Infinite Campus is a helpful online tool West Des Moines Community Schools parents can use access their students’ grades, attendance, and more, depending on the student’s grade level..
When parents regularly talk with their students about the information on Infinite Campus, it becomes a powerful tool to support their learning.
Danette Rieper, WDMCS Learning Support and Family Engagement Coordinator, says the best results come about when parents or guardians use Infinite Campus with their students.
“Infinite Campus is a tool to help (parents) support students in the classroom and with their grades,” Rieper said. “Sit down with students once a week; make that a habit. Focus not on the letter grades, but on assignments. Having conversations with students about assignments and test scores, as well as late or missing work, opens the door to talks about organization, study skills, and time management.”
Rieper recommended parents make specific comments about things they see in Infinite Campus, such as:
- Missing or late assignments
- Abnormal test and assignment scores
- Positive performance on tests and assignments
- Upcoming assignments, tests, or projects
Information about grades may look different depending on whether a students is at the elementary or secondary level.
Conversation about Infinite Campus should be supportive and focus on problem-solving. Parents and students can work together to form a plan so that high performance continues, and lower performance does not get repeated. Start by asking the student for feedback with questions.
- Questions Parents Can Ask Students About Infinite Campus
- This grade is lower than normal. What did you do differently?
- I see you have a test coming up. What are you going to do to prepare?
- Great job on your test last week. What are some ways you studied that helped you?
- What is preventing these assignments from getting turned in on time?
- Is there a study group or club you can join that would help with this class? Extra time to meet with the teacher?
Rieper recommended parents look at individual assignments in Infinite Campus, instead of just grades, to find the root of the problem. Missing or late assignments can present an opportunity to talk about responsibility, and assignments with low scores can start a conversation about ways to improve. Students should also feel comfortable contacting their teachers about their grades.
“Always encourage the student to talk to the teacher,” Rieper said. “If they’re nervous or don’t know what to say, have them role-play the situation to build some confidence and get some ownership of their education. And then, if there are any questions or things aren’t adding up, parents can always call the school or the teacher.”
It is also important for parents and guardians to know how each teacher uses Infinite Campus. It is district practice that sixth-12th grade teachers update Infinite Campus every two weeks, but some may update more frequently. Some teachers will also post upcoming assignments, while others do not. Teachers may also communicate with students and parents using different tools, like a classroom blog or Twitter.
“It’s important to find out what the classroom or subject teacher is doing,” Rieper said. She recommended parents ask teachers, “What do you use that will help me be engaged in my child’s education?”
Because parents can change the emergency/weather notification information in Infinite Campus, Brian Abeling, WDMCS Director of Technology recommends parents start using Infinite Campus as soon as they have a child in the district. Making a habit of checking Infinite Campus early on is also a good way to get students used to it before they are introduced to it in sixth grade. All sixth-graders receive a letter welcoming students and families to Infinite Campus and an Infinite Campus Portal Guide. Teachers also work with students to instill good Infinite Campus habits. The best thing parents can do to encourage Infinite Campus use is to use Infinite Campus with their students consistently.
Having a weekly Infinite Campus session should help keep parents and guardians on the same page as students when it comes to the information Infinite Campus provides, but they should not be using the same account. Parents and guardians need their own accounts so they can update their contact information and see information for every child in their family. Students can see all of their own information, but not their siblings, and they cannot make any contact information changes.
Abeling confirmed there is an account set up for every student in the district and parents/guardians have the opportunity to have an account. Many people use their accounts, but others may not know how to access them. When parents cannot get into their accounts, it is usually due to one of two issues:
- Issue: Forgetting your password
- Solution: Use the Infinite Campus Portal to retrieve or reset your username or password.
- Issue: You do not have an account or forgot your username
- Solution: Call your child’s school.
The school should be a parent or guardian’s first contact if they cannot access their Infinite Campus account. The WDMCS technology blog also has useful information about logging in to Infinite Campus and what to do in case of difficulty.
It is important for parents to access their Infinite Campus accounts because of all the information Infinite Campus has to offer. Not only can parents check grades and attendance, but they can control their contact information for emergency and weather notifications, track assignments and Silver Cord hours, and look up transportation information. To make checking the portal more convenient, Infinite Campus also has a mobile app with most of the features from the web interface. Parents should feel free to seek more information and instruction in how to use the Infinite Campus portal from teachers. The WDMCS Infinite Campus Portal Guide is also a good resource and includes helpful screenshots.
Infinite Campus is a useful and versatile tool parents can use to get a comprehensive look at their child’s education. By learning to use Infinite Campus and discussing it with their children, parents and guardians can show their support for their child and their child’s education.