By Star Mallamo
The SRCS community has been in an uproar over their inability to access grades. History teacher John Cortopassi explained that the familiar grading system, Home Access Center, has been given up in favor of a new and improved student system, “I was part of a group that helped choose it.” Cortopassi and others on the team decided that the district should purchase Illuminate Ed, because of the flexibility with its configurations.
However, the system has not been fully “rolled out” or implemented yet. Cortopassi described the situation, “Last year the district purchased it and chose not to implement last year and chose to implement it in the beginning of this current school year.” Despite these plans, the grading system has still not been fully adopted.
This is simply because teachers have not been trained on how to operate the system. Cortopassi joins his fellow teachers in frustration, “We have yet to be trained on the gradebook aspect on it so any teacher that might be publishing so that students and parents can see their grades, that’s all been on them going and looking and experimenting with it on their own time.” There were trainings offered, but because of the teachers’ union tensions with the district, Cortopassi, a very active member of the union, said, “So the union encouraged members to not take the the trainings that were offered by the district, which were two hour trainings over the summer.” The teachers would have received less than their average wage to attend. The teachers have not had a contract for the past fourteen months and have been in negotiations with the district. During these dealings, “We (the teachers’ union) proposed that on one of the pre-school days, eight hours worth be used to train us in Illuminate Ed and give us a chance to configure it, but they refused to do that so they took away that whole day of training.”
Cortopssi and many of his fellow teachers are disgusted with the situation, “We’re approaching oral grades so there’s been a lot of talk with teachers which I’m associated with trying to figure out how do we post oral grades, we have not been trained on that, we haven’t been told that. So how is the district going to follow its legal responsibility of having grades posted? There’s no answer to that yet.”
As frustrations mount over the inability to see grades, Santa Rosa Teachers Association members are hoping that those affected by it will take matters into their own hands, “The next board meeting September 13th the topic that the teachers are going to address in public comment is about Illuminate Ed and what an awful roll out of the system it’s been. And I hope that the frustration of the students and the parents comes through. Teachers are going to be at that board meeting parents and students should show up too.”