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Hampton parents asked to make accounts to get school site running smoothly

| Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, 5:48 p.m.

The Hampton Township School District launched a student-information system and online grade book this month, and it needs help from parents to get the system up and running properly.

“We genuinely appreciate people's patience and diligence,” Assistant Superintendent Jeff Finch said. “This may seem like it's taken some time, but it's a drop in the bucket of the longevity of a system like this. This isn't something you do very often. It's a huge transition and it takes time.”

The district moved all its student information and online grade book information in July to Infinite Campus, a “one-stop shop” for all parents needs, Finch said.

Letters were sent home to parents earlier in October with detailed instructions on how to create an account and log in to the Infinite Campus parent portal.

While parents might be more excited to see the grades of their children, which went live online Oct. 16, administrators said the most important thing for parents to do as soon as they log on is to update their contact information.

“If they neglect to do that, it is going to hinder the accuracy of our alert calling system,” Finch said.

In the old system, there was one parent account for each student. In the parent account, contact information was listed in one box, and it was hard to tell if numbers were work, cell or home phones and which parent each number was connected to, district director of technology Ed McKaveney said.

Infinite Campus's parent portal has separate accounts for each parent and separate lines for each point of contact. But when the data was transferred over from the old system, it was dumped into the new separate contact lines, but the numbers were not labeled correctly.

Parents need to go into their accounts to correct and update the numbers to ensure they can be reached quickly and accurately in the event of an emergency, Finch said.

“We might send out an alert for a snow delay, and it could be going to the wrong numbers,” he said.

The district switched to Infinite Campus in July after the online grade book software Excelsior ceased to exist. Excelsior was bought out by Scantron, which decided not to continue with the product after June, McKaveney said.

Around the same time, the student-information system ProSoft was bought out by Harris Computer Systems. Harris wanted all of the ProSoft clients to move their information to the Harris system, rather than staying with the ProSoft, Finch said.

Faced with the decision to find a new grade book and transfer all their student information, Hampton officials decided to shop around last fall for a new program that could fill all of their needs. They found Infinite Campus and began working with the company in the spring.

The new program is a one-stop shop for administrators, teachers, parents and students, Finch said.

In the new system, each parent has an individual account where they can see all their children. With the old system, parents had to log in to each child's account separately to see grades and progress. Infinite Campus also has a mobile app and mass-communication system, as well as other features for parents that will be implemented in the future.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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