple: I've lost one child's future to not having this information and I don't want to lose any more.

I've started a Yahoo Group: pausd_fix_inclass to foster communication among PAUSD parents. Please circulate this among your friends who are parents of PAUSD.

Respectfully,

Rajiv Bhateja
bhateja -at- yahoo -dot- com
[To email me, replace the -at- and -dot- fields above with the obvious replacements.]

Comments (66)

Posted by board watcher, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm

The only thing worse than teachers not using InClass is teachers who tell you at the back to school night that you should look at In Class and depend on it and THEN don't update. So you're relying on it but you really can't. But then when you email them they tell you to look on In Class. Do they not know thatthey have not posted? I would prefer to have a teacher say "I will not be posting the homework" and then just hands out a syllabus or weekly assignment sheet or something. If they don't want to use In Class, cant they at least do a global email to the parents of all the kids in their class to say what the homework would be? At that poin, what arethey gaining by not using it? And why in 2008-2009 is the district signing a contract with the teachers that does not mandate the use of inclass or whatevr other system the district decides to use?

Madness.


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I don't like InClass. If I were a teacher, I wouldn't use it. High school kids need LESS babysitting by their parents. They're in high school now. If you don't have an open relationship with your son/daughter on issues like homework, there are bigger problems in your life than whether or not you know the homework on Friday evening.

The bottom line is whether or not the usage of InClass (or another like system) is in the teachers' contract. If it's not, then you're out of luck. It's not going to happen. And good luck trying to get it into the teachers' contract. I think making world peace a reality is more likely.


Posted by boardwatcher, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2008 at 10:24 pm

what about middle school?


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 14, 2008 at 9:39 am

My child is at Jordan and says that some teachers use InClass and some do not. Some use it but don't update it in a timely fashion. He wishes teachers would use it properly because it lists homework assignments and grades and is helpful to him.

I have never logged on because we have proper communication with my child. However, there have been times where he has had an assignment he forgot about and he is cramming the night before. It is a good learning process for him rather than to have a parent telling him what to do all the time. They have to learn to think for themselves.

Teachers dislike hovering, forceful parents and perhaps by not using InClass, they can keep parents at bay. Other teachers are just too disorganized or lazy to use it.

Some teachers are good about responding to emails and others don't respond at all. I would prefer that they enforce the quick response to emails before enforcing using InClass.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2008 at 9:45 am

I tend to agree with Thoughts as at some stage we have to trust our kids to do their homework without out interference. I can't imagine standing over a 16 year old and checking over homework assignment by assignment before deciding whether to go and see a movie together.

Even at middle school, a child has to learn to stand on their own 2 feet when it comes to homework. If they get behind, their grade will suffer and at middle school, a few bad grades just might be the message they need to pull their socks up.

InClass is a tool whereby the students and parents can follow grades and homework, but it is not a bible. Its usefulness varies considerably from teacher to teacher, and also for the need whereby we check it. In my opinion, it would be useful to have some of the loose homework sheets and assignments put in downloadable form as teenagers are very good at losing a sheet handed out when exiting the classroom. But this seldom happens as in my experience the homework is listed by page name only. Once or twice it has been helpful when assignments have been incorrectly written down by page number, to be able to check the right page number on line, but that is about it.

Teens need to be able to get their homework done without their parents breathing down their necks. The days for that are elementary age and long gone. A teenager needs to be able to look at the homework themselves and then decide if they need to ask for help from parents. If we don't give them that experience now, how on Earth are they going to be able to do it for themselves at College?

Babysitting homework is just not on for high schoolers. If you can't let go of trusting them to do their homework, then perhaps it is a sign that you are going to have trouble letting go in other aspects of their life too.


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 14, 2008 at 10:34 am

Great post, Parent.

There's something to be said for the student being responsible and writing down the homework assignment every day.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 14, 2008 at 10:37 am

I agree with Parent that parents should not be breathing down the necks of their children's academics, especially in high school. But there are immigrants who believe this is how to parent because it is what they did in their country. They tell their children what to do and their children do it; they manage their children's lives because getting into the top college is of utmost importance over any social life or free time. Look at many of their children and they are quiet and/or don't smile much. I feel sorry for those kids.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm

The inconsistency on inclass is somewhat annoying and it would be better if teachers used it consistently. But I don't think it is a high priority and would get used that frequently. Most parents aren't that aggressive, and the truly aggressive get info from their kids or teachers directly.

Jordan Mom, you may feels sorry for "those kids" - but they and their parents may feel sorry for your kids (if they think about it) for not striving as hard as they do. To each their own...


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Me Too,

I seriously doubt "their kids" feel sorry for my kids! They are wishing they could sometimes have a break from academics. For them, it's academics after school, on weekends. Their kids envy other kids who get to have fun and have fun toys. My kids have played with them on occasion after their weekend academics. I know of some who get so jealous that they lie about the fact that they don't have certain things most other kids have.

My kids still have top grades. My kids have fun yet they know the importance of academics too. There can be a happy medium.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Jordan Mom, it is interesting you are so confident about how other people feel. You think those other kids are "jealous" of yours, hmm? Perhaps, just like any kid who does hard work may feel "jealous" of kids who don't have to. I expect their parents are happy with the approach they are taking. Your approach is fine too, I'm sure, but those kids and families don't need your pity.

I am glad that my kids get to hang out with kids whose parents are strivers and insist on hard work and discipline from their children. They still have fun - but they accomplish an enormous amount. I am a little jealous of them!


