A district caught in the middle of vendor competition, mergers, and acquisitions is an all-too-common situation these days. Unrest and instability among vendors often leaves districts with the short end of the stick after a contract deal goes awry, or a technology implementation takes a turn for the worse.
Industry giants more focused on growth and control easily lose sight of a district’s technology and student achievement goals. These firms tend to focus more on their short-term interests – winning sales and gaining business – leaving administrators in the dust after a race to the sale finish line.
One Tennessee district located in Lebanon, just east of Nashville, faced a problem similar to many of its peers. When a large tech firm acquired Wilson County Schools’ previous student information system, administrators were concerned for the future of their SIS technology.
Cristian Ionita, database administrator at Wilson County Schools (WCS), said the firm’s newest owners neglected to further develop their acquired application, making the technology insufficient to meet future district needs.
“They were completely lacking the vision for education,” Ionita said. “It did not end up well, and we were caught right in the middle.”
Administrators at WCS soon realized it was time to look for a new SIS supported by a stable vendor dedicated to not only maintaining its current solution, but also to providing future enhancements and innovations to meet the ever-changing needs of the education community.
"OUR IMPLEMENTATION WITH SKYWARD WENT SMOOTH—SMOOTHER THAN WE EXPECTED."
After completing product research and demonstrations, WCS elected to adopt Skyward’s Student Management Suite, a choice they have been reassured of. “My professional opinion is that we made the best decision that we could make,” Ionita said.
Administrators experienced a transition free of major hiccups, thanks to Skyward’s SmartStart implementation. A dedicated project manager worked directly with WCS staff to ensure the SIS adoption was a success.
“Our implementation with Skyward went smooth – smoother than we expected,” Ionita explained. “The implementation team was professionally led, the process was streamlined, and the deadlines were met.”
The district’s technology support experience with Skyward was also top-notch – especially when compared with previous vendors. WCS administrators were committed to transitioning to the new SIS and working with Skyward’s technology team, starting the implementation off on the right foot.
Training and professional development resources were key ingredients to the success of WCS’ changeover. Administrators were satisfied with the training sessions and additional learning opportunities recommended by Skyward’s consulting and support team.
“Training was an important part of this process,” Ionita said. “Skyward’s online Professional Development Center helped immensely to get our staff ready for the big change. Their support team was the umbrella that protected us at every step, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Ionita said staff members appreciated the “quick turnaround” from Skyward’s consulting and support team when questions came up, and educators particularly appreciated the professional development component, which helped them get the most out of their new SIS.
"DAY TO DAY, THE SKYWARD INTEGRATED SOLUTION SAVES TIME AND CAUSES LESS STRESS."
“The support was fantastic,” Ionita explained. “Professional, friendly atmosphere, onsite visits, and the expertise and consulting” are only a few of the many positive aspects Ionita said WCS has experienced in its partnership with Skyward.
“All of the data conversion projects were completed successfully,” he added. “The continued contact that the Skyward consulting team has with the state helped us to stay ahead of the game on many projects.”
Through stable support, service, and professional development opportunities, Wilson County Schools has been able to improve routine student management processes within the district.
“Day to day, the Skyward integrated solution saves time and causes less stress,” Ionita said. “We took advantage of Skyward’s SIS know-how, and after one full year of using the product we could very well see the excellent return.”
The long-term value of more effective communication tools and the impact on student achievement is clear to administrators at WCS.
“Only through better communication and participation from students, teachers, and parents will our kids get better results in school,” Ionita said.
He has already recommended the Student Management Suite to other districts. “We hope Skyward will be around for many years to come,” Ionita added. “We are looking forward for opportunities to grow our long-term partnership.”
Follow-up resource: Student Management Suite
Tired of being stuck in the middle of edtech profit-chasing? Choose stability with the Student Management Suite.