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Piloting a Successful Implementation

Oklahoma City Public Schools, Oklahoma City

This was 2012 and obviously they were all using Web 2.0 tools for their own professional learning. Yet, their SIS couldn’t even be navigated with a mouse; users had to remember keystrokes and transaction codes to run reports. As for using the system to explore data and get actionable insights on student information… impossible; the system clearly didn’t work for them anymore."
Eric Hileman, Executive Director of Information Technology

PILOTING A SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION.
As the new Executive Director of Information Technology at Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) in 2012, Eric Hileman still remembers the question. On one of his first days after joining the state’s largest district, he attended a principals’ meeting expecting to be a mere observer. Instead, ushered up front to address the crowd, Hileman seized the moment. “I asked, ‘What changes do you see as necessary to modernize your district’s learning environment?’”

All answers indicated the district’s student information system was past its prime. “This was 2012 and obviously they were all using Web 2.0 tools for their own professional learning,” Hileman said. “Yet, their SIS couldn’t even be navigated with a mouse; users had to remember keystrokes and transaction codes to run reports. As for using the system to explore data and get actionable insights on student information… impossible; the system clearly didn’t work for them anymore.”

LIKE BRAIN SURGERY.
Hileman doesn’t downplay what a district faces when changing its SIS. “Switching is not easy, it’s like brain surgery. It impacts everything in your district.” 

For districts considering a change, Hileman recommends they review the Model for Managing Complex Change (right) that he used to set expectations at OKCPS. “Vision, skills, resources, incentives, and action plan; a district needs all five elements for a successful change. If they’re missing one, they’ll face the corresponding challenge. This model is just beautiful,” he said. 

While principals pleaded for a new system, some stakeholders were hesitant. “Here, the hardest sell was incentives…what are the incentives to change? But, we coupled it with vision…look what’s possible if we go through this!”

THREE HOSTING OPTIONS.
Infinite Campus offers three hosting options, including cloud hosting, to meet the needs of any size district. Campus Hosting is surprise-free, reliable, and has a proven record of 99.99% server availability. All equipment is managed and maintained by the Managed Services Team, which also provides nightly backups.

CLOUD CHOICE HOSTING
Providing the greatest degree of freedom and flexibility, this is our recommended choice for medium to large-sized districts.

CLOUD HOSTING
Our most economical hosting solution for small and medium-sized districts who want to accomplish big things within tight budgets.

ONSITE HOSTING
Campus Hosting provides nightly backups, warm site failover, and disaster recovery.

What changes do you see as necessary to modernize your district’s learning environment?"
Campus worked with us to define and finalize the action plan, which was very helpful."

DEFINE NON-NEGOTIABLES.
“We talked with Moore and Norman Public Schools and learned both were satisfied Campus customers. That eventually contributed to our selection of Infinite Campus,” Hileman said. OKCPS released an RFP, to which five companies responded. Two came up short in what Hileman considers a critical step in the change process. “Districts must define their non-negotiables! Getting out of the hosting business was mine. I did not want to manage hardware and software onsite. I didn’t want to buy and maintain equipment and spend even more on the associated licensing. Two companies were eliminated for that reason.”

ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS.
“The whole household construct is still something I’m wrapping my head around and I’ve been on Campus a few years. It’s still a foreign concept that a household is an address and the people and the relationships therein. In the legacy system, there was no way to determine staff members who were also parents. Now in Campus, we can easily identify teachers and principals and bus drivers and cafeteria workers who have students.”

IT WAS MIND-BLOWING.
Hileman recalls stakeholders being impressed with Campus during the SIS demonstrations. “From its look and feel to the reporting capabilities and all the core functionality in the system, it was mind-blowing what we were getting with Infinite Campus. It was a huge step up for us and we were excited about gaining efficiencies, re-directing valuable resources, and being able to focus on students more than ever before.” Implementation went smooth according to Hileman. “Campus worked with us to define and finalize the action plan, which was very helpful.”

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE.
“Suddenly with Campus, there are a million colors and I can point and click and navigate, but I don’t know where the hell I’m going! That is the biggest challenge in providing new opportunities. But teachers and principals are knowledge workers and learning and re-learning are part of the game.” Hileman said Campus makes learning easy. “Infinite Campus University and Campus Community are great resources for professional development…all the tools are there for end users. We expect differentiated learning for kids and Campus provides it for adults, too.”

AMPLIFY AND MAGNIFY.

OKCPS has added Campus Premium Products to the core SIS, including: Online Registration, Data Change Tracker, Multi- language Editor, Campus Learning, and more. Hileman said implementing the additional products was no different than the SIS: painless. “We added the products to amplify and magnify the core product. We don’t want to be in a position where we say ‘we can’t do that’ and more so, integrating Campus products expands our enablement culture.”

WORTH A BILLION DOLLARS.
“Data can drive a lot of things…data about learning and data about kids. We can’t directly correlate an SIS to student achievement but Infinite Campus is an enabling technology. You can use learning management systems, you can use data warehouse, data links, data marts…all the data-driven tasks you could not do before. With Campus, the operational efficiency alone is worth a billion dollars.”

TRUE TRANSFORMATION.
“Infinite Campus is more than a vendor, they are a partner. Their mission of Transforming K12 Education® is genuine because their products and enabling technologies lead to transformation. Campus products are well made, well executed, and well supported. You can’t do anything transformative in a modern learning environment in a legacy system. Our core competency…our core business is kids. It’s about the kids. Switch. You gotta do it!”


Full 2019 Travel Issue available here.