District Administration - May 2012 - (Page 77)
Not Your Mother’s
studeNt INforMatIoN sYsteM
Districts demand integrated solutions, in addition to parent portals and mobile access—all while saving costs.
By Ed Finkel
tie together standards, lessons and grade books for teachers, parents and students all to access.”
Beyond the Classroom
Student information systems (SIS) are also going beyond the classroom when it comes to where teachers, parents and students can access them, says Rob Wilson, president of Edupoint. “You’re able to take attendance, view all the student details— you can be on a field trip, walking around the room. It doesn’t matter where you are—you have [mobile] access,” he says. People need access to information, not just at a desk, but wherever they are. Skyward’s School Management Suite emphasizes features such as online assignments that include enrichment games for students that districts can customize, and student performance benchmarking that feeds into teacher evaluation, says Ray Ackerlund, marketing director. “Teachers are relying on their SIS to give them that understanding of how the student is doing, and where they need to improve,” he says.
Marana Unified has used the studentparent portal, standards-based grading, and the “lesson view” curriculum component, Kramer says. The latter gives teachers access to a library of materials from sources that align with specific standards. This, Kramer continues, “should allow us the opportunity to be textbook-free if we choose to. That’s pretty powerful.” The parent portal, which enables parents to track students’ progress and communicate online with teachers, saves districts money on printing costs (from report cards to the forms sent home), Ackerlund says. Parents will enter their new address or phone number, and the system will automatically process that. “Districts are constantly under pressure to reduce the amount of money they spend,” he says. “They’re going to turn to their management systems, like SIS.”
books that send and receive student assignments, and compatibility with the state reporting system, called PEIMS (Public Education Information Management System), which collects demographic information, attendance, grades, completions and other data, says Kyle Berger, executive director of technology. “You need not only usability on your teachers’ side but, on the back end, management reporting for your administration,” Berger says. The latter amounts to “a dashboard view into all levels,” he continues. For example, it produce a report for the human resources director on how close the district is in needing to add a full-time position based on increasing student enrollment. This broadening of SIS has made their functionality congruent with many school districts’ broad mission of educating all students to the best of their ability. “It is growth beyond just a grade book and a way to keep up with attendance, to the heart and soul of what a school district is,” Berger says.
Cedar Hill (Texas) Independent School District has turned to Skyward for paperless report cards, mobile access, grade
In early May, Follett Software Company is scheduled to release the latest version of its Aspen software, which will have a curriculum management system built
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - May 2012
District Administration - May 2012
From the Editor
Digital Reading Empowers Students
The Critical Task of Hiring a New Chief
Hard Acts to Follow
Leading the Way
Sally Reis & Joe Renzulli
Not Your Mother’s Student Information System
District Administration - May 2012