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Parent Connection Will Bring Lessons Home

Aired 7/2/12 on KPBS News.

San Diego parents will be first in the country to use a new program that allows them to see the material students' work with in class.

— When schools open in the fall, San Diego Unified parents will be the first in the country to have access to the online current events lessons that their children will see in class.

City school parents can already access their child’s attendance, grades and test scores online. Soon they’ll be able to use a new program called The Parent Connection to see the actual content their students work with at school.

They’ll also see the discussion and quiz questions in each lesson and their student’s answers.

District spokesman Bernie Rhinerson said it will let them actively engage with their child’s classroom experiences.

“Instead of saying, ‘what happened in school today?’ You’ll be able to talk about – ‘how was the broadcast about the Arab Spring?’ And have a rich discussion with your child over the dinner table and say – ‘oh, that question was interesting, what did you answer to that question?’" he said.

The program is a partnership between Promethean, a company that produces tech devices for classrooms; Channel One News, which produces grade level-targeted news broadcasts; and the National PTA.

Students in grades 3 through 12 will use the iPads and netbooks already being used in schools across the district to enter answers to lesson questions and see how students are responding to those questions across San Diego and the country.

Rhinerson said because students will use technology that already exists in their classrooms, the new program comes at no additional cost to the district.

The National PTA will track use of The Parent Connection in San Diego to determine if it increases parental engagement at city schools. Researchers have found parents' increased involvement in their child's education is strongly linked with improved academic achievement.

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