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Schoology debuts as newest digital home base


Michelle Jun

With a new learning management system, students are figuring out how Schoology works, after saying goodbye to Powerschool.

Lily Mirza, Reporter

St. Mary’s is kicking off the school year with a brand-new online learning management system (LMS): Schoology. Before Schoology, St. Mary’s used Haiku, until it was bought by a larger company, giving us the name we’ve known for years: Powerschool Learning. Now that Powerschool is gone, the school is adjusting to a new system.

Both Powerschool and Schoology were owned by the same company, and when it decided to scrap Powerschool, St. Mary’s was forced to find another system. This was the second change to the school’s LMS in the last 10 years. 

“We didn’t have a choice,” Ms. Caroline Goodman, upper school English teacher and technology specialist, said. “Powerschool Learning is going dark.”

Before settling on Schoology, a committee of nine teachers considered four other learning management systems to find the best available option. They watched demos from sales people, experimented with different websites and debated the pros and cons, but Goodman, one of the committee members, noted that Schoology seemed to work best of all.

“Schoology overall was the most robust learning management system,” Goodman said. “It had a wide range of features that we thought would appeal to all of the teachers at St. Mary’s.”

Schoology covers the basics, letting students access class materials, view notifications and take assessments. It also has a host of special features. For example, a tab on the home page shows students their full grade reports, as well as group pages belonging to their clubs and extracurriculars. 

Schoology has over seven million students globally, but it has faced a mixed reaction at St. Mary’s. 

So far Mr. John Nichols, upper school global issues teacher and global education director, is a fan.

“I think it’s a pretty user-friendly learning management system, pretty straightforward,” he said. “It aligns well with the other things we use at St. Mary’s, such as the Google suite.” 

But Naisha Gaur (12) holds mixed feelings about the new LMS.

“I liked Haiku better just because I’m used to it, and it’s our last year,” Gaur said. “But, it’s not that much of a hassle.”

Because the new LMS has a completely different design and format, students like Claudia Ribeiro (10) have struggled to understand its different tools.

“Schoology is pretty complicated sometimes,” Ribeiro said. “I don’t like how [on the calendar] due dates are listed on the actual days due and not on the days that it was assigned.” 

Whether students like it or not, Schoology is becoming an academic home base for almost everyone in the St. Mary’s community. Going forward, if students have any questions or concerns regarding Schoology, they should contact the technology help desk.