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Onward & Upward with SKYWARD, BSD’s New Online Communications Tool for Parents

Parents in the Burrell School District have a new online communication tool at their disposal this year. It’s called “Skyward,” and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Matthew Conner is impressed, to say the least.

“It’s slick. We’re excited about it,” Conner says.

So what is it, exactly? Conner describes the online portal – which can be accessed through a mobile app – as a “one-stop shop” for parents.

“They’re able to look at grades and assignments, pay fees, email teachers, set up alerts, and customize it for whatever they want. We can do conferencing, too,” he says. “Our plan is to release more of the bells and whistles as the year goes along.”

Another valuable feature is the ability for parents to modify the phone number that’s called for announcements such as two-hour delays. Previously, parents had to call school personnel and initiate a process to have a contact number changed.

“As a parent, if I change my cell phone number, I can go in and change it in Skyward,” Conner says. “So it’s all relevant to the parents. It’s real-time.”

That’s just one example of what makes Skyward more seamless than edline, the online administration system it replaced. Parents were first notified at the end of the 2015-16 school year that Skyward would be implemented for the start of the current year, and Conner says the transition has gone smoothly.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback that it’s easy to use,” he says, adding that there are how-to videos on the district’s website. “For parents with kids at different buildings in the district, they only have one login.”

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