IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

NYC Education Dept. to Launch Its Own Online Gradebook

The department's IT team is developing a system in-house to be rolled out in June. The project was already in process but took on new urgency after a hack in January brought down Skedula and PupilPath for weeks.

(TNS) — The New York City Education Department is planning to roll out its own online grading and attendance system to replace a widely-used platform that was hacked earlier this year, exposing the personal information of nearly one million students.

The new system, developed by the agency’s IT team, will launch in beta form for 100 schools this June, and will be available to all schools before the start of next school year, DOE officials said Thursday.

City schools won’t be required to switch to the free new system, but the DOE is “strongly encouraging” it.

“This new platform is safer and was designed alongside our outstanding educators to ensure it meets their needs and frees them from spending time on unnecessary administrative busy work,” said schools Chancellor David Banks.

The DOE was already working on building its own grading and attendance platform before the data breach, but the task took on added urgency in January when Skedula and PupilPath — the grading, attendance and messaging platform used by hundreds of city schools — abruptly went offline following a hack.

The weeks-long outage caused massive disruption for educators and families, and Illuminate Education, the California-based company behind the software, revealed that personal data for about 800,000 students was compromised in the hack.

DOE officials said they learned that Illuminate did not to encrypt some of the student information stored on the platform, despite promising it was secure.

Tom Liam Lynch, a former DOE technology official and education policy director at the Center for NYC Affairs, said having its own platform will allow the DOE to more tightly control cybersecurity measures.

“Our children’s personal information is too important to mess around with,” he said. “As shiny and alluring as ed tech products can be, it is nearly impossible to hold companies accountable for their security and ethics protocols.”

Queens high school teacher Bobson Wong said he supports the idea of an in-house DOE gradebook, but hopes it will be a smooth user experience, given the agency’s track record “clunky and confusing” technology.

DOE officials said they solicited input from 500 schools in developing the programs — one of which will track grades and attendance, and the other of which will allow teachers to send texts and emails to parents. DOE Chief Information Officer Anuraag Sharma said they began holding demos of the product for teachers and principals in March. The programs will be able to sync with a range of other DOE platforms.

Students and parents will be able to view grades and attendance records teachers post to the platform through their NYC School Accounts.

©2022 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.