Students, teachers reveal mixed opinions about Synergy

Senior+Sebastian+Maldonado-Arango+checks+his+quarter+grades+on+the+Synergy+Website.

Photo courtesy Sebastian Maldonado-Arango

Senior Sebastian Maldonado-Arango checks his quarter grades on the Synergy Website.

This year, the Board of Education transferred from MyMCPS Portal to a new grading system called Synergy. While receiving initial backlash, as time has gone by students have gotten accustomed to it, with both positive and negative feedback being given. 

Synergy Education Platform, otherwise known as StudentVue/ParentVue, was originally released in 2009. After numerous revisions throughout the next few years, the Student Information System (SIS) added new features to the system, making it what is now. After some consideration in the spring, the Board of Education decided to adopt Synergy and announced its launch for July 6, 2020.

Both students and teachers have mixed feelings about Synergy. When it was first introduced and teachers attempted to learn how to navigate through the system, the transition was not easy. Teachers said that transferring grades from Canvas was difficult during the first few months. The main issue was that even though they followed the rules and exported the grades properly, the grades rarely moved to Synergy. This forced them to enter grades manually and made it frustrating to not be able to use one of the platform’s key aspects. 

Synergy provides us with a centralized platform to understand all aspects of our students…”

— Matthew Salzman

That is mainly due to the differences between the two systems. For example, while Portal was simple to navigate and stable for the years it was used by MCPS, Synergy has more features, such as the ability for a student to email directly from the platform. “Synergy provides us with a centralized platform to understand all aspects of our students, including but not limited to grades, accommodations, etc,” Spanish teacher Matthew Salzman said.

Salzman also gave insight on some features available to teachers. According to him, one of the best tools that the current grading system provides is that by clicking on a student’s name, a lot of their information will be displayed. That way, it becomes easier for teachers to email a student, contact their parents or check their attendance than it used to be. Prior to this year, teachers would have to bounce around multiple websites to gather specific information about their students, but now with a few clicks all of that is available to the teachers at once. However, some students do not think that every part of Synergy has value to them or their peers. “Although synergy has lots of unnecessary tabs, it is easy to navigate and well organized for students to view their grades,” junior Katelyn Cheng said. 

Another useful feature Portal had that Synergy does not is the ability to enter in future grades in the mobile application. With the Portal app, students were able to insert custom assignments that represented real-life future assignments. That way, students can look at what grade they need on their next few assignments to achieve a certain overall grade. “Synergy is similar to MyMcps, but Portal was better because you could simulate grades,” senior Michael Oyekola said.