Tuesday, August 21, 2012

School Tool Training

Yesterday I spent eight hours at school going through School Tool Train the Trainee training. Whew! I think I am really going to take advantage of this program, including using grade book. In the past our school used Web2School and I was never required to put my assignments in it.

Does or did anyone else out there use School Tool? It has really made me think about my grading policy. I am going to have to totally revamp it! I used the previously set in place grading system by the teacher I replaced. All special teachers use letters to grade...E, S, N, and U.

Each day I would give every student a participation grade based on behavior and their participation, and then each project would receive a grade as well, sometimes two or three if there were multiple stages. However, now I think I'm going to have to change that! With common core and A.P.P.R., I will be using rubrics for just about everything and those will give me number grades. Since School Tool automatically does the calculations for you and can translate the number grades into letter grades, I need to figure out my grading categories and their weighting. Right now, I'm thinking of participation, unit mini projects, unit final projects, collaborative projects, and for the older grades, quizzes (which would only be weighted 10%, it's art class after all!).

So my question for this post is, how do you figure your grades for students...whether it is district determined or your policy?


  1. We have SchoolTool at our school, but I think this might be the first year elementary can/will use it for grades. I had use it for number grades for 6th grade, which were considered part of middle school, and at all grade levels could access all sorts of information- IEP's. Parent contact info, etc, with a direct link for emailing many parents too. Once I figured it all out, it was easy to use, but it took a while. During the initial training a few years ago, something was wrong and I couldn't get in with my password. The techie people were stumped and with the start of the school year and the fact that at the time I didn't need it for attendance, they put me off, so I was the ONLY teacher out of over 70 who couldn't participate in the training.

    But anyhow, you will like it, and with all the new regs it should help a lot to keep your assessment info organized.

  2. Rewind 2 years ago and this was my nightmare! We started using Realtime, which I am sure is similar to SchoolTool. I had to go from my previous grading system ( which I loved and helped develop years before with our then curriculum supervisor, who is now my principal at my K-2 school. It is inspired by a Swiss evaluation system we had found) I still use that one in my K-2. However, I was instructed that I would be changing over to letter grades for my 3-5's! I needed to come up with a rubric pronto! For the past 2 years I have not had to use gradebook in the system but I am required to do so this year. I will be only entering project grades and participation. Since figuring out the system I have grown to like it. I can check all my IEP's without having to sit for hours in CST and I can do my grades on-line at home if need be. It took a while to figure it all out but I did spend time looking around the program to see how it worked. Training consisted of " this is how you log on " basically. It does help me to be more organized. I do still keep a hard copy grade book ( as I have a love/hate relationship with technology) and I print out my final grades in case I need them for any reason.( crazy, glitchy things have happened and comments and grades needed to be re-entered) at the moment the system is wigging out in my pages as it keeps telling me that there are no students registered for this coming school year! I asked the principal if it means I am exempt from giving grades this year! He just smiled at me :) I guess they are going to fix it! Dang! :)

  3. We are still at a point where they are building everything in School Tool for us, report card wise, but I know I am going to like using it! The big problem at our district is that all of the special teachers aren't on the same page with grading! Since I'm a trainer for School Tool now, my superintendent and I decided we needed to sit down with the rest of the special area teachers and get on the same page and decide what to do for grades. I'm pretty sure that for K-2, we are going to have to use whatever system those teachers use to grade their students (they are all letter grades), but I want to try and convince them to move to number grades with 3-6, as those teachers give them number grades in class anyways. I think the difficult part will that a few of those special area teachers won't want to be held accountable for number grades...

    Currently, the elementary counselor is entering in all the classes and rosters for everyone and she is having a doozy of a time doing it! Our district is now going to make the elementary teachers take attendance during each period, which I LOVE! That means, when a student is at the nurses and the teacher forgets to tell me when they drop their kids off, I will know where that student is! This is also going to help keep track of our minutes for A.P.P.R. The dilemma they are currently having with that however, is that the classroom teachers all use different amounts of time to teach each subject in their rooms and don't go by periods...I think what they are going to end up doing with them is making them accountable for homeroom, ELA, and math attendance only during the day.

    And I LOVE the IEP feature too! I've never had the time to check out IEPs! My first year of teaching, I had to go and ask how to find them...it was never included in my training...Now you just click on the little icon and it automatically finds the IEP in Cleartrack!