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Case Study

Improved Reporting, Better Results






With the help of Skyward’s Student Management Suite, two Florida school districts have transformed their processes to become more efficient and improve communication.



Reporting is a Breeze in Seminole County

The Challenge

Florida’s Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) had used the same student system for over a decade. When Tim Harper, the district’s chief information officer (CIO), learned that the system had reached the end of its life, he was understandably concerned. Harper realized he faced a tall task in finding a system that would be easy to learn, could manage the district’s more than 64,000 students, and would be efficient when it came to state reporting.
 

The Solution 

SCPS chose implement the Skyward Student Management Suite, a decision they made based on the solution’s real-time monitoring capabilities and the improved home-school communication it offered.
 

The Results 

Helpful and timely information

It didn’t take long after implementation before the district was impressed by Skyward’s state reporting. SCPS appreciated the way Skyward is constantly monitoring state requirements and notifies staff of changes in a timely manger.
 
Harper noted that state reporting assistance is especially helpful for SCPS and other districts that call Florida home. “I think most people in other states would agree that we have the most complete state reporting system,” he said. “We send data all 12 months of the year. [When a change occurs,] Skyward gets back to us in a very reasonable amount of time with solutions and a realistic timeline for implementing the necessary changes.” 
 

Seminole County
Enrollment: 64,000+
Schools: 63
Implemented: 2010


Dixie SD
Enrollment: 2,044
Schools: 4
Implemented: 2009


Solution
Skyward’s Student Management Suite

Benefit
Skyward provides a collaborative partnership, increased efficiency, and improved communication.
"It’s about teamwork, which is how it should be between the vendor and client. We didn’t get there with our former vendor, but in less than two years we are there with Skyward."

Outstanding service

SCPS benefits from both the student information system itself and the service that Skyward provides. Harper said his staff “absolutely loves the product.” He is pleased with what he refers to as Skyward’s key strengths: personal attention, a collaborative partnership, and a streamlined process.

Increased efficiency

Implementing Skyward has allowed SCPS to become a more efficient district. The eight-person team devoted to reporting has been cut nearly in half. Three programmers who used to build workarounds for the previous vendor’s inadequate fixes are no longer needed. Today these repurposed staff members focus their efforts on other areas, such as web development.

A lasting partnership

SCPS and Skyward are working together to provide the most effective, efficient solution. “We’re pretty good about monitoring the state’s changes together,” said Harper. “It’s about teamwork, which is how it should be between the vendor and client. We didn’t get there with our former vendor, but in less than two years we are there with Skyward.” 
 
"[When a state reporting change occurs,] Skyward gets back to us in a very reasonable amount of time with solutions and a realistic timeline for implementing the necessary changes."


Dixie School District Automates Processes and Improves Communications

The Challenge 

Around the same time SCPS began implementing the Skyward Student Management Suite, 170 miles away on the state’s gulf side, a 2,000-student district began its search for a new student management system. Dixie School District in Cross City, Florida was still on a mainframe. Karen E. Sapp, the district’s management information specialist, knew it was time to develop a Web presence. Her goal was to pull the various programs the district used into one cohesive package.
 

The Solution

Dixie chose to implement the Skyward solution and went live on the Web in 2010. Each year, the district added additional applications to the system. In 2012, for example, they added Response to Intervention (RtI), a feature the district’s elementary school teachers and guidance counselors have benefited from.
 
“Everyone loves being able to look at grades, discipline, and attendance in one place,” Sapp said. “Before implementing Skyward RtI, teachers created Excel spreadsheets and printed out mailing labels for the letters that were sent home to every student who had to be tested. Now, Skyward generates forms to email. If there’s no response, they send a letter. Best of all, teams of teachers have access to all of the data so they can figure out what each student needs.”
 
"Everyone loves being able to look at grades, discipline, and attendance in one place."


The Results 

Helpful applications

Dixie is pleased with the number of Skyward applications that help staff members complete student-related processes more efficiently. Take Skyward Food Service, for instance. It’s another newer application for Dixie that allows parents to check balances and pay for meals online through the parent portal. It integrates seamlessly with other Skyward applications so administrators can easily handle payment processing and reporting.
 
