Alma Brings Change to St. Robert

Katie, Progress and Change

Every student at St. Robert School either completely dreads or loves Alma, the new online student management system. The school community transitioned from Standard Score to Alma, a large transition for many, and it is now ready to be accessed by all teachers and students at St. Robert School.

One of St. Robert’s best, Ms. DeLapp, has had a chance to work with Google Drive in addition the new online student management system, Alma. She was and still is the one to go to for help with technology. Ms. DeLapp says, “I appreciate that Alma supports and showcases true standards-based grading in a really concrete way.” This teacher grew to understand what Alma is meant for and how it is supposed to assist learners in every way. Her outlook on Alma is positive and she encourages others to give the new system a try.

While there are benefits to the new system, this change did not come without some missteps. Some faculty members have even experienced difficulty in learning how to best use Alma; this was especially true when report card time rolled around. However, now that teachers have gone through the reporting process once, they feel confident that the next time around will be much easier as they have learned how to use the system more effectively. Sometimes students can’t always see the benefits that their teachers know come with this technology, but their perspective on how they are impacted by this change holds some insight into the student view. These students are the actual people utilizing and truly enjoying the gift of the web.

An 8th grader, Natalie voices her opinion “I think Alma is somewhat proficient but I like all Google better.” Natalie is referring to the change of where her homework is posted. Before the new system, homework was on Google calendar; now, it is posted on Alma. The young woman has been attending St. Robert School since K4 and before middle school there was not much technology. Entering middle school there is a big change and each student has to adapt his/her mind to the new kind of learning. Google Drive was the first platform introduced, and Natalie really enjoyed the all-inclusive app system that comes with the Drive. Services provided through the G Suite include Google Docs, Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Slides, Contacts, and more. Natalie simply thinks Alma is “just not necessary.”

From a guardian’s point of view, Alma may be “just another app” to help children go about daily school life. However, after looking over it, they will realize that Alma lets parents and students see report cards, review grades, keep up with assignments, email teachers, track attendance, and more! After exploring Alma for a bit, it is clear that the system is far more than just a gradebook.

The difference introduced by Alma is seen in the countless ways the system is used and incorporated into the organization of school life. While not all may love the change, it is one that has been made. Hopefully, as students and teachers use Alma more, they will continue to discover all the ways that this advancement is useful to them.

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