I hope you read this before Saturday.
Pardon me, I had to lead with that as I know so many readers are busy preparing for the week but this can’t wait for the weekend.
In a matter of hours the streets of this town will once again be taken over by tires of varying sizes as well as shoes scattering off to varying campuses. Ah … The age old tradition of “Back to School.”
Each year as this time rolls around I wonder, what else can possibly be said about this annual occurrence. This year, however, Oakdale Joint Unified School District has given me much to share in the way of insight, as both a parent as well as a columnist.
First and most importantly I want to start with the ever dreaded, often spoken about, “why do we have to do this?” topic, known as Parent Homework.
Each and every year our children return home with a packet of miscellaneous papers to be filled out, guidelines to read and sign and a handbook to review. Each year they beam, as they are thrilled that they in fact have NO homework while you on the other hand have a packet, or two or three depending on your number of students.
But … not this year! Yes, you read that right. This year, each of us has been empowered to bypass the dreaded packet and rob the smirk from our student’s faces if we complete our on-line assignment.
At the end of the 2016-2017 year, all parents of the district received information to create a parent portal in Aeries through the district website ojusd.org. I’m not a techy, so when I say it wasn’t hard and didn’t take long, you can bank on it.
If however, you have been frightened and stayed at bay from engaging in the set up … then be warned you only have until this Friday, Aug. 12 to complete it. If not completed, you will be rewarded by the tradition of parent homework.
Oh sure, we had to create yet another password and it’s one more log in to keep track of, but at the time that I did this I had no clue it would lead to the most recent awesomeness. (If a column had sound this is where I would cue the sound of angels singing.)
In mid-July, through the Aeries portal parents were able to log in and update their student data via the website. Perhaps read that again and let it sink in, because this translates to something we’ve all been commiserating about for quite some time. This equals – No. Parent. Homework.
As the mother of two, I can share the process took me less than 10 minutes total. That’s it ... a couple of clicks, corrections, saves and voila; no more homework.
In truth, I’ve been baffled for the better part of the past four years as to why we were still completing this mound of paperwork with technology as it is. As students transitioned to Netbooks in the classroom my confusion grew all the greater. Now, confusion be gone as the mystery has been solved.
So, as you look ahead to the coming week and school year and as the streets become filled with cars and kids – find gratitude. As a people we move at a pace which leaves us looking for more and pausing less. This is a moment to pause. This is an action which not just frees up the parent but district cost in the way of supplies, admin processing and follow through.
And please, don’t now worry about how that saved money will now be spent. Shift your focus to how this tool may help you partner with the teachers and your student as they navigate their educational career. Cheers to a bright and education packed 2017-2018 school year.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.