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K-12 Parent Portal: The Teacher Voice

July 21st, 2008 · 3 Comments

This post is the second in a series of posts exploring the requirements for a K-12 Parent Portal. I’m trying to build a composite persona for each of the stakeholders in a K-12 Parent Portal (see What would you do in a K-12 Parent Portal? for background information on this initiative and links to each of the matching posts as they are available). This is a way to describe their requirements through stories.

In that earlier post I described a process for identifying what parents and teachers would look for in an online Parent Portal. This post is about a teacher named Jon Oyen. Does he remind you of a teacher you work with, or are you Jon? Please help me describe what he would like to see in an online Parent Portal by commenting to this post. Future posts will seek to describe the needs of another parent, an administrator, a central office worker and a Trustee.

I’ve built this draft from blogs, comments, and the work of Shartrand et al (1997). This work will be compiled and posted on the Parent 2.0 wiki. Thanks for your help!

Here is Jon, a teacher with thoughts about a Parent Portal.


  • I want to post homework assignments and due dates so that I’m sure parents know what’s expected and students can’t claim they weren’t told.
  • I want to use email to talk to parents. Telephones are great but not if you have to leave messages back and forth.
  • I want to know how to involve parents in a more positive way.
  • I want to conduct surveys with parents on different topics and at different times.
  • I want to showcase student work where just parents can see it. Other times I want to showcase work for everyone to see.
  • I want to invite parents to participate in different learning activities.
  • I wnat parents to give their feedback on their child’s learning progress.


  • Thanks again for your help with this work. I look forward to your comments.

    Shartrand, A. M., Weiss, H. B., Kreider, H. M., & Lopez, M. E. (1997). New Skills for New Schools: Preparing Teachers in Family Involvement.

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    3 responses so far ↓

    • 1 What would you do in a K-12 Parent Portal? // Jul 21, 2008 at 10:44 am

      [...] Teacher – Jon Oyen Jon teaches middle school. He has been teaching for ten years, primarily in grades three to eight. He is the science specialist in his school. (click here for a post about Jon) [...]

    • 2 Tom Whyte // Jul 21, 2008 at 9:13 pm

      I really agree with your choices for what should be present within the portal. For myself I would like to see the following:

      1. A date/time stamp showing the last time a parent logged in to view work or grades

      2.I know you are focusing on parents but an educational community approach would be great to showcase work at different levels

      3. Set levels of authority to allow access to only certain areas (hate to be killjoy but FOIP exists for a reason)

      4. And lastly whatever shape this takes it has to make sense to the most technically illiterate parent, teachers do not want to spend hours and hours and have no one come because they cannot navigate easily

      Also here is an example of what a company is building for us in our district, might give you some ideas:

      http://www.centralparkschool.ca/

      [Reply]

    • 3 Richard Schwier // Jul 23, 2008 at 1:39 pm

      I don’t have a lot of answers, but maybe one question: How can you bump up the value of the portal to parents without asking too much of them in return?

      I think posting homework assignments & dates, displaying student work, sending email and the like to parents are all great ideas.

      Asking them to participate in activities, answer surveys, or provide feedback are trickier, because some parents will see these as burdens — even though they are no doubt valuable. What will they get in return for these investments? Whatever their returns are, I would emphasize them in your promotion of the portal.

      I also like Tom Whyte’s idea of expanding the reach of this to other groups too, which I think I remember you mentioning at one point too.

      Great job, Cindy. Keep it coming!

      Richard Schwiers last blog post..bay area funk live at la peña

      [Reply]

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