PowerSchool Closed Over Winter Break


Ryann McManus, Sport's Editor

We can all still hear the resounding groan of our mentoring and homeroom classes as the bulletin announcement was read that Powerschool would shut down the week of finals.  Many students felt like this was a restriction of their freedom to access grades, while the administration saw this as an opportunity to improve the wellbeing of the entire Presentation community.

Vice Principal of Academics Katherine Georgiev says the Powerschool shutdown has been the goal of administration for the past three years, but they have not been successful until now.  

In the past, students have been able to find a weakness in the Powerschool system by opening a different tab in the app or bookmarking the site, but this year it was sealed tight.

Georgiev explains, “The recent Powerschool updates allowed us to shut down the portal, so that’s what gave us the option to actually enforce what we’ve been trying to do… it wasn’t meant to be a new policy.”

The goal of this policy was to benefit students, teachers and families alike by catering to the specific needs of each.  

Students are faced with a very important and, for most, stressful task during finals week because they have to study notes from all seven classes for the whole semester in addition to taking seven final exams.  

However, for sophomore Tessa Roberson, the Powerschool shutdown did not help with this stress.  “It actually made me more stressed not being able to view my grades… especially because they kept it closed for so long,” she said.

However, the administration was looking at the bigger picture, hoping that the shutdown would improve study habits for students and therefore improve their performance on their finals.

“One of the biggest things that detracts from later performance and effective studying is distractions, and what we hear from all sorts of people, including students, is that access to Powerschool has become quite addictive,” Georgiev stated. “That obsessive checking, even if your grades aren’t available, is certainly a looming distraction that is not a healthy one for your preparation.”

While some students may say that not being able to view their grades causes more distractions and stress, it is important to remember that not everyone is affected in the same way by viewing their grades.  

For junior Julia Cheng, viewing her grades was not important for her.  She said, “I personally don’t care about my finals so I didn’t care about Pres policy, but for other people, I think they should have the right to see their test score when they want to.”

Even though many students would agree with Cheng that they should be able to access their grades when they want, Georgiev said the administration was more concerned with what students needed, rather than wanted.

For this reason, the Powerschool decision was made to benefit the greatest population of the school as possible.  While the administration is aware that there will be people who disagree with their decision, this was the most positive effect on the school population that could be achieved.

Finals week is just as hectic for teachers as it is for students, so the Powerschool shutdown was meant to be a positive change to relieve pressure for them as well.

“I have experience with that myself where I’ve inputted just multiple choice and there’s a whole other section of an exam… and I will get instantaneous emails as a teacher… when I have not entered all of the content that’s really important to be reflective of the student’s total performance,” Georgiev said.

She further stressed the need for teachers to have the flexibility of time to input their grades and accurately present them to students, without being bombarded with emails before they are completed.

Winter break is meant to be a relaxing vacation time where students, teachers and families can all let go and escape the crazy school setting.  Georgiev believes in the importance of quality time spent with family during the holiday season, and the hope of the Powerschool shutdown was to create more of this time for families who may not get much time together during the busy school season.

While some students were able to relax and let go, others struggled with not knowing their grades.  Even though Cheng did not care about seeing her own grades, she believed that other students should have that option:  “Pres should allow the students to have closure with their test score instead of having them wait in uncertainty.”

Many students agree with her in that break would be more relaxing if school were truly completed before break.  

Nevertheless, the decision was made and everyone made it through break without access to their grades.  The administration made a decision that was enforced, and whether we liked it or not, was successful.  Students may need to get used to this sort of policy in the future.

While the administration has not yet met to discuss whether the same policy will be pursued in the future, Georgiev anticipates that if they decide to continue, the policy will be very similar to that of this past fall.

It is important for students to realize that, although they may not be in agreement with the Powerschool shutdown over winter break, they can still benefit from its enforcement by keeping an open mind to the policy.

By really letting go of school and relaxing during the winter break, students, teachers and parents alike will hopefully lead a more positive, healthy lifestyle and not even be bothered by the fact that Powerschool is not there.