Parents hail Web tool that monitors students

Class cutters beware.

A Web site that made its Rock Hill debut this semester lets parents keep tabs on their children's school attendance, performance and assignments without any sneaky spy tactics.

The site, called Edline, is being used at Northwestern High School this semester and will be introduced at Rock Hill and South Pointe high schools next school year.

"I think it is going to be a very good resource for parents as well as students when it's fully developed," said Sue Kutz, the mother of a high school junior and a member of the Northwestern School Improvement Council. "I think the thing that is most attractive is the fact that you can keep on top of your student's grades and the activities that they have at school."

Edline allows teachers to post assignments, schedules, notes and handouts on their course pages. Then students and parents can view that information. The site also allows users to manage their calendar and extracurricular activities.

Attendance updates

Attendance is updated daily and grades are updated every two weeks. Only a student, their teacher and their parents can see personal information.

"It's really cut down on our time as teachers having to talk to parents about stuff that their kids should be telling them," said Susan Snyder, a science teacher at Northwestern and the swim team coach. "I think it's absolutely fabulous."

Snyder said she posts daily homework assignments and the dates for tests on her course Web page. She also uses the calendar and mass e-mail functions to stay in touch with the swim team and the environmental science club she advises.

Administrators at Northwestern said they hope the site gets parents more involved with the school.

"We all know the more you have the parents and families involved the better your students do," assistant principal Desmond Cato told the school board Monday.

Cato said school officials thought giving parents more information would allow them to better support their students and the school.

"Believe me, we've had a few of those 'Gotcha!' moments with students and their parents," he said.

Northwestern will host Edline Night next month to let parents know about the new tool and to show them how to use it. Parents will be told how to get a free e-mail account and where to get online if they don't have a computer at home.

The Web site will not replace traditional progress reports or report cards. A username and password are required to access the site.