Aspen – Not Just a Ski Resort


Meheresh Yeditha, Editor-in-Chief

Starting from the 2013-2014 school year, Morris Hills has begun to use the Aspen gradebook software, switching over from Edline. According to Follett Software, which makes Aspen, the software is unique in that it links student grades with information about their day-to-day school life. This student information includes athletic eligibility, class schedules, student health, and curriculum maps. Follett Software alleges that the new software saved quite a bit of money for those districts that switched, and resulted in significantly happier students and teachers. But what about our district? Why did we make the switch?

According to Director of Guidance, Mrs. Scully, one factor was simply the convenience. “Edline was part of a three-part software system that our teachers had to utilize, so Edline was one component of three. Aspen incorporates all of those components in one system,” she said.  Another was the out datedness of the previous software, which had been in use for ten years. “The old software did not have the expansive student and parent portal that we have now,” she added.  Mrs. Scully also said Morris Hills is still in a transition phase. Adapting from one software package to another often takes a long time; it involves changing many procedures to adapt to the new version and customizing it to be applicable with Morris Hills’ special student programs, such as the Academy. Mrs. Scully also said, “Another advantage is that it is web-based. Our student information system was not web-based. You had to be on campus to log in or remote in, which many times, especially during Hurricane Sandy, was not accessible because the school did not have electricity.” Now the server is off-campus, even if something happens, our server continues to operate.

Although many students are upset with the delayed rollout of Aspen, most are satisfied with the new software as a whole. Spanish teacher Mrs. Santana could not say enough positive things about Aspen. “I love it because you don’t have to go to different places; if you want to send an email, it’s right there; if you want to take attendance, it’s there. I like that it’s all in one place as opposed to all different places.”  Chemistry teacher Mrs. Doyle was also generally positive about Aspen, although she does have concerns, specifically about the gradebook. “The writing ends up being so small; it’s a little harder to keep track which grade went to which student.” The general consensus among students has also been positive. Junior Jared Bloom has expressed positive feelings about Aspen; “I like it,” he said, “It’s easier than Edline.”  Fellow junior Megan Delaney said, “I like it. It’s easy to navigate and is straightforward.” Alex King, also a junior, expressed positive feelings about it as well, but said “you have to get used to it.”