Moving our schools into the 21st century involves more than adding laptops and renovating classrooms. It also requires modern data management. There is an increasing need for teachers, administrators and staff to be able to gather, organize, and analyze data to ensure that all of our students graduate college and career ready. Our families also need user-friendly, and often smartphone-friendly, tools to track student progress and communicate with teachers.
One step we are taking to modernize our data management is to move to a new student information system (SIS) called Illuminate Student Information. It will house all of the day-to-day student data, such as attendance, grades, emergency/health records, master schedules, standardized and diagnostic test scores, and student behavior information. This SIS will be viewable not just on computers, but also hand-held devices. It is easy to navigate, looking more like a smartphone app than a spreadsheet. The new SIS is a partner application to our testing data component called DnA. Once fully implemented, they will work seamlessly together.
Our success as a district is built on collaboration. We have assembled a district-wide SIS implementation committee with representatives from different groups who will be working with the SIS, including teachers, administrators, and staff. Sub-committees are being formed to guide the SIS transition process, and this is where many more district staff can get involved. Look for a survey, emailed by the end of November, to see available committees and to sign up.
The background work to enable a transition to the new SIS will take place during this school year. The most effective implementations occur gradually based on strategic timelines, with time to measure success and identify areas for improvement. Data from our current SIS system, eSchoolPLUS, is being reviewed in preparation for transfer. With a district of 16,000+ students, there are many issues that need to be identified and resolved before data can be transferred. That work will continue in the Data and Assessments department.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a village to succeed with a district-wide SIS transformation. While the IT data team is working to move the data to the new system, the implementation sub-committees will be guiding which trainings and resources are needed for teachers, staff and administrators. Professional development training on the SIS will be held from April to June, with refresher trainings in August. Some self-paced, online trainings are already available at Illuminate University.This is not to replace in-person and/or onsite trainings, but to supplement and accelerate training for interested users.
To see some of the capabilities of the new Illuminate SIS, watch this video
For more information, see the Student Information System Implementation Timeline