Those not familiar with Graham Independent School District's Skyward Family Access service soon will be, thanks to registration changes for the 2014-15 school year.

Graham ISD currently uses Skyward Family Access to allow parents and guardians to check their children's school-related information through a secure, Internet-based website. Family Access is a free service and is available to all parents with children enrolled in the district.

Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, GISD will begin an online student registration process through Family Access that replaces the packet students normally bring home at the beginning of the year. 

In the past, students were sent home with a packet of general forms requiring emergency contact information, allergies, addresses, phone numbers, as well as a student handbook. Parents filled out the forms every year at the beginning of school and sent it back with their student. So, why the change?

“It was just not a very efficient process,” said Jayne Beale, GISD technology director. “It was very time consuming, not only for parents. All those packets are returned to school, secretaries have to sort through them all, and there's a chance for incorrect information (to be entered into the school's student database) if (the secretary) can't read people's writing. There are too many opportunities for failure having to reenter information. (It's) saving tons of money on paper and the time for secretaries, (who) may spend a couple weeks trying to update information.”

Additionally, parents had to fill out these packets for each individual child. With Skyward, the information is entered once, applies to each sibling and stays in the computer's system year after year. It's updated by the parent or guardian as needed. 

Skyward Family Access 

allows parents to view:

• Students' grades, missing assignments, averages, etc.

• Attendance information shown by day, month and type of absence

• Student's schedule with an email link to contact each teacher 

• Discipline information 

• Demographic and emergency contact information

All parents/guardians must register for the 2014-15 GISD school year. To register, visit at The Skyward app is available for mobile devices by searching for “Skyward Mobile App.”

Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.