Synergy provides more information in gradebook, but slow speeds, unfriendly interface bogs it down


Grace Edwards

Stable internet and services is not a given while using Synergy.

Synergy replaced Pinnacle this year as the MCPS gradebook platform. While the new system offers much more information, teachers overwhelmingly are not fans. 

“I feel like it was a bad time to introduce a new trading platform, but at this point in time, I’m getting used to it,” math teacher Melissa Ashby said. “There are two different ways to put grades in Synergy. One way is to sync the grade from MyMCPS. The other way is to enter the grades manually, and I just put the grades manually.”

“I feel like change is very hard for me,” science teacher Megan Wahl said. “It’s very hard for me to learn new things. And now with Synergy being new, there are so many new things that I have to do on Synergy like taking attendance. I had to learn how to take attendance, I had to learn how to look up student information if I was trying to figure out how to look up other grades of students. There are so many new skills that I had to learn, and I still have things that I can’t figure out with Synergy.”

“I have a lot of information in one place. So I understand why the county’s switched over to Synergy. But I don’t find it as user friendly as the old grade book system,” math teacher Danielle Gordon said. “It’s just more difficult to familiarize ourselves with a new system. So I think it was just the challenges from it that made me a bit reluctant from accepting Synergy, but I do like that it has a lot of information in one place.”

“Having a brand new platform, during online learning when you’re at home and have no access, is not ideal,” science teacher Matt Reese said. “I wish they could have found a way to delay this a year, given those concerns. The second issue is, it didn’t appear to be ready and this probably would’ve happened regardless. I’ve gotten used to it, but I didn’t like it. It’s slow. And it’s cumbersome to use.”

“I like how I am able to use Synergy to see how many SSL hours I have and [to] check past grades,” senior Alyssa Holt said. “It was really helpful during the college application process.”

“I think it has potential. But again, I don’t know who designed Synergy, but they need more experience. There’s got to be some like design professionals or people that design things for iPhone,” Reese added. “They need to hire someone that knows how to make good iPhone apps and understands these things. It seems like it could do a lot more than it does”.

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