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Beekmantown pushing for more transparency

New online tool provides faculty, staff and parents increased access to students

Beekmantown Central School Technology Coordinator Gary Lambert with a web page from Schooltool open in the background.

Beekmantown Central School Technology Coordinator Gary Lambert with a web page from Schooltool open in the background. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— In 2005, Beekmantown Central School officials decided the district needed more transparency.

The community needed to know what teachers did for them and parents should have more insight to how their children were performing in school.

“We crafted our own system, and this pre-dated any district in this county doing it,” said Gary Lambert, technology coordinator for Beekmantown Central School.

Suddenly grades and other information was available online.

That was until last year when school officials determined the process was too cumbersome, taking up too much time and not providing everything the district wanted available to faculty, staff and parents.

During the 2011-12 school year, school officials explored replacing the former student information system, specifically by examining what alternatives were supported by the Northeastern Regional Information Center (NERIC), a division of the Capital Region BOCES.

“We knew we would have to change sooner or later and looked at several systems,” Lambert said. “We held meetings with teachers and administration and clerical staff and brought vendors in for input.”

Beekmantown selected Schooltool as having the best fit for the district.

“With Schooltool, Beekmantown Central School is providing better, more fluid access to information for staff as well as parents and students,” Lambert said.

It provides parents access to grades, assignments, discipline history, attendance, communications and soon progress reports and report cards. A parent can check the site and see which class a child is in before going to school.

“This is accomplished through the Schooltool Parent Portal,” Lambert said. “The Schooltool Parent Portal is one of many ways to keep in touch with your child’s academic progress, and is available to all parents in the Beekmantown Central School District, regardless of your child’s grade level.”

The Schooltool Parent Portal was released on Jan. 20, and since that time, 232 requests have been processed for user account access.

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