This column has learned that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is preparing to end the use of Edline. One of the two integrated components of MCPS’ Online Achievement and Reporting System (OARS), Edline, served as the classroom-to-home communication component.
The second component of OARS is Pinnacle, and it is the electronic grade book component of OARS, and is accessible only by teachers and administrators. Grades entered into Pinnacle migrate into Edline for parent and student access.
In an August 2009, memorandum to the Board of Education, the superintendent at that time, Jerry D. Weast stated that “Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has developed an innovative web-based system, myMCPS, that simplifies access to data and information, provides a structure for online curriculum and multimedia resources, and facilitates district wide staff collaboration and sharing of best practices. With the consolidation of disparate data systems into a comprehensive portal, MCPS staff now has a one-stop location to access a variety of pertinent information. The result is a savings in time and money, greater support for teaching and learning, and a more streamlined process for making decisions.” Weast presented myMCPS as “analogous to a virtual community center.”
It is anticipated that myMCPS will replace Edline.
However, the transition to the new system will not be easy. MCPS will have to implement safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to segments of myMCPS that are off limits to parents and students.
In 2010, the Washington Post reported that about a half-dozen students at Churchill High School were alleged to have hacked into the system and changed grades. Previously, in 2007, according to the Post, students at Magruder High School were alleged to have hacked into the same system.
Ensuring that there will be no exploitable vulnerabilities in the new multicomponent system, especially in the physical platform, will be issues that MCPS will have to resolve before the rollout.