As parents in the digital age, it’s never been easier to stay up-to-date and informed on how our kids are doing in school. Web-based school administration programs and school websites provide us with class schedules, updated assignments, after-school activity schedules, and teachers’ email addresses and phone numbers. Parents and students can utilize these online tools to keep track of daily assignments and track progress throughout the school year. Our school district recently switched to a system called Skyward Family Access, and after using it for the past week or so, I simply love it.

 

Assignments and Grades

Skyward includes a calendar of the current month, showing assignments due (or past due) for each date on the calendar, by class and teacher. Missing assignments show in red and are clickable for additional details on the assignment. The calendar on Skyward is clean, easy to follow, and a one stop shop for just about everything that is currently going on with your student’s scheduled classes at school.

A report card style grid shows your student’s current grade in each class, by reporting period, and as a final grade. A separate view of this progress report displays all missing assignments for all classes by date. For one of our teens (he has a tendency to “forget” to do his assignments from time to tome), this is an invaluable tool in determining what is missing and needs to be turned in asap.

 

Attendance

A separate link in Skyward displays an attendance calendar. Excused absences are color-coded differently than unexcused absences. Clicking on an date with an absence shows an hour by hour detail of whether the teacher reported the student present or absent for a particular class.

For those of you with teens in high school, an attendance calendar like this can be your best friend - you see, some of the kids my 10th grader likes to hang out with have this notion that skipping classes is ok -  going to certain classes is optional. Thank God our son hasn’t taken this approach, but for those kids that have, their parents can easily keep a handle on this with a tool like Skyward.

Other Useful Tools

Skyward includes several other very useful features like health information, email notifications, and a message center. Immunization records can be reviewed and verified in the health information section. The email notifications area allows you to get updates on daily attendance records, and will flag you if your child has had any missing assignments or other undesirable progress within the past week. The message center gives teachers a place to post special messages to parents or students.

Prior to Skyward, our schools used a system called Edline, which served its purpose, but wasn’t nearly as comprehensive and easy to use as Skyward.

Does your school utilize a school administration / student tracking system like Skyward? If so, do you find it useful (in other words, do you use it) in tracking your student’s progress? Please share your experiences in the comments.