Going beyond managing student information: A success story
Change is difficult. So, when I led the charge at Central Community High School to begin a new search for a student information system, I knew that we had to be well informed and prepared for the journey ahead. At the time, our SIS wasn’t ready for the modern-day classroom, and my administrators were begging for a change.
In order to remedy this, we selected a cross-section of staff to serve on a committee that studied all forms and types of SIS packages. Following demonstrations and meetings with contending vendors, Central Community High School made a pivotal decision that was the first of its kind.
Our district became the first beta site to adopt the newest model in the firm’s latest SIS technology.
As our first district site transitioned to the new SIS, we were involved in contributing to the enhancements and providing feedback on the solution. Our administrators were excited about the opportunity to develop a cutting-edge system that would work for our district. Overall, it was the best move we made, and allowed us to give our students the best learning experience possible.
However, we didn’t get there overnight, and learned a lot along the way. Is your district thinking about making the leap to a new system? Here are a few things to look for when adopting a new system in your district:
Pinpoint your needs
Compared to our last solution, our new SIS is far more advanced. We knew that we wanted our SIS to be a resource for parents and students, so we looked for these types of components. The advanced solution brought many of our district key functions into the 21st century, some of which included access to real-time data and a complete view of student and school management profiles. Now, parents and teachers have access to view a particular data point, making them a better partner in the success of our students. This was a top priority for us, so we spoke up and said something. Make sure you’re clear in what matters to your district.
We’ve had a large say in what we wanted to include in our system since day one. Having the ability to shape the technology was an additional item we looked for in a SIS. This allowed us to include the tools that would make it easier for our teachers to engage with parents, students, and administrators to be more efficient in our district processes. Parents and students now have the ability to access information and receive timely notifications, and administrators are enjoying improved access to grades and other pertinent academic information. If it seems like a feature or capability is not accessible on the platform, don’t be afraid to ask. Vendors are often willing to work with your district on its customization needs.
Set vendor expectations
A productive partnership between our SIS provider and our district was important to us. To that end, we wanted to make sure customer representatives were available and helpful if we ran into a particular problem. Of all the systems we’ve worked with, our current relationship has been the most positive. The relationship we have with our SIS is just as important to them as it is to us, but we made this expectation clear at the beginning. If you want the same, make sure you’re also making this two-way relationship a priority.
We knew the integration of a new, modern SIS would be no easy task. By setting out a few “non-negotiables”, we knew that we could get the right system for our students and district. Simply put, our district now has the ability to tap into the most advanced student management system available. Not only is our SIS future ready, but so are our students, parents and staff.
Kevin Meyer is superintendent at Central Community High School District in Breese, IL. He accredits Skyward, a firm specializing in SIS and ERP solutions, for the solution (Qmlativ) mentioned in this story.