Posted by parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Agree with original poster, definitely need inclass in High school, at least with grades posted so if student needs help they know, and yes parents know also. Inclass posts give the kids at least an option to improve since many teachers do not provide much feedback. I asked my kids about classes that are not on inclass and they claim they are doing well, but don't know their grade (electives, english, history, foreign language). Study skills and organization our our families' focus, i tell my kids if they have the correct attitude and study skills, i am not too concerned about the final grade. However the grade does determine if the skills are effective, or the teacher is unreasonable. Note the kids do not get test back in some serious classes, (biology, chemistry, history) so can't learn from their errors. If they ever see the tests, its for such a brief time its difficult to absorb, since obviously you did not understand the material since you got the wrong answer. High school teachers seem so worried with making new tests, that it hurts the expected feedback cyle. At least the teachers can post grades and give the students some feedback so action can be taken for those who are interested in improvement.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Whereas I am not overly concerned about InClass, I do agree that not getting tests back to see what mistakes have been made and where improvements can be made is a big problem. I do not understand the need for hiding tests. Back in my day, last year's test papers were given to this year's students as a matter of course in preparation for tests or as homework. In addition, every test I took as well as every essay I wrote or paper I prepared or math assignment given, had to be corrected by me after it was handed back and then rehanded to the teacher with errors corrected so that the teacher knew I had paid attention to my mistakes. The double whammy for me if I presented a bad piece of work was that I had to spend just as much time to correct errors as I did the first time around. Now my kids essays get put straight into a drawer only to be taken out at the end of the year and put in the recycle bin. Nothing is learned from those mistakes.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 14, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Me Too,

You missed the point. The kids we are talking about have NO FUN. It's all academics for them. Their parents are on them all the time to perform in school. They have parents pushing them so hard that some commit suicide and some get depressed and resentful of others. The parents are spying on their grades and homework assignments through InClass. If the child doesn't do well, it's not a good scene at home.

Other children earn A's and still have fun along the way, such as mine. Yes, I do feel sorry for those kids. They are forced to become adults way too early.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Mom, you might reflect on why you think other people get it so wrong when you find the answer so obvious. Maybe you are missing something.

My point is that it is very hard, and hazardous, judging other families and parenting strategies. We may think we know better - but we probably don't know a fraction of the facts (like how much "fun" a kid has), much less the values that drive parenting decision. Some think if their kids go to a decent UC , say, then that's fine; others may think that is a big disappointment. It depends on the kid, the family, and what they value - we're usually not in a good position to judge that. You may disagree with them, but, on the other hand, they disagree with you.

So you may feel sorry for them; that's fine, though it seems presumptive. They may think you are naive, or just less ambitious, thinking that the best outcome comes from heavy parental involvement and heavy effort. That's fine too. But having seen some very accomplished kids and adults who were raised both ways, I'll reserve my judgment on what is best for any given family.


Posted by parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2008 at 11:19 am

Teachers who don't say they don't use InClass and say that our kids need less "babysitting" are avoiding the responsibility to be active, caring educators and are just coasting through their tenure. I wouldn't feel the need to "babysit" my child by being informed, if I felt that his/her instructors would take on the responsibility of leaving no child behind. Instead, by not keeping parents informed, the teacher thinks he or she is avoiding the hassle of having to deal with those so-called helicopter parents, but in reality has just consigned the average or struggling student to mediocre performance. You think they are going to care? Ha. As parents, most of do care, and most of us want to see our children succeed. The same cannot be said of teachers who "teach" while avoiding the responsibilities of teaching.


Posted by Interested neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 15, 2008 at 11:23 am

An interesting blog. As a professional in the community (not a teacher) who sees a number of students struggle with getting things done well and on time, I have to wonder if the intense monitoring provided by a program such as InClass is such a good thing, especially in Middle School and High School. When students learn to rely on the teacher, parent, or InClass to provide constant reminders, they fail to learn essential skills such as writing things down, organizing, planning, following through, and accepting personal responsibility. Micromanaging by teachers and parents may not be the answer. Students then learn to rely on, or wait for, external pressure before engaging in work.

InClass is just a tool. If a teacher doesn't choose to use it, it may help to see this as an opportunity to develop more personal ways to help your child academicially. Open communication, reinforcing effort and initiative vs. expecting perfection, showing confidence in their abilities vs. expecting failure, being available to help, providing encouragement, leading by example, can all be much more effective than a computer tracking system, and is more likely to help a child develop the independence they need to be successful in school ("success" does not necessarily translate to Ivy-League grades), and in their relationships with others.

Although some teachers are irresponsible about getting back to parents in a timely fashion, others are just overwhelmed by too many requests. If 50% of parents sent an email once a week to a high school teacher, that could mean as many as 50-60 emails. How quickly could you respond to that many emails while grading papers, developing assignments, teaching classes, attending meetings? You can help teachers by consolidating messages, sending messages only when essential to your child's progress (don't sweat the small stuff), avoid anger or blame, and "join" with the teacher in helping your child (you're not on opposite sides, even if you disagree at times). When you appreciate someone's else's position, they are better able to appreciate yours.




