St. Paul, Minnesota
Minnesota Online High School (MNOHS), a charter school in St. Paul, Minn., was previously using JMC and FileMaker Pro. Both solutions were inefficient and time consuming to manage their unique student information needs. They pride themselves on being an online community school, and over time found JMC and their FileMaker Pro solution could no longer provide the integrated functionalities they needed. In 2006, they implemented Infinite Campus, a fully-integrated, Web-based student information system (SIS) that is continuously evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of K12 education.
MNOHS faced numerous challenges with their old system, including the labor that went into preparing data for Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) and creating simple reports. Obtaining course completion rates separated by demographic factors took staff hours to complete.
MNOHS now handles state reporting with ease. “We use Infinite Campus to pull together information for state reporting and it works very well,” said Elissa Raffa, MNOHS Executive Director. “Data is entered efficiently and easily accessed for accurate reporting and analysis.”
The lack of teacher access to a shared student notes system was another challenge. Teachers had difficulty completing daily tasks by not having an easy way to look up basic student information, such as enrollment and attendance. Teachers and administrators were drowning in emails in order to share information about students, so they could live up to their reputation of being an online community school.
With Infinite Campus, the Contact Log allows staff to record when a student was in a conference, when a parent or guardian was contacted, and note other important information regarding health and other extenuating circumstances, counselor check-ins, significant challenges and successes, and learner planning notes.
MNOHS uses the Contact Log as a shared notes system for teachers and staff to develop institutional knowledge about individual students’ needs and how to meet them.
Hosting provided through Infinite Campus is an incredibly beneficial feature for MNOHS. “Leaving the responsibility of server upgrades, software updates, patch installations, system interruptions, and other glitches up to Infinite Campus has been a huge time and money saver for our organization,” said Sarah Carsello, MNOHS Technology Manager.
“We really appreciate being able to sleep at night knowing that our student data is in good hands and being taken care of appropriately and efficiently. Campus Technicians have been responsive at addressing our issues and needs, as well as handling our persistent requests.”
Districts maximize the security and availability of their data when they select one of the three hosting options Infinite Campus provides. All options minimize the time and attention district technical staff will need to devote to the routine tasks of information management.
“The transparency of Campus Technicians has been phenomenal,” said Carsello. “We appreciate getting details about when and why Infinite Campus goes down for both planned and unplanned outages.”
Ad Hoc Reporting
MNOHS uses their student data to define, filter, format and deliver information required for instruction, accountability, communication and other essential educational processes. With an intuitive wizard-style query interface and WYSIWYG report editor, Ad Hoc reporting lets them find patterns within their data, determine answers to critical questions, make informed programmatic and financial decisions and communicate effectively.
“We have so many distinct Web-based programs that require setting up individual accounts for our students and faculty, that having the data exported in one fell swoop helps reduce the time needed to get accounts set up and activated,” said Carse
Return on investment
The number of students MNOHS serves has tripled in eight years. If they had not been able to make their administrative work flow more efficiently through Infinite Campus, their small administrative staff would not be able to manage all the reporting requirements that charter schools and large districts alike must manage.
Teachers and administrative staff have been extremely pleased since implementing Infinite Campus. As the years have passed, MNOHS has explored additional aspects of the system and how it can help them meet the needs of their students–including efficiently generating official transcripts and exporting data.
Most importantly, Infinite Campus has given MNOHS the ability to replicate the casual conversations that faculty and staff have in bricks-and-mortar schools. This allows them to know how to support students better when it comes to their interests, what kind of instruction they respond best to, and how they can achieve their goals.