New online Web site serves ‘Active Parents’

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Through the “Active Parent” program, parents of students in theLincoln County School District have one more way of making surethat their children are not only going to school, but stayingthere.

By simply filling out a registration form, parents of LincolnCounty students can keep tabs not only their children’s grades, butalso attendance. The system gives them access to some gradesonline, as well as letting them know when a child signs in andout.

Systems administrator Patrick Brown said the system, which wasimplemented in August, is an add-on to the student managementsystem that has been in place for a while. He said so far there hasbeen positive feedback from parents.

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“We’re just debating on what options can be made availablethrough it. As far as I know they like being able to view whateverthey can in the system,” he said. “It’s pretty much their option,if they want to fill out a form and get access to it they can.”

Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Terry Brister said thesystem is a good addition to the procedures already in place thatalerts parents and students if something is going on that peopledistrict-wide need to be aware of.

“With the services that we already provide with our schooldistrict’s main Web site and mobile phone Web site, Active Parentprovides a Web portal where parents can receive a little moreinformation regarding their child,” he said.

The system is not meant to cut out the parent-to-teachercommunication, Brown said. It is always advisable for a parent todiscuss with a teacher any questions that might arise.

The system also has a function that calls a student’s house inthe evening if they were absent from school that day, thus alertingthe parent in case they were unaware. Brown said administratorshope that will help cut down on dropouts.

“I love the attendance call system for sure, the way it callsthe parents,” he said. “The attendance call program will call theirhome and let parents know their child was missing in case they wereskipping or something. And online, they can see their child’sattendance per class.”

Brister agreed, saying the district is excited to have theoptions offered by the system.

“We also see this system as a great tool to keep parentsinformed of their child’s attendance status,” he said. “And it goesalong with state recommendations for high school dropoutprevention.”

But for that reason, it’s extremely important to have updatedphone numbers in the system with the schools, Brown said. If aparent has changed phone numbers and it has been updated, it’s notdoing anyone any good.

“Right now it’s of vital important to make sure parents havetheir phone numbers updated with the school office,” he said. “Atthis point when we send out emergency alerts to every student inour system, if we’ve got the wrong number for someone, that’ssomeone that’s not being alerted.”

Brown said in the very near future, parents will be able toupdate their contact information through the system, but thosemeasures aren’t in place just yet.

Anyone interested in getting enrolled in the program may pick upa form at the school district office. For more information, callthe office at 601-835-0011.

“Our district is fortunate to provide this type of service forparents,” Brister said. “Our district is willing to go beyond therequired steps to maintain integrity in the community and to makesure that students remain our top priority.”