For parents, back to school information is just a click away

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jack Zamary, left, and Assistant Superintendent Joseph Kobza say the district is prepared for the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Parents can see their child’s bus schedule, download back to school forms, handle registration requirements for new students and track their child’s class schedule, grades and attendance with the click of a mouse.

Superintendent Jack Zamary said the capabilities of PowerSchool, a secure portal parents sign into from Monroe public schools’ website, have been expanded before classes are back in session on Aug. 28.

“We consolidated all our resources for parents in PowerSchool,” Zamary said during an interview at central office Wednesday. “It’s our first year doing bus stops securely in PowerSchool. In the past, when it was advertised in the newspaper, we were sharing the location of every single one of our 3,200 children twice a day.”

By logging onto PowerSchool, clicking on Student Information, then choosing the Transportation tab, parents can access their child’s bus number and approximate pick up and drop off times.

Check for changes

“We are asking parents to look at the bus stops again the day before schools open to make sure there aren’t any major changes, because we will have some new students,” Zamary said.

The superintendent said bus times are off the “first week or so.”

“They’re very late,” Zamary said. “Parents want to take pictures of their children at the bus stops and separations can be a challenge for some of the younger children — and with one bus and 45 stops …”

The drivers for the bus company, All-Star Transportation, will do dry runs on Aug. 20 and 21 to practice their routes before schools are back in session, according to Zamary.

“We definitely have to commend the bus company,” Assistant Superintendent Joseph Kobza said. “All-Star does a great job, especially at the beginning of the year.”

Zamary said school administrators iron out all the details for the new school year every summer, so there is no guess work.

A paperless approach

Zamary said Monroe public schools made its back to school forms totally electronic last year.

“It was a great process last year,” he said. “We hope it will be just as smooth this year. Parents really like this approach. They can do it at their leisure — and it saves paper.”

Zamary said going paperless also allows for a more efficient use of staff time, adding the back to school forms have been available in PowerSchool since Monday.

Roughly 90 percent of the requirements for student registration can now be handled online, according to Zamary. “It walks them through the process,” he said.

However, Zamary said  some registration requirements, such as providing proof of residences and a child’s medical forms, still must be done in person.

‘One-stop shopping’

“We’re trying to make it simpler for everyone involved, because if in the end it’s simpler, there’s more time spent on teaching and learning,” Zamary said.

Kobza said PowerSchool allows access to students’ class schedules for middle and high school.

Masuk High School students’ schedules are already available in PowerSchool and Jockey Hollow Middle School’s schedules should be up by the middle of the month.

“It’s one-stop shopping for parents, where we can direct them to one place for all of the information for their kids,” Kobza said.

Of the capabilities of PowerSchool, Zamary said, “these are all things parents can access and do before their kids get through the door.”

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