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   DataBus - Vol 41 No. 6: October-November, 2001
Pinewood School Praises PowerSchool

PowerSchool from Apple harnesses the power of the Internet to provide K-12 schools with real-time access to vital data. This powerful student information system benefits administrators, teachers, parents and students alike with a cost-effective solution that streamlines every aspect of data gathering and reporting. Because PowerSchool is web based, it's easy to install maintain and upgrade.
PowerSchool is the selected student information system of choice in over 3,000 schools across the country. Long-time users of the system report substantial time savings in data management, report generation and school administration while enhancing school-home communication. In fact, a comprehensive study by a Utah school district reported a 98% reduction in time for administrative requirements while boosting parental involvement by 84%.
A California school—one of the first users of the PowerSchool student information system—also reports positive experiences. Laurie Wilson administrator and director of admissions at the Pinewood School, a private school in Los Altos, Calif, has seen the program evolve dramatically over the past five years. At Pinewood, administrators, teachers and even parents use the powerful web based system to help keep track of students' progress. And, because PowerSchool is accessed via the Internet, users log on the system with complete confidence anywhere they have an Internet connection.
"PowerSchool has simplified things immensely," said Wilson, "It has definitely been a plus for us."
Wilson feels that because parents can view data about their children in real-time and 24/7, PowerSchool helps them build a "community", keeping their parents informed and involved in their child's school activities and educational process. In addition, the system simplifies school administration by allowing educators to track attendance, compile grades and even administer school lunch programs.
But it's the function that lets parents track their child's education online that's proving to be a big hit in the tech-savvy Silicon Valley area. "Parents love it," Wilson said. "They pay a lot of money to send their children here and they expect a lot in return."
PowerSchool allows the parents to track their children's grades, attendance and even homework assignments over the Web using a browser, keeping them up-to-speed on academic progress. And given Pinewood's policy of notifying a parent if a student's grade falls to a C-minus or lower, the software can automatically generate an e-mail message to the parent informing them of the falling grades.
As admissions director, Wilson also uses PowerSchool as a recruiting tool during visits by the families of prospective students. "I mention PowerSchool and they are very impressed by the concept," she said.
Teachers, too, are enthusiastic about the program, especially because it automatically calculates grades for each student as the school year progresses. "It's very valuable because it allows us to always have a student's grade up-to-date," said Jennifer Bates, a history teacher at Pinewood.
"I especially like that you can break down their grade by category so they can see exactly what they need to work on," Bates said. In addition, Bates likes the way the program allows teachers and parents to interact. "If parents can check on their students' grades on the Internet, it makes them more of a partner to us in helping keep their students on track."
A former science teacher at Pinewood praised the program for freeing her from time-consuming and mundane tasks. "It allows me to devote more time to my teaching and less time to grade calculation and record keeping," she said.
And if students can see their grades on a day-to-day basis, they tend to put in a little more effort. "I've found it immensely easy to keep my students updated on their progress in my class and it's been great at motivating students to work a little harder," she said.

Michael Hoy is K-12 Development Executive, Southern California Education Group, Apple Computer Inc. He may be reached at (949) 361-0782 or by email at .