Posted by curious, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

If there was no online assignment listing, parent or student network, or clearly distributed syllabus, it would be hard to get assignments when kids are sick. Don't you think we could be discussing this issue with something like that in mind instead of pointing fingers about motivations and values of fellow parents? InClass really helps dueing flu season if teachers post assignments consistantly. Please don't say that getting sick is a life lesson and a 6th grader should come back after one week and collect assignments themselves.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Thank you, curious. people are given agendas for professional meetings, not expected to write down random notes prior to the event College students receive syllabi. Teachers who cannot provide a syllabus with homework assignments and chpaters listed for each quarter or semester might at least use InClass to post assignments weekly. Saying that this is babysitting is ridiculous. Also, some kids have learning disabilities that make organization very difficult. Likewise, kids get sick. Being able to check for themselves what is assigned and expected helps keep them on track. The parents don't necessarily have to be the ones looking at it. It is less burdensome on teachers, I would think, to ask them to provide the hmework assignments on InClass than to have to check by email with the teachers and for the teachers to respond to all those emails.


Posted by alex green, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Egan Jr. High in Los Altos uses powerschool and it's great.


Posted by mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 15, 2008 at 9:17 pm



Rajiv,

Thank you for doing all this work and making the effort to improve InClass for everyone.

I have a different view from the parents above, going on about their kids versus other's kids, singling out "immigrant" parents versus laid back "trusting" parents who seem to have everything under control.

As a Middle School parent, I think that InClass is important for the students, not the parents. It's a communication tool that benefits the relationship of each student with their teacher and the respective subject. We hear over and over again how students need to be organized, but the teacher's themselves demonstrate total disorganization when they don't use InCLass.

My suggestion is to find a way to commend/highlight teachers that use InCLass well or that are models of organization. Maybe the students can write an article every year on who has been added to the list of teachers that use InClass effectively. Every parent should have that list on back to school night.














Posted by Jordan mom, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2008 at 9:06 am

Rajiv,
What an excellent post! I completely agree with you and I find the resistance of some teachers to use Inclass strange, especially since we are in the heart of Silicon Valley and should be the role models for the world on the use of technology.
Maybe PTA can raise money for bonuses for those teachers who use Inclass and update it regularly?


Posted by Rajiv Bhateja, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm

First off, thanks to all of you for the constructive discussion and different points of view. I'll restrict my comments to InClass rather than different parenting styles, etc.

First, I'm guessing that you couldn't take away the InClass (equivalent) from the schools that mandate it. The parents I've talked to at those schools think it's wonderful. (See the comment about Egan for example.)

I don't have a problem with the view that high school students should have developed a sense of ownership around their grades and school work. That would be very desirable. The problem is what to do if your high schooler does not yet have this sense of ownership.

Teenage years are not a very rational time. Kids experiment with a lot of different things -- some good, some bad, some illegal. As a parent, I definitely want to be involved and aware of how my child is doing. For example, a sudden decline in grades could be a sign of depression, drug use, or some other serious problem. And even with good communication, sometimes the kids just don't want to do the work.

Given that a student is *NOT* taking ownership of his/her work, what's a parent to do? Merely standing by and letting the student fail is abdication (in my mind).

For myself, I prefer a policy of engagement and support, while encouraging the student to take ownership. But this requires information. And if you don't have InClass, getting the information is a tedious process for the parent and the teacher.

Adolescents mature at different rates in different aspects of their lives. They may be independent in some respects but need guidance and support in others. These are minors after all. So for the middle and high schoolers that need more support, InClass is a valuable tool.

As far as teachers being very busy answering emails, they would have a lot fewer emails if they did use InClass.

My $0.02.

Rajiv


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 18, 2008 at 10:30 am

"As far as teachers being very busy answering emails, they would have a lot fewer emails if they did use InClass."

You'd think this to be the case, but the exact opposite is true.


Posted by Rajiv Bhateja, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 18, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Hello Thoughts,

If you have any data to support your point about email load, please share it. I do have reports from 2 teachers at Gunn who state that their communications with parents became a lot more efficient after they started using InClass.

In cases where the email load does increase, could this be because a problem has been identified and the student/parent/teacher are actively working on it. If that is the case, these emails would seem to be valuable and preferable, rather than letting the student's problem simply drift away with no attention.

Regards,

Rajiv


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Our kids used to attend this district (high school level) and I minimized my contact with teachers, recognizing they are busy.

However, on the few occasions when I emailed, I did not typically receive prompt responses, which was not great because I only attempted contact because I really needed to (rather than for a minor or nonsensical reason)! Note: there are exceptions among the teachers. Maybe there ought to be a screening mechanism for emails from parents ! - because some of us truly need to reach the teacher.
I also realized that there is a wide variation in InClass use - that is just a fact. But why does PAUSD have it if all the teachers don't use it?


Posted by Lou, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 21, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Where's the yahoo group? It doesn't show up?


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Rajiv,

As a teacher in another district that uses a program just like InClass, I can tell you that my experience with posting grades and homework on the Internet is not good.

Every single post of information I gave to the parents (in terms of homework, grade print-outs) prompted 15-20 e-mail responses with complaints how Johnny turned in this or that assignment and that I must have misplaced it. For the hundreds of times I received this type of e-mail, would you like to guess how many times I had actually lost the assignment? Answer: zero. Would you like to guess how many times the student had not turned in the assignment and was lying to their parents? Answer: every single time.

At the high school level, it is the responsibility of the STUDENT to write down the homework, to bring home the grade report, and to follow through on their assignments. We are not teaching our children how to become self-sufficient by continuing to babysit them with programs such as InClass.

I will be very clear here: Until there is something put into the teacher's contract regarding InClass, you will NOT have uniform use. The odds of getting it into the teacher's contract is between slim and none. I know the teachers' union in my neighboring district would never allow it.

