Parents of Wilton elementary school students, the most important day of the year is upon you!
It’s the day you find out who your child will have as a teacher for the 2011-2012 school year.
Most students, however, will find out a little differently than in years past. Rather than notifying parents of their child’s class placement by mail, school officials will post the information on Edline, the district’s website portal that’s been live for just under a year.
“So many people use technology now, they’re used to that, even if they’re not used to this method necessarily,” says Cheryl Jensen-Gerner, principal of Miller-Driscoll School.
She adds that the district is definitely making an effort to get parents more accustomed to using the website. “The more people find that there’s worthy information on it, they’ll check it more.”
Returning Miller-Driscoll families can expect to find teacher placement news, as well as class rosters and supply lists, when they log on to Edline around July 29, which, Jensen-Gerner says, “is very typical to when we usually notify parents.”
Kindergarten families however, will receive the information in a traditional mailing, with a letter that will be mailed at the same time. This way, says the Miller-Driscoll principal, families new to the school can slowly acclimate to using the website.
“Coming in new, particularly if they’ve never had a kindergartener or a student in the district, that’s pretty overwhelming. So the information about how to activate their Edline account will go out at the beginning of the school year, at meet the teacher day,” says Jensen-Gerner.
Cider Mill students will also learn of their class placement via Edline, but they may need to wait just a couple days longer. Parents will be able to log on August 1 to find out their child’s teacher, although if the webmasters have everything in place earlier they may post the information sooner.
According to Cider Mill Assistant Principal Thomas Ford, this new method is more convenient for parents eager to get the info quickly, but the school is prepping to help users slow to adapt to the technology.
“You log on in two seconds, you can do it from your phone, if you’re a parent on the train on the way to work. Hopefully everything will go smoothly. But we’re also ready to answer the phone and lend a hand if there are any issues. I can’t promise there won’t be a glitch here or there, but by and large it’s going to work out well, and everybody’s going to find out what they’re hoping to find out right around August 1.”
Ford notes that third graders will receive a brand new Edline access code in the week prior to placement notification, which they’ll need to activate before being able to sign on to find out who their teacher will be. These access codes will be sent in the mail the last week of July.
Despite this initial mailing and the one required for kindergarteners, the switch to online placement notification is expected to save the district several hundred dollars in postage costs. The savings will only increase as parents continue to embrace the technology.
“If you think about a typical mailing to about 1,000 students, and what the postage is, it adds up pretty quickly. We’re reducing the amount of paper we’re using, the amount of photocopying. The goal in the long run is that the website is a vehicle for parents to be able to find important information globally in terms of what’s going on in the district, what’s going on in the school, and more specifically what’s happening in the classroom, specific to your child.”
School officials know how eager parents are each year to get teacher assignment news, and they’re looking forward to word of mouth spreading quickly as soon as the info is posted.
“We’re hoping for the buzz as everybody goes on the Edline website, and then goes onto Facebook or Twitter or whatever their mode of sharing the news, and that will encourage everyone to go on the website,” says Mathew Hepfer, Director of Technology for the district.
Hepfer is confident the system can handle the rush of interest by parents eager to find out their children’s teachers, and says he would welcome it as an indication that parents are using Edline.
“The Edline system is massive. It’s backed up a few times an hour. I don’t think it would be possible for us to tax the system, but boy I hope we give the system a workout.”
Going against the technology trend, however, is Middlebrook, which will rely on snail-mail to send students their class schedules. According to Middlebrook principal Julia Harris, those schedules will be mailed home by mid-August.