LA Unified computer problems hampering special ed teachers

computer-glitch-problems-LAUSDTwo weeks into the new school year, LA Unified administrators are still working out bugs in a new computer system, a disruption that has made instruction particularly difficult for special education teachers, who need specific information for each of their students..

The new MiSiS — My Integrated Student Information System — is designed to track every aspect of a student’s academic career by integrating a variety of existing computer programs.

Special education teacher Kelly Flores, who teaches at Maya Angelou Community High School, said the problems she has encountered with MiSiS are preventing her from doing her job, costing students valuable instruction time.

“I can’t really use MiSiS. The only thing I can do is take attendance of the kids that I have enrolled in a couple of classes,” she told LA School Report. “I personally have no access in finding my students, so I’m going on the second week, and I can’t service my students. The only thing I can do is know who the students I had last year were and go look for them class to class.”

Overall, thousands of students in the district are affected. As a special education teacher, Flores must be working with her students either in a classroom or learning center, making sure they’re programmed correctly into the classes they need.

“I’m unable to do this because of the new system,” she said.

Flores says there’s a way teachers can access their case load, but it has to go through an administrator, and at this point, she said, no administrator knows how to do it or has the time to do it.

“To me it’s complete chaos,” she said.

She insisted that the only way she knows her students are at school is if she sees them in the halls. She said many of them were programmed in, but some don’t have the correct classes.

“I write down their schedules, but their schedules are being changed,” she said.

Flores said she believes the district made a mistake by shutting down the older, but reliable computer system, without making sure the new system worked properly, leaving teachers without information they need.

“I don’t know how to access my students, and even if I could, I don’t know how because I haven’t been trained,” she said. “It is something that is good in theory, but it wasn’t tested,  and it wasn’t perfected before they rolled it out.”

Making matters worse, she said, teachers can’t identify any new special education students coming in from middle school.

By this time in previous years, Flores said, the special education student case load would already have been distributed, and teachers would find their students by using the former computer system. Now, she said, they haven’t been able to do any of it.

Flores would normally have between 28 and 30 special education students, but currently she only has 10 who have been programmed into her classes.

“I should be in the classroom with all of those 28,” she said. “They should know who I am, and I should have their schedules and be providing services. The system is not working and it’s not allowing special education students to have their needs met.”

MiSiS has been plagued with problems ever since its debut earlier this month. Counselors in charge of enrolling students have complained that the new comprehensive program is not as user friendly as the older system. MiSiS, they say, also adds to their workloads because it has lost a substantial amount of student data that had been entered.

District officials have conceded they are working on the problems and have told teachers they “will not have access to the system while the issues are being resolved.”

Previous Posts: Teachers union blasts Deasy again for new computer system; Teachers union says computer glitch cost students first day; Teachers in panic over LAUSD’s new computer tracking system

  • paula hrdle

    I understand the need for this administration to downplay repeated incompetent and unilateral decision-making that cost the taxpayers money. It would be different if this was a one time occurrence but this is happening too much, teething pains, no. The administration was warned that this program was not ready for a full fledge launch but launch they did. This so-called expert at coordinating all the aspects of the system didn’t. Now, as is typical in LAUSD contracting, we have to pay additional monies for companies to do the job they were initially paid to do again. No, this is not teachers overreacting, its frustration for the students and taxpayers who see the same poor decision-making over and over with this administration. Sit back and let administration solve this problem, please. Administration and poor management IS the problem.

  • Natalie Crook

    MiSIS is not stopping Ms. Flores from teaching. Ms. Flores can go to Welligent ( the LAUSD software for managing special ed students) to see her student caseload. If she wants a copy of student schedules she can ask a counselor at her school to print out the schedule summary report from MiSIS. Or, if her principal approves she could get another user role that allows more access to student information in MISIS.

  • Gerald Cockrell

    Instead of this fiasco bringing the two sides of the public education debate together it is clear by the comments, just like in every other LAUSD news story that most people still just don’t get it.If you could ask any principal whether they would like to have equal funds sent directly to the school, the ability to choose their own staff that is capable of determining the best ways to use those funds to service their kids and systems that are actually functional vs being part of a giant conglomerate of separate entities all scrambling for whatever portion of an already depleted pie headed by a huge bureaucracy filled with people that have no interest or incentive to actually help the situation, I think it is clear what they would choose. Do I want an LAUSD system that is untested, has no accountability to the end user and doesn’t even do the things we need by design, or a private system that actually works, is easy to use and is dependent on user satisfaction. This is exactly why charters were created but until the narrative of charters trying to steal money is eliminated people will continue to be misled.

    • Raj Acharya

      “MiSiS was launched to comply with federal law and a nearly 20-year-old court settlement reached after the district admitted losing the records of a student with learning disabilities and failing to attend to her special education needs, resulting in the 17-year-old having to repeat 10th grade three times.”

      The teachers should display patience in this initial launch which is always traumatic, slow because these are teething pains. Teachers want to use this teething troubles as incompetence on the part of the administration instead of supporting the cause. Teacher unions always want to show the administration in poor light which increases their power.

      Teachers please have patience, go back to the basics of teaching and leave it to the technical experts to solve the problems. We have learnt a lot from the launch of Obama care which is functioning reasonably well after all its initial growing pains.

      Administration please work harder to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

      Unions please stay out of this problem.

      Media please do not mislead the general public.

  • Sonja Luchini

    Families can help by taking in copies of the IEP pages showing needed accommodations/modifications. I would take a copy to my son’s teacher(s) at the beginning of every school year, just in case because it took a while for the special education administrator to distribute IEP information to teachers. Even with Welligent online, it was helpful, especially when he was in high school (and had many different teachers), to also write an introductory letter explaining his disability, his strengths and what he needed help with. Not all teachers go online to see what is needed, but if placed in their hands – it does get read.

    Being a proactive parent/guardian is the only way to ensure teachers understand what is needed for your child. Advocacy is easy. Every teacher sent me a “thank you” when I would do this.