by Tali Falk-Judson
North switched its grade and academic performance tracking system to a program called Skyward at the beginning of the term. Student Management System (SMS), the program used by every teacher to keep track of grades, will no longer be part of the school.
The switch had been in the works since the beginning of the school year after the former program, SMS, could no longer be supported, according to instructional technology specialist Chris Murphy.
“It was a necessity to change our software as quickly as possible and to find a good fit for the school,” said Murphy.
Skyward allows teachers to take attendance, submit grades, communicate with parents, and keep track of student progress. It allows for greater opportunities than the old system such as smoother and more efficient communication between parents, students, and teachers. It also contains increased tools for academic performance tracking, and a more intuitive interface for teachers to use, according to Murphy.
“As with all things, there have been minor hitches in rolling out the new program,” Murphy said. “At the moment, we are only using Skyward to take attendance and are still relying on SMS to keep track of grades.”
Before the conversion to Skyward was fully completed, teachers and administrators were put through a training process to fully acquaint themselves with the new program. Numerous ways of helping teachers get through technological problems have been set up, according to Murphy.
Skyward offers a variety of different tools that will allow for better communication with parents and students in the near future and greater ease in managing student grades and behavior, according to Murphy.
“Although the switch will have its problems at first, it is the belief of the school that it will present us with capabilities that will increase efficiency, communications, teaching, and functionality,” said Murphy.
Skyward will be fully integrated into the North computer system as of the fourth term of this school year.