Are we there yet? Be in the loop with DJUSD’s newest tool

By From page A14 | October 23, 2013

“We are excited to announce a new system called School Loop that will enhance communication between parents, students and school staff,” said an email that went home to Davis parents.

My guess is a lot of the email recipients thought, “Oh brother, here we go again.” But this newest tool really is proving to be fantastic.

The email from DJUSD continued, “School Loop will now be the primary tool for getting information about school activities, emailing staff, student work storage, upcoming assignments and due dates, attendance and secondary student grades.”

Wow, that does sound pretty useful!

The one issue that caused me to think the school district might not be fully on board with this new system was that my teacher friend said they’d only been given training a couple of days before school started in August. She felt like it was a lot to learn in a short time, and they’d been through various ineffective online programs before.

Happily, however, it appears that most teachers have bought into School Loop. In fact, we have used it many times in our household to verify when projects are due, to check if any assignments are missing and to communicate with teachers, and all my sons’ teachers are using it regularly.

With School Loop, it is very easy for students to see where they stand in their classes, what’s missing and if scores match what they think they earned. They can see homework assignments with detailed explanations, submit papers and other homework, and even do a scales test for a band assignment!

A few weeks ago, my younger son had a question on a project, and he was able to see the same question posted to the teacher by another student on School Loop, followed by other students chiming in that they were confused as well. Even though the teacher hadn’t answered the question yet, my son was able to see that other students had the same question, and the teacher also could see that she might not have explained this part of the project clearly. This was really valuable for my son to see.

And compared to previous years, when our kids haven’t found out that the teacher hadn’t received all their assignments until progress reports came home, School Loop has been a great gift. In fact, this quarter’s mailed progress reports were quite a bit behind what we knew were the current grades, thanks to daily notifications.

Which brings me to the one aspect of School Loop that leaves me a little wary … daily emails that come home to parents. I realize I could say “no” to receiving these notes, but I’m not that self-disciplined. I want them if I need them, but most days I just file them, unopened, in an email folder. I want my kids to keep up on all of this without my having to micromanage.

My husband, however, loves the daily emails about our kids’ school progress. To quote him, “It allows me to try to help them be reflective on what they are learning and how they are doing. This helps them develop their abilities to be successful learners in the future.”

Plus, as my husband the college professor points out, this is the wave of the future for students. School Loop is getting them ready for college, where professors often require their students handle many of their course duties on the Internet, including reading textbooks, getting lecture notes, taking tests and even taking entire classes online.

So if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll embrace School Loop as a great resource for your students. It will definitely keep you in the loop.

On another note: For those who took a quick glance at my column photo to see if I had platinum blonde hair … alas, it was not meant to be. Hairstylist David said it would destroy my fine hair, require a lot of maintenance and cost a fortune. He did say I could go pink or blue, but I chickened out.

— Tanya Perez is an associate editor at The Enterprise. Her column publishes every other week on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Reach her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @enterprisetanya

Using School Loop:
Go to each school’s website to register and/or access School Loop. For example, Holmes Junior High School’s website, holmes.djusd.net, has a “Login” on the right side of the web page. If you haven’t already accessed School Loop, the site will walk you through with instructions on how to register, with a link for more information.

Tanya Perez

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