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A new collaborative CIO culture emerges in schools

Student information systems are now portals for parents, students, and teachers to communicate

Just five years ago, a student information system was used to take attendance and add or change grades. The tech director chose one, installed it and, in about two minutes, showed teachers how to use it.

Now, “it’s a portal for teachers to send assignments and for parents, students, and teachers to communicate with each other,” says Melissa Tebbenkamp, director of instructional technology at Raytown Quality Schools in Missouri.

The district’s purchase of the Tyler SIS suite required a committee of teachers, administrators, and support and technical staff who visited other districts and sat through demos. “We brought trainers in from Tyler to generate district buy-in,” Tebbenkamp says.

After installation and training, the tech team’s job is not done. Through a system called Pulse, they maintain alerts and build custom reports designed to track student success. “We can review student data in real time and immediately report it if we see a situation that needs correcting,” she says.