OUHSD goes high tech

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Parents, staff and students in Oxnard Union High School District now have access to Synergy, a realtime online database which provides information on student attendance, grades and more.

Superintendant Gabe Soumakian said the system went live Aug. 9 and is intended to keep parents informed about their children’s education.

“We’ve got a tool now that’s very much cuttingedge technology,” Soumakian said. “If your kid is absent, you get a push email on your cellphone.”

The Synergy system will allow parents to access information through a Web portal. It can also be accessed on an iPhone, iPad and other handheld electronic devices, said William Dabbs, assistant superintendant in charge of education services.

“This system has great flexibility,” Dabbs said. “It gives parents the opportunity to continuously monitor their student’s attendance and academic progress.”

Dabbs said the district trained hundreds of teachers and counselors on the new system over the summer. He said feedback has been positive.

Teachers and administrators can access Synergy at school via the Web or through any wireless device.

Chris Quinn, a social sciences teacher at Adolfo Camarillo High School, said he’s used the system daily through the first weeks of school. Quinn said he uses his iPad to take attendance and administer grades for assignments.

“It’s a great, full-featured system,” Quinn said. “I’d give it an ‘A’ if it weren’t for some of the small issues.”

Quinn said the system is still not accessible for most students, but the district told him the problem would be solved shortly.

Dabbs said a letter would be sent out to parents in the district this week with a six-digit number that will allow them to create a username and password.

“It’s like learning a new language,” Dabbs said. “There’s still a learning process.”

Freshman and sophomore students will use Synergy to plan career and college choices. A program called Naviance will help plan their academic pathway based on personal skills and interests.

Dabbs said the instant access to information is what is most important about the new system. Whereas grades were something received at the end of a term, Dabbs said he hopes constant monitoring can make a greater impact on student success.

“This way, parents can, in a timely fashion, work to bring the grades of their students up before it’s too late,” Dabbs said.

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