Ron Chandler, LAUSD’s Chief information officer
While LA Unified is still wrestling with the final kinks in MiSiS, it is already developing MiSiS 2.0.
“This time we’re involving users in the conversation early on,” Ron Chandler, the district’s Chief Information Officer, told the school board’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee yesterday.
As for the current system, which tracks student progress and whereabouts, the district is still working on several components.
Gradebook, the program used to track student grades and attendance, will be available for elementary school teachers in November, but other teachers will have to wait until January, he said. Scheduling students remains challenging, leaving incomplete the “norming” process wherein a school makes final teacher hiring decisions based on the number of students in each class.
The parent portal, which parents use to access their child’s records, is only partially accessible. And printing student transcripts, an increasingly important task as high school seniors apply for colleges, is also proving problematic.
Chandler did not tell members when the problems would be resolved, only that work continues to overcome all the issues.
“Any time you’re changing a (computer system), it’s like a heart transplant,” he said. “You’re literally pulling out the most important parts.”
As for MiSiS 2.0, the plan is to complete the blueprinting phase by the end of the year and have the new system up and running by Fall 2015. Teams developing the upgraded student data management system will include principals, administrators and teachers. Throughout the process new elements will be tested by face-to-face and online focus groups, and users, which Chandler called “our customers,” will have the opportunity to participate in summer institutes.
The new version of MiSiS will include a number of enhancements, particularly for secondary school users who have complained that the current system doesn’t do as much as the previous one. But Chandler didn’t delve into many details about what they are, saying only, “The users will determine the next best thing, the way it behaves.”
Updating school site technology will be imperative to launching the improved software next year.
“It was one of our biggest miscalculations,” Chandler admitted. “We didn’t have a good enough understanding of how out of date the systems at the school are…Many computers are eight to 10 years old and they just don’t work well with MiSiS.”
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