Checking Students' Progress Online

Our children spend a great deal of each weekday at school, getting the education we count on to help them succeed later on. Parents of these 21st-century students now have a new tool that lets them peek in on children's daily progress on the internet: Parent Connect. It's a free service that lets parents in Chatham County check their children's grades and assignments online.

"The grade book information is useful because it allows you to view the assignments that are given to your child, complete assignment information, and the due dates," explained Janet Scott. She works at Marshpoint Elementary, but has one child in middle school and another in high school. She says, thanks to the Parent Connect system, she's able to get frequent updates on their schoolwork. "I use it for both of them on a daily basis," she said.

Those who help shape young minds say communication with parents has never been better. "Each teacher has a computer, and I give out, as all teachers here do, our email address at the beginning of the year and parents can email if they have questions," said Veva Shuman, who teaches second grade at Marshpoint.

Assignments and grades go into the same system teachers have used for years, but now any parent can register to see them on the web. Of course, not just anyone can view your child's information. Parents can register online, but they're going to have to make a trip to the office so that staff can verify their identification.

Teachers say it's a supplement, not a substitution, for face-to-face time with parents. "We're still encouraged and believe that's an important part of the school and home connection to have parents come into the classroom," said Shuman.

But being able to track her kids' assignments online as well makes it tough for them to slip anything by Scott. "I catch them all the time," she said, laughing. "I won't say for which child, but I do catch them."

Reported by: Charles Gray,