By Amanda Moss
Parents now can have easier access to their child’s academic progress and performance.
The new PowerSchool Parent Portal tool went into effect on Tuesday. The system was a mandatory statewide update. It replaced the public school’s former student information system, NC WISE, around August 2013. The portal was an optional tool that the local school district agreed to on Feb. 1 of this year.
The portal, which replaces and upgrades the old Parent Assistant program, offers parents access to grades, attendance records, transcripts, teacher comments, calendars and schedules.
“It’s almost like a weekly progress report,” said L.J. Bell Elementary School Principal Yvonne Gilmer. “It really opens clearer lines of communication.
Hal Shuler, principal at Rohanen Middle School in East Rockingham, said that the only real difference between the portal and the previous system is the access to student grades, but it is a change of which some parents have already taken advantage.
“We’ve already had a couple of parents come by to sign up,” Shuler said.
Parents are required to visit their child’s school to obtain a school access identification number and password for the website. In order to obtain that information, the parent must have a valid photo identification card and then they will be handed a letter with an auto-generated username and password.
“We’ve been handing out some of the letters today, but we would still like to have many more come to access this information,” Gilmer said. “We have access here so parents can register on our computers, that way we can help families that may not have computers at home. The key is the parents have to come to the school to get the letter which is at the school in a secured file.”
Once parents have access to this information, they are encouraged to visit https://richmond.powerschool.com to complete the online registration process.
Early on, it seems to be a hit with parents, some of whom didn’t know about it until announced on The Daily Journal’s Facebook page.
“Will be getting my log-in (Wednesday),” posted Ashley S. Hogan. “I’ve talked with my oldest daughter’s principal and I believe this is an awesome idea! We stay on top of our children’s school work and grades and this will be very beneficial to the parents that do so!”
Amy Maples Terry agreed.
“Got it, like it,” she wrote. “I think my daughter will also. Those little slips of paper do not always make it home.”
Ellerbe Middle School Principal Melvin Ingram agrees that the new program will be a step in the right direction for parents, students and teachers.
“PowerSchool is definitely moving us towards more clarity with parents,” Ingram said. “I definitely think it will be a good program. We still want to see parents and have that one-on-one time with them, but this is just another way to stay connected.”
A direct link to the portal can be found on the district website at www.richmond.k12.nc.us. For any questions, parents are encouraged to contact the child’s school.