So be a parent and not a babysitter. This is a non-issue.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 21, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Thoughts, thanks for shedding light on this with your experience. Just as I'd thought, teachers don't want to be bullied by parents. And they shouldn't be.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Thoughts, I think you are missing Rajiv's point somewhat. He is concerned about a kid who is NOT bringing home grades and assignments; the kid is lying about what s/he needs to do. This happens a lot, as kids seek to keep parents off their backs. So Rajiv, like many concerned parent, wants to get the info of what his kid needs to doing and how he is doing without having to rely on the kid to provide it, since he has tried that and seen it fail.

So given that - what should he should do?

BTW, while your experience with posting things online seems hard on you, other teachers I know use it extensively and like it. Maybe they are doing something differently. You should ask.


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 21, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Me Too,

I've talked with dozens of teachers. I've even been in meetings where the teachers tells the parents how much they love using the online grading system and then, behind closed doors, they will admit how much they dislike having to deal with overbearing parents arguing about whether an assignment should be worth 10 points out of 10 instead of 9 out of 10.

And here's a shocker: the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The parents that check our online grading system have students that are doing fine on their own. The students NOT turning in their work rarely have involved parents. When this 2nd set of parents meet with me, they boast of how "things will be different" and they'll "pay attention" to their child's daily work. They must not be friends with the concept of "follow through" because it rarely happens.

And if this seems cynical, that's not my point.

But to answer your question, if there's a child not completing their homework and you want to discuss it over with the teacher, call or e-mail the teacher directly. Schedule a meeting. Make sure your child is there. Lay down the law with your child. Make it clear what your expectations are. Don't protect them. Don't confront the teacher. It's your child's responsibility to write down and complete the homework. Make this clear in the meeting. Go from there. Follow through with consequences at home. Your child does not need an iPod, car, cell phone, tv in their room, or friend social time. They can earn these things. School comes first.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Thank you Thoughts. It does seems a little cynical I'm afraid. You may be right that teachers are just shining on the parents. Or perhaps the teachers behind closed doors are saying what the other more jaded teachers want to hear. Hard to say.

Your approach on getting info from kids seems sensible for tough cases, though it puts a lot of burden on the parents to wring it out of them. Is it a lot of work is it to post material on the web for all to see? It seems a bit backward to not post info because it generates TOO MUCH parent interaction.


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Me too,

It rarely becomes about the student not turning in work and instead becomes about the parent that wants to argue about each and every single grade their child has received. You would be shocked, alarmed, and disgusted by the behavior of parents these days. The kids are great and the best part of the six classes I teach every day. The majority of the parents are great too.

But yes, a few rotten apples spoil the bunch.

So many of my peers have put grades online and then taken the option away after the backlash and overzealous responses they receive.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2008 at 7:56 pm

There was an occasion a few years ago when we decided we needed to talk to a math teacher about the class our child had been put into for 7th grade. Our child was excellent at math, performing well in tests, doing homework, and had excellent STAR results for the previous year. We made an appointment with the teacher because we felt that our child should be in the top math lane because the current 7th grade class was not challenging enough. The teacher was adament that the class could not be changed because although our child was good at math, none of the 6th grade "optional" homework had ever been done. This teacher was polite, but had obviously spent too much time talking with parents who argued about grades all the time, but was unmoving. This has been the only time we felt we needed to make an appointment to see a teacher about grade related issues and we got nowhere. It seemed to us at the time that the teacher was not listening to our points of view but just reciting a well rehearsed speech for pushy parents. We were not pushy then and still are not pushy now, but it seems that teachers are so used to pushy parents that when non-pushy parents do feel the need to talk with them they are just not willing to pay any heed. Our child finished 7th grade, fairly bored, and had to do the bridge course to get back into the top lane in 8th grade. It seems that we in fact were in the right and our child had to waste 4 weeks of summer to catch up with the work that could have easily been done during the school year.

This is mentioned as an example as to how pushy parents are taking up so much of the teachers' time that when a situation occurs that a teacher can't sort the wheat from the chaff and often turns off and puts up the barriers without stopping to listen to see if the parents have a valid point. In other words, some of the pushy parents are actually making it more difficult for the rest of us.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Parent, that is an interesting interpretation, to blame the other parents for what the teacher did. You assume that the OTHER pushy parents are causing a problem; but the teacher viewed YOU as one of the pushy parents (and presumably, you made it harder for others to be heard). I imagine no parents thinks of themselves as the "pushy" one and frankly I don't think that many actually show up to try to engage in their sixth grader's schooling.

But that said, I don't have much sympathy for the teacher not listening. Assuming your interpretation of the facts is right, that teacher should have listened more closely. On the other hand, if doing the optional homework was a requirement, perhaps you and your student should have been aware of that and done that homework.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 21, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Me Too, You are sitting around arguing for no reason but to insult. Posters are supposed to write something informative rather than simply arguing.

Parent, according to the math rubric, even if your child did not complete any of the "optional" 6th grade homework (which would mean either math club or Einsteins) if your child was truly excellent in math, he/she would have earned 7, 8, or 9 points on the rubrik (95%-100% zone) which would mean that the child is "automatically placed" in the higher math lane the next year. It states this on the back of the rubric sheet.

So I am guessing your child was in the grey zone, which is 6 or below, in which states that the student must want to be placed in the higher lane, and by doing Einsteins or math club (the optional work), this would indicate a desire by the child. At 6 points and below is where the teachers have to deal with pushy parents and it appears this is how the teacher viewed you.


