Teacher web sites keep students, parents up to date

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 28, 2009

In years past, students used a variety of excuses for why theydidn’t do their homework, blaming it on anything from the dogeating it to just not knowing there was homework.

It’s different now in the Brookhaven School District. There,teachers can now list their homework, lesson plans, and long-termassignments online, where it is right at the fingertips of bothstudents and parents.

“I think this is great for kids and parents, because both can goonline and check to see what’s due in class,” said Brookhaven HighSchool Spanish teacher Tiffany Brooks. “Plus you can see due datesfor projects.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

School officials are confident that not only will the teachers’individual Web sites help students know the whens and whats oftheir assignments, but parents can also monitor what their childrenneed to be doing.

“We think it will be a good resource because they’ll know what’sgoing on in the classroom,” said Brookhaven School DistrictSuperintendent Lea Barrett. “It’s a good cross reference forparents.”

Some teachers have completely trained on the software forupdating the sites, officials said, but some still have yet toundergo it. But soon they should all be able to update their ownsites each day.

“We have a handful who have not completed the training forvarious reasons, but for the most part, the vast majority of ourteachers have done it,” said Brookhaven High School Principal Dr.Jay Smith. “I’ve been preaching to them to keep their pages currentdaily, because it doesn’t do any good if parents pull up the Website and it’s outdated.”

Barrett said the availability of the Internet makes teacher Websites more practical, since it’s getting easier and easier to findways to get on it even if a home has no access.

“More and more people are acquiring Internet, and the libraryhas it,” Barrett said.

She also pointed out that several restaurants in town havewireless access.

“This is a new tool,” she said. “It’s not something parents arerequired to do, or that students are required to use, but it makesinformation more accessible to them.”

But it will also come in handy when students are sick or out ofschool for whatever reason, Barrett said.

“I hope kids if they’ve got a homework assignment, or if they’resick or at home, they’ll be able to see what’s going to be due whenthey get back,” she said.

And long-term projects are easier to remember when the due datecan be found at the push of a button, Smith said. But also, it’s avaluable tool to him as an administrator, because instead ofteachers having to turn in lesson plans to him, he can just checktheir Web sites.

“It’s very valuable to me, because I can pull up their lessonplans without ever going into the classroom,” he said. “Thiseliminates a lot of the paper transfer when I can just go to theirWeb site. But the key is that they keep it current.”

And, Brooks said, it helps her, too.

“I feel better knowing the parents can go online and see whatwe’re doing in class, and they can e-mail me if they havequestions,” she said. “It also helps me to be more organized.”