Parent portal causes unwelcome stress, Herricks High School students say

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Parent portal causes unwelcome stress, Herricks High School students say
Herricks High School students told the board of education at their annual chat with the students that Parent Portal causes unnecessary stress. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

Several Herricks High School students said during the Board of Education  annual chat with the high school students on Thursday that Parent Portal may cause more issues than it solves.

The portal allows parents to see students grades online – not just final quarter grades but grades for each individual assessment and assignment.

One junior student said it’s counterintuitive since students are consistently told that they should be independent, yet the portal takes away some of their autonomy.

“You hear stories about parents yelling at a kid for one bad grade and they’re already working on it,” the student said. “It just shows that their independence is lost.”

The problem is especially prevalent among juniors, she said, that already are stressed out from the slew of pre-college testing they go through in the year. The last thing they need, she said, are parents adding to that stress.

She added that as Herricks students, grades matter to students a lot.

“[Students] should be be working on it themselves,” she said. “Not having their parents constantly telling them what to do.”

Board of Education President Brian Hassan said that the intent of Parent Portal was never to add pressure or stress on students.

Hassan said in the past, before Parent Portal existed, parents have told the board they were unaware their children were failing classes or at risk of not graduating.

He said that it’s about finding a balance, because parents do have the right to know their students grades.

He added that another issue with the portal he’s heard from members of the community is that parents sometimes have access to the grades before students do.

The board did mention that the district is currently in the process of creating separate student accounts that would allow students to access their own records, which would eliminate siblings being able to see each other’s grades from the parent account.

During the meeting students also raised the issues with the afternoon busses.

One senior said that many students, especially those with last period classes at the back of the building, have to rush and can sometimes miss their bus.

Hassan said it would be difficult to change the bus timing because the busses proceed to pick up students from other school’s in the district.

A freshman student also raised the issue of poor Wifi throughout the school.

The board said that they are aware of the Wifi issue.

“Before you graduate, it will be fixed,” Hassan told the student.

The process may take some time, though.

The district committed close to $1.4 million toward improving the Wifi, with the help of a $960,000 grant, according to David Pickman, a computer technology department head.

The district submitted a plan to the state in September and was told it would take three to four months before it was commented on, Pickman said. Now, he said, the state said it could take up to a year.

He added that the district “can not spend a dime” on the project and get reimbursed from the state until a plan is approved by the state.

The current six year old system has three to four access points in each hallway, Pickman said. When completed, the new proposed system would have an access point in “every learning space in the district” that is capable of handling three times more connections than the current access points.

Pickman said if all goes well he hopes the project can start sometime next year and finish within that same year.

 

 

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