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School attendance, grades will go online

Things are about to become more difficult for students trying to cut class or skip school. The McDuffie County School System will turn on an online program March 1 that allows parents to check their student's attendance and grades.

"It's pretty cool," said McDuffie Schools Technology Director Bob Weems. "It's a link between the schools and teachers and the families and the community."

Mr. Weems said attendance will be available daily, and test and quiz grades will be available within five days.

"It's something parents have been asking for quite a while, and this new Power School program we put up has allowed us to do it," he said.

Students in secondary grades will be able to check on their status as well. But the option won't be available for elementary students -- only their parents can check the information.

"Parents can go to any computer that's web-enabled, go to our home page, and they'll find a section called the parent portal. They click the log in and enter their user ID and password," Mr. Weems said, adding that a user guide and frequently asked questions section also is available in the same section.

Parents must go to their child's school office to get user ID and password.

"We're not going to give that out over the phone or by mail because of security reasons," Mr. Weems said.

Family log-in IDs will not be an option. A separate user ID and password must be obtained for each student.

"So, if a parent has three children in three different schools, they're going to have to go to each school and get their log-in information," Mr. Weems said. "That's by design. It's not because we're trying to make it difficult. It's for security purposes."

A bonus feature is a link with each test grade that allows parents to send an email directly to the teacher of that particular class.

"We're trying to make it transparent and easy to use," Mr. Weems said. "That's actually the hard part, is making it user-friendly."

The program is purely voluntary, Mr. Weems said, parents are not required to sign up for it. For more information, parents need to contact their child's school. The school system's home page is at

Web posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010

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