Author Topic: Go with the flow or protest?  (Read 11468 times)

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MyFamily

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2013, 01:33:30 PM »
I wish my kids' school would do this - it sounds like the ability to mark positives that the kid does would be so nice for the kid who is generally a good kid - wow, son, I see that you did X (or even if it just notes the number of times the teacher notes when the kid did something positive - looks like you had a good day!).  Or as kherbert05 noted - she used it to help a child with low self-esteem see that he was doing so much better than he thought.

My son struggles.  He sees a counselor, and one of the positives for my dh and I is that the counselor also advises us on the best ways to help our son.  One of the things he pointed out is that we always make a big deal when our kid does something wrong, and almost ignore it when our kid does something right or just a simple acknowledgement - but the reaction is usually much less than if they do something wrong.  Something like this can help the child see that the teacher is seeing them do something right, even if they had a difficult day.

Another advantage is that some parents are not very good at letting schools know if they've moved or changed their phone numbers.  My dh has this with his students (he is in a public school) and I've had this at the private, boarding school where I work.  So, a teacher can try to call and call and call and get no where; but this shows that the teacher made a very good effort to reach out to a parent. 

And I agree, any teacher using this tool correctly, would be calling the parents if there is a big problem.  The advantage would be that when the teacher calls, the parent would already be aware or the parent would have already taken steps to avoid a small problem becoming a big problem.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

bopper

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2013, 02:53:32 PM »
I have an high school age child and we have a "parent portal" where we can check on their grades and attendance.  I can see if my daughter missed a homework or how she did on a test and how she is doing over all so we can make adjustments before report card time.   Now I don't have to use it but I like having access to the info. My DD is a good student but when we had an exchange student I had to keep on her a little more about doing homework...I could say "you have zeroes for the last two homework assignments, what is up with that?".

*inviteseller

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2013, 03:26:10 PM »
We use the parent portal too all though ours is kind of scattered throughout the district website..You have to check district page, then school page, then class page, then finally student page.  There is a section for behavior on her page, plus they have a behavior chart in class that the teacher said she will send us an update on mid month via their homework folder, so I just feel an independent website is overkill for all involved.  I sent a note today on the paper that we had to sign when we logged in for the first time that we were not going to be involved and take my child's information off please.  I have the log in information and I will check next week to make sure she has been unenrolled in it.  If I am questioned on it, I will politely tell them that I don't like my DD's information being sent out or logged on to anything other than the district site without my permission.

earthgirl

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2013, 09:37:03 AM »

The truth is that electronic communication is often easier, more reliable and certainly more eco-friendly.  Teachers already have to pay for their supplies including paper - and who knows, now days, maybe even printing.  Sending an email is really easier for the teacher.  Not to mention, an email is "a note" - an electronic note that can convey any sentiment that the teacher could write on a piece of paper.  Also, papers get lost - who knows what gets home. 


I used to teach middle school and wish that something like this was available when I was teaching.  I agree that the website seems like a more direct way to communicate with you, OP, since sending a note home with kids, in my experience, wasn't always reliable.  It sounds like that may not be a problem with your DD, but with other kids, sure.  And while a phone call would also ensure direct contact, I know that it's a lot more time consuming (for me, at least) to make phone calls on a regular basis than to enter information into a computer. 

If you don't think you need to track DD's behavior on a daily/weekly basis, then opt out, if there are any major issues then they'll find another way to contact you anyway.  And I think that it's definitely not rude to request that your & DD's personal information not be put anywhere without advance notice & permission.   

Goosey

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2013, 09:49:02 AM »
What is the safety issue here? That the kid's name is on a website? What other information is on the account that makes it dangerous to be out there? Isn't it just the name and behavior issues?

I don't think I'd ask the teacher to make time to call me after school. Teachers are already working enough on their free time without also having to make time for special requests. Teachers today are required to give more and more and more data to parents. It can be difficult to accomodate everyone's demand for immediate satisfaction and constant flow of information without compromising on the time they can be creating lesson plans, etc.

I think if there's no real safety issue, it's making something out of nothing. I'd get more information about the site before I decided to further complicate the teacher's job.

