A Wisconsin newspaper is running an article that is effectively a huge testimonial to Appleis PowerSchool educational software solution. Published by The Post-Crescent, the article came to us from a mention on Appleis Hot News page. Itis about one school systemis struggle with another software package and how that district has been rescued by PowerSchool. PowerSchool was bought by Apple earlier this year and has been aggressively marketed by Apple as a total software solution for teachers, administrators, students, and parents. First, we deal with the old system. From the article:
When the Appleton Area School District purchased a new $400,000 computerized student information system in 1998, school officials had high hopes.
The Canadian firm programming it promised all the bells and whistles an administrator, secretary or teacher could want to keep the flow of student data humming. It was a disaster. It was slow to respond. Report cards were wrong. Students complained of inaccurate grade points and class rankings on transcripts. Secretaries could not file necessary state reports that require considerable data analysis. It was difficult to keep and retrieve historical data on students. Last school year, Supt. Tom Scullen finally pulled the plug.
That system is made by Administrative Assistance Limited, a Canadian company. The company does not have a Web site that we could find. We contacted the reporter for The Post-Crescent who wrote the article, and she told us the product was not Mac-based and that she thought it was Windows based.
The Appleton school district has apparently had an entirely different experience with Appleis PowerSchool. The system cost this district US$250,000, 62.5% of the cost of the Administrative Assistance package. From the article:
PowerSchool, on the other hand, is getting good reviews from districts that use it, Kimberly included. "We pioneered it," said Kimberly technology director Michael McDermot. "We were the first school district in the state to have it and in the year weive had it weive had 10-12 school districts come to look at it. Quite a few are now using it." \
Parents have complete access to student schedules, grades, teacher comments, all in real time, he said, and teachers have standardized electronic grading, plus access from their classrooms to all sorts of student data. "They donit have to go to a secretary," he said. McDermot said it is extremely user-friendly. "We had a secretary leave last year and brought in a retired secretary for a time. She learned the system in a week with no formal training."
Appleton technology director Jim Hawbaker agreed that PowerSchool, which is browser-based and owned by Apple, is indeed user-friendly and easier to maintain.
There is more information in the full Post-Crescent article, and it is definitely worth a read. Coming from a mainstream report from a local paper, this article reads like a testimonial for PowerSchool.