Five things to know: School begins in Janesville Tuesday

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Nick Crow
Monday, September 1, 2014

JANESVILLE--The new school year begins Tuesday in the Janesville School District.

With it comes new policies, programs and routines for many students and parents.

Here are five things people should know before they set out for the bus stop, classroom or crosswalk.

1. Infinite Campus. The district did a massive renovation to its student information system over the summer. Infinite Campus affects 10,000 students and about 25,000 parents.

The program places student grades, attendance, assignments, quizzes, tests, emergency notifications and lunch payments into one system. Parents can see how students perform as soon as their work is graded. Students can use any device with an Internet connection to see when quizzes are coming or when assignments are due. Infinite Campus runs on a browser-based system.

The same log-in and password used by parents for the school's previous information system will be the log-in and password they use now.

2. High School Requirements. Janesville high school students will take more classes in longer school days in an attempt to make curriculum more rigorous to better prepare students for college.

As part of Project Redesign, graduation requirements will gradually move from 22.5 to 26.5 credits. One credit will be added in the 2014-15 school year and one credit every year after that through 2017-18.

Other changes include:

- The bell schedule changes from a seven-period day to an eight-period modified block. This is being done in order to reach the new credit requirements for graduation. There will now be eight 47-minute classes, three times a week. Then, twice a week students will take four 86-minute classes. The 47-minute classes will meet three times per week, and the 86-minute classes will meet once per week.

- There will now be consistent start and end times at Craig and Parker. School will go from 8 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. five days a week. There will be no more late starts on Tuesdays.

- There will be two new required courses. All students will take a freshman seminar during ninth grade and a personal finance class during their junior or senior years.

3. Rock University High School. The Academy for International Studies at UW-Rock County is no more. It has been replaced by Rock University High School, a full-time charter school for sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The school uses STEAM curriculum--science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics--and acts independently from the other Janesville high schools.

Rock University High School will offer college credits for some courses and will have Japanese, Spanish and English language courses.

4. Google Drive. Students now have access to up to 30 gigabytes of free storage through Google Drive.

The district has used Google for many years, but students had only been able to save things to the computer they were working on or an external jump drive.

With Google Drive, students from kindergarten through high school can store files, documents, pictures or videos all into the cloud-based system that can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection. Google Drive can be accessed from a desktop computer, laptop, iPad or smart phone.

5. Wireless improvements. All schools in the district have upgraded wireless capabilities by adding new hardware, which allows more students and staff to use the wireless network.

Work began last March in the high schools and then progressed to the middle schools before finishing at the elementary schools.

The upgrades solve the problem of locations not working, having a weak connection or being insufficient. The upgrade will allow students and teachers to more effectively use technology in classrooms.

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