OPINION

Program benefits schools, students

Joe CrozierGrant Wood Area Education Agency
Joe CrozierGrant Wood Area Education Agency

An alliance between a tax-supported organization (Grant Wood Area Education Agency) and a private company (Pearson School Systems) provides a robust Internet software program benefiting schools and students in our area. PowerSchool is an online system that creates a comprehensive, collaborative environment for students, parents, teachers and school administrators.

The K-12 web-based information system is designed to meet district reporting needs while increasing communication between the school and home. Grant Wood AEA has developed add-on functions to the system, which greatly enhance its value to the schools.

Grant Wood AEA has been providing computerized student record systems since the 1970s and, in 2007, the agency began a migration to the student information system — PowerSchool made by Pearson. It is now used by 29 of the 32 school districts served by Grant Wood AEA. The product has been adopted by numerous other districts across the state.

Grant Wood AEA is the only AEA in the state to offer PowerSchool hosting to school districts.

PowerSchool gives users access to individual student information such as courses, scheduling, student demographics, gradebooks, report cards, transcripts and student assignments.

Programmers from Grant Wood AEA have written several fully integrated applications inside of PowerSchool that augment and fulfill specific needs based on district requests.

One of these applications, the PowerSchool E-Registration System, allows parents to go online and update student demographic, emergency and health information at the beginning of the school year. Parents also can provide electronic signature of all permission forms as well as pay their student fees. This procedure reduces subsequent district mailings and the need to retype information from previous years. This offers convenience for parents and cost savings for districts.

Another application is the behavior management system, which provides tracking and reporting for behavior incidents.

The Document Vault is one of the newest GWAEA PowerSchool tools that is saving districts money while providing parents/students with easy historical access to report cards/transcripts. The Document Vault is an electronic file on the parents/students PowerSchool account that houses report cards and transcripts.

Iowa assessment data was added to PowerSchool this year to allow PowerSchool Administrators and Teachers with one location to access student data. Individual and multi-student reporting is available with full proficiency breakdowns.

The services of Grant Wood AEA’s PowerSchool continue to expand to the state’s public and parochial schools, furthering the agency’s mission, “To Ensure Success for All Learners.”

For more information about the PowerSchool, visit our link on the Grant Wood AEA website at www.gwaea.org.

• Joe Crozier is chief administrator of the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Cedar Rapids. Comments: jcrozier@gwaea.org

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