Thursday, October 02, 2008


Dear Parents:

We have permanently disabled Parent@School. Charles County Public Schools does not plan to restore this program, as we are unable to resolve the multiple problems, including security issues, that it has presented this school year. We are reviewing other programs in order to offer you a similar service in the future.

Since the beginning of the school year, we have worked with the software provider, Timpanogos Technologies, to fix problems that on occasion blocked parents from seeing grades or allowed some parents to access information of a child who is not their own. Immediately upon learning of a security breach in mid-September, we took the system down.

Charles County Public Schools conducted two weeks of extensive reprogramming and testing, and launched the site again on Monday after our technology department and Timpanogos thought we had fixed the problems. We did not encounter any glitches during testing involving selected parents, including school system employees with children enrolled in our schools.

On Monday evening after a successful afternoon, we discovered the same problems were occurring, and we immediately took the program off line. Despite our technology staff working with Timpanogos, we are unable to pinpoint the source of the problem, which occurs sporadically.

When Parent@School works, it works well. We understand the frustration of parents who have grown accustomed to using the program. We share that frustration because we think the use of technology can be a great communication tool for parents and teachers to use.

However, as a school system we must safeguard the security of student information, and we no longer have confidence that we are able to do so with Parent@School. We are sorry for the inconvenience, and we are working to provide an alternative.


James E. Richmond
Superintendent of Schools


Jennifer Abell said...

"Timpanogos Technologies is an open-source membership software provider. As part of membership, school systems across the nation donate software for other members to use at no cost. We received the Parent@School software through this arrangement. We would have paid to add the homework customization to the program; however, we have discontinued any upgrades. We were in the final stages of adding the homework module when the problem occurred. We also contract with and pay Timpanogos for software support for our business application software, business application training and custom programming. We have been business associates with Timpanogos for five years, and have never had any negative experiences from their programs."

Anonymous said...

As a tool that some parents used (don't think its a replacement) as a way to keep track of your child in school, I feel it's the board's and administration's responsibility to relax the (2) 45 minute visits per quarter restriction.

Knowing that a violent attack occurred at McDonough High School as of late, I believe that parents should be allowed to see the climate in which their child is exposed to during the normal school day.

Not saying that it's always bad (as it is not), seeing an act of violence that cannot be known unless you are there or hear it from a child, causes one to think "I should be in that school more often".

We should require that our schools report all violent activity to parents. It is their obligation, as they are funded by taxpayer money, as well as having the responsibilty to provide protection for all children in the schools.