It wouldn't be the digital age if there wasn't an app for that. Like everything else, parents can connect with their student's classroom, teacher and assignments through technology. While an uncertain fall for schools lies ahead, districts are turning toward an education system that brings people together, even when apart.
One of those systems is Schoology, made by PowerSchool. It allows teachers to organize their grades, attendance, classes and materials.
"Schoology really became our hub for communication," said Melissa Stanton, an intervention specialist in Ohio. "Parent communication, my Google Meets, my office hours all there for my students."
Hardeep Gulati, the CEO of PowerSchool, says they serve 45 million students in North America. He refers to his company as the "glue" between educators, parents, and students.
"School is more than the building. It's the people. It's empowering the teachers to have the ability to continue that instruction both online and in the physical format.," Gulat said.
He said teachers spend 40% of their time on things that are administrative, not instructional.
"A big part of this is providing the analytics, so teachers have the full view," Gulati said. "Not just the grade level, but the social and emotional level and the whole child level so they can see how they can support each child better."
PowerSchool technology is a software system that integrates every aspect of education, from instruction to training — even paychecks and student portals. The school districts that were already using it were better prepared for the COVID-19 shutdown.
"We did see the districts who already had a blended learning in place had a 96% engagement," Gulati said. "But districts who had to scramble and did not have some of the things only saw 56% engagement."
According to Gulati, parents can access their students' entire schedule and see what their child can expect from their school district this fall.
For Stanton, the transition to online learning this past spring wasn't that bad. But she says her district is in a rural area and there are some students who aren't connected.
"WiFi needs to be for every student — I think everybody — in this time of life," she said, "It needs to be like electricity or water. It's there for everybody rather than the exorbitant prices that it is at times."
Stanton says she's spending her summer preparing for more digital instruction this fall.
"I hope to see my kids in some capacity, whether it be face-to-face or virtual or blended," she said. "But I also worry about school being a safe haven for so many of my students. What happens when they come to school sick, and we all get infected and bring it home to our kids and our families? It's not something I want."
Luckily, companies like PowerSchool are on a mission to give teachers all the tools they need to teach.