Schools move to new "Powerschool" student information system
Last modified: Nov. 8, 2012
For more than a year, Ashe County Schools has worked and studied to seamlessly unveil the new statewide common core curriculum.
Now, the North Carolina Department of Education is asking county faculty and staff to do a little more to implement DPI's new student information system by next summer.
During the Ashe County Board of Education's Nov. 5 meeting, Ashe County High School Technology Technician Travis Bennett walked then board through the school system's changeover to Powerschool, the new SIS chosen by DPI.
During the past three weeks, Bennett has been working to coordinate the integration of Powerschool across the school system and said he was impressed by the Pearson product.
“Pearson's a big name in education and I feel good about that,” said Bennett. “I don't think they'd back a bad product.
“Powerschool is the fastest-growing, most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students in all 50 states and over 65 counties,” according to Powerschool's website.
The system is more functional and easier to use than NC WISE the system it's replacing, according to Bennett.
Currently, reports from each school must be compiled manually. Powerschool can automate the process, which Bennett said could be a timesaver compared to the current reporting structure.
“NC WISE doesn't support third party applications — Powerschool does,” said Bennett. “The reports and planning in NC WISE are very tedious and easy to mess up with anything from running grade cards to figuring out honor rolls, a mistake can turn into something big in NC WISE.”
It's not only administrators and teachers that will have access to Powerschool's convenient features — parents and students will as well including up-to-date attendance management, tracking and notification, access via Smartphone, and student records and transcripts powered by the National Transcript Center.
With a quick glance, parents will be able to see their student's grades and attendance, including full grades as they are updated. Powerschool will also be another way for parents and teachers to remain in communication about course requirements and what skills students need to improve.
Attendance information could be of particular use to parents as they'll be able to view total attendance by each enrolled course and quickly see if any variance in attendance exists — if their student has more absences in one class than the others.
The timeline for the introduction of Powerschool is tight, however, according to Bennett, who said DPI wants the system to be up and running for the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
"The conversion is fast, it's going to be a daunting task," said Bennett. "Once we get our data in there … and that's the scary part … (DPI) wants to go live in June. Truthfully for us, that' s a benefit so we can help train our teachers.
Remember, too, that everyone in North Carolina is making this conversion at the same time.”
Bennett said DPI will pay for three representatives from each school district to train for
“Two will come back and work as trainers, and a third will be able to familiarize themselves and use Powerschool,” said Bennett. “From those three people, we'll bring it back and spread it out as we go.”
PowerSchool Conversion Timeline
October 30, 2012 Administrative Group-Kick Off Meeting
November-May 2013 Weekly calls with Project Manager Joan Lake, Tuesdays from 9:00-11:00
November 2012 Administrators, Tech Facilitators, Data Managers/passwords issued to begin online training in PowerSource
November 2012 Test Pass-first data pull for testing of data
December 2012 Begin data validation and clean-up process
January-April 2013 Train the Trainers-train Data Managers, Tech Facilitators and lead teachers by department/grade
February 24-27, 2013 Symposium-Data Manager Training
March 2013 Teacher passwords issued to begin online training