Teachers deserve the best possible tools for easing the necessary but often time-consuming tasks associated with classroom management. eSD goes far beyond the capabilities of most SIS gradebooks by providing a full suite of classroom management, productivity and communication tools for teachers. We call this solution suite Teacher Connect. All of the major functions listed are consolidated in a centralized interface — teachers have one place to go, organized around their needs, to access all of this functionality!
One of the focal points of Teacher Connect is its gradebook. Many SISs take a bare-bones approach to their gradebooks to meet essential requirements. Teacher Connect Gradebook delivers ease of use and convenience to teachers. As with many of the features in eSD, the Teacher Connect Gradebook was designed based on input from our users. It’s as powerful and easy-to-use as a desktop application, but runs in any modern browser because we built it using the latest technology (HTML5).
Teachers can easily stay organized and minimize the overhead associated with creating assignments and tests by using Categories and Templates to set default weights, grading methods, max points and other repetitive attributes. Grade entry is quick and validation against grading rules set at the district and school level takes place in real time.
Like all of the features in Teacher Connect, the Gradebook allows teachers to customize the system to their specific needs and tastes. For example, teachers can select which columns to display in lists and set their preferred sort order. Multiple layouts for viewing and entry are available, including a simplified Rapid Entry mode for fast mass grade entry. Assignments can be color coded, and instructions to students can be formatted and spell-checked using a built-in rich text editor.
Recorded grades are immediately available to all other areas of the system, enabling administrative users to run reports, generate report cards and create transcripts with the latest data.
Enabling teachers to use the data in their gradebooks is just as important as enabling them to capture that data. Teacher Connect Gradebook provides informative student-level and class-level Achievement Reports so that teachers can harness all of that information. Report templates can be defined at the school level, to provide a standard basis from which all teachers can work, and teachers can also create their own custom reports with a drag and drop interface. Achievement Reports can be exported to PDF and Excel formats for a variety of purposes.
The main goal of Teacher Connect Roster is to give teachers a single, yet powerful and customizable, interface for working with student information on a class by class basis. It makes taking attendance and gathering lunch counts a breeze. Roster provides teachers with comprehensive student status, demographics, and other vital data points at-a-glance. Roster also provides teachers with a convenient jumping off point to other commonly used student features like the full student profile, schedule, household contact information, communications (i.e. Messages) and discipline quick entry.
Standards-based grading is a new paradigm for a lot of schools and teachers. The Learning Standards feature in Teacher Connect serves up an intuitive view of standards associated with a class through its curriculum. Teachers can view and enter standards-based grades for the entire class at once, or work with a detailed student view that shows learning standards by individual over multiple marking periods. Common Core standards are pre-loaded, and districts may customize the catalog of learning standards based on their unique needs. Teachers can easily add multiple learning standards to assignments as an overall component of grading criteria.
Parent/Guardian Communication (Messages)
A strong and positive communication loop among teachers, parents and students is possibly the best way to boost student engagement and achievement. Teacher Connect Messages provides teachers with a powerful, secure tool to communicate with both students and their parents. Rather than manually tracking and creating contacts and groups, and sending unsecured emails, teachers can use the feature’s smart address book to send individual or group communications with ease. Students and parents view and respond to messages securely via the Student and Parent Portals. Message threads by student maintain confidentiality of conversations when students and parents reply to group messages.
Meaningful feedback can be a strong motivator. As another integrated component of the Teacher Connect Classroom Suite, Progress Reports enable teachers to quickly and thoroughly provide feedback to students at progress report time. Teachers can add standard comments established at the school level by picking from a list or quickly entering an identifier. Custom comments can also be entered (with available spell check) to provide extra information to the student and parent.