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Edline Provides Just What The Teachers Of South Park School District Need

South Park Township, Penn.

3 schools + 1 parochial school

In just four short years, Edline’s cutting-edge communications and technology solutions have become an integral and appreciated part of the instructional routine at South Park School District in southwestern Pennsylvania. The suburban district may be relatively small, with just 2200 students spread across an elementary, middle and high school, but it benefits from an administration that understands the importance and power of online technology used to its full advantage. And with an increase in teacher turnover during recent years, the staff is getting younger and more enthusiastic about using technology to improve student performance and increase parental involvement.

Today, South Park’s teachers of core subjects are required to use Edline, but most other teachers use it regularly as well. Each Friday the district calls for teachers to post such information as grades and assignments for the week ahead. This helps students keep up with coursework and plan accordingly — and provides parents with better insight into their child’s education.

“In the rare cases when a teacher is absent and does not post this weekly information to his or her class page, we know right away because parents call wondering where to find the latest information” says Steve Boisvert, director of technology at South Park. “So we know the system is working.”

Even so, since Edline was implemented, teachers in South Park report a dramatic reduction in time spent on the phone with parents — sharing and repeating information — because nearly everything parents need is now readily available online.

South Park teachers also like Edline because of its familiar, intuitive interface, ease of use, and speed, all of which allow them to do most things themselves quickly and easily.

“I mean it as a compliment when I say that Edline is not overly sophisticated. What it does it does well, plus the learning curve for users is quite flat,” adds Boisvert. “And frankly, teachers don’t really want or need all the bells and whistles. They need the ability to do some basic customization and post content quickly. Edline gives them that.”

Boisvert says that South Park coordinated intensive training when it first implemented Edline but all that is needed now is a few hours of training each fall for new teachers, who are then assigned a mentor to guide them through using Edline during their early days with the district.

One teacher group in particular appreciates what Edline has to offer. Thanks to the “Link a Student” feature, Edline has become a particularly powerful tool and timesaver for Special Education teachers, who may not see specific students as regularly as homeroom or other teachers.

“It saves those teachers in particular a ton of time on information gathering. The old way was to walk the halls to collect grades and track progress of Special Education students. Now that information is accessible online with just a few mouse clicks,” says Boisvert.

He adds: “Teachers of all kinds are overworked as it is, with little extra time for planning outside the classroom. When you have a system in place like Edline and, rather than grumbling, you actually get thanks — well then you know you’re doing something right.”

Boisvert has empowered users among the ranks of teachers, administrators and support staff to add and edit content. “That means I don’t have to be the webmaster for everything, which I like,” he says.

In doing so Edline has become a powerful tool for sharing vital and timely information both within groups among the district and with parents and the South Park community.

“Edline does what it needs to do for us very well,” Boisvert says. “I can tell you, we’ve had zero complaints. And that’s remarkable.”

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