County school system to construct new website
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 11:10

BCPS One to include student info, gradebook

 by Nicole Rodman

    An online search will reveal that each school within the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) system has its own website.
    While most of the websites include basic information on the school, as well as contact information for various staff members, each site varies in terms of design and features.
    Under new BCPS plan, that will soon change.
    Seeking to unify Baltimore County schools under one centralized web portal, the school system has announced plans to construct an informational website known as BCPS One.
    Once completed, BCPS One will be a one-stop location for teachers, parents and students to access information such as class assignments and student data.

“Our goal is to provide one easy-to-use but secure location for accessing everything from classroom assessments to student grades,” BCPS Superintendent S. Dallas Dance explained in a press release last week. “Not only will this be a beneficial tool for parents and students, it will also help teachers and administrators create and deliver more personalized instruction based on an individual student’s learning needs.”
    While BCPS One will be a completely new website, some current BCPS web tools — such as Blackboard Connect and the STARS (Student Tracking and Registration System) student data system — will be incorporated into the new site.
    The new BCPS One site will consist of seven primary areas.
    The student achievement system will allow educators to administer and track student assessments.
    This will allow teachers and administrators to “to build more effective programs,” according to BCPS Communications Officer Diana Spencer.
    BCPS One will also include tools for teachers.         Through the BCPS One site, employees will be able to perform academic evaluations and complete professional development activities.
    The site will also have a gradebook feature — giving teachers across the county access to a uniform grade-keeping system ­— and a curriculum management system.
    According to Spencer, the curriculum management system “will enable the district to build a digital repository that provides one system to house teaching and learning, research, media and library content.”
    BCPS One is not just for educators, however. The site will serve as a tool to manage student data, allowing parents easy access to student information.
    Through the BCPS One site, parents will have access to their child’s grades, transcripts, schedules, attendance and other information. Data will be protected by security measures that will be built into the site.
    BCPS One will also provide tools to students, allowing them to complete learning activities and assessments online in one central location.
    Though Edline, the current web sytem used by many BCPS schools, includes many of the features that will make up BCPS One, the new system is envisioned as an  all-inclusive tool for the entire school system.
    Last week, the Board of Education of Baltimore County approved plans for BCPS One. The board has contracted with Engrade, Inc., of Santa Monica, Calif., and Custom Computer Specialists of Hauppauge, N.Y., to build the new website.
    Parts of BCPS One are likely to be implemented by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
    BCPS hopes that the new site will lead to improvements in performance among both students and teachers.
    As Ryan Imbriale, former principal of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts and current BCPS executive director for digital learning explained, “BCPS One will be one-stop shopping.  It will accelerate achievement by enabling educators to connect the right learning resources to the right student at the right time.”