South Dakota School Kids’ Grades Go Online

Parents of South Dakota public school students will soon be able to check their kids’ grades, attendance
records and just about anything else they wanted to know about how – and what – their children are
doing in school.

By Dick Kelsey, Newsbytes

You can blame the Internet, boys and girls, not to mention state officials who developed what’s believed
to be the first statewide online system giving parents access to so much data.

"I think it’s going to be a winner," said South Dakota
Education and Cultural Affairs secretary Ray Christiensen.
"There’ll be some bumps along the road, but the response
we’ve had has been very positive. I don’t think there’s any
other" statewide system."

This month five school districts will begin a pilot project using
the system, called DDN Campus, which is part of the state’s
Digital Dakota Network (DDN). Twenty more districts will come
aboard July 1, with 20 being added each quarter through July
2004. Christensen said he believes few if any of the state’s
176 school districts won’t be participating fully by the end of
the two-year period.

The state has built in extreme security measures, and officials
believe hackers – as well as students seeking to change their
grades – will not be able to break into the DDN Campus

"I’ll never say ‘can’t,’" Christensen said, "but I’m telling you, it’s
like Fort Knox."

Backup servers, high-security firewalls and other equipment will protect data files. Most parts of the system cannot be accessed
without specific log-ins and security codes.

In addition to grades and real-time attendance records, parents and students will have access to cumulative records, test data,
school demographics, transcripts and other data. Students will also be able to register for classes using the system and find what
courses they need to take to get into colleges and universities in South Dakota, Christensen said.

Additionally, parents can sign up to have their kids’ grades and other records automatically e-mailed to them, he said.

School districts will use DDN Campus to create student schedules, maintain staff records, record attendance and more easily
transmit required data between schools.

The system will also be used to harvest data for reports to the federal government.

If all schools participate, one-time costs to implement DDN Campus will be $3.2 million and after that annual operating costs
would total less than $600,000. The program is paid for by the state, so the system is provided at no cost to local districts.

DDN Campus –

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