School district integrates systems to improve student learning and teacher effectiveness

SUCCESS STORY

School district integrates systems to improve student learning and teacher effectiveness

Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida

The Orange County school district in Orlando, Florida, is the 10th largest school district in the country with approximately 200 schools, 185,000 students, 12,000 teachers, and 25,000 employees. Working with Pearson, they integrated their student information system (SIS) PowerSchool SMS with their Active Directory in 2013.

Most school districts using student information systems and/or digital curriculum suffer through a certain amount of administrative challenges as they update their disparate systems. At the beginning of the school year, it can be a major task to update classroom rosters and access codes to digital programs for every student.

Orange County teachers would have to do their rostering manually, find their students in the system, and build their classes. Getting every teacher and student situated in the right classes with the right access codes for digital curriculum could take weeks. This means teachers and students were delayed from implementing their curriculum. Orange County’s high mobility rate also made this a year-round concern that required constant, daily, maintenance as students transferred in, out, and around the district.

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We have 14,000 kindergarteners alone,” explains Perreault. “…the instructional time we saved because kids can log in easily and access digital curriculum… removed the barriers to learning!

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Interoperability Accelerates Access and Saves Time

Orange County’s successful integration saves thousands of hours of administrative and teacher time and allows students to access learning immediately with rosters pre-populated and synchronized with curriculum programs.

“We’ve got a goal of having 50% of our curriculum in a digital format by 2015. If we can’t access curriculum quickly without a lot of hassle, then learning stops. When Pearson approached us with this opportunity, we jumped at the chance,” says George Perreault, Director of Instructional Technology and Library Media for Orange County.

The integration of Orange County’s SIS and Active Directory was certainly a challenge and a learning experience for all involved. “There were bumps in the road,” Perreault acknowledges, “but we worked very closely with our Pearson representatives to iron them out.”

Pearson held weekly discussions with the school district to share the ongoing status and provide updates. The project didn’t move forward until everything was working properly. Pearson also responded to the staff and teacher feedback throughout the transition and helped the district with training.

“Working with a system the size of ours allowed Pearson to find many of the possible problem areas. I think it’s really smart to start with the most difficult. If you can make it work here, it’s going to be easier anywhere else,” says Perreault. “The ability to interact with a district’s directory service is something very attractive to a large district, where the manual management of credentials is nearly impossible.”

“We have 14,000 kindergarteners alone,” explains Perreault. “This integration saved thousands of hours in district resources and teacher time when teachers were able to sign in and see all of their students right away. Even more important is the instructional time we saved because kids can log in easily and access digital curriculum. We removed the barriers to learning!”

When it comes to successful implementation in the digital realm, the technology is equally important to the curriculum. The more interoperable an educational publisher is, the more value they bring.

Now Perreault has more time to focus on making sure the district’s libraries, classrooms, and training programs all have the technology they need to develop next-generation learners. And, if he has one piece of advice for education companies and school districts, it’s this: “When it comes to successful implementation in the digital realm, the technology is equally important to the curriculum. The more interoperable an educational publisher is, the more value they bring.”

Solutions for interoperability

Pearson offers a full suite of solutions that deliver three types of interoperability, each addressing specific customer needs, and bring together student information systems, instructional improvement systems, digital curriculum products and their learning management systems.

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