App to Allow NYC Parents to Monitor Children’s School Progress


The New York City Department of Education has released a new application that allows parents to monitor their child’s school information including grades, attendance records and test scores.

The system will go live in August, with other pertinent information such as class schedules being added at a later date.  State test scores will be included as soon as they are released.

“It’s not as much as we will have over time, but at least for now parents won’t say to us, ‘I didn’t know my child wasn’t doing well, I didn’t know that’s what was happening,’ ” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said during a press conference at department headquarters.  “No parent should have to go to the school at the end of the school year and find out the child hadn’t been doing certain things.”

Parents will also have the ability to make comments on the website pertaining to what other information they would like to see included.  In the meantime, one piece of data that will not be included but had been available on ARIS is each students’ credit accumulation, writes Kate Taylor for The New York Times.

According to officials, the new system cost less than $2 million to build and will cost around $4 million to operate over the next four years, reports Jennifer Bain for The New York Post.  The app is meant to replace the more costly Achievement Reporting and Innovation System, or ARIS, which came with a price tag of $95 million.  The previous data system had been used by only 3% of parents.

While more teachers and principals did make use of the program, a 2012 audit showed that about half of them had not logged onto the system the previous year.  The department ended its contract with Amplify, the company in charge of maintaining ARIS, at the end of last year, leaving parents without a way of looking at their children’s information online.

Hal Friedlander, the department’s Chief Information Officer, said that student data will be encrypted in an effort to protect student privacy. He added that the system will be maintained by the department so that outside vendors will not have access to any personal information.

Parent Carolyn Pereira said she had made use of the ARIS system to look at test scores and the accompanying analysis of her son’s test performance, and was disappointed when it was discontinued.

“It would really be detailed about what they did well in and what they didn’t do well in,” she said. “Say it was math, it would say if it was the fractions that he did bad in or did good in.” A department spokeswoman said that there were no current plans for NYC Schools to include that kind of analysis of test performance, but that it could be added if parents requested it.

In order to participate, parents must sign up at their child’s school.