Student Information System (SIS) Update
From Superintendent's Staff Report
It has been some time since our last communication regarding the District’s conversion to a new Student Information System—Infinite Campus—to replace our current aging and unsupported system (Zangle). We have recently hired a new project manager for this project, Mr. Ben Shulman, who comes to us with over 30 years of experience, including successful implementations for Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified. We are now rapidly moving toward the go-live date of April 21 and want to let you know of several important dates, as well as the overall project plan.
I know the notion of transitioning during the school year can create some anxiety, but we are doing so for a number of important reasons based on recommendations made by a stakeholder group including teachers, administrators, office managers and registrars from various school sites. First, this will allow our secondary schools to build their 2014-15 Master Schedule in the new system. As we have noted previously, the robust scheduling tool is one of the most powerful functions of Infinite Campus. Switching over to the new system this summer would result in having to re-do the entire schedule which would result in a lot of unnecessary extra work for staff, especially at our high schools. Secondly, in order to roll out this new system effectively, it will work to our advantage to have access to staff for trainings in ways that we wouldn’t have in the summer. Teachers can learn the system while inputting real attendance/grade data, as opposed to trying to learn in a virtual environment and then having to relearn it in the fall. Finally, one of the reasons that we chose Infinite Campus for this work is that they have the industry-standard tool, not just as it relates to its powerful functionality, but in its ease-of-use as well. I am confident that, with the supports we are providing, staff at school sites will make a fast transition.
The current Zangle system will continue to be used until the end of day on Friday, April 11. At 3:00 PM on that day the Zangle system will be deactivated and we will begin the final conversion to the new Infinite Campus system. The conversion will take place during the week of spring break. On Monday, April 21st, everyone will start using the Infinite Campus system—for attendance, enrollment and all other functions.
Grades for third quarter (for secondary schools) will all be reported out of Zangle, while the final grades for 2013-14 will be entered and reported out of Infinite Campus. This means grades for the third quarter must be entered in Zangle by 3:00 PM on April 11.
For elementary schools, the second trimester ends on the last day of February, and will be entered and reported out of Zangle. Third trimester will be entered and reported out of Infinite Campus.
We will perform the calendar rollover as usual in February, in Zangle, so class requests for 2014-2015 can be entered. All this information will be converted into Infinite Campus, as well as any scheduling information previously entered into Zangle. There will be extensive training provided on the scheduling functions of Infinite Campus, as well as all other functions of the system. Support staff from Infinite Campus will also be onsite several times during May, June and August to provide hands-on help with scheduling for 2014-15.
During the week of January 13, we conducted a three-day intensive workshop with representatives from across the District to review the configuration of the new system to ensure it conforms to District policies and procedures. We will continue to engage with stakeholders from all areas as we set up and test the new system.
We have developed a full training schedule that will reach a large number of District employees with in-person training. Our Area Assistant Superintendents are helping to coordinate the training schedule and many of you have already received calls to learn about next steps for training sessions. There will also be “teacher coaches” at each school to provide knowledge transfer and training to all teachers, especially in the key areas of attendance and grade reporting. Infinite Campus provides an extensive web portal with detailed instructions and training material, and we will provide additional online and video training materials as well.
There will be more frequent and detailed communications regarding the project, including regular updates on the district website, and we encourage you to send any questions directly to Mr. Shulman.
I know that this seems daunting, especially on top of the transition to Common Core, CAASPP (Smarter Balance) tests and the countless other projects on all of your respective plates. Unfortunately, our options are limited. As we have shared before, the company that owned and ran Zangle is now out of business and any further delay in making this shift exposes us to a devastating system failure that could send ripples through our entire system. I have the utmost confidence that this transition will be as smooth as possible and I thank you in advance for your support and flexibility.