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Penn-Delco Invests in New Communication Technology

Whether it is communication between teachers and students or between the District and parents, Penn-Delco continues to invest in strategies that deliver efficient and effective tools to its stakeholders.   This month, Penn-Delco announced the district-wide roll-out of two technologies to deliver improved communication between students, teachers, and parents alike.  Schoology and Skyward will serve the Penn-Delco community by offering improved coordination and delivery of both student data like grades and demographics, as well as assignments and messaging.   

Schoology positions itself as the best K-12 learning management system with assessment management to improve student performance, foster collaboration, and personalize learning.  Penn-Delco began rolling out this technology in the secondary schools last year.   This year all schools will utilize some benefits of Schoology to improve communication.   Secondary teacher pages will now live in the Schoology data base where they can communicate not only expectations and assignments, but deliver real-time grades.  Clubs and Athletic teams will also be utilizing this technology to reach secondary students.   On the elementary side, faculty will use Schoology as a communication tool with parents.  Eventually assignments for elementary students will also live in Schoology.

Director of Technology Dr. Mark Thomas believes that Schoology is the best platform for teachers, students, and parents alike.

“Schoology offers a real-time feed that enables students to plan, stay organized, and keep track of their progress.  Parents have their own log-in so they can check on missed assignments as well as what may be coming up in the future.  Whether it is from a computer screen, a smart-phone, or a tablet, everyone can know the status of all your children’s progress.”

The Northley Music Department appreciates the flexibility that this new technology offers their students. 

“We love how Schoology is basically a one-stop shop,” explains Choral Director Elizabeth Hazlett.   “We are able to post any resources that we would normally post on a teacher webpage, but are also able to send messages directly to students or parents when necessary.”

Additionally, Schoology can be leveraged by students to deliver assignments. 

“Some assignments can be turned in right on Schoology, so there is no additional interface besides our class page,” continues Hazlett.  “The calendar feature makes it easy to see what is coming up—this includes assignments and events. We feel that after everyone gets more acclimated to using it, it will be an easy-to-use tool where students and parents can find everything they need.”

Another easy-to-use tool launched this year is Skyward.   Skyward serves as an accessible portal where a student’s demographics and preferences are housed.    Faculty, administrators, and parents can log into Skyward to check addresses, phone numbers, and even allergy and health details that ensure the student is properly managed while at school.   Skyward will also serve as the technology where parents can view report cards as well.    

“Skyward will ensure that student and family data is well-maintained and accurate because families have access,” says Dr. Thomas.  “If there is a change of address or phone number, a family can ensure that the information is changed in real time by contacting their school and monitoring the change. It is another tool that offers families access to information to ensure that important details about their child are maintained and shared with the appropriate stakeholders efficiently and accurately.”

Schoology, Skyward, and even the new Penn-Delco websites that are launching in the weeks to come will enable parents to manage and monitor even better.   Communications and Public Relations Coordinator Lisa Palmarini hopes that easier access to information will mean less stress on parents.

“Parenting with so much information to digest can be difficult.  Penn-Delco wanted to offer parents more responsive and easy-to use solutions to manage that information,” she says.   “The new website will be responsive and easier to navigate on a desk top or mobile device.  And we are working on offering more relevant and helpful content utilizing video for instance.”

Dr. George Steinhoff agrees that teachers, parents, and students alike will appreciate new ways to access and manage large amounts of information related to their child’s academics and activities.

“These changes are responsive to requests to streamline the platforms and avenues we use to communicate with parents and the community at large. Schoology and Skyward are leaders in their fields so we have confidence in their ongoing viability. Additionally, the refresh to our district webpage that will be much more mobile-friendly is well timed and will correspond with our use of these new communication tools."