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ParentVUE is used in schools

When students head back to school next week, parents need to follow - into the office to receive passwords for ParentVUE.

The program, implemented in Park Rapids and Nevis schools a few years ago, offers day-to-day insight into students' academic experience.

Menahga offers a similar program, Skyward Family Access.

Gone are the days of waiting for the report card to appear at the semester's conclusion.

With the ParentVUE Web portal, moms, dads and guardians can access near real-time information on assignments and grades, attendance, immunization compliance, transcripts, graduation status and more - at no charge.

Parents with a password and account established do not need to re-register this fall.

A new option this year is a mobile application for iPhone/iPod Touch and Androids.

ParentVue simplifies home-to-school district communication for parents by offering a single sign-on to view each child's information, regardless of school.

Parents can also elect to receive customized e-mail alert notifications regarding issues such as school events, attendance or discipline issues.

In much the same way, StudentVUE allows students to stay on top of school events, classroom happenings, assignments, tests and academic performance via their own student portal access.

The program also allows checks for extra-curricular eligibility.

"It's a win-win situation," Park Rapids parent Russ Zinke said.

Every student in grades 9-12 now uses the program to register for classes, Park Rapids Area High School principal Jeff Johnson explained. And it's becoming popular at the middle school level. Terry Zoller introduces StudentVUE to fifth and sixth graders.

The page that appears when parents log on shows photos of their children (scheduled to be taken Sept. 7 in Park Rapids). Parents can also navigate choices that include a calendar - advising parents of mid-terms, for example; lunch activity - has she/he been skipping lunch?; conferences; class schedules and course history.

Teachers can post upcoming topics - the stock market, for example - and parents can discuss the subject with kids.

The program provides a link to each teacher via e-mail. But it's a view file only, Johnson explained. Parents can interact, but not change schedules, for example.

Johnson would like to see an increase in the number of families using the program. Of the district's 930 families, 390 have ParentVUE accounts.

The log in numbers range from just one to over 2,000 per family, he said. Checking in every week or two is a general recommendation, unless a red flag is waving.

In Park Rapids, parents can stop by the high school or Century with proof of identification to obtain the Synergy system activation key and set up the password. Only a single stop is necessary. This can be done any time during the year.

"This is another way to communicate with parents - at their convenience," Johnson said. "They may need to set up a (face-to-face) meeting if they see the child is struggling," or attendance is questioned.

"The push is to get parents signed up," he said. "Students will be on board."