As you know, PowerSchool has been used to manage our record keeping with grades and attendance. We now have a system in place that will manage learning activities and interactions in a virtual space. It is called Schoology.
Dr. John Hendron, Director of Innovation and Strategy, noted in a recent blog that Schoology offers a number of great features such as: ▪ a dedicated account for your child, with sign-on to the system using their Goochland-provided Google account, ▪ the ability to access a course calendar that records assignments, due dates, and assessments, ▪ a standards tracker for teachers to see how students are progressing with both the Virginia SOL and additional standards we may reference such as twenty-first century skills, ▪ a communications platform for students to privately message teachers for help, ▪ an assignment engine that includes support for teacher rubrics and feedback with comments, voice, and video feedback, ▪ integration with Google Apps for Education so students can seamlessly turn in work from their Google Drive, ▪ integration with PowerSchool so that courses are pre-created and populated for teachers, ▪ curriculum resource sharing for teachers — so that putting together new lessons can be easily done using a shared catalog of lesson ideas, assignments, quizzes, and more.
In many ways Schoology is like Facebook and provides support for microblogging, with short updates that can be sent by teachers to one or more classes simultaneously. These updates might be words of encouragement, a reminder about an upcoming quiz, or a question for students to respond to (via comments). In addition, every teacher can have a Schoology blog. The blogs are independent of a course. All new teachers this year were trained on setting up a Schoology blog. This week we are updating our teacher lists on school websites to direct you to these public blogs. In the coming weeks, we will also be adding these links into PowerSchool as a secondary reference point. Either way, you will be just one click away from a teacher blog. Veteran teachers can elect to start a new Schoology blog, or to maintain their previous WordPress blog. Again, these links will be provided on the teacher lists on each school’s website. After we become better established with the new system, we will open up parental access in Schoology. This feature will require parents to sign in. The benefit for parents is that they can see more detail within courses that is not public, such as access to their student’s assignments, teacher feedback, and access to course updates. We will be very clear across the division with all stakeholders when this feature is ready and how to proceed. Our goal is to provide you the best opportunity for keeping informed about your student’s progress. If you have any questions about your child’s progress, do not hesitate to contact their teachers, counselor, or administrator directly. We look forward to working with you.