‘Powerschool’ program helps teachers keep up

LOS LUNAS, N.M. — In the heart of Los Lunas, the School of Dreams Academy got its start with just a handful of students in 2008 and has been rapidly growing ever since.

SODA staff give a lot of credit to the ‘Powerschool’ student info system for helping them keep up.

“It’s where we, at School of Dreams Academy, store all of our students’ data, like their demographics, their contact information, their grades, all of that kind of stuff,” said Justin Salada, SODA’s assistant principal for operations.

The program has freed up a lot of time for teachers by taking administrative responsibilities off their plates.

“Parents can also access all these documents in the parent portal easily,” said Paul Howard, of SODA’s special education department. “We’re not printing them out, we’re not sending them out, and they have complete access to any of it any and all information at their fingertips.”

Powerschool has also helped with pandemic-related staffing shortages.

“We didn’t have a counselor for a few months and, to make sure those students have everything they need to graduate, PowerSchool stepped in,” Salada said. “We got that built and now we have a tool that can help us manage some of those things when we don’t have a person.”

SODA’s co-founder says Powerschool modules cost anywhere from $12,000-$15,000 each, but the cost is worth it to ensure everyone at the school has the tools they need to be successful.

Being a senior, it was easy to see my transcript and see which classes I needed to take to graduate,” said Taylor Rolan, a senior at SODA. “I was able to put those into my schedule directly.”

“For me, it’s really an easy way to like connect my parents and my teachers together without actually having to wait until a parent-teacher conference,” said Chelby Kenney, a junior at SODA. “So my grades, when needed, get sent to my phone, as well as my mom’s phone. So she’s able to talk to me about my grades and if there are problems, we will email my teacher right away and get them fixed.”