Platteville School District enjoys state and federal reporting capabilities and support ease with Skyward, leading to long-term success
A lot goes into long-term relationships of any sort. For edtech providers, product updates paired with strong communication build trust with the districts they serve, often leading to district happiness and lasting success.
For Platteville School District in Platteville, Wisconsin, about an hour and 15 minutes southwest of Madison, strong support and reporting capabilities are key to a long-term relationship with their SIS and ERP provider, Skyward.
Mary Weigel, district benefits specialist, has been an integral part of Platteville School District’s relationship with Skyward throughout various positions in the district. She reflects on what has made Skyward such a great edtech partner over the years.
"Skyward had all of their ducks in a row when it came time for us to implement WISEdata."
A history with Skyward
Platteville School District began using Skyward in 2007. At that time, school offices were using the Point-and-Click (PaC) version of Skyward software. A few years later, the district switched over to the web version of Skyward, adding Skyward’s Educator Access for teachers.
“At this time, I was working in the high school library, then in 2008 I started working with our IT department in various capacities,” said Weigel. “In 2014 our IT department was dissolved by retirements and an outside company was hired for IT support. At that point I pivoted and took over Skyward and the state reporting responsibilities.”
To gain Skyward knowledge and stay up to date with state reporting features, Weigel watched many webinars and attended the Wisconsin Skyward User Group conference. Now, Weigel serves as the district’s main support person for the student side of Skyward.
“My role is kind of all-encompassing,” said Weigel. “I manage the student database, roll the course masters over for all of our schools, complete year-end process, and more. I also work in the human resources area of the business side of Skyward and am familiar with account management.”
Currently, Platteville School District uses both the SIS and ERP products of Skyward’s SMS 2.0 solution. The district continues to add modules to their interface as Skyward develops them, such as New Student Online Enrollment (NSOE), and adopt features like custom and online forms.
"Skyward does a great job of implementing new processes with few issues."
Cumbersome processes are a thing of the past
Weigel has seen the district’s process for completing state and federal reporting change a lot over time.
Prior to using WISEdata, the district’s current state and federal reporting process, the responsibility fell on the IT department to manage and manually upload the files to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) system.
“For this process, email was our main way of tracking data,” said Weigel. “Secretaries would submit all student entries and withdrawals through an email group, then my team would upload those student records.”
Eventually the district implemented a new email system that allowed for shared documents, which Weigel’s team used to track the entry and withdrawal changes. However, this system was still difficult.
“It was very clunky and there were a lot of moving parts to keep track of, making it difficult to stay organized,” said Weigel. “The IT department had a lot more on their plates, and it was a lot harder to verify data. We also didn’t know what errors or warnings we had until they were opened up at DPI to access, giving us only a month to fix errors and verify all information from the previous school year.”
Luckily, Platteville School District didn’t need to struggle with that confusing system for too long. After attending a user group conference, Weigel learned about a feature that Skyward had that would make a world of difference in her district: automated emails.
“We have been using automated emails ever since,” said Weigel. “They are super helpful and touch a lot of people throughout the district, streamlining the entire process. For example, when a new student is registered in Skyward, an automated email goes out to the person in charge of tracking and entering that data right away.”
"I really can’t say enough good things about Skyward support!"
State and federal reporting made easy
Automated emails were just the start of Platteville School District’s journey to a better reporting process with Skyward. To streamline their state and federal reporting even further, the district switched to WISEdata
, which integrates seamlessly with Skyward and is backed by Ed-Fi
to keep data up to date.
When getting the WISEdata system in place at the district, Weigel was impressed with how well Skyward handled the setup.
“Skyward had all of their ducks in a row when it came time for us to implement WISEdata,” said Weigel. "They were one of the top SIS's that had Ed-Fi ready to go for the state rollout of Ed-Fi and WISEdata, making it a smooth transition.”
Now that Platteville School District is fully implemented and comfortable using WISEdata, Weigel’s role with the system has increased.
“I monitor WISEdata, maintain the district entity of the Ed-Fi setup, and support our staff with database management,” said Weigel.
District secretaries also help maintain the system, checking data and making necessary changes at their building level. According to Weigel, this responsibility has taken a load off her full plate, and one secretary commented that it made her more aware of the importance of accurate record keeping.
“Our secretaries are incredible,” said Weigel. “I am truly blessed with a great team.”
Overall, using WISEdata has been an incredible benefit to Platteville school district. The main benefit? The ability to maintain data and keep it up to date throughout the year, a huge improvement from their previous process.
“The ongoing data functionality is great,” said Weigel. “It also allows you to pinpoint errors and pick up where someone else has left off, which is crucial in our fast-paced world.”
Support: the key to a long-term relationship
State and federal reporting features are not the only thing that Platteville School District is impressed with in Skyward. The support that they continue to receive after 15+ years has been a major contributor to their long-term relationship with Skyward.
“Skyward does a great job of implementing new processes with few issues,” said Weigel. “For example, when we were getting Ed-Fi ready, they were one of the leading systems to have things up and running.”
Being a constant at the district since implementing Skyward, Weigel has had the opportunity to build relationships, not only with Skyward as a whole, but with specific people at Skyward.
“I definitely have a go-to person that helps me with all of my questions,” said Weigel. “She always goes out of the way to help me out. Even when she can’t answer the question personally, she forwards it to someone who can.”
Apart from service calls, Weigel also utilizes Skyward’s webinars, especially when a new feature or tool is rolled out.
“I really can’t say enough good things about Skyward support,” said Weigel.
Looking ahead to more long-term success
In the future, Platteville School District is looking forward to continuing their strong relationship with Skyward.
“Skyward is a leader in both student and business management systems,” said Weigel. “The great support and training opportunities sets Skyward apart from others. We urge others to join the Skyward family!”