Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

MrsSantamaria
New Member

Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

I'm a substitute teacher for a large school board, and recently, an issue has aggravated me to the point that I've decided to push the issue and see if things can be changed. I reported the issue a few years ago privately, and never got any notable response, or any observed changes.

 

For a variety of reasons, ranging from privacy to transgender issues, there really needs to be a way to do attendance / see class lists / etc that respects the need for a name that doesn't match the legal records.

 

There's already two ways to do the attendance - by seating plan or by the list of names. There's also already a way to put in a preferred name in Gradebook, though as far as I know (again, just a sub) I'm not sure if it connects to anything else.

 

There needs to be a change that allows another way of doing attendance. Several schools in my school board, for example, forbid showing the attendance list to the class (for privacy reasons), and require attendance to be taken by the last name, so that no one is forced to have their legal name revealed to the class at large.

 

In my opinion, in 2019, this is ridiculous. In the four school districts I've worked with over the years, all four of them use PowerSchool, and it appears to be a major choice for boards around the world. The company, private though it may be, needs to add this functionality to best meet the needs of students, and the best way to do that, I imagine, would be by causing pressure to be placed on the company to do so, since simply reporting the issue failed.

 

As a community, I imagine this is the best starting point to get an idea of what approach to take. I don't know if I should try making a petition, or encouraging teachers to join this community and talk about it here, or by maybe getting a group of teachers / schools to bug the superintendent to talk to the company, or what. I have no clue what I'm doing. All I know is that sitting around, hoping they do something about it, hasn't worked for the several years I've been aware of the problem.

 

Can anyone give me an idea of the best way to approach the matter? Thanks.

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Highlighted
Community Moderator jamiem7
Community Moderator

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

Thank you for your post and suggestion in the Community!

 

I recommend reaching out to your PowerSchool Admin within the school district to share your suggestion and ask for the attendance policy to be reviewed.  

 

The PowerSchool Admin can reach out to PowerSchool Support for assistance reviewing the attendance method within the school.



Jamie H.
PowerSchool Community Moderator
Remember to give Kudos to suggestions that help you!
If another user helps solve your issue, please select Accept As Solution on their post so others can see the solution, too!

View solution in original post

6 Replies
Highlighted
Community Moderator jamiem7
Community Moderator

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

Thank you for your post and suggestion in the Community!

 

I recommend reaching out to your PowerSchool Admin within the school district to share your suggestion and ask for the attendance policy to be reviewed.  

 

The PowerSchool Admin can reach out to PowerSchool Support for assistance reviewing the attendance method within the school.



Jamie H.
PowerSchool Community Moderator
Remember to give Kudos to suggestions that help you!
If another user helps solve your issue, please select Accept As Solution on their post so others can see the solution, too!

View solution in original post

MrsSantamaria
New Member

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

Thanks for the advice! I'll look up the relevant persons as soon as I can. Thanks again :)

bdoucette
Hobbyist

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

Hi,

 

PowerSchool has added some legal name fields that allowed us to track both a student's legal first name as well as their preferred first name. On the Demographic page, we use the PSCORE_LEGAL_FIRST_NAME field to store their legal first name, and use the FIRST_NAME field to store their preferred first name. Our page is customized such that if the school leaves the FIRST_NAME field empty, then the legal name gets auto-polulated as the preferred name once the user submits the changes on the page.

 

In PowerTeacher, the class list displays the students' FIRST_NAME (preferred) name, while the name that appears in the PSCORE_LEGAL_FIRST_NAME field is reversed for official documents (i.e. high school transcript).

 

 

CraigWhite
Hobbyist

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

I wonder if you would be able to provide any information about what state you are in and what version of PowerSchool you are using?

 

I am in North Carolina, and am advocating on behalf of several school districts with our Department of Public Instruction to request a PowerSchool update that includes an option for Legal Name as distinct from preferred name or affirmed name. The 2019 North Carolina PowerSchool system does not allow that option, or the fields you describe in your post. These districts are rightly concerned about privacy violations when a transgender student's legal name is disclosed without their consent to faculty, students or volunteers.

 

It would be a great help if we could reference a location or system where PowerSchool has already made this fix in the information system itself.

 

We were successful in the 2019 update in getting the fields that had been restricted to 'Mother' and 'Father' revised to include any number of adult guardians and contacts, in a number of different roles and relationships.

 

I would also be very interested in hearing whether any systems allow for a gender marker other than 'Male' and 'Female'. Right now, our administrators are having to choose how to categorize students who are intersex or non-binary.

 

I am happy to provide contact information if you'd prefer to discuss off of this thread.

BrianD3
Trainee

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

Hi,

I'm located in Noca Scotia Canada, and we're currently on version 12 of PowerSchool. All of our public schools in the province are using PowerSchool as their SIS. To my knowledge, the pscore_legal_first_name and pscore_legal_last_name fields are core fields in PowerSchool. So these fields could be used to store students' legal name, while the first_name and last_name fields could be used for preferred name.

In addition to the male and female gender options, we've also added a non-binary gender option - which was made available to clients during one of PowerSchool's upgrades last year.

CraigWhite
Hobbyist

Re: Preferred name for attendance - how to make a change?

Thank you, Nova Scotia! Those are exactly the fixes we're looking for, which are not offered in the current version that North Carolina is using.

 

It's a great help to know that the company has already worked out the tech aspect for both the name and the gender fields, so all we need to do is get the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to make the request for our next update. (All we need to do... ha! Y'all wish me luck!)

 

Is anybody in the US using a non-binary gender classification, and if so, how does your school or your state handle the federal reporting that requires students to be classified according to gender?