Computer glitches plague Carroll schools' opening

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — The opening of Carroll schools went sour for students who suffered a scheduling glitch, one parent told the Carroll School Board at their regular August meeting last week.
The scheduling problem brought Donnie Morgan, an education supporter, before the school board a day after the schools’ open houses and one day before the official start of the school year.
Firstly, Morgan felt “disheartened” by the fact that parent portal Power School stayed down the entire summer, only coming back online Aug. 10. “The reason for that, in my mind, was because some of the people found out about schedules a little early last year, myself being included, and was decided pretty much that we shouldn’t know about anything a little early this year,” he said.
That doesn’t square with his idea of good communication between the school and parents.
Morgan believes that contributed to the problem found at the high school open houses where some students found their academic schedules were incorrect.
He felt the method of giving out students’ first block teacher — by examining papers taped to the wall for a name — wasted a lot of peoples’ time.
Eventually, students were able to get their schedules to find out they wouldn’t work, Morgan said.
“I’ve not met one single person in the last 24 hours that told me that their schedule was anywhere close to being what they need,” he said. “In fact, I met and talked to several people that had to have their whole schedule reworked.
“We’re talking about advanced math before geometry — well, I’m not an education and I know that’s not going to happen.”
Educators have talked about working through rollover dates in July, but if that’s true then school doesn’t need to start in early August, Morgan said. It’s not fair to ask parents and students to be prepared when the school system isn’t ready for the new school year.
“We got kids coming in tomorrow that really don’t know where they’re going, they don’t know the locker they’ve got they don’t know the combination to that locker,” Morgan said.
He knows that the school system can do better.
Superintendent Greg Smith said there were some computer glitches at the high school, which the staff worked diligently to correct.
Mark Burnette, director of secondary education, said Power School was deleting students schedules when it should have been printing them.
“Any of the school openings we have — especially at the secondary level — you’re going to have scheduling snafus, questions, students changing schedules and various and sundry details like that,” Smith said.
He expected the first day of school wouldn’t be a perfect day, but it would still be a good day. Problems like that are generally worked out in the first few days of school.