Forsyth County Schools
Chief Technology and Information Officer
Infinite Campus always seems to be one step ahead of us and we pride ourselves on being edgy and progressive,...It’s really refreshing to work with a company whose vision is staying ahead of even our most ambitious images of the future.
Chief Technology and Information Officer
Forsyth County School
Forsyth County Keeps Pace with Continued Growth
When Forsyth County Schools, located in Cumming, Georgia, purchased Infinite Campus® in 2004, it had been growing at 8 to13 percent a year. Today, Forsyth continues to grow at 4-6 percent each year. Managing 33,000 students and five additional schools opening in the 2009-10, FCS requires a flexible system that scales with this growth, streamlines processes, and provides user-friendly technology for teachers and parents. Infinite Campus scales to meet Forsyth’s growth challenges and continued success.
Before moving to Infinite Campus, Forsyth had struggled to synthesize data from multiple information systems. After the original purchase of a student information system (SIS) with special education functionality, Forsyth then added a variety of third-party products intended to fill the needs not addressed by the original system.
“We came to the realization that to get meaningful data out of the system required a lot of work and it wasn’t available in real time,” explains Bailey Mitchell, chief technology and information officer of Forsyth County Schools. “This type of technology infrastructure was turning each area into an information silo. It was impossible for areas to share demographic data and provide us with the ability to do any type of significant, reliable analysis.”
In less than four months with Infinite Campus, Forsyth was able to consolidate seven freestanding information applications into one integrated data management system. Infinite Campus provided the integrated system including a scheduler, grade book, special education, standardized assessment tracking, attendance dialer, web-based portal and a data warehouse. The functionality is provided through a secure, browser-based interface so real-time information is accessible from anywhere, any time.
There were immediate benefits with Infinite Campus. Mitchell says, “We were able to clean up our data set and bring many of the functions in the schools back to a central location. We had attempted to do that in the past, but it wasn’t really possible until we went to a centralized design that allowed us to look at data differently.”
Beyond Data Collection
Any data management system has the capability to store data. To make use of stored data requires a graphical representation that is easy to understand and easy to use.
Forsyth wanted a system that made stakeholders eager to use it. Administrators wanted accurate real-time information for planning and management decisions. Teachers needed access to information and data entry that takes a minimum of time away from instructing students. Counselors needed immediate and accurate information about test scores, family information, behavior issues and individual learning plans (ILP). Providing a system capable of filling these needs while continuing to be responsive to change and growth was the challenge Infinite Campus met.
Infinite Campus takes out a lot of the complexities that schools are required to do and makes it very easy for the end user, which means significant resource savings in time and money.
“I compare the interface of Infinite Campus to a digital dashboard, a graphical representation of data that is as easy to understand as the instruments on the dashboard on a car,” says Mitchell “Nobody in the district understands the cockpit of a 747 airplane. They could not use any of the gauges or dials. They would never get off the ground.”
Because Infinite Campus is an integrated system, Forsyth found they could bring some functions back to a central location and take the burden off schools for initial data collection for enrollment and registration.
“Infinite Campus has consistently given us seamless access to our data, and the ease of data entry and analysis has allowed us to develop processes to not only ensure data quality, but flexibility to develop additional applications for teachers and administrators,” said Mitchell. “We have been able to develop class profiles, AYP watch screens and the custom reports our administrators and teachers have requested. There is a so much a district can do with Infinite Campus beyond basic data collection.”
Streamlined State Reporting
As Forsyth grows and becomes more complex, it relies on Infinite Campus to respond quickly to changing state reporting requirements.
Administrators need timely access to accurate, aggregated educational data. Infinite Campus provides customers with built-in state reporting capabilities, customized by state and updated when legislative mandates are implemented. The reports are designed to be sent in the state's preferred format and submitted in the output required, simplifying the entire process for the district administrator.
Infinite Campus has a dedicated group of professional business analysts who constantly monitor changing state and federal reporting requirements, while working closely with customers to ensure that the changes are included in a release prior to the end user needing them.
Accurate, streamlined state reporting is vital to the operation of the district to maintain cash flow. With granular data available and managed in a centralized database, analysts can now evaluate student data and submit required reports efficiently.
“From a total cost of ownership standpoint, the increased speed and accuracy of reporting with Infinite Campus has minimized errors, giving us a 300 percent improvement over what we had been doing before,” says Mitchell. “Our SIS staff will tell you the single best thing about Infinite Campus is that it completely streamlined state reporting.”
A National Network of Users
Infinite Campus has built a strong community of users not only in Georgia, but across the country. These groups come together and learn from each other, share their success stories, and build a professional community that strengthens every user.
“I can’t tell you how important it is for staff to participate in these professional development activities, whether it’s a regional user group, or the Infinite Campus sponsored Interchange events,” said Mitchell. “This seems to be the culture of Infinite Campus; people coming together to exchange ideas in the spirit of true partnership.”
Ready for Tomorrow
The future for Forsyth is not simply a matter of technology keeping up with district growth. Mitchell has high hopes for adaptation of the transformative technologies that Infinite Campus is developing. Infinite Campus has the ability to see beyond immediate needs with a concrete vision for tomorrow.