Francis Lewis Leaves PupilPath Behind after Breach in Security

Students rush into the cafeteria as they swipe their ID cards, creating the sound of one beep after another. Students conquer every surface area of the large cafeteria and begin to find their friends. The school’s first marking period progress reports had just been handed.

A familiar face appears in your vision as one of your classmates approaches you with a curious face and asks, “How are they—your grades?”  Your heart begins to race and as you stare into the blue paper, you think to yourself – something you never thought you would ever think – If only I had PupilPath…

As the school year began this fall, students were faced with not having a reliable grading system.  Previously, Francis Lewis utilized PupilPath, where teachers could easily record grades and formulate an up-to-date average for students to check on a daily basis. However, PupilPath was no longer an option for NYC public school students.

“I do think that they had to get rid of PupilPath,” Principal Dr. Marmor said. “I think they held the data hostage for ransom or something.  I’m not happy about it because it was very painful for us but I do think that the security of your information is important.”

Although Francis Lewis discontinued working with PupilPath because of security issues, some teachers do miss its functionality.

“It had everything in one spot and you could put out totals, students’ information, and input grades,” AP World teacher Mr. Bucholtz said. “You could basically do everything on one website and one platform as opposed to Google Classroom where it’s mostly grading and submitting work, which is all you can do.” 

“The PupilPath app is very good and is very user friendly for everyone,” Mr. Bucholtz added. “I can change grades really quickly. Google Classroom you can’t really do that, you have to log in into a physical computer and there’s more steps to get it done.”

Now that the school ultimately broke ties with the system, it has left teachers and students frustrated.

“For me personally, it’s more stressful not seeing my grades because then I don’t know how I’m doing in school,” sophomore Kathrine Yusupov said. “It’s just the fact that when you don’t see it, it’s more challenging. I’m kinda lost without it in a way. I don’t know what to work on, I’m not sure what I got on each one accurately. There’s no guidance.”

According to an article on, more than 2.4 million public school students in New York City are being affected because of a lack of grading system. This has affected the mental health of students at Francis Lewis by creating more academic stress.

“It’s gotten worse because since I can’t see them, I get nervous,” sophomore Ines Tavora, said. “After I take an exam, I have to wait until I get the exam back which usually takes weeks, but with PupilPath, the grade is inputted within a week.”

This change is also making it harder for teachers to be more interactive with parents. English teacher Ms. Cerimi said that she misses the “parent-teacher communication” that PupilPath provided.

“I think a big thing is that it is harder to reach parents,” Ms. Cerimi said. “I think before with PupilPath it was easier for parents to see the grades. It was easier to send out notifications about grades or messages for parents.”

As a result, teachers are trying their best to be as open with their students as they can, especially with communicating their progress.

“I think the biggest thing that is a shift from last year is just the transparency,” English teacher Mr. Green said. “I try to be as transparent as possible on what students have and what they don’t have, just to make sure they can see their grades.”

As of now, many teachers are resorting to Google Classroom for inputting grades.

“What I told the teachers is this: for now, while we don’t have a gradebook — because right now, we don’t have a gradebook — make sure you keep your grades some place easy,” Dr. Marmor said. “I did not mandate that they use Google Classroom Gradebook but that is the easiest place to do it. I did recommend that they put it in Google Classroom.”

There is a DOE grading system available called TeachHub that has been available to teachers since the beginning of the school year.  However, teachers have encountered issues with using this new system. 

“Some of the problems that were happening at the beginning were things like people couldn’t even log into it,” Dr. Marmor said.  “Once people were able to log into it, some of the problems that they were having were a lot of what we call lag.  For instance, they would pull up a class and it would take about 2 or 3 minutes just to open it. Once it opened it was very slow and sluggish putting the grades into it.”

The tipping point for abandoning TeachHub was when Dr. Marmor realized the system did not allow custom weighting of assignments when creating assignments and entering student grades.

“What really kicked me over the edge was when I found out that the weighting did not allow for custom weighting, it only allowed for two choices-well three choices: Full weight, half weight, or double weight,” Dr. Marmor said.  “That meant if I was a teacher and I created a quiz, either a quiz was worth the same as a test, double a test, or half of a test, but what if I wanted the quiz to be 10%? The DOE grade book didn’t allow it.”

“A lot of the teachers use Google Classroom and in order to transfer the grades from Google Classroom to the DOE grading system you have to use an import function,” Dr. Marmor added.  “The import function required that the list of kids in Google [Classroom] matched the list of kids in their gradebook and if it was off by one kid it wouldn’t import.”

Dr. Marmor has been working closely with professionals to get a new stable grading system of our own to start running, called SyncGrade.

“There is a product that we believe is not perfect, but we do believe it will work for us and we do believe it will provide everything that you guys need,” Dr. Marmor said. “You need to be able to see what your grades are, your parents need to be able to see what your grades are, your teachers need to be able to manage your grades very easily. It needs to be able to move between Google and not Google very easily and it has to be flexible for anybody’s grade criteria.”

Francis Lewis started this school year by moving all faculty and students from our email account to the DOE Google account.  Unfortunately, the Department of Education Google and SyncGrade cannot talk to each other because “the Department of Education won’t allow it; not because it can’t, but for security reasons,” according to Dr. Marmor. 

“SyncGrade would have worked fine with our but we don’t have it, and we can’t go backwards,” Dr. Marmor said. “The Department of Education about 1 week ago agreed to allow the integration to basically save us and technically for the last 4 or 5 days, programmers and others have been working behind the scenes trying to get the integration to work.”