Eden

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2013, 09:50:46 AM »
I think teachers are in a tough position. Some parents want to know every minutia about what happens with their kids all day long. Some, and it sounds like the OP is among them, only wants to hear if there is an issue that needs to be addressed. If I were the OP I'd just double check with the teacher to ensure that if there is a problem that needs to be addressed she will contact OP directly and the website is only there for the parents' convenience if they are interested.

As for the privacy issue. I know everyone has various opinions about this. I'm just not sure what the danger is with this particular website. What would a "hacker" learn that would be dangerous based on the kids names and tally marks? That's just where I would be with that.

SCMagnolia

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2013, 09:55:35 AM »
Quote
I think it would be reasonable for a parent to contact the principal of the school requesting  that parents be informed of all databases and websites that their student's information will be posted on. And for the non-school system ones, the degree of security of that information.

If you frame it as a request for information, and a request that all parents, every year, be informed of how and where their students' information is being posted,  you will come across as someone who is concerned about her child's privacy, but not so over the top that she's demanding all internet info be removed.

And it might just make the staff realize that they need to keep parents informed of these things.

I agree with this.

It's one thing if there is one website for the school district where parents can go to check for school information and to log in to get information on their child.  A myriad of individual sites outside of the district's control, though,  is a totally other thing.  Besides the fact that going from site to site to check on a child's progress can be time-consuming and confusing, there are security and privacy issues involved that you definitely have a right to be concerned about. 

If we, as adults, have concerns about how much of OUR information is collected and put online, and how secure that information is once it gets online, it is nowhere near unreasonable to expect the same for our children.  I'd suggest two things:  first, if you can opt out of any of these sites, do so.  And second, discuss your concerns for privacy with the principal or even the superintendent if necessary.  I honestly think that if a teacher wants to use sites like these, the sites need to be scrutinized and approved by the school board before they're put into use, or that the school district comes up with a list of approved websites that can be used.  If a site isn't approved, it isn't an option.

blahblahblah

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2013, 10:40:55 AM »
Man, I'm just glad that this sort of website wasn't around when I was a kid. My parents were the sort to get really displeased if my behavior was anything less than perfect, so if they had the opportunity to see all of the little infractions I committed every single day, I probably would have been grounded until I was thirty.

In elementary school we just had weekly folders where the teacher could mark down how our behavior was each week. The top grade you could get was "Excellent." I usually ~only got "Very Good", which was the next level down. My parents were not happy, to the extent that at one point when they saw the teacher while picking me up, they asked her what I had been doing wrong in class. My teacher was baffled at their level of concern (yes, concerned parents are good, but come on, seeking out the teacher because I was only "very good" instead of "excellent"?), and I think she felt sorry for me, because after that she started marking my behavior as "Excellent" even though I hadn't markedly improved.

m2kbug

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2013, 10:54:27 AM »
I think you're probably going to get nowhere on this one.  I feel the same as you, and everything is online.  I've heard, "It's on the website" a few times over.  As far as safety, the school is secure, or at least as secure as they can be.  All computers are vulnerable.  I'm not overly concerned in this area.  The schools take great measures to assure safety.  I have expressed that I would prefer a phone call or send a note in the backpack.  Back in 2nd grade, they carried "communication folders," so all homework and communication, permission slips to and from went in there.  I'm having a little bit of a difficult time with some of this website stuff.  I have one on an IEP, so I'm more likely to get personal communication through that.  That's been one of my struggles is people don't call me if they recognize a problem and I don't know anything is wrong until the sucky report card comes home.  I've been on the phone trying to get them to call me so the issue can be addressed right away rather than after that report card comes home.  I've had issues accessing the sites and seeing the sites along the way.  It's been a bit of a mess. 

I am settling into the computer era.  It really does offer a convenience and you can see what's going on right away.  Mine are in upper levels, so there are more teachers and classes.  I think if you call the teacher and say you would prefer a note in the backpack or a phone call, they'll comply with that.  You can probably opt out of that web site.  If your child was a behavior problem, they call.  Don't worry about that.  I've gotten notes when someone injured themselves and had to see the nurse.  I've gotten notices when Strep throat is running rampant and reminders to keep your kid home if they're sick during cold and flu season.  My child triggered the 1st grade pinkeye letter.  We have no idea where she picked that up, but we all got it, she shared.  :) When you get some of the assignments home, if she's pulling low scores, call the teacher. 

