School district reports stimulate Aeries modifications

February 11, 2009 — by Elizabeth Lee

All students who have experienced the eagerness and anxiety associated with checking their grades are familiar with the Aeries interface. These students may also have noticed that Aeries has been evolving slowly—right under their noses.

Most of these modifications were undetected by students because they were either visible only to teachers or trivial. The most significant change for students has been the addition of a grade book tab.

In the past, when students clicked on the grade book tab, they were transported immediately to their first-period grade summary and had to use a dropdown list at the top to change classes. Now, they are first taken to an overall summary page showing all of their classes and respective grades shown as both letter grades and percentages. Students can then click on the class they want for more detailed assignment grades.

Other changes include the functions of uploading files onto a digital locker and digital backpack feature and a drop box where students can turn in assignments to teachers online. The teachers’ interface has changed as well, allowing them to run reports, sort their rosters a little bit differently and see student attendance and information more easily.

“There is probably more [benefit] to the teacher’s end of it,” said Julianne Yeaman, application support analyst for the Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District.

She said these changes would not have happened without the requests of parents, students and teachers. The recent updates on Aeries, for instance, came from the requests of teachers. Aeries programmers make three to four updates a year to improve the system, but they usually only tackle minor issues such as bug fixes and security problems, Yeaman said.

“Aeries is our student information system,” said Yeaman. “The programmers are always doing updates to meet reporting requirements or just to improve the program so it is more useful to people.”

In the future, students and parents can expect more updates and even make a difference in the system by submitting their own requests.