2011-11-24 / News

Glitch in report card system sends grades to wrong contacts

BY KATHLEEN MCKIERNAN

On Nov. 14, it was that time of year again when students would take their grades home to their parents. Yet, for a few Jamestown children, more eyes would see their first quarter grades besides the people they expected.

Due to a glitch in the new X2 Aspen system the school district is using to distribute grades electronically, some students’ emergency contacts were sent the report card results as well.

“As a parent, I was appalled and surprised that something this easy from a technological view that occurred,” Bill Pratt said to the School Committee during its Nov. 17 meeting. “How did this happen and what will you do to prevent it from happening again?”

Superintendent Marcia Lukon explained that the school district followed the Aspen developer’s directions for sending information. She said that somehow after the school technology director checked all of the student records, some student files had it set to send their information not only to their homes but to the people listed as their emergency contacts.

“We don’t know how that got checked. As soon as we got a call from the first parent that she was seeing someone else’s grades, we shut down the system,” Lukon said.

To ensure that the glitch did not reach any more students, Lukon said the district shut down the system and if they could not figure out the problem by the evening, they would send out paper report cards the following morning.

“The next day [Aspen] said it was an error. It doesn’t help what happened,” Lukon said.

The school district switched from the traditional paper report cards to the new Aspen system to comply with the new Rhode Island Department of Education data requirements.

“This system is new in Rhode Island,” Lukon said. “We’re not the only district adopting it.”

Lukon said the district hopes the company will do an analysis of how the accident occurred and how they can prevent it from happening in the future.

In other school news, the School Committee re-elected Cathy Kaiser as chairwoman. Julia Held was elected vice chairwoman and the Jamestown representative on the North Kingstown School Committee. B.J. Whitehouse was elected clerk and will serve as liaison to the Melrose Avenue School Improvement Team. Sav Rebecchi will serve as liaison to the Special Education Local Advisory Committee. Recently elected Sarah Baines will serve as liaison to the Lawn Avenue School Improvement Team and as chairwoman of the Wellness Committee.

The Melrose Avenue School is collaborating with the Confucius Institute at the University of Rhode Island to begin planning the implementation of integrating a weekly Mandarin session for the kindergarten class.

Also, Aramark, the food service provider, said in its monthly report that meal sales continue to increase at both schools.

Held reported that North Kingstown High School was one of 367 schools nationwide – and the only Rhode Island school – to receive a commendation for increasing the number of students taking the AP exam, as well as the number of student achieving a passing score.

The next School Committee meeting will be a joint pre-budget meeting with the Town Council on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

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