2021-22 Annual Renewals and Future Development Plans
This week we sent out the first round of emails for 2021-22 renewals. If you’re an “organizational contact” for your school/district, you should’ve received a link to our self-service page. From there you can pay online, print next year’s order form, and