Teachers weigh in on new Focus software

The beginning of the second nine weeks grading period kick off with a shift in grade reporting software which impacts students, parents and teachers alike. Focus is the new software program that the School District of Brevard County has bought for $1.04 million to replace Edline. This grade posting system now has the ability to show students and parents current updates of their grade averages, class attendance and their graded assignments.

“It’s still pretty new so I don’t know all of the in’s and out’s yet,” English teacher Andrienne Gent said.

Along with Gent, every teacher in the district is still learning how to use the program.

“So far I think that it is user-friendly.” history teacher Amy Dimond said. “The facilitators that we were trained under were very helpful in helping us really transition into using it.”

Unlike Edline, Focus gives parents and students live updates as the teachers are putting in the grades.

“I do like that it is live, in when we post we then don’t have to post,” Gent said. “There is good and bad to that, but I do like that the kids can see a current update all the time.”

The system is much more up-to-date than the Edline software which was purchased 11 years ago.

“For its grade book purpose, I like the features it has available,” Dimond said. “It has some additional features that Edline did not have.”

But Focus is missing some of the features teachers liked about Edline.

“I do wish that they had a calendar for each kid’s classes so that when the teacher posts assignments, it showed a calendar with all of their assignments on it.,“ Gent said.

Dimond expressed some concern about the live-updating feature.

“I think that one of the things that I would like to see changed or improved about the program is that real time program or option they have where as a teacher is entering grades,” she said. “The parent is actually seeing the percentage grade or letter grade change on their end, but they don’t know why.”

She said that as the grades are changing when they are being put in, parents could look and see a low grade and feel that is actually their student’s grade.

“I think that can cause some confusion and conflict even once parents, teachers and students are familiar with the program,” Dimond said. “I think that can still cause some problems down the road. So I would like to see that real-time option taken away, just to keep the conflict from happening.”

By Olivia Blackwell