Parents of the more than 60,000 students in the Mesa Unified School District will soon be able to check their children's attendance records with the click of a mouse.
The district is launching MyMPS, a Web-based program where parents can look up attendance information, schedules for teachers, and have a direct link to e-mail staff.
"It's a long time coming, but this is one of those things where patience has paid off," said Mesa school board member Rich Crandall.
The program was created internally. While some of the features are being launched now, more are to come.
"In the future, probably next year, there will be teachers' electronic grade books," said Mike Cowan, associate superintendent of educational services. If a student didn't turn in an assignment, a parent can find out online.
"It gives the parents so much information at their fingertips. They don't have to wait for a call from the school. It's a great start, and it's only the beginning," Crandall said.
To access the data, parents need to go to their child's school. He or she will be given a key code. That parent can then create a sign-on and password. All of their children's information will be linked together so that only one sign-on is needed, Cowan said.
Parents should be able to access the MyMPS portal in about three weeks.
"We are trying to provide parents with timely information about the progress of their children," Cowan said. In the future, parents can add money to school lunch accounts, and in the spring, high school students may be able to do advance registration for classes for the 2009-10 school year.
"We recognize the parent is a partner in education with Mesa Public Schools, and we want to be sure our partners have the tools they need to be supportive of their child's education at home," Cowan said.
Other districts have similar programs. Gilbert Unified School District uses the SnapGrades, where parents can access their children's progress, and Mylunchmoney.com, where they can add funds to students' accounts.
The Chandler Unified School District has a student information system where parents of secondary students can view grades, attendance record and notes on assignments. A few elementary schools also use the program.
In the Tempe Union High School District, teachers can set up programs on a school's Web site where parents can access grade book and syllabus information. As that system is replaced, the district plans to add an attendance component, said Michael R. Ruppel, the district's chief information officer.