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 21, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Mom,

Great comments on both topics.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Me Too

Thanks for your post.

I understand that you may think me pushy, but if you knew me you would know that I was the least pushy parent ever. I have made one special meeting request for a child and this was it. This 7th grade teacher knew very little about my child's capabilities but was depending on the 6th grade teacher's report, which had been excellent all through 6th grade. We may or may not have been given information about the optional homework being a requirement, but in all honesty if it was a requirement, should it have been called "optional". And if a child's is getting As on tests, homework and in class assignments, should not doing optional homework make a difference to their ability of being in the high lane? Also, it was very clearly told to us that the STAR report made no difference to our child's placement as the teacher had never looked at the grades. In other words, the STAR test meant nothing to the child, only whether or not the teacher was any good. It made us want to pull our child out of STAR tests altogether as why put a child through a test when the results mean nothing to furthering the education of our child, only in the school getting a good grade.

Lastly, as a family who are not US citizens and familiar with the American way of doing things, we were under the impression that the child's ability was what determined placement, not whether or not optional coloring and word puzzles would make a difference to math placement. True, it may be our fault for not being familiar, but since we were new to the system no explanations were ever made and no leeway given. It seemed to us that there was a lot of "jargon" which is familiar to PAUSD and not to anyone from outside and the assumption is always that everyone understands this jargon which is often not the case and quite often it is easy to be given different interpretation of this jargon, depending on whom you ask.

Lastly, as I said, this was several years ago and it was a learning experience for us. We have since found out that some of this busy work and doing things the odd ways the teacher wants it (one teacher always wanted a paper clip on the top right hand corner and if it was on the left, he wasn't going to grade it) then tough cookies. We don't meet with teachers or query their decisions or even email them now because it makes no difference. However, when any one of them decides to email us, we will answer directly and deal with any problems then.

This was definitely a case of once bitten, twice shy, and perhaps you will understand that we are not pushy in the slightest. This teacher told us that many parents wanted to get teachers to upgrade tests or homework and that she was not prepared to change her decisions as a matter of policy because beforehand when she had made exceptions, those parents always wanted the same to happen again. She was at that stage no longer willing to alter any decisions regardless. In our particular case, we were not asking for grades to be altered, just altering the placement. At the end of the year when this same teacher recommended our child for the bridge course for top math lane in 8th grade, we reminded her of this conversation and she had no comment to make. As a result, we had our bored child having to take extra classes during the summer to make up for the teacher's error in placement which did not please any of us since we could not travel in the non-peak travel time overseas.

The reason I told this was not to criticize the teacher but to point out that many parents before us had obviously changed the teacher's attitude about listening to parents' concerns.


Posted by another mom, a resident of Community Center
on Dec 21, 2008 at 11:18 pm


Rajiv,

I think you're going to go nowhere if your aim is to use InClass for parents. The real customers here are the students. The most organized students use InClass, and I bet the more organized teachers have the higher rate of use of InClass too. Life is good for these people.

Being the parent in the middle of both a student that is not on top of their stuff and a teacher from the middle ages, that cannot get their act together to use InClass will be hard to solve. The students and the teachers in this category will have a million excuses for everything.

Maybe you can get an article written by the high school students on this topic, get the student point of view.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 21, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Parent, you still don't get it. Your child can earn A's in math and still not qualify to be in the higher math lane. A student must earn a 95%-100 on unit tests and 92-100% on the Procedures Test to qualify for enrollment in the higher math lane. If your child scored 90-94% (which is an A) and 90-91% (which is an A), that was not good enough to qualify for the higher lane. That would put the child's rubric score at 6, which is questionable. The child would have had to do the optional work to boost the score to a 7 to get into the higher lane. The teacher was simply looking at the 6th grade math scores and your child did not qualify for the higher lane.

Also, there is a parent math meeting at the beginning of 6th grade where they clearly explain the math rubric to parents and hand out a simple worksheet which is easy to understand. The teacher did not make an error in your child's placement; your child did not qualify for the higher lane. The school is very clear with relaying the information on what it takes to get into the higher lane. The school or teacher cannot be blamed for this one.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2008 at 12:07 am

Thank you for your concern.

I do get it now, I didn't then. The point was even if it had been explained on back to school night, I didn't get it then. Even so, the teacher never explained anything to us at the meeting about rubrics - which is part of the jargon I didn't understand. The child in question is now in college so that shows this was a long time ago. I have had other kids go through this and it was only when the third one went through that paper with simple wording that I could understand was handed out.

My point, was not that the teacher was right or wrong, but that the teacher was so used to pushy parents, that when parents who didn't understand what was happening, weren't given any explanation other than "I don't make exceptions any more". At the end of the year, I was still not given any kind of explanation as to why my child needed to do summer school bridge course except that the grades were indicative of being capable for the higher grade. I come from a system whereby exams and tests make the mark, not coloring homework. No rubrik explains that to me. I have since had a child who was placed in the lower lane, moved up a lane in 7th grade by a different teacher and that was not at my request. The system did not work for my child and the teacher could not or would not explain it to me. When a parent requests a meeting with a teacher, the teacher should not be so stressed out with other parental meetings that all parents are not treated the same way. If the teacher had taken a little more time, explained the rubrik at the time, then it may have helped us. The teacher just said, "I don't make exceptions" and that was all. If I had even known the right words were "I don't understand the rubrick" then that may have helped, instead nothing was explained. As far as the teacher was concerned, we were just another set of pushy parents pushing our kids. Not a pair of floundering parents trying to understand the system.