The Skyward Gradebook is a feature the district’s teachers have enjoyed. It provides a centralized location to record all of their grades for automatic posting. Teachers also use it to track benchmarks, goals, assessments, and resources without having to sign in to multiple systems. The same Gradebook even allows them to create online tests from a test bank.

Satisfied users

District staff members aren’t the only happy Skyward users. Dixie’s parents have enjoyed being able to log in to Skyward Family Access to check their children’s grades, assignments, standardized testing information, and discipline. 
 
"Best of all, teams of teachers have access to all of the data so they can figure out what each student needs."

Improved communication

Perhaps the biggest way Skyward has impacted Dixie School District is by improving communication. Teachers can collaborate on student progress. Parents can find everything from test scores to missing assignments through Family Access. Guidance counselors can send emails to parents of students who are skipping classes or doing poorly. During high-stakes testing, they can also use the system to call parents to ensure their students are in school. “We’ve had lots of success with that calling program,” Sapp said. “In the past, letters would go home after 15 days, and that was too late.”

A lasting partnership

According to Sapp, Family Access is just one more example of the innovative, industry-leading services Skyward provides. She is looking forward to a continued partnership that will help deliver a high quality education for the students of Dixie School District. 


 

Follow-Up Resource: Student Management Suite 

To learn more about how Skyward's Student Management Suite can help your district improve communication and become more efficient, contact us today.


 


Clovis Municipal School District (New Mexico)

“We were able to use the Skyward solution to save our district approximately $30,000.” –Todd Ulses, Information Systems Coordinator

Deerfield Public School District 109 (Illinois)

“Our parents and students are very engaged, and that helps us maintain excellence in all areas.” –Michael Lubelfeld, Superintendent

Dickson County School District (Tennessee)

"I absolutely would recommend the PDC." -Randy Brison, Student Data Manager

Escambia County School District (Florida)

"Skyward is focused on the mission of providing an adaptive ERP system so that we can stay focused on educating students." –Linda Lewis, Director of Payroll and Benefits Accounting

Fort Bend Independent School District (Texas)

“We are so excited about New Student Online Enrollment... It allows you to customize the registration process to meet your district’s needs.” –Lisa Mirza, Director of Student Information Systems

Hudson School District (Wisconsin)

“I know the time savings in completing state reports alone is well over 200 hours.” –Nancy Toll, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Lewiston Independent School District (Idaho)

“[Salary Negotiations] allows me to work ahead and have the work completed earlier instead of having to do everything all at once in the summer.” –Kathy McPherson, Director of Business Services

Menasha Joint School District (Wisconsin)

“Skyward is the type of company that actually listens to their customers and develops around that feedback, which is very important.” –Brian Adesso, Director of Business Services

Mountain Home School District (Idaho)

“I wish we would have switched to Skyward years ago. We are such a better organization with it than we were before.” –Cliff Ogborn, Director of Fiscal Operations

Muskego-Norway School District (Wisconsin)

"Skyward was there for us every step of the way." -Scott Ecker, Director of Business Services

Nicolet High School (Wisconsin)

"Knowing that Skyward was responding to a need we had was a really powerful thing." - John Reiels, Director of Technology

Oak Hill United School Corporation (Indiana)

“Oak Hill USC is a more attractive place to work for people in their field because we have the tool in place they want to use.” –Brandt Lynch, Technology Coordinator

Pekin Community High School District 303 (Illinois)

“The transition to paperless has gone a lot smoother than I expected.” –Amy Hubner, Assistant Principal for Operations

Pekin Community High School District 303 (Illinois)

"I have noticed that there has been an increase in communication between myself and parents.” –Samantha Bledsoe, Teacher

School District of La Crosse (Wisconsin)

"I find it user friendly, and we know the support is there.” –Joyce Smalley, Business Manager

Wilson County Schools (Tennessee)

“We hope Skyward will be around for many years to come. We are looking forward for opportunities to grow our long-term partnership.” –Cristian Ionita, Database Administrator



 
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