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The Rise of Jupiter Ed

After going from PupilPath to GAM, Forest Hills High School finally has a new online gradebook. But there are still many questions, comments, and mixed feelings.
Source: Jupiter Ed Login Page
Source: Jupiter Ed Login Page

After over a year of waiting, on Oct. 17, 2023 Hills students finally got access to a new online grade book, Jupiter Ed. With 80% of students logged in and 50% of parents just a month after the launch, many students have already formed opinions on the system. But although most agree that it gets the job done, the long-awaited tool has been met with both praise and criticism from teachers and students alike.

Source: The Murrow Network

Many students and faculty at Hills still fondly remember our last third-party online gradebook, PupilPath. However, after the gradebook was hacked at the beginning of 2022, the DOE was forced to drop that system and look elsewhere. According to the school’s technology coordinator, Mr. Oberhaus, “Students’ information was stolen, parents’ information was stolen. The problem with the company was they lied to everybody and said that they were encrypted when they weren’t.”

The DOE then had schools transition over to GAM, a system that, according to Oberhaus, has been around for a long time. When asked about it, he told The Beacon, “It’s been used by the elementary schools for years now, but the DOE wasn’t ready to release it to high schools or to the middle schools. So that created a lot of problems. When they released the system, it just couldn’t handle what we need.”

These problems left a lasting impact on students and teachers alike. When asked about GAM, Ms. Moran, an English teacher and member of the tech squad, analogized it to “building the plane as we were flying it.”

When asked if anything about GAM worked, she immediately replied that “none of it really worked.” Students definitely shared this opinion as well. Senior Chloe Gillant-Hanusa reported that her experience checking her grades on GAM was awful. “I ended up not using it because it was just too bad.”

Then, a month into this school year, Hills told students they would be using Jupiter. According to Oberhaus, this switch was worked on for some time. There were four programs that the school considered, and a small committee of staff tested the waters. Oberhaus stated, “[The committee] had a lot of discussions with them, negotiations over financing, and in the end, we felt that Jupiter was the best program for the school.”

Oberhaus acknowledges some problems with the system, mentioning a discrepancy in averages from Google Classroom to Jupiter. However, he says that since the school began using Google Classroom during COVID, he noticed that when he calculated averages himself, Google Classroom did not

have the same number, leading him to believe that Google Classroom is the issue. Gillant-Hanusa reported that the one issue she has with Jupiter is also the disparity in averages.

Source: Jupiter Ed

 

Although most students like Jupiter, teachers don’t seem to feel the same. Of the eight history teachers The Beacon approached, they all had largely negative things to say about Jupiter, but were not formally interviewed.

Moran also stated, “It’s difficult for teachers who are trying to learn to navigate [Jupiter] to figure out how to do all of the things that PupilPath could do.” She also added that teachers “don’t have the time to dedicate to learning the new system right now because it was such a quick turnover.”

The quick turnover she referred to was the time between the teachers gaining access to Jupiter and the students gaining access, which other teachers also expressed frustration toward. Moran also states that she was receiving emails from parents asking why their child was suddenly failing her class. “I had to explain that teachers were now taking the first two and a half months’ worth of school and transferring it over to Jupiter.”

However, many teachers still think there are good aspects to the system. Oberhaus stressed that as a teacher, he likes the transparency it gives students when viewing their grades. He said that before Jupiter, “A lot of kids didn’t know where they stood. They didn’t know if they were missing work, parents didn’t know what attendance was like, and now that problem has been solved.”

Moran emphasized the transparency of the system. She also noted the usefulness of the system by reporting to The Beacon, “It’s [in] one place. You can log into Jupiter, you can find the attendance, you can find the grades, you can find all of that information.”

Despite the journey Hills has been through trying to find a suitable online gradebook, Moran thinks “if this is something that we are going to be using for a long time, it will be positive.”

Ultimately, now that students can see their grades, most Rangers are calling it a win.

 

 

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