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November 9, 2012

Check in with teachers about grades

NORMAN — Q: I have been asking my daughter how things are at school, and she assures me everything is fine. I recently gained access to Parent Portal, and I quickly learned she is failing three of her classes. She is a senior and needs to graduate. Why was I not notified of this problem?

— Jack, of Moore

Jack,

Many districts send home regular progress reports, and Moore, for example, sends them every three weeks with your student. It’s normal for a kid to not want a parent to know if grades aren’t particularly good. Since she’s a senior, she should know the importance of passing her classes and take some responsibility in that.

Parent Portal is your best bet because you can also find out absences, tardies, assignments, grades on assignments and overall course grades. We realize that it’s only as current as the grades that have been entered. However, it is the best tool for parents to keep tabs on progress.

As far as why you weren’t told, we would urge you to first question your daughter. She of all people knows what her grades are. Now that you are on Parent Portal this may be a moot point, but checking with your student’s teachers throughout the semester is never a bad idea. Email can be easily accessed through Parent Portal. It’s difficult for a classroom teacher to contact every parent of every student when they have 140 kids during a school day — which is another big plus of Parent Portal.

Parent/teacher conferences are held at least twice per school year (once each semester), and even if parents think their kids are making straight A’s, we strongly urge parents to attend. Something to think about: Your daughter is probably close to being 18, if not already. If she doesn’t see the need to pass her classes while she can do so for free, then maybe allowing her to pay for summer school, internet or night school classes might wake her up.

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