Credit: Courtesy of Tyler Brient
eSchoolPlusPlus: The Program
“The Program” is the second installment in a series of four articles covering the administration’s decision to disable eSchoolPlusPlus on school servers.
The design of eSchoolPlusPlus is simple yet versatile: four tabs labeled “Schedule,” “Homework,” “Grades,” and “Login.” When a student logs in, using the same username and password as they would for eSchoolPLUS, they immediately see their name, guidance counselor, advisory teacher, and the letter day. Navigating around the user-friendly interface, the student can find a grid schedule much like what could be found on iPass last year.
The website works by securely accessing the student’s data on eSchoolPLUS and then bringing it over to eSchoolPlusPlus, where it is formatted and arranged in a specific and distinct way. In essence, eSchoolPlusPlus draws the line between the user and the native website of eSchoolPLUS.
According to Brient, one of the most common misconceptions regarding the program is that Brient is stealing, or even can see, private student data, both of which are false.
When you log in, [the eSchoolPlusPlus] interface relays your data to eSchoolPLUS and will pull all your information and your classes and show you off of eSchoolPLUS. It’s a direct line from eSchoolPLUS to you. I don’t really touch it. I just draw the line.
— Tyler Brient
“When you log in, [the eSchoolPlusPlus] interface relays your data to eSchoolPLUS and will pull all your information and your classes and show you off of eSchoolPLUS,” Brient said. “It’s a direct line from eSchoolPLUS to you. I don’t really touch it. I just draw the line.”
Brient believed that his experience in coding the grid schedule for the WHS Planner app in HACS made coding eSchoolPlusPlus’ grid schedule much easier. Brient coded the website in the Java, HTML and CSS programming languages.
According to Assistant Principal Ethan Dolleman, in order to enable the viewing of a grid schedule, the WPS district paid a fee of $10,000 to PowerSchool, the company that owns eSchoolPLUS, and suffered a six-week delay in the development of the system at WHS. While this grid schedule was ultimately available for view to administrators, guidance counselors and teachers, students were not able to view it in eSchoolPLUS.
According to Brient, he was able to code, on both the WHS Planner app and eSchoolPlusPlus, the grid schedule-making algorithm that the district paid $10,000 to PowerSchool for.
“The way eSchoolPLUS does schedules is they give you a table. Most of us can see it; it gives you period, quarter, letter day, teacher, stuff like that,” Brient said. “That’s what it gives you no matter what happens; whether or not we paid $10,000. The $10,000 was drawing the line from that to a grid,”
“Basically, what I do is the same thing. I take that table that you see, the exact same table, and I turn it into a grid schedule,” Brient said. “HACS did it within the first week for the WHS planner, and then I did it the next week for eSchoolPlusPlus.”
Brient noted that the spread in popularity of the website was not expected.
“Once I released it, I released it to like 10 guys; my close friends,” Brient said. “From there, it took off.”
The website is currently hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the domain is from GoDaddy.
“[eSchoolPlusPlus] is not that intensive because it’s not doing any big processes, [like] calculating or something like that,” Brient said. “I don’t think it’s cost any money, but AWS is pretty cheap overall.”
According to Brient, reception was generally positive immediately following the site’s release.
“[eSchoolPLUS] was really slow on the first day. People here and there would be like ‘nice app,’ but the second day I would go to every class and someone would be saying something about eSchoolPlusPlus, like ‘Oh, eSchoolPlusPlus is so cool,’” Brient said. “I would be at the club fair and someone would come up to my table, not to sign up for my club but to just talk about the app. That was really cool.”
For the next few weeks, discourse throughout the school about the new website would not decline. By early October, eSchoolPlusPlus had 850 weekly users from the WHS community.
Next Section: The Blocking