Product Focus: Student Information Systems
Simplification and integration are the main focus for student information systems (SIS).
SIS users are looking for a single sign-on that gives them access to all information they are seeking and also provides a connection to other enterprise software, such as Microsoft or Google products.
Users also want to be able to use SIS on any device—laptop, tablet, or phone.
To this end, SIS vendors are working to develop technologies that work across all platforms and are cloud-based. Particular effort is being devoted to the design of user interfaces to create easy and intuitive functionality so that accessing an SIS is as simple as navigating a social media program on a phone.
SIS is also becoming the hub of educational technology for entire districts, which means various platforms and applications will need to be integrated into one access point. Having a single, complete data picture—from grades to attendance to discipline issues—can help administrators better identify and help at-risk students.
Most integration relies on aggregation services. So part of improving the process will be further establishing consistent data standards, such as the Ed-Fi data standard, a unifying data model and data exchange framework that enables education agencies to integrate information from various sources that was developed by the Ed-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit consortium of states and companies that support data initiatives in education.
Development of standards will facilitate better compatibility among SIS products.
The completely cloud-based OnCourse system offers new mobile apps for attendance and discipline tracking, as well as a fully integrated LMS with interactive assessments. The SIS can also be combined with a comprehensive staff evaluation platform, plus there is a master course schedule system, real-time data, and state reporting functionality.
SchoolBrains offers a user-friendly interface that can be accessed from any internet connection and functions, including education plans, gradebooks, report cards and curriculum mapping. It also offers modules for nursing, health and special education, including logging trips to the nurse’s office, tracking vaccinations and illnesses. A community portal and an alert system that sends text-based email, voice (text-to-speech) and SMS to all contacts via all contact methods simultaneously. It also provides the flexibility of customizable templates.
eSchoolPLUS allows administrators to manage the entire flow of district information, including demographics, scheduling, attendance, discipline, testing, report cards and transcripts. It also includes an automatic staff notification system, online student enrollment, and the ability to integrate with multiple third-party systems to share data. It also operates with all mobile devices, for both behind-the-scene and end users.
Open architecture design and customization allows districts to extend the platform’s SIS capabilities to include independent software vendor applications. PowerSchool’s data security is compliant with HIPAA and FERPA and uses multiple protocols to protect information. The all-new mobile app provides teachers, parents and students access to real-time data regarding grades, attendance, assignments and scores.
Alma provides a single platform for district management and reporting down to class-by-class management of attendance, gradebooks, curriculum planning and messaging. The system accommodates mass importing of student, parent/guardian and staff data, as well as course and class setup, learning targets and state reporting. Flexible gradebooks work with traditional letter grades in addition to custom rubrics for Common Core standards.
Tyler SIS 360
The Tyler SIS 360 portal is fully touch enabled for use on laptops and tablets, with apps for mobile devices. New features include integration with Canvas LMS that passes gradebook assignments and scores to Tyler SIS in real time. Classroom 360 will launch next spring, featuring attendance, gradebook and other functionalities for teachers.
Infinite Campus District Edition SIS
Scalable to any size district with free monthly enhancements, the platform is fully integrated and requires no third-party systems. In addition to learning management tools, a parent portal and mobile app, it can be integrated with Campus SIS to allow food service data, accept online payments and registrations, and work with human resources information (such as staff evaluations).
Skyward’s new redesigned mobile app includes four enhancements—improved menu navigation, home screen widgets, push notifications and touch ID for iOS devices. The platform also allows for resource tracking (including textbooks and devices), report cards and transcript creation, curriculum management, online enrollment and fee management. And it provides classroom tools, such as an attendance tracker and gradebook, and online course requests and notifications for families.
Follett’s Aspen offers comprehensive state reporting, a gradebook for traditional and standards-based scoring, master scheduling, and a health database that provides access to student medical information and tracks individual health needs. New gradebook improvements have been made in areas such as color coding, streamlined entry, grade visibility controls, and enhanced calculation options.
In addition to custom grades, report cards, transcripts, and schedules, onRecord offers the ability to include awards, medical information, online course requests and media galleries. The device-friendly system also includes Find Me Now, which provides locations for teachers and students throughout their scheduled day in case they need to be contacted for a meeting or emergency. It also provides classroom assignments, student class schedules, games, practices, extracurricular group and class events in one layout.
A real-time, cloud-based system, Gradelink is also device-friendly, allowing access from any location. Recently added features include custom groups, text messaging from Gradelink to all users, and voice blast, which allows users to record voice messages for mass phone broadcasts, such as early closure notifications.
Gradelink also has a simplified three-step process to generate report cards and customizable lesson plans.
Through a single device-friendly interface, Genius SIS offers customizable features including online admissions and the ability to configure the system to restrict user access to only the sections they need to access. It can also be integrated with external applications such as PayPal or Google Checkout, accommodates rolling enrollments, and offers dynamic scheduling, transcript generation and a flexible calendar.
Rediker Administrator’s Plus
Rediker Administrator’s Plus is an easy-to-use system that handles attendance, report cards, schedule building, discipline, and student billing, among other K12 needs. It also includes a teacher’s gradebook, mobile apps, districtwide text and voice notifications for parents, students and staff, and the ability to create photo staff and student ID cards. All student data can be integrated with Microsoft Excel.
It offers various features from attendance and academic plans to locker management and health tracking. Synergy also offers the TeacherVUE portal, which includes a gradebook with options for traditional and standards-based grading and built-in analytics. Fully customizable, Synergy also has 325 preset standard reporting options, including student progress, and extensive data sharing capabilities.
Formerly FlipSwitch, StrongMind SIS is an integrated, cloud-based platform that can automatically generate tasks, such as collecting student documents and parent signatures. Features include a mass scheduling tool that provides a suggested course schedule based on student and teacher data and graduation requirements; a student dashboard with real-time data and transcript evaluation; and a new grade book for tracking student progress.
Illuminate Student Information
A user-friendly, single-interface system, Illuminate Student Information has a multitude of standard reporting options—including state reports—and the option to create custom transcripts, report cards and other standards-based reports. It includes mass scheduling, block scheduling, linked sections, and course requests, and is compatible with systems such as food service, messaging, notification and LMS.