Education

NC's online system to help parents keep tabs on students

Posted August 27, 2013
Updated August 28, 2013

— The state Department of Public Instruction has flipped the switch on a new technology support system for students, teachers and parents.

The $26 million Home Base system replaces the SPAN program used by Wake County schools and the NCWise system used by about 30 other districts across the state to communicate with parents and students. DPI officials said they wanted a common system that all districts could use statewide.

"We have never undertaken a technology project of this scope and ambition before," State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said Tuesday.

Home Base allows parents to check their children's attendance, classwork and grades from any computer, tablet or smartphone. They can even sync assignments with their personal calendars to keep up with deadlines.

If students are struggling in a subject, parents can communicate privately with teachers, reach out to other parents for insight and search for resources to help, officials said.

Students can also check their assignments and have online chats with teachers and classmates.

Classroom generic Schools to roll out online info system individually

In addition to tracking student attendance and grades, Home Base allows teachers to see how their students compare with others in a particular school or across a district. Teachers also can use the system to plan lessons and design tests. It even offers professional development tools and evaluation feedback.

Schools will roll out Home Base individually in the coming weeks – elementary schools won't implement it until the 2014-15 school year – and will notify parents how to access it.

"The system is new, so there is a learning curve for our school personnel," Atkinson said.

WRAL News received complaints Monday from parents in Johnston and Cumberland counties about class scheduling mix-ups that they attributed to the Home Base system.

"That situation has been unique by different schools. (It's) not a widespread problem with North Carolina," Atkinson said.

A federal Race to the Top grant picked up most of the tab for the Home Base system, with the state kicking in about $2.5 million.

The system will cost about $21.4 million a year to operate, and officials said school districts will have to start chipping in $4 per student next year if they want to use optional components, such as teacher development tools and student performance comparisons. The state will continue to provide the parent portal and other required portions to districts free of charge.

102 Comments

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  • Lifeliving Aug 29, 9:46 a.m.

    Some of you that replied to my post about the raise....there are two sides! Neither have been kissed lately....you are welcome to kiss it! Finding a job....you find a job! You go work in a job that when you signed your contract you were suppose to have increase in pay. But then the increase stops and you are stuck in your career so therefor you can not go outside of education or you will lose all your years towards retirement. Stupid people...find out about how things are before you open your mouth. Stupid is not cool!

  • Lifeliving Aug 29, 9:43 a.m.

    AND...students SS numbers are shown! I have access to all my students' numbers. I do NOT want these number!!!

  • ratracehwy64 Aug 28, 5:33 p.m.

    One of the many reasons I don't want to teach anymore after 7 years. They plead poverty (state) and roll out initiatives that no one wants. Half the kids are in trailer parks for classrooms, yet we can spend 21 million a year on simply maintaining the program....after wasting money on NCWISE....what a waste!! 21.4 X 5 years= 107 million dollars in just maintaining this program....seems to me we could get rid of trailers for classrooms for this??? NO teacher in the right mind wants this, but the feel good, warm and fuzzy crew administrators want it, ram it down your throats, while our supply budget for your child gets cut!!!....this is progress???

    No teacher can speak up now due to one year contracts/no tenure. Which means if administrator does wrong, you can NOT advocate for the child in your classroom. Tired of the waste. Ever wonder why school lunch chicken is the size of a sparrow?-Wasteful contracts....some vendor made a killing selling this program!!!!

  • Dat MoFo Aug 28, 5:20 p.m.

    Having read more nonsense, I had to comment again. The state did not "just" spend $300 million setting up NC Wise. NC Wise has been in place for over 15 years. Second, no school district will deduct any dues from a paycheck without the employee requesting it. Third, the NCAE is not a union. Also, most teachers do not belong to NCAE. I have been teaching nearly 30 years and have never been a member. Our school does not even have a NCAE faculty representative. High school students do not have to give their permission for parents to see their records.

  • Dat MoFo Aug 28, 5:04 p.m.

    Some of the ignorance displayed in these posts is amazing. This is nothing about what teachers want nor did teachers did not choose this new system, myself included. Most teachers I work with would prefer to keep NC Wise. Our students came back August 19th and we still cannot input grades into this new program. Does any intelligent person really think teachers want that? We were told the state board of education made the decision to switch. Does your school system have parent teacher conference days? Every system I have worked in does so I don't know how a teacher can refuse to meet with a parent. We have three days of parent teacher conferences each year at my school. Most of that time I spend doing school work as I see few parents. I send out a monthly newsletter to the parents of my students that provide an email address alogn with a request for a "read receipt". On average, approximately 25% actually are read. Retirement can't get here fast enough.

  • 678devilish Aug 28, 4:33 p.m.

    "WHERE IS MY RAISE!!! NC TEACHER

    Find another job out of the school system and then see how fast on that new job you will get a raise. Tired, oh so tired of your complaining. So please stop! Thanks.

  • 678devilish Aug 28, 4:31 p.m.

    But still it will not tell all. Students will find a way.

  • Titus Pullo Aug 28, 3:51 p.m.

    "WHERE IS MY RAISE!!! NC TEACHER THAT IS NOT HAPPY HERE!!!"

    You are not happy that you do not receive the pay you believe you are due? Do what I did, find a new job. Quit whining and quit blaming other people. Take control of your life.

  • TxSon Aug 28, 3:50 p.m.

    Hopefully this system will be used more effectively than SPAN which I have always found that very few teachers actually kept up to date.

  • Killian Aug 28, 3:07 p.m.

    "All this and still you can't read half of those graduatings handwriting."

    Case in point being his own statement...

    I just hope the districts are aware that this is a purchased program. They will be required to use it for some stuff, but other options will cost $3-$4 per student to access.

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