Posted by another Gunn parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 22, 2008 at 12:16 am

Rajiv,

Thanks for bringing up this topic. Your discussion of InClass use raises 2 main issues - is this the right program to communicate with students and parents (ease of use, etc) and are there some teachers who will not use any online system (your reasons #1,2,3 above)?

My understanding is that PAUSD is evaluating their entire system related to student data, so maybe now is the time to see if the district might switch to a different program more integrated into the other data activities teachers perform - attendance, posting final grades, etc. As an early adopter of InClass, my hunch is that there are other programs out there now (Powerschool at Egan?) that would be easier and thus more welcome by the teaching staff. That might overcome some of the objections teachers have for using the program.

Our experience with InClass has greatly improved in high school. Many teachers seem to know how to use it to their advantage. You say only 2 of your student's teachers are using InClass...just curious, do you know how long they have been teaching at Gunn?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 22, 2008 at 12:34 am

Parent, thank you for elaborating. Actually the point I was making was not that you were pushy, but rather that the teacher seemed to view all parents asking for something as "pushy," and you seemed to buy into that view (excepting yourselves, though the teacher may have thought you so).

I actually think parents going in is great and while the teachers should usually not change grades, they should welcome parental engagement. Some teachers at times seem to take the view that parents are a nuisance or disruptive or "pushy." But we all know it takes teamwork to get the best result.


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 22, 2008 at 9:27 am

Our experience in middle school with InClass was very spotty. A new, young 6th grade science teacher used it all year with great success. We thought, wow, what a great system! As a result, we rarely contacted the teacher throughout the year. Unfortunately this was one of maybe 3 total in 6,7,8th grades who used it. Other teachers mentioned it didn't work. Based on my experience with the science teacher mentioned, it worked quite well.

Another teacher at back-to-school night told us she kept assignments on her website and we could use this to stay up-to-date. Unfortunately she updated it twice during the entire year - basically useless. But this brings up another issue of not being truthful in the first place, which really irritated me. She was a teacher, by the way, who actually did lose assignments and I was in a meeting with her in her classroom when she found one of my son's "not-yet-handed in" assignments. Suddenly his "C" for the quarter was now a "B."

With a child who missed many days due to illness, we would have welcomed the opportunity to view InClass or even a website to stay up-to-date. Trying to figure out missed assignments from middle-school classmates was a challenge.

High-school is much better. The kids are more mature and able to take responsibility. More teachers use InClass. I don't know why, but our experience is that the elementary and high-school years are consistently good and the middle-school years somewhat spotty. Maybe middle-school teachers are just way too busy dealing with peri-pubescent kids.

If, as some say, InClass creates more emails from parents, I would make sure that teachers have the authority to minimize discussions to making sure assignments are communicated to kids/parents as back-up and not whether a test was "fairly" graded, etc. Teachers are way to busy for that sort of nonsense.




Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 22, 2008 at 9:49 am

pa mom, you mentioned situations where the teacher "suddenly finds" supposedly missing student work. This reminds me that this happened to us a bit (some years ago - middle school level). It is an uncomfortable situation when the student is certain s/he handed in the work. I got to the point that, while I was not involved in any way with my students' work, I told them in general to photocopy high stakes work before handing it in! (Or be sure it was saved on the computer, etc.) In other words, you need backup. This is pretty annoying.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 22, 2008 at 10:11 am

We also had a Jordan teacher who didn't update InClass or answer any emails and was disorganized so there was a time where my son got an Incomplete. Somehow, we proved that it was turned in and from then on, we photocopied everything. Fortunately, at the end of the quarter, the grade report shows all the assignments and scores the student earned so we could compare then.

It would be easier to compare on InClass and more timely in case the homework is misplaced by the teacher, but InClass has other negative implications for teachers, as discussed here.


Posted by curious, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm

If a parent has a problem with the math teacher they should go to the instructional supervisor for that subject. If they get an inadequate or canned response they go to the principal. The student should go to the counselor if they have a disagreement with a teacher. That is how the system is set up at the middle school. High school has a similar hierarchy. Some middle schools have a waiver system for 7th grade math.

A large part of the hassle and controversy surrounding InClass would be resolved if it was used for assignments only and not grades. Not perfect but at least it takes care of some of the children's issues and the teacher's too.


Posted by jb, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 23, 2008 at 10:42 am

I'm probably too late in the conversation to help anyone, but here goes.

RE: inClass

Why make teacher posts of assignments as your only fall-back to finding out what has been taught or assigned for the day? My children were in school before the computer had so completely taken over as the caretaker of choice.

Our children were encouraged to MAKE FRIENDS IN EACH CLASS AND EXCHANGE PHONE NUMBERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHECKING ON ASSIGNMENTS AND COMMUNICATING WITH GROUP ASSIGNMENT MEMBERS. As PARENTS we were also encouraged to MAKE CONNECTIONS AND CALL ONE ANOTHER to check up on what was known about class activities.

In high school we had networks and could note which parents we knew in each class when we went to Back-to-School night. We kept in contact with each other.


THE QUESTION OF THE UNRETURNED TESTS. Tests are not returned because of the MONUMENTAL PROBLEM OF CHEATING. As it is, or was when my children were in PAUSD, there were teachers who handed out different versions of the tests within a class where the order of problems or questions was scrambled as a primitive stop against the wandering eye kind of cheating. And the problem gets worse when several sections of the same class are taking a test on the same day. By the end of the day all the grades are A's.

