Westwood parents can get student info at Walmart event
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:37 p.m.
In an effort to close the communication gap between teachers and parents of middle schoolers, Westwood Middle School is meeting families halfway.
Starting this week and running through November, teachers and administrators will be at the Walmart at 5700 NW 23rd St. from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays to help parents get access to their children's grades, attendance record and other information.
Specifically, the program is targeting families who don't have a computer or Internet access to log on to the Infinite Campus Parent Portal, which lets parents see students' information online.
"There's a lot of disconnect at the middle school level," said Don Fitzpatrick, a seventh-grade language arts teacher who is part of the team that launched the idea.
Fitzpatrick explained that middle school students are often tight-lipped when it comes to what's going on at school, and parents aren't always able to go to the school to meet with teachers.
The Walmart adjoins the Pine Ridge neighborhood, where many Westwood students come from.
Earlier in the year, Fitzpatrick said, Westwood teachers joked that Walmart would be a great place to hold parent-teacher conferences, since they saw so many of their students there.
"By putting ourselves on their transportation route, we're going to make it easier for them to find us," he said.
On Saturday, two Westwood employees will be at Walmart with a tent, a laptop and a printer.
With a photo ID, parents of Westwood students can get registered in the online parent portal. A teacher will pull up the student's report while the parent shops.
On the way out, the parent can get a printout of the student's grades on every assignment in all six of his or her classes, plus a record of attendance and trips to the school clinic.
"In a short period of time, we'll be able to give them all the information they need" to impact their child's education, Fitzpatrick said.
As of now, about 15 teachers and administrators have signed up to be at Walmart every weekend through November. Two people will be at the tent each time, on a strictly volunteer basis.
"If it didn't have the pull from the entire faculty, it wouldn't work," Fitzpatrick said.
Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.