Education feature: Program allows parents access to children’s school progress

Courtesy illustration Skyward Family Access allows parents to see their student’s grades for each class, including progress reports.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis parents can check on their student’s grades, attendance, lunch account and more without leaving home or picking up the phone with Skyward Family Access.

The program is getting its last makeover before fully launching Family Access on Aug. 31, according to Chief Technology Officer Butch Hamer. It’s been active within the school district for about two years but the new and improved version of the online system offers more information and possibilities for parents.

Hamer said the attendance portion of Family Access was launched in April. The total module of Family Access will be available at the end of the month.

“The program allows parents to communicate through Skyward with the district,” he said. “They can check most anything about their student.”

Hamer said Clovis Municipal Schools was the first district in the state to purchase the program and implement it district-wide.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the program cost more than $500,000 in start up costs, which included training, licensing fees, hardware and software.

Annually, the program costs $60,000 for continued maintenance and licensing fees, Seidenwurm said.

Hamer and Seidenwurm said the program helps with efficiency across the district.

Seidenwurm said Family Access is the only visible part of the program. Departments throughout the district use Skyward and communicate better, she said.

“Skyward is a total operational package. All the departments talk to each other so we only have to enter data once,” Seidenwurm said. “Skyward allows more transparent communication between parents and the district. Both from an effective and efficient stand point, it is a system that is well worth the money.”

Hamer said the program allows parents to check their student’s attendance, schedules, food service account, disciplinary actions, grades, class rankings, health records, and missing assignments.

Hamer said Skyward allows parents to update any information, like address or phone numbers, by sending an e-mail through Skyward. The secretary of their child’s school will verify the information and update records.

“Half the time, the secretary is busy with 10 parents in front of them and students and teachers needing things. This takes out that side of it,” Hamer said.

The program requires a username and password.

Students district-wide have taken home forms for their parents to sign up for a username, which can be returned to their child’s school, Hamer said.

He said the form asks for an e-mail address and the parent’s username will be sent to their e-mail.

Skyward is accessible through the CMS Web site at www.clovis-schools.org.