It doesn't sound like you have anything to really worry about.  No news is good news. :) I think if you just call up your child's teacher and just tell them you prefer notes or a phone call, they can comply.  I'm with you on how you feel. 

Sharnita

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2013, 11:17:32 AM »
Honestly, from OP's description it doesn't sound like the district has the best people managing their sites. I think I'd prefer a source that was run by people with greater expertise.

lmyrs

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2013, 03:35:31 PM »
Honestly, from OP's description it doesn't sound like the district has the best people managing their sites. I think I'd prefer a source that was run by people with greater expertise.

Agreed. If it's that complicated that it takes the OP an hour every night to work through the district's site, then I wouldn't have a lot of confidence that they have any idea what they're doing. At least a site that seems to be relatively common amongst other schools from all over the place (judging by the number of people here who have used it) is likely doing a really good job of security or it wouldn't be so popular.

I'm not a teacher and I'm not a parent. So, I don't really have a dog in this fight. But, in my experience, teachers have so much work to do and "only" 26 or however many it was students is still a lot of work, especially in elementary school. It's my understanding that the teacher told you on parent night that she would contact you directly if there was a problem. So, I think you should believe her. Opt out of the site if you don't want to do it.

But, it sounds to me like this is just a symptom of your real issue which is that the website for you to access the information that you need is very complex and not user friendly. You should be gathering like-minded parents and approaching the divsion board at their next meeting and ask them how they are going to fix it. It's not the teacher's fault that the division website is such a mess and it's proably no picnic for her either.

The problem with asking for special accommodations to make your life easier is that it often adds an extra level of complication to the life of the person you are asking for accommodation from. And, if it's just you, that's probably not a big deal. But, if every single one of the parents (or even half of them) all want the same thing, it puts the teacher in an untenable position and it's not fair to her. I think that you should work within the existing parameters as much as possible.

*inviteseller

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2013, 04:41:52 PM »
We have a daily homework journal..they have to write their assignments in the correct blocks, parents have to sign and there is a spot for a daily note.  I already wrote one about a math assignment (I have officially failed second grade math  :( ) and she wrote a quick note back.  I rarely contact them because the teachers are very good with both online and hard copy of weekly schedules/lesson plans..it is either the nurse or social worker who calls me.  I only expect a call or note if there is a behavioral issue (with her, not likely).  The district site, due to the size and scope of the district, has information I may need in numerous places.  The dojo site is an independent site that the district does not run.  Again, it may seem a bit overboard, but only I am allowed to put  my child's information on third party websites.  If the school would have sent me home the information on the site so I could check it out, make a decision on my own, then I could have signed her up or not.  But the issue is they signed her up and I do not know what information was put on because I cannot access the teacher site.  I just want to find the most polite way to discuss this with the school when I am a bit angry.  When they started putting up the student information on the portal at school, we had to sign up for it and there was a lot of information about how it was going to be done, what would be on the site, the security, ect.  I wish they would give us the same courtesy with outside of the district sites.

EllenS

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2013, 05:02:19 PM »
My dd is only in first grade and it's been like.....eons since I was in elementary school, but this all just sounds like unbelievable overload of nitpicking, and I pity every teacher, admin, and parent who is forced to deal with it.

I don't even remember HAVING daily (much less real-time) behavior charts when I was a kid. It sounds horrible, i'd be a nervous wreck. "am I being good now?  how about now? I was good a minute ago, am I still being good?"

I reinforce my teacher's good behavior of communicating with me on paper...by sending fresh produce from my garden in dd's backpack.

*inviteseller

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2013, 05:15:53 PM »
I agree EllenS.  I remember when the only time our parents heard anything about us was the report cards!  And if the teacher has to stop to mark down that Johnny talked out of turn or Suzie walked quietly in the hall..really, when are they teaching.  Our school has a wall of fame..kids get their names on stars for good behavior every month, and if you are constantly running to put Johnny on the Dojo site because he can't sit still, or talks out of turn, or doesn't turn in his homework wouldn't it be easier to actually write a note to the parent?  I have talked to a number of parents over the last 2 days and everyone said that this site is a pain and overkill for all of us.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 05:40:26 PM by *inviteseller »

Sharnita

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2013, 05:22:13 PM »
It sounds like maybe the teacher carries an ipod and one screen allows  them to access any kid in the class as they circuate through the room.