by Katie Sedlak and Oliva Santos | Staff writers
Checking her grades is nothing but a breeze for junior Elena Alley. Using her phone, she pulls up the Skyward app and, with a quick scan of her fingerprint, Alley can see what she got on her most recent quiz.
“I like that there’s an app and I just, like, pull up the app,” Alley said. “It uses my fingerprint and everything so I can just pull [Skyward] up really fast and look at my grades without having to go through the whole login process.”
For students like Alley, the convenience of the Skyward app has made checking grades a simple process, without having to re-enter log information every time they want to see if they have a missing assignment that could negatively affect their grade.
“It shows my grades and my missing assignments a lot better than like having to go to the Parent Portal and then logging in again over and over,” junior Andrew Crawford said.
Skyward has many advantages that Gradespeed did not. As teachers learn the new system, they are finding new features that make it easier for them to provide their students with what they think will be beneficial.
“How we are actually able to see student’s progress from where they were previous years to now is really nice. The system that we had to go into before was pretty outdated and so this one is a lot more streamlined. It’s a lot clearer,” English teacher Ranea Canales said. “It’s really nice to be able to, at the click of a button, go back and be able to see a student’s past academic history.”
Along with features that can help a teacher view the progress of their students, communication with parents is also vital. According to the official Skyward website, only 20% of parents are engaged with their child’s school. Using Skyward’s internal messaging system, communication and engagement can increase by 10%.
“From what I understand that it’s been easier for parents, that’s what I’m seeing,” chemistry teacher Robin Parris said. “It has a lot of features that are conducive to parents knowing more [about] what’s going on with their child’s grade…. as soon as a grade goes in, they can see it right away.”
Even though Skyward has been useful to teachers, parents, and students, many have said that the new system can slow down and make working more tedious than needed.
“It’s very slow… you have to go to this drop-down to get to this thing and get to this thing, so sometimes it hides features,” chemistry teacher Elisa Compton said.
Teachers find that with new features comes learning how to navigate around the website.
“I dislike how many clicks it takes to get to get to something or how many different places I can access one thing,” Canales said. “Unfortunately, it’s just the more time I’m spending on Skyward, the less time I’m spending on, and being able to do, other things.”
Getting used to Skyward is a learning process for teachers, parents, and students alike. Communication with parents and other teachers is helpful to adapt to using Skyward.
“We just have to interact with one another to make sure we learn how to do something correctly. We’re learning it; it takes some time. Just like the parents are learning how to use it as well.” Parris said.