Electronic Report Cards Limit Waste, Save Money


Nick Bumgardner, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

As part of NDA’s plan to limit waste, promote sustainability, and deliver grades as efficiently as possible, school administration has decided to end the printing of paper report cards, transitioning to an entirely electronic grade distribution system.

The transition has been a gradual one, something that many schools in the Green Bay area have already undertaken.

“The decision was collaborative and was made with input from representatives of many stakeholder groups—administration, teachers, counselors, students and parents,” said Michele Mahlock, registrar at Notre Dame Academy.

“Electronic report cards are more efficient—the production of paper report cards and addressed envelopes is time and labor intensive. Once teachers have term grades finalized, the production of report cards in PowerSchool takes just a few minutes,” she continued.

With the emergence of PowerSchool as a fast and effective way to communicate grades to students and parents alike, traditional paper report cards have quickly become obsolete.

Many educators stress the importance of parents, teachers and students remaining up to date, regularly, on course grades, and electronic grading systems make that process effortless.

It’s true that physical grade reports at predetermined “checkpoints” can be beneficial for students to gauge their improvement, but many argue that the instantaneous teacher-student-parent communication link provided by an electronic grading system is invaluable.

“Teachers control the release of grades as they are always available on PowerSchool as teachers publish them in their grade books,” Mahlock reiterated.

In addition, cutting down on the use of paper also reduces needless school expenditures, benefiting students and staff alike.

“Fiscally, electronic report cards cards are approximately 1/10 the cost of paper report cards…having report cards available to parents, students and staff in PowerSchool is convenient.  All report cards for all students will be available in PowerSchool for the entire time students attend NDA,” said Mahlock.

For school officials, the transition away from paper was not just a decision rooted in practicality and efficiency, but also in faith.

“…the Catholic Church teaches us to be responsible stewards of the environment.  Report cards require a great many resources—roughly 3,200 sheets of paper and envelopes per year, plus printing and mailing,” concluded Mahlock.