During the implementation process, Skyward provided ongoing training for Ridgewood teachers, administrators, secretaries, nurses, and others who would use the system. “Skyward has taken the lead throughout this process,” said Fishbein. “They have extensive experience doing similar implementations, and they’re very confident in what they say they’re going to do. And, they’ve delivered on their promises… [Our staff has] been very impressed with what they have seen so far with Skyward.”
Ridgewood began seeing significant benefits from the Skyward system prior to its full deployment. For instance, the district used the system to manage spring course selection. “In the past, we had one system students and parents would use to request their courses, and then we would have to port that information over to another system,” said Fishbein. “But with Skyward, we have all the functionality we need in a single, integrated system. Students and parents chose their courses, and that information was immediately reflected in the system. We have saved one step in that process which has translated into a productivity gain.”
The easy-to-operate system lends itself to a more productive administration in other areas as well. “With our old system, you practically needed an advanced degree to produce reports. Often, users would call our IT department asking for help,” said Fishbein. “But with Skyward, administrators—including principals and assistant superintendents— will be able to quickly and easily track specific information and manipulate the data on their own. Reports that once took hours to produce will now take seconds with just the click of a button.”
Fishbein noted the importance of efficiency and productivity in school districts. “New Jersey school districts just lost all state aid for the upcoming school year, so our need to drive efficiency and productivity with as few resources as possible will be more critical than ever. Skyward will enable us to actually improve our ability to serve our students despite this dramatic loss of financial support.”
Simplified access and updating of student information
Skyward’s Student Management Suite offers Ridgewood’s staff greater insight into the specific needs and requirements of individual students. For example, if a student has a certain food allergy or medical issue, that information will be automatically tied to the student’s profile and will be accessible to all of his or her teachers.
Updating that information has also become simpler. “Parents will be able to update their own information using the system, such as a new mobile number, and that data will be automatically populated across all of the students tied to that parent,” said Fishbein. “We are also planning to roll out what we call the reverse 911 system where we can contact all parents on their cell phones in the case of a snow day, early school closure due to unforeseen circumstances, etc… Quick access to up-to-date information is critical.”