A World of Information at a Parent's Fingertips with the New Virtual Counselor

A Virtual Counselor is the latest service to come from Broward County-IBM partnership

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FORT LAUDERDALE</span></strong><strong><span>, </span></strong><strong><span>Fla - 29 Jul 2003: -- July 29, 2003 -- It's Monday morning and Elinor Adler arrives at her office and powers on her desktop computer. Before diving in to a pile of work she logs on to a secure Web site, not to read the day's headlines or her e-mail, but rather to see how her daughter Lindsey, a high-school senior, is doing at school. Elinor regularly checks Lindsey's grades, attendance record, test scores, class rank and more with the new Broward Schools Virtual Counselor.

"One day Lindsey and I logged on to the Virtual Counselor and noticed that her grade point average was incorrect," Adler said. "We realized that the school was still averaging in a lower grade she received even though she retook the class and got a much higher grade the second time around."

She and her daughter brought the oversight to the attention of her school's guidance counselor and the error was quickly corrected. "If it wasn't for the Virtual Counselor we may have never noticed the mistake."

Many parents want regular updates on how well their child is doing in school. The Virtual Counselor allows them to check on progress whenever they have the chance. All parents need to do is log on to www.browardschools.com and a few clicks later, they have the info they are looking for. If they find something of concern, they can schedule an appointment with a school guidance counselor.

"We recognize that the parents of our 270,000 students lead very hectic lives and don't always have the time to visit a school to see how their children are progressing. With the Virtual Counselor we are bringing the school to the parents to make it easier for even the busiest parents to become more involved in the education of their children," said Superintendent Frank Till.

The Virtual Counselor is the latest service to stem from the Broward County Public Schools and IBM Reinventing Education grant partnership. IBM's Reinventing Education grant helped Broward County design and develop a data warehouse that collects and analyzes school-based data, offering teachers and district and state administrators quick and secure access to vital information. For most schools, managing reams of data so that it provides greater insight is a time-consuming and difficult challenge. Broward County's data warehouse solves this problem by transforming data into information.

"The Virtual Counselor gives secure, real-time information to local students and parents. It is a great example of how leading-edge technology and business insight provided by IBM's Reinventing Education program is supporting families and public schools," said Stan Litow, IBM vice president of Community Relations.

Broward County Public Schools is the fifth largest school system in the United States, serving more than 270,000 students at 244 schools. For more information, please visit www.browardschools.com

IBM is the world's largest information technology company with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Since 1994, Reinventing Education has been the centerpiece of IBM's global commitment to education, supporting school reform efforts and higher student achievement through the development of innovative technology solutions. For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/ibm/ibmgives


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