Richmond County discusses student tracking system

Ever wish you could get a text message on your cell phone letting you know your child made it to class?

Or what about an online site that lists your child's homework assignments, grades, attendance, standards to be met and even a spot for teachers and parents to communicate with one another?

Such possibilities and more were presented Wednesday in a called meeting of the Richmond County Citizen's Oversight Pay-As-You-Go Committee.

Members of the committee heard from officials with a company called Global Scholar, which is proposing an information system for the Richmond County school system that would consolidate several programs it currently operates in tracking student databases.

In some cases, officials must wait on individual files to be sent from one school to another. The proposed system would centrally track students' history and current results.

Teachers, parents and students would have their own log-ins to the system, and administrators could quickly examine how well a school is performing according to standards it must meet and what student groups could be focused on.

One feature that caught the attention of some was a text messaging function.

"This system can be configured to deliver in text form right into a cell phone," said Brad Baird, with Global Scholar, answering a question about how parents without Internet access could receive information.

Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden said such a program would replace the system's I-Parent listings, which post student grades and attendance.

Dr. Bedden said consolidating several programs into one would be more efficient and could save the system money. He said several companies were looked at initially, but talks have lately focused on two companies, Global Scholar and Cross Pointe.

He said he couldn't provide a cost figure as that's still being finalized, but Global Scholar presenters told Wednesday's group that it would be cheaper than two programs already being operated by the system that cost nearly $800,000.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com