School changes Genesis grade access policy, citing distraction and mental health


Image by Cristian Cataldo

By Isabelle Farina, Contributor

West Essex began blocking access to the Gradebook tab of the Genesis Student/Parent Portal during school hours on the first day of second semester, Jan. 31. This pilot program changing the Genesis access policy for all families is a shock to many students, who are used to being able to check their grades online at any moment.

In emails to parents and families announcing the policy change, Superintendent Damion Macioci and Principal Caesar Diliberto said the administration believes school should be devoted to learning and education, and limiting access to the online grade book during the school day could help achieve that goal. 

“While assessments and feedback are an integral component to learning, we feel that unlimited access to the Genesis Student/Parent Portal is distracting and interferes with the teachers’ intended educational processes,” Diliberto said in his email. 

“The preoccupation with grades and the frequent monitoring of Genesis is not healthy for our students,” Macioci said in his email. “In speaking with educators in and around the district, we feel our students will be more relaxed and less distracted during the school day without constant access to their Gradebook.

Diliberto also said that unlimited access could potentially take a toll on students’ mental health. 

“Excessive checking of grades in Genesis is not productive and may contribute to increased grade-driven anxiety,” Diliberto said. 

Some students said the think the new policy could be beneficial in its stated goal of relieving grade stress, but many more students said this system is actually going to be counterproductive. 

“It gives me more anxiety that I can’t check my grades all day and I have to wait to see them after school,” sophomore Madison Robertiello said. 

“It’s a Band-Aid the school is using to mask the real problem,” sophomore Tiana Pimentel said. “They say they’re doing this for our ‘mental health during school,’ or whatever but if they actually cared about our mental health they’d change the system that causes us so much distress.”

After always having unlimited access to their grades, it will take students some adjusting. Critics say that even though the administration thought they were doing something good for the students, the new policy might cause more problems than it will fix. 

Macioci said in his email that the district plans on re-evaluating this Genesis policy in the spring by way of student, parent, and staff surveys.