SchoolTool Takes Over as the New Online Gradebook

Olivia Byrnes and Emma Carr

Assistant Editors of Production

Change always comes with problems and the change in gradebooks this year caused a lot of complaints from students including: not being able to log on to see their grades for the first month of school to having the wrong password to log on as well.“It was really stressful not being able to view my grade for the first months of school,” said sophomore Caroline Darcy. Freshman Maya Friedan agreed saying it wasn’t fair that she wasn’t able to see her grades from the beginning of the year.

Why was access delayed? Because the website was introduced to teachers the day before the first day of school and they needed time to adjust to the new operating system. “The formating, individual grade, and categories all have to be entered in a different way,” said Global History teacher Jamie Crawford. This meant students weren’t given access until teachers and guidance counselors finally understood the basic features of the site. “It’s a new program and it comes with a learning curve,” said guidance counselor Diane Ennis.

On Oct. 14, parents were given access to the new online gradebook known as SchoolTool using their own email and passwords. When students were given access on Oct. 25 using their student ID and passwords, what did they think of it?

A few students seem to appreciate the new change. “I thought the change was needed because last year was really confusing,” said Hagan. “I love the new change. I thinks it’s really user-friendly. It’s just all-around better and I can understand it more,” he said. Sophomore Maddie Pereira said the website is simple, and easier to use than the one from last year. “I like how I can look at the class average,” said freshman Lindsay Hair.

More students are complaining about the accessibility than the actual site itself. “It locked me out for two weeks, which was really frustrating because I was putting in the wrong password,” said sophomore Alex Frank.  Students who were able to log on were still dissatisfied and confused on the site’s condition. “This gradebook is a little more confusing, I think, because all your grades are just posted in one big list,” said sophomore Ryan Middleton. “There are a lot more steps to seeing different grades and it can get confusing,” said junior Matt O’Connor.

Other students are surprised that the school choose to switch to a new gradebook because they didn’t think anything was wrong with the previous gradebooks. “I thought that the previous gradebook programs worked fine. I’m not sure why they changed it, it wasn’t really necessary,” said Middleton. Junior Teresa Werbowsky said that the school should have never switched the gradebooks because it just confuses people. Although the switch is thought to have been unnessecary by students, but students and teachers will eventually learn the basics of the site.

The gradebook portion of SchoolTool was not the only component  the administrators considered when choosing SchoolTool as the new online system. “It was part of a bigger package,” said Principal Paul Gasparini. SchoolTool is a well known website that is used for scheduling and gradebooks throughout the C entral New York school districts. “It’s a program only for New York State, and the owners targeted it just for NYS schools,” said Mrs. Ennis. It is currently used by Fayetteville-Manlius School District, Baldwinsville School District, East Syracuse Minoa School District, and Liverpool School District. “Parents should be able to see report card grades, interim grades, and disciplinary infractions there as well,” said Mr. Gasparini. SchoolTools also offers guidance counselors the ability to use a master schedule when creating student schedules and there are also transportation and cafeteria schedules included with the new system. “It allows you to manage transcripts and monitor grades,” said Mrs. Ennis.

One big change in particular is the switch from progress reports being mailed home to progress reports now being online. Teachers and students are happy with this because it will help save paper. “Having no progress reports is fine because it says the same thing online and it’s a waste of paper,” said Darcy. “I’m worried that people aren’t checking it enough while with progress reports they had the information in their hands and didn’t need to log on to a website,” said math teacher Dawn Janicki.