As most of you know, our son entered middle school this year. For the typically developing student, it can be a difficult transition; but for the student with disabilities, it’s much harder to make the transition from elementary to middle school student. In some school districts, middle school begins in 7th grade but ours begins in 6th grade. I myself began middle school in 5th grade and would NOT recommend it because I was not ready yet! Not only do you have to change classrooms every hour but you have to allow time to run to your locker as well. Let’s not forget changing for P.E. on a daily basis; thank goodness our son’s P.E. class is 6th period. Like many of you parents, we we’re very concerned about how our son would be able to function in his new environment and be able to access the curriculum successfully; well thankfully there is technology that helps parents keep track of their child’s school work on a daily basis.
The program our school uses is called Jupiter Grades. It’s a wonderful tool for parents to know how their child is doing in each class as well as upcoming assignments or tests in the future. For example, in the overview section you will find your child’s grade and percentage for each class; under the grade is a section for missing assignments. Unlike elementary school, homework is a crucial part of a student’s grade so it’s important for us as parents to know if they are missing any homework. Sometimes students do their homework but it never makes it back to school because of difficulties with organization. I’m sure there are many parents who see their child struggle in this area just as I see my own son. Some teachers require parents to sign their child’s test and return it back to the teacher. We found this out by looking on the website when we noticed our son was missing points for not turning back in his signed test. We asked our son about it and he replied “I don’t remember.” How often have we heard that folks!!
Another section that we have found helpful is called “Details.” In this section you will find all the details for the lessons they are learning each week; this has been a great help with regards to homework. Even though my son has done a pretty good job writing down the homework assignments in his weekly planner, there are important details missing. That’s where Jupiter Grades comes in; it allows the teacher to elaborate on what the teacher will be looking for in their homework. By having the additional information at my finger tips, I’m not as frustrated trying to help my son with his homework, which makes him a happy camper!
The program also has a few other great features like a weekly and monthly calendar for all assignments as well as a behavior and attendance log. With of this technology, there should be no surprises at report card time; that’s what my son’s English teacher told us on “Back to School Night.” He’s right; it’s up to us as parents to use this technology to help our kids navigate the next chapter of their education.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to have this program in our school so I can help my son be as successful as possible this year. To be perfectly honest, I’m obsessed with this program…..I log every day to make sure my son isn’t missing anything or to see if any of his latest tests results are posted. If this program was around when I was in school, I would’ve been in big trouble!!!
To watch a demo of Jupiter Grades click here.