What is the in|SCHOOL Project?
A project to implement a common, integrated, province-wide solution to manage, analyze and report on roughly 135,000 students. The new system will replace a number of smaller, incompatible, department, board and school-based systems.
What will the system do?
The system will track attendance, behavior and achievement. It will also track demographics, schedule schools, manage specialized services, and more effectively provide the information educators require in day-to-day operations and for strategic planning. The Student Information System (SIS) will provide information to make timely and informed decisions in the areas of student programs, policy and achievement. It will support important programs and initiatives such as literacy and math development, PEBS, the Program of Leaning Assessment for Nova Scotia (PLANS) and the Nova Scotia School Accreditation Program (NSSAP).
Who will benefit from a common system, and how?
All stakeholders will benefit – students, parents, teachers, school administrators and assistants, school boards including the Tri-County Regional School Board, and the Department of Education. Students benefit from stronger programs and policy, parents from increased access to information about their children, and teachers and school administrators will have better information about their students and schools. School boards and the Department of Education will benefit by having access to a wider range of student data and program data for program and policy decisions.
Why implement a common student information system?
Today’s processes, methods and systems are archaic and inefficient. They hamper day-to-day management of our schools, and are not effective in fostering greater parental involvement and providing critical information for long-term decision-making and policy development in the public education system. We spend a large amount of time managing data – collecting, storing, and sharing – when we should be spending our time using data. There is almost universal recognition within our schools, board offices and the Department of Education that change is needed. Taxpayers invest over $1 billion annually in the public education system. This level of spending demands an effective information support system.
What is the status of this vital project?
A lot of good work has been done. The overall solution was designed, the preferred core student information system, PowerSchool (http://www.pearsonschoolsystems.com/products/powerschool/), has been purchased, the preferred services for students system has been identified, the work to establish common business processes and common data standards was advanced, the overall implementation approach was figured out, and a detailed governance structure was developed.
The overall solution design specifies what software applications are needed and how they fit together. Systems to manage core student information, services for students, school accreditation, student assessment, and curriculum and program development and implementation satisfy the operational requirements. These systems, combined with a suite of business intelligence tools for longitudinal analysis and reporting comprise the overall solution. The solution will be implemented in phases, starting with the core student information and services for students systems, and the technology needed to integrate them (i.e., eliminate data redundancy and provide for seamless transition from one system to the other).