State reporting obligations can be time consuming and costly for school districts. The process takes skilled employees away from educational tasks and forces them into tedious data-mining and submission practices. They spend hours sorting through, searching for, and compiling information to prepare the reports.
When requirements change, districts experience the added stress of quickly learning about and adapting to the new policies with little turnaround time before deadlines kick in.
The Solution & Results
- A dedicated compliance team maintains contact with the relevant agencies and Departments of Education.
- Priority development and quick deployment give districts more processing time.
- Improved accuracy helps districts maximize funding opportunities.
- Powerful data analysis tools, including graphical depictions, drill-downs, and forecasting are included.
- No need to learn a complex report writer.
- Ability to automatically send reports where they need to go.
"In the pursuit of State and Federal compliance, it's all about reducing the burden on district staff. Here's how two districts have completely changed their approach to mandatory reporting."
"It's like having all of the ingredients to bake a cake sitting right in front of you, but none of the instructions that tell you what to do with those ingredients."
The Cornwall-Lebanon School District is “committed to excellence and continuous improvement.” It comes as no surprise, then, that the district sought to improve on the nearly 100 percent manual, inefficient data manipulation method it had been using to meet the state reporting requirements.
Cornwall-Lebanon School District, PA
In 2008, Cornwall-Lebanon decided to make a change by implementing the Skyward Student Management Suite (SMS) and the School Business Suite (SBS) to manage every aspect of its administrative operations, including state reporting. The results were dramatic.
Organization and Efficiency
Prior to using Skyward, the person in charge of reporting at the district had to pull information out of the system and transfer the data into Excel spreadsheets using formulas, pivot tables, and other similar tools to clean the data. The rigorous process required multiple tweaks whenever reporting requirements were updated. But that all changed when the district moved to Skyward.
“State reporting is completely refined and intuitive with Skyward,” said Jason Murray, technology coordinator for Cornwall-Lebanon School District. “It used to take me about two full weeks working 10-12 hours a day to clean the data and get it ready for reporting. With Skyward the entire process has been reduced down to just a couple of hours.”
Accuracy and Integration
Skyward has reduced the district’s potential for error in state reports. “Now when we hire a new teacher, for example, Human Resources enters the person’s information into the system and the information is automatically populated throughout our SMS and SBS systems,” said Murray. “If the data is clean going into the system, we can be confident in the accuracy of our reports.”
Adaptability and Continuous Improvement
The district is enjoying the peace of mind that comes with putting change control processes into someone else’s trusted hands. “With Skyward, the updating process is extremely easy and intuitive,” Murray said. “We simply log in to Skyward’s customer-access portal, download the link, and hit “Go” and it installs the update. We really don’t have to do anything more.”
“Even though [other districts] are using school management systems, when it comes to state reporting, many still face a very cumbersome and time-consuming process,” Murray said. “With Skyward, all we have to do is export the data to a single spreadsheet. It is so much easier and a time saver. I would highly recommend Skyward for any district focused on driving efficient and accurate state reporting. It is definitely one of the best systems I’ve seen.”
"State reporting is completely refined and intuitive with Skyward...the entire process has been reduced down to just a couple of hours."
Fifty miles east of the Mississippi River sits Galesburg, a city rich with history. Known to history buffs as the site of the fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate, Galesburg is also striving to be recognized as a leader in education, but the stress of state reporting obligations can take away from more important objectives.
Galesburg School District, IL
In 2008, the district decided to move away from its 20-year old legacy system in order to manage operations with the Skyward Student Management Suite and the School Business Suite.
On-time and error-free
With Skyward, enabling on-time submissions is far easier,” explained Lisa Unger, the district’s student information systems coordinator. “The capability of what I can upload and download from the state is great. And all of the data mining reports that we have access to are also terrific.
Making it a priority
Galesburg School District was drawn to the Skyward approach. “Our previous system really didn’t place a strong focus on state reporting, but for us it was a major priority. We wanted a system that was far more integrated so we could reduce inefficiencies, such as redundant data entry, and ensure cleaner data,” said Mike Doney, the district’s software support specialist. “Skyward offered integration with the state and could consolidate all of the reports we had to generate and submit.”
When compared to other systems, Doney said the Skyward solution is unmatched. “Skyward is leagues ahead of every other system out there that we are aware of when it comes to state reporting. They are on top of it, always knowing what new requirements will be imposed on the districts, and they work feverishly to make sure that that information is programmed into the software… I would recommend Skyward hands down.” Unger agreed, “Skyward is by far the best system that I’ve ever worked with.”
Follow-Up Resource: State and Federal Reporting
To learn more about Skyward's commitment to helping districts with state and federal compliance requirements, check out our State and Federal Reporting page or contact us today.