Successful state reporting and seamless integration with third-party software to help successfully power school operations: these are fundamental educational benefits that every school district would like to experience. And for Ohio’s Marion City Schools, these benefits became a reality after its existing student information system was discontinued.
The district switched to PowerSchool – the world’s largest and most reliable Student Information System (SIS) – to manage its student data. Two of Marion City Schools’ goals during the transition to PowerSchool were: seamless integration with other third party education software it had been using; and effective reporting functionality and support to ensure state funding.
“PowerSchool’s integration is wonderful. We can integrate with any system we need to,” reports Stan Nicol, Director of Data and Achievement, Marion City Schools. “And PowerSchool’s state reporting is a critical piece of our state funding. It keeps getting better all the time.”
As proof of Marion City School’s satisfaction with the PowerSchool SIS, the district has now added PowerSchool Assessment to its schools, giving teachers powerful tools to better understand how their students and classes are learning and progressing.
“We are very happy with PowerSchool. It’s everything that a student information system should be and more,” Nicol says.
Marion City Schools serves close to 5,000 students from preschool through 12th grade in north-central Ohio, about an hour outside of Columbus. The district features eight schools, including a high school, middle school, and six elementary schools.
The district has thoroughly enjoyed its transition to the PowerSchool SIS, which facilitates blended and digital personalized learning, fosters collaboration and communication both inside and outside of the classroom, and provides insights to drive student growth and improve student outcomes.
“Good student data management is important for a school district because it drives our funding, controls our local report card, and facilitates communication with parents. The more our staff use PowerSchool, the more they realize how it is the central hub of our data management system,” says Nicol. “It’s a very easy and powerful system to use, and the ability to go in and make mass changes is a great feature and powerful function. If someone makes a mistake in entering data, it may affect hundreds of records, but I can go in and easily change it quickly.”
For its technology services, the district partners with META Solutions, an Information Technology Center (ITC) formerly known as TRECA Education Solutions. META Solutions hosts the district’s PowerSchool instance and handles all maintenance, upgrades, and third party software purchases. The ITC helped Marion City Schools choose the PowerSchool SIS.
A financial benefit for Marion City Schools is PowerSchool’s strength in state reporting functionality and support in collaboration with META Solutions.
PowerSchool and the ITC work together to offer school districts throughout the state full compliance with Ohio reporting requirements with more than 40 supported reports and submissions, including EMIS reporting.
PowerSchool’s Compliance Team meets regularly with ITCs and Ohio users responsible for state reporting submissions from Ohio PowerSchool districts to help set the direction for upcoming development, including prioritizing enhancement requests, fixes, and upcoming changes to Ohio state requirements.
“We sit in on all the meetings when they have releases and are able to have input on system changes. We have a great relationship with META Solutions and PowerSchool, and both listen to our needs and are connected to the state on upcoming changes,” says Nicol.
In conjunction with PowerSchool as its central technology platform that manages student data, Marion City Schools uses a variety of additional third party software systems to manage other education functions. Multiple systems require seamless integration to make life easier and more productive for school administrators.
“With PowerSchool, we have experienced excellent integration with our other systems. One of our main goals in switching to PowerSchool was to continue to integrate with third-party systems that we rely on, and we have been able to integrate with any system that we need to,” says Nicol.
A parent’s involvement in their child’s education has significant impacts on the student’s success. In fact, students with parents who are involved in their school have fewer behavioral problems and better academic performance and are more likely to complete high school than students whose parents are not involved in their school.1 That involvement is enhanced exponentially when communication is facilitated by the use of technology; seventy-six percent of teachers and administrators feel technology is absolutely important in engaging parents and families to help them understand their child’s performance and help them succeed.2
Marion City Schools officials recognize the importance of parent engagement within the education process and appreciate the communication that PowerSchool fosters through its online parent portal and mobile app. These valuable tools give parents real-time updates on grades, attendance, assignments, performance trends, and more.
“We have a high usage of parents and students with PowerSchool,” says Nicol. “I talk to parents who are very aware of their student’s performance, and that definitely helps ensure their students stay on top of their work. And when parents see issues that the student is having, they can email or call teachers right away to discuss why the grades are lower, or whatever the issue may be.”
Marion City Schools depends on PowerSchool to power its daily operations, improve administrative productivity, stimulate classroom learning and parent engagement, and ensure funding through state reporting.
PowerSchool provides the district with innovative tools for the digital classroom to empower teachers and drive student growth with the best-in- class education technology platform.
“PowerSchool is a product that keeps getting better and is helping Marion City Schools meet its goals in providing an excellent education,” says Nicol. “I have been to three PowerSchool University trainings and there is really a high level of genuine enthusiasm in terms of the product by the trainers and engineers we encounter. There is a wonderful commitment and ownership by all of the PowerSchool employees we work with.”
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