Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Are we there yet? Be in the loop with DJUSD’s newest tool

TanyaPereznewW

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From page A14 | October 23, 2013 | 3 Comments

“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 tperez@davisenterprise.net. 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.

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Discussion | 3 comments

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  • Tanya PerezOctober 25, 2013 - 9:27 am

    Clarification: I've heard from an elementary school teacher that at her school, "teachers have received no training whatsoever on School Loop." My experience with the system has related to junior high and high school students.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill Storm (@Stormland)October 25, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    Dear Ms. Perez, The DJUSD focus on School Loop training at the secondary site level is due to the fact that all secondary teachers have transitioned to the electronic gradebook provided by School Loop. Elementary teachers continue with grade reporting as before. As you pointed out in your article, School Loop is a unified communication system, and it is at the secondary level where parents may register for portal access. Registration is not available at this time of our implementation at the elementary level. Training is in fact being provided to elementary staff, but it is being gradually rolled out in coordination with other important instructional efforts related to the Common Core State Standards adoption, efforts that particularly impact the elementary grades, so School Loop training is being provided as elementary site scheduling permits. Detailed information can be found linked from the DJUSD home page at http://www.djusd.net, under “School Loop Support.” We sincerely appreciate the coverage you are providing for this very important effort to serve our students. Bill Storm Instructional Technology Coordinator & Webmaster Davis Joint Unified School District

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Linda MatthewOctober 31, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    Hi Tanya, I'm not thrilled with SchoolLoop. The idea of receiving a daily notification of every homework assignment for every class of every child is awful! For years people have been fussing about "helicopter parenting", and this is surely throwing a truckload of fuel on that fire. I am always interested in hearing from the schools about things I need to do: attend a concert, donate to fund-raiser, make sure that my child has an appropriate outfit for some event. But the system does not provide me with the option of doing that. I agree that it's great for the kids - "online" is their language, and it's an excellent way for my junior high-schooler, especially, to track his assignments (the high-schooler actually knows what his assignments are...) But I think it's nuts for the parents.

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