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Statewide computer system gives teachers, parents, and students more access

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KINSTON, N.C. -

As many teachers and administrators in North Carolina are bracing for potential budget cuts, a new computer program could help them, if those cuts arrive.

When the school year starts, the state is set to roll out a statewide computer sharing program called Home Base. A program aimed at giving teachers and administrators more access to resources; and giving parents better access to their students.

Lenoir County Executive Director of Curriculum, Ellen Benton, is one of the first in the county to be trained on the new system.

"What I'm very excited about is the resources that will be at the teacher's fingertips. The instructional part of Home Base is going to have a lot of resources. Already loaded lesson plans already developed that teachers can use. [It will have] units that are already developed that they can teach; so, it will be much easier for them to find the resources that they need that we know are going to be aligned to the new standards," said Benton.

Some of the features include a statewide lesson plan sharing system. For example, a teacher in Kinston can look up a teacher in Charlotte's lesson plan to see how they are teaching a particular lesson, without having to leave the classroom. A feature, fifth-grade-teacher, Veronica Wooten, says will be helpful.

"It's just going to be nice to be able to go to one place and find everything that you need about a child," said Wooten.

Lenoir County Schools Media and Technology Coordinator, Charles White, says the new program also gives parents greater access to their child's progress at school.

" One of the newest features that we've never had before, and we'll be implementing it later on this year, is parents will have a parent portal where they can log in and see all the student's information that we see at our desk. Parents will be able to see grades directly out of the teacher grade book, live as it's being imputed. They will be able to see attendance, their progress toward graduation, [and] their emergency contact information," said White.

White says another feature of the new program, tracking disciplinary issues. While all schools have policies and paper records of disciplinary issues, the details of the incidents are stored in the system and can be centrally accessed.

School administrators and teachers say the new program is all about open access.

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