SIS – London District Catholic School Board in Ontario
When Ontario’s London District Catholic School Board implemented PowerSchool in the summer of 2012, its previous student information system was mostly accommodating its needs. Moving to PowerSchool, however, has helped the Board create greater efficiencies and open up expanded functionality.
“With PowerSchool, we exceeded our initial goals of providing the same functionality as our previous SIS. We have been able to introduce new screens and fields of data for our users that has made us more efficient and productive,” says Sandra Abell, Supervisor ICT Data & Student Management, London District Catholic School Board, Ontario, Canada. “We are very pleased with PowerSchool and look forward to both continued performance and new enhancements.”
The London DCSB serves 18,500 K-12 students in 45 elementary and nine secondary schools within the counties of Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin, including the cities of London, St. Thomas and Woodstock. The administrative, teaching and support staff are dedicated to teaching learners in a student-centered educational community.
When it implemented PowerSchool, the London District Catholic School Board looked forward to using a web-based system, as well as utilizing industry-leading features, “such as user friendliness, the parent and student portal, PowerTeacher and the gradebook module,” according to Abell. The Board believes that parental involvement is a significant predictor of student success; parents who are involved in some way are more likely to have children that perform better in school.
“London District Catholic School Board favored PowerSchool because it is a student information system solution with education as its primary focus,” says Aster Laleman, PowerSchool’s Director of Sales, Strategic Accounts & Global Markets.
Since partnering with PowerSchool, London DCSB has already realized the system’s value of providing a comprehensive solution for its 2,000 users, students, and parents.
“We enjoy the overall PowerSchool experience,” Abell says. “We are now in our third year with PowerSchool and things are going very well. We enjoy the look and feel of the system, and looking to the future are excited about the expanded reporting functionality and enhancing modules such as the gradebook.”
“We’re pleased with the functionality,’ says Mary Latella, Student Information Analyst. “One of the aspects we like is that teachers are able to do attendance in the classroom on mobile devices in real time and parents are able to see that attendance immediately.”
“This is an all-in-one product that provides information at a timely, immediate moment for parents, students, teachers, as well as administrators to really analyze students who are at risk,” adds Rita Woodiwiss, Student Information Systems Analyst.
The myriad of options for PowerSchool training, including traditional onsite training, workshops, multiple instructor-led virtual training methods, and a full catalog of self-paced online courses, have proved invaluable to the district. Teachers and other board personnel are able to quickly get and stay up to speed with the solution to use it to best meet and exceed their needs, increasing their efficiency even further.
“We love the free training and WebEx sessions,” Abell says. “They have been very helpful for our staff to understand each aspect of the system, as well as new features and functions.”
The Board chose to have PowerSchool host its SIS instance, allowing the Board to save money, reduce risk, and foster an effective and efficient technology environment. PowerSchool Hosting provides and manages the infrastructure for the Board in a reliable, secure cloud environment with ultra-high bandwidth, robust failover capabilities, data encryption, storage performance and systems monitoring.
“PowerSchool hosts our environment and has done a great job. This eliminated the need to hire an individual at our Board to maintain the system. We never have to worry about loading releases and maintaining servers. For us, it was very cost effective.” says Abell.
The PowerSchool SIS is fully compliant with Ontario ministry reporting requirements with more than 50 supported reports and submissions, including easy-to-use OnSIS reporting meeting all OnSIS submissions.
“Provincial reporting is going very well. The process for creating and importing data is more seamless, and creating sqlReports has worked well for us,” Abell says. “We have created extensive reporting within the SQL area. The users like the ability to access the ad hoc reports and simply run them.”
“PowerSchool continues to enhance and develop provincial reporting functions and reports to ensure accurate and compliant reporting,” says Woodiwiss. “We have a team at PowerSchool that works with us and we meet weekly on conference calls to discuss changes that are up and coming in our ministry reporting.”
One major advantage of PowerSchool over other student information systems is its flexibility and ability for customizations that can benefit each Board for its unique needs. London DCSB has taken advantage of this feature by creating an ESL module for teachers to record and store data for ESL students. The Board has also created a demographical loop to maintain familiarity with the workflow for users entering student registrations.
PowerSchool is proud to exceed London District Catholic School Board’s initial goals, and continues to work diligently to improve and enhance the SIS to power the Board’s operations. Our dedication to providing a secure, dependable solution for the Board and its 18,500 students is evident to its users.
Says Abell: “PowerSchool works well in Ontario. The company has demonstrated the ability to invest and enhance the product to the level a current SIS needs to be in this day and age. The enhancements to the system are much appreciated. Keep up the great work!”