The Effingham County Board of Education is moving forward with plans to implement a new student information system. If all goes as planned, the system will be implemented in January.
Noralee Deason, information systems coordinator, told board members about Infinite Campus, the system that is being requested, and the features the system will offer the school system.
Deason said the board would be asked to consider Infinite Campus as the system to use, and the request that there be a centralized registration center in the county.
She said there was a committee representing staff, faulty and administrative positions, and employees representing all of the different schools. Using an online chat system, moodle, to discuss the options.
“One of the first things our committee did was we drafted our system requirements,” Deason said.
She said that was posted for the committee members and changed after receiving their feedback. Deason said there were three proposals, but because of weak references one was eliminated from consideration.
After full-day demonstrations of PowerSchool and Infinite Campus, the committee members completed a rubric to determine which system was the best for the county. On the rubric Infinite Campus was given a 611 out of 650 points, and PowerSchool was given 39 out of 650 points.
Infinite Campus it is a centralized database, Deason said, and she reminded the board members of the problems the system is currently encountering using a distributed database.
“It has a very user friendly parent portal,” Deason said. “That was a big selling point. PowerSchool required separate parent log-ins for every child. Infinite Campus allows one family log-in, so a parent can go in and see information about how all their students are doing: academically, current grading in the teacher grade book, attendance, school announcements.”
She said with the family log-in parents will be able to view a master calendar with all of their students’ assignments.
Teachers also will have the ability to send an e-mail to all the students or parents in the class.
She said there is also the possibility to use PDF documents to attach information to the system that could allow the system to go paperless in the future.
“There’s real potential there to do a lot of things,” she said. “We also like that Infinite Campus is marketed and supported by a Georgia company. I know personally several people who work for that company that have worked at other districts over the years.
“We feel like there is support there of people who have been where we are and know the product and know Georgia reporting with that product,” Deason said.
Deason said it would also help tell parents where their students are zoned to attend. It would also allow parents to bring in the birth certificate and social security information for younger than school age children to pre-register that child when they register their school age children.
“That way they don’t have to go through that process again later, and we have better projections,” she said.
She said there are complaints from parents that when they go to an elementary school to register a child all of the documents are accepted, but when taking an older child to a middle school the same documents are not accepted to register the student.
“The parent is immediately turned off,” Deason said. “Not that anyone’s not doing their job, it’s just a different interpretation of policy.”
Superintendent Randy Shearouse said there will be busy times, but it will help with the long lines that are in the schools on the first day of parents registering their child. He said it may be a drive to the center for some, but they would only have to go to one place instead of going to each child’s school.
Deason said the general fund impact for Infinite Campus to be $53,488 for the purchase.
“The ongoing cost should go up by about $17,000,” she said.