You may say that cheating points to useless busywork. My son was offered money for assignments several times in highschool. He told me about these offers because he was offended by the offer and proud of his accomplishments. He was doing homework we couldn't begin to help him with and it was his own achievement.

I think a lot of cheating comes from the immature assumption that everything ought to be fun or interesting. And personal fulfillment (including fun and friends) ought to be the sole goal in work. Go home and tell your child with a straight face that everything you did today was scintillatingly engaging. Then tell them to do their homework.


Posted by Rajiv Bhateja, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 25, 2008 at 9:08 am

I will correct a couple of misconceptions/mis-statements out there.

1. Yes, of course, InClass is for the students. And of course, the student should be the one communicating with other students, keeping track of assignments, etc. The question is what to do if the student is NOT doing this. We are willing to accept that when adults fall down on the job and are not performing responsibly, they need coaching and supervision. This is true in the workplace. It's also true of adults who are in recovery programs due to alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc. So it's consistent that we would apply this approach to teenagers who are simply not doing their work. And I know nobody better to help children in this situation than parents.

2. "The apple does not fall far from the tree." That's a comforting adage that has no basis in reality. This adage is so mythical it's almost ludicrous. First off, there is not one tree. There are at least two -- a father and a mother. In many cases, there are also step-parents. So which tree? Parents have different qualities -- so which one are we blaming for the child's behavior? Second, this does not explain siblings who turn out radically different from one another. Same-gender fraternal twins often exhibit vastly varied behaviors. (I have first hand experience with this BTW.) Psychologists have long observed that behavior is a function of genetics, personality and environment. So this statement is just a pleasant generalization, an oversimplification that is not factual.

3. If you're a teacher who's finding that your communication with parents is increasing due to using InClass, please talk with your peers. They don't have the same experience as you. I almost never have to contact my teachers who post information InClass. In any case, if a student is not turning in his/her work and telling the parent that it's been turned in, communication is in order. Parents need to know the truth. Sweeping this information under the rug is not a solution. Also, there are cases listed above where the teacher did find that the work was in fact turned in, so InClass would be helpful there as well.

In summary, I agree that students need to take responsibility. And I agree that the school of hard knocks can be instructive. However, these are children. Children mature at different rates in different areas and as parents, we have an obligation to support, advise, review and supervise their work (even the branches of government have this role). If we believe in freedom of information and oversight (which BTW might have avoided our current housing crisis and the ensuing economic catastrophe), then oversight, supervision and parental involvement and parent-teacher communication are called for. That's what teachers are paid for and that's the responsibility of parents. Of course, students who have learned to be independently successful do not need such support.

Thanks for listening.

Rajiv


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 25, 2008 at 11:02 am

With all due respect, Rajiv, I do not believe you understand the topic on which you speak. As a teacher who has spoken with HUNDREDS of fellow teachers on this topic, I know and understand the pulse of the current topic.

You do have some solid ideas, but they're extremely misguided and without vision. Also, your last paragraph suggests an overbearing parent more than a concerned citizen.

I wish you luck on your quest to "fix" inClass. Sadly, I'm pretty sure your mission will end in failure for all of the reasons that have been posted above.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2008 at 11:20 am

Thoughts, fwiw, I don't know Rajiv from Adam but I found his points reasonable. You come across like a jaded teacher, to be honest, putting down parents; sorry you don't like that part of your job.

Rajiv, I think you are on a good track, though I think it will mostly be time that solves the problem as more young teachers and parents adopt InClass. I agree that InClass, used well, is a time-saver and productive tool for just about everybody.


Posted by Rajiv Bhateja, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm

BTW, I had omitted listing the Group in the Yahoo directory before.
I've listed it now:

Web Link

Regards,

Rajiv


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Me too,

I love my job. I love the kids. I love my community. I love my peers in the teaching field.

I have little respect or care for the pushy, overbearing, and yes clueless parents who just can't let their child grow up on their own. Also, guess what percentage of teachers say the same thing behind closed doors; "most" is the correct answer.

Sorry if the truth hurts. You parents have earned your reputation for a reason. Nothing "jaded" about that.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2008 at 7:41 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Fortunately, despite your many "behind closed doors" discussions, the vast majority of couple of dozen teachers I've encountered in PAUSD (all of whom meet my wife and I and get emails from us multiple times a year) seem to have a more constructive view. Thank you PAUSD teachers!


Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 25, 2008 at 9:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 26, 2008 at 12:58 pm

The disparity among teachers is also stunning - there are some who are brilliant, hardworking, and caring and some who don't deserve the tenure they so easily earned.


Posted by Mom of senior, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2008 at 12:15 am

I find the many comments interesting and applaud Rajiv's efforts. As a high school teacher in a neighboring district, I've been shocked at how few teachers in my daughter's high school in P.A. use InClass. At my high school almost all teachers use Communicado, a similar program about which I've heard no negative comments from colleagues, students or parents. The union in our district is very strong, so I see no reason to blame the teachers' union in Palo Alto for the failure of teachers to post grades frequently. I do, however, think that administrators and dept. chairs could do much more to encourage teachers to either use InClass or post the grades with student I.D. numbers on the wall every week or two if they're more comfortable with that method. While some teachers may think they're de-emphasizing grades by not giving occasional grade updates, my experience has been that not knowing actually adds to my daughter's level of stress.
The discussion about student responsibility is interesting, and I agree that parents need to be careful not to micromanage their children's academic performance and time, particularly in high school. However, I've found that, in the school in which I teach, being able to check their grades/missing assignments has generally made some not so responsible students take more responsibility. They tend to view their grades as being less subjective. (As a teacher, I found that using a computerized grading program has forced me to be more objective in grading. Maybe some see this as a drawback, but hopefully not!) I also think students take more ownership when they can actually view their grades online and really understand how much each assignment is worth.
Hopefully, parents who feel strongly about this will speak up. I've been surprised by how willing most high school parents in this district seem to be to accept some situations that aren't acceptable.


Posted by Experienced Mom, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2008 at 7:43 am

In-Class is absolutely necessary for parents who have children who struggle in any way.

Of course most kids by High School are pretty independent.

Those of you busy judging other families have no clue about kids who struggle and need the help of parents to keep them on task and organized.

In-Class helps parents do their job. It is simple. In the "old days" if a kid, even in High School, didn't hand in several homeworks or got an F or D, then there was a little phone call to the parents saying "what's up?". Nowadays there is nothing until that shocking "progress report" arrives 5 weeks after the semester starts, or if your kid misses that window in suddenly falling, until the report card shows up.

Without In-Class we parents are left flapping in the wind.

Please teachers, use in-class. In the long run it would save you a LOT of e-mailing and meeetings, because parents with struggling kids could help keep their kids on track simply following the in-class, and prevent them from falling apart in the first place.


Posted by Experienced Mom, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2008 at 7:45 am

The problem in our district is that we step carefully around teachers' toes in making them accountable. We rely on their professionalism to do what is right. We are very anti-authoritarian, so the result is that there is nothing to make the teachers use in-class. They only have to do it if they "feel" like it.

Very few of us embrace changing the way we have done things for years, so of course few teachers are changing into In-Class.

Pity, they don't realize how much time in the long run it would save them in communicating with parents.


Posted by Experienced Mom, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2008 at 7:48 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Thoughts,,

"......As a teacher who has spoken with HUNDREDS of fellow teachers on this topic, I know and understand the pulse of the current topic..........I wish you luck on your quest to "fix" inClass. Sadly, I'm pretty sure your mission will end in failure for all of the reasons that have been posted above."

You need to start using all the energy you have talking with "hundreds of teachers" about InClass, to actually use InCLass. Soon, I think there will be a wall of shame of the teachers that refuse to use this communication tool. InClass IS the real world. You sound like either you have a serious resistance to change, or a vendor for a competing system to InClass.






Posted by Thoughts, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 30, 2008 at 9:44 pm

"Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 44 minutes ago

Thoughts,

You need to start using all the energy you have talking with "hundreds of teachers" about InClass, to actually use InCLass. Soon, I think there will be a wall of shame of the teachers that refuse to use this communication tool. InClass IS the real world. You sound like either you have a serious resistance to change, or a vendor for a competing system to InClass."


I will check back in 2 years and see if any progress has been made. I already know the answer.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm

I'm surprised that Experienced Mom doesn't believe that Thoughts is really a teacher in the district. My impression is that many teachers, at least at the high school level, share his or her attitude. One of my daughter's teachers last year told me when I passed by to pick up work she had missed while absent, "I don't check email, so don't bother sending emails." Another teacher regularly showed up to class 5 or 10 minutes late because she ran around the track at lunch time. I could list other examples, but my point is that the administration needs to be firmer (not authoritarian) and more selective about which teachers they decide to retain. PAUSD is a district in which many teachers would like to work, and it pays comparatively well. Without a doubt, the school culture needs to change gradually so that teachers don't feel "put upon" when asked to keep parents and students informed on a regular basis. InClass is an excellent tool for accomplishing this.


Posted by concerned_and disappointed_parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 9, 2009 at 9:47 am

I am shocked and disappointed at the messages on this topic. This is PALO ALTO??? An educated community of high-achievers? If your child is on drugs, you would like to know sooner than later. If your child is driving without a seat belt, you would like to be aware of that and correct it. Or would that be overbearing and pushy? So, if you child is missing h/w because of ANY reason, his own incompetence, immaturity, unbalanced family, or perhaps typical-teenage turmoil shouldn't his parents care and know? Why is that such an issue? And we live in a place where companies like Google and Facebook are just down the street? Why are any of the parents/teachers using this online discussion forum doing so? Why not, instead, send in hand-written letters that sufficed once?

It's time to move with the times, whether electronic reporting, or accepting new immigrants who are not very different from those of a few generations ago. EVERY one of us traces our roots to immigration. And immigration is NOT the root cause of all problems, like the use or lack of use of Inclass.The original mail by Jordan Mom should have been removed as objectionable content, this discussion would have stayed more relevant and useful.


Posted by Rajiv Bhateja, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 13, 2009 at 7:12 am

I am hopeful about the response from the Administration and School Board. Based on what I've heard recently, I am sure that they are studying this issue more carefully. The fact that several neighboring districts have adopted a policy for updating grades online on a weekly basis, should help as well.

If you would like your name added to the Yahoo Group on this subject, please go to:
Web Link
and click "Join this Group"

Regards,

Rajiv


Posted by Mike, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 11, 2009 at 1:05 pm

This why it is not used widely:
Web Link


Posted by Rajiv Bhateja, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm

The Blackboard System had been neglected for several years.
(PAUSD was using a 10-year old version.) That has now been fixed.
If the system is still not working correctly, it should be replaced, so it does not become an excuse for avoiding the timely communication of grades to students and parents.

Here's another discussion thread on this subject:

Web Link

Rajiv


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