Central Bucks School District (CBSD), the third largest district in Pennsylvania, needed a student information system (SIS) that offered full integration, efficient reporting and real-time communication. They also wanted a system capable of seamless upgrades, longitudinal data storage and web-based data access. Infinite Campus® was chosen to fill these data management needs. In the past five years CBSD has found Infinite Campus to be a robust system that is scalable for future demands and provides a significant cost savings for the district.
Leaving a Limited SIS
CBSD had been with their former data management software provider for 25 years. At that time the system required several software customizations to be implemented with each new release. There was no longitudinal capability because data remained in separate databases by school year. Furthermore demographic and course data were stored inconsistently between schools.
“In 2006 we were at the end-of-life with the current SIS software version and decided to research other vendors,” says Laurel Podraza, CBSD IT Manager. “Our district committee evaluated a variety of systems and chose Infinite Campus.”
With the former SIS, entering data into 23 separate databases for each school caused problems with inconsistent information and non-standard procedures. Redundant data handling hampered accurate and timely access to vital information.
CBSD recognized the potential of Infinite Campus for increasing district efficiencies from the beginning. They seized the opportunity to review and standardize practices and procedures throughout the district. Infinite Campus is a single point-of- entry system, with a user-friendly interface and web-based access to information. This helped CBSD create a uniform and consistent delivery of data so decisions are made using reliable information.
“Among our schools we found a variety of practices for such tasks as attendance taking,” says Podraza. “We used the selection of Infinite Campus as an opportunity to standardize best practices and maintain better control over the census and demographic data within our system.”
Reporting Solutions for Today and Tomorrow Infinite Campus offers several reporting options for district needs such as longitudinal planning and individual student tracking for early interventions.
“Infinite Campus has allowed us to more easily access data that used to be difficult to get,” says Podraza. “It has given us new insights on measures for student success and achievement.”
Timely and accurate state reporting is an important part of CBSD effective operations. Infinite Campus professional business analysts constantly monitor changing state and federal reporting requirements. They work closely with CBSD to ensure that their system is seamlessly kept in sync with state and federal mandates.
Improving Community through Communication With Campus Portal and Campus
Messenger, CBSD has not only saved money but strengthened ties with parents and students. Parents have access to their student’s progress, assignments and assessments as well as district calendar events.
“We missed the benefits of parent and student interaction with staff while we were with our old system,” says Podraza. “The use of the Campus Portal has been embraced by everyone in the district. Students are able to refer to their unofficial transcript and credit summary as they approach graduation. Parents have become more involved with student progress. Students can complete course registration online. Families, teachers and staff love it.”
Realizing a Return on Investment During a time when economic conditions dictate close attention to district bud- gets, savings on materials, staff time and mailing costs translate to more resources being directed to student instruction.
With Campus Portal and Campus Messenger, communication between parents and the district are enhanced. Families are kept current on vital district notices with- out expensive mailings or time consuming meetings. Daily school notifications sent to parents via email are proactive announcements for attendance alerts and non-emergency messages with Campus Messenger.
SQL Database Infrastructure “Having the SQL database infrastructure and the SQL skill set in our district IT department, the opportunities for efficiencies are endless,” said Podraza. “We use the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) feature that comes with SQL to create data feeds from Infinite Campus to our other systems and update data from those systems back to Infinite Campus.”
CBSD also uses the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) feature that allows for over 100 additional reports for their district users.
In addition, system changes are seamlessly integrated into Infinite Campus so costly upgrades previously experienced no longer put a burden on the CBSD budget.
Regional Service and Support Training, service and support are the interface between the advanced technologies of Infinite Campus and the needs of the district. Because CBSD was the first customer in Pennsylvania, implementation was handled by the Infinite Campus Corporate Office. Ongoing training and support is now handled by Custom Computer Specialists (Custom), the Infinite Campus Channel Partner in the Northeast region of the United States.
“We are accustomed to working with Custom’s representatives directly,” says Podraza. CBSD found Custom’s trainers, support manager, and sales contacts always responsive to their questions and assists them in escalating issues when required.
“We enjoy the many ways that Infinite Campus provides solutions for our district,” says Podraza. “We look forward to years of benefits from the ongoing evolution of the company’s vision and technology.”
Podraza says, “With the size of our district, you can imagine the amount of paper we used for mailings for parents and students. That has all changed with Infinite Campus.”