The Bark’s guide to Bearden’s various websites


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Bearden High School has four different websites for a variety of different purposes.

Madison Chan, Staff Writer

As the technology age rages on, we find ourselves in the midst of a digital whirlwind. There is always something new just around the corner. Four major assets Bearden will use this year to cope with the whirlwind are Aspen, Canvas, the Bearden High School homepage, and the DAWG Blawg. Hopefully, this article will help you get the most out of these new resources.

First of all, here’s a brief introduction to the websites. The administrators working with Bearden online assure us that they are not using three different websites just to torment students. Each website has a different and specific purpose.

“Aspen is where your grades [and attendance] are, Canvas is where your schoolwork is, and then the Bearden page…[t]ook the place of SchoolFusion,” librarian Ms. Amy Ballard said.

Basically, Aspen is the new and improved grade book. Although the main functions are the same, there are some new benefits. For one, you no longer have to wait 24 hours for that test grade you’re absolutely dying to see. With Aspen, the grades should update after only five or ten minutes of the teacher putting them in. However, as of right now, parents do not have access to Aspen’s Parent Portal, so they will have to log in with their student’s login and email teachers if they have specific questions.

As with any new technology, there is a period of chaos during which everyone must adjust, and this is no different. Aspen is expected to be fully functional in October, and parents will have their own Aspen account, just like they did with SchoolFusion. Overall, Aspen is designed to track a student’s progress. It provides ways to document progress and to enable students, parents, and teachers to communicate about it.

Many students have become familiar with using Canvas from their experiences last year, but still, that hasn’t stopped some of them bemoaning the loss of document storage on their SchoolFusion pages.

However, few know that Canvas has document storage too. Click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the webpage to access your profile, and then the left hand menu tab offers a button labeled “Files”.  Here you can store and share documents with classmates, and even sync your account with Google Docs. If you don’t want a file to be shareable, you can simply lock it, and then unlock it at your convenience.

“The teaching and learning occurs in Canvas, the report of how well [the students] do…[is] in Aspen,” Bearden administrator Mrs. Rachel Harmon said.

In the midst of these new webpages, one that students are a little more familiar with has gotten a makeover. The Bearden High School homepage is now run through a new program, Schoolwires, and, aside from the eye-catching picture slideshow and sleek new design, there are a few important details to take note of with this switch from SchoolFusion. Now, the Bearden homepage will no longer have a login for parents or students.

“The new Bearden High homepage is the communication tool we use to communicate with the general public,” Mrs. Harmon said. “Anyone can get on Google and see what we’re about and what we do.”

One advantage to not having a login is that anyone can access a great deal of information, even if they’ve forgotten their password or can’t get on.

Some students had questions concerning documents they may have saved on their SchoolFusion page. Unfortunately, if the documents were not saved on a flash drive or external memory drive, they are gone. In lieu of school-based storage, many students are now utilizing the free Google Drive that comes with a Gmail account or Canvas.

Another frequent student need is teacher information. This is more accessible than ever through the new homepage. Simply click on the “Popular Links” button at the top of the page and there is an icon labeled Directory on the left.

Ms. Ballard said that the Popular links button is an underutilized tool. She also mentioned that the two hotspots for students are the “Current Students: Academic Information and Resources” page and the “College and Career Counseling” page. Any form, upcoming event, and important information for students is located there. So, if you’re searching for something, that’s a good place to start.

“The most important thing about our new Bearden website itself is for students to hover over all those tabs, or what we call channels, because there’s lots of drop down boxes you don’t want to miss,” guidance counselor Mrs. Karen Smiley said.

The DAWG Blawg, recently launched by guidance, is a resource for questions and information. Even though it is a part of the Bearden homepage, a link to it is located on the left of the main screen. In addition to posting more detailed information on upcoming events, the DAWG Blawg also exhibits an FAQ section and a comments box, where you can ask an administrator or counselor any questions you may have.

The counselors hope that the new blog will help cut down on the overwhelming number of phone calls they receive on a daily basis and keep the students and their families better informed. The beauty of the blog is that because it is located on the BHS homepage, no login is required, so anyone can access the FAQs and information.

So take a short break from social media and spend a couple minutes clicking around and exploring. There’s so much to be found.

Links to all of the new Bearden pages

Bearden High School Homepage


The Dawg Blawg