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Trial and error.
That’s been the philosophy as Grant County teachers and staff have switched to a new computerized student information system, said Al Poweleit, director of pupil personnel for Grant County Schools.
Instead of using Software Technology Inc. (STI), the district began in early March utilizing Infinite Campus, a system the state awarded a contract to in 2006.
The past few years, the state has been rolling out the Web-based system that allows authorized users to access grade books, attendance, behavioral and medical data and more from any workstation with Internet access.
“It takes some time to adjust,” Poweleit said. “You hear some complaints, but when STI came in six years ago or whatever it was the same thing.
“The attendance is nice,” he said. “It tells you how many days are missed. The red is unexcused absences. It’s very visual.”
The system may be accessed on Windows and Macintosh operating systems and provides data in real time to the school, district and state.
Poweleit talked with officials at Pendelton County Schools last year before conducting a first meeting about Infinite Campus in October 2008.
A core team was established within the district that includes trained building and teacher coaches at each school to help with the transition.
Infinite Campus also offers a sandbox option, where users can play around with the system without altering any of the information.
“I think it’s actually gone pretty smoothly,” said Krista Stanley, Sherman Elementary guidance counselor. “I don’t know of any teacher concerns so far. The first day there was a few little things where they had to go back to double check that everything rolled over from STI to Infinite Campus. But, so far, so good.”
Stanley is one of two building coaches at Sherman Elementary.
She said the biggest difference in the new system is the way to search for a student in the system.
“Now, we actually have photos of all the students so we can match the name with the student,” Stanley said. “It’s very beneficial.”
One negative has been that a parent portal that was available in STI has not been set up yet for Infinite Campus that would allow parents to see their child’s grades and attendance online.
Poweleit said the district hopes to have it running by next school year after it is confident that there are no confidentiality issues.
“We have to bring the parents in to get their access code and show them how to log in,” he said. “They’ll be able to pull it up wherever they want.”
While she anticipates a “few bumps in the road,” Stanley said she believes everyone will adapt to the system without a problem.
“Once everyone is able to get it in and utilize it more, I think coming on board next year it will be a lot easier on everyone,” she said. “It will be a lot less stressful than knowing we have to start a new program in the middle of the school year.”