OnCourse vs. PowerSchool

KHS student and teacher reactions to the grade system switch

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OnCourse vs. PowerSchool

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This year, The Kinnelon Board of Education brought major changes to Kinnelon teachers and students with regard to their grading and attendance systems by replacing the old system, Powerschool, with a new one, OnCourse.

Onboard with OnCourse

Principal Gary Suda explained the reason for the change in the management system, saying, “Oncourse is an intuitive platform that manages student information systems, analytics, grade book, lesson planner, curriculum builder, assessment and behavioral tracking. The Oncourse platform is more intuitive and diverse when compared to PowerSchool’s features, [with its] custom reports and support.”

Teacher of the Year Nino Capra said that change may be hard sometimes, but adapting to these subtle changes will be worth it, “[Like] trying anything new that will make life easier for us as a staff and as a student body. I am still learning the system right now; it is the transition period. As of now, the system is working okay with me.” Kinnelon High School, he says, will see positives with this system in the future, after taking the time to adapt to it.

Students also believe the change is positive, though perhaps for less altruistic reasons; the different system confuses some parents, allowing them to give up, and furthermore, not monitor their children’s grades. Maddie Gioia thinks the change was good because her “…mom can’t look at my grades and she doesn’t know how to use OnCourse.” Parents, therefore, may need more time to adapt to the system before they feel comfortable enough to monitor their children’s grades with the same frequency that they did with OnCourse.

I am still learning the system right now; it is the transition period. As of now, the system is working okay with me.” ”

— Nino Capra

Power to PowerSchool

On the contrary, many of the Kinnelon students and staff were not satisfied with the sudden change in the grading system. Senior Shelby Jones has been using Power School since middle school, and now in her final year of high school, she feels forced to change systems and seems unhappy about it. She believes, “The switch was unnecessary and last minute. PowerSchool was always the system we used. I can’t think of a reason why they changed it.” Students appear to be upset about the change because they have used PowerSchool all these years and never had a problem with it. 

Junior Autumn Fortunato also dislikes the change with the attendance and the grading system. “I don’t like OnCourse at all. I want Powerschool back because it was easier,” says Fortunato.

In agreement is junior Renee Ritaco. “I want to go back to PowerSchool because I knew how the system worked. The scheduling planning is also different on OnCourse.” 

Upperclassmen are upset with the change, as well as lower classmen and some staff members. Freshman Ben Davis believes the switch was not reasonable. “I did not like the switch. It is confusing and I don’t really like the change.”

Gym teacher James Soules also adds that the change was a tight transition. He said, “Teachers do not like change, and this was a dramatic change in the system. It will take time to get used to it.”  

Conclusion

The PowerSchool grading and attendance systems will be missed dearly by many students and staff. Time was up for PowerSchool, and it was time for Kinnelon High School to take on a new challenge and system meant to create benefits in the future. OnCourse is not the favored system right now; however, the staff and students will take the time to adapt to all the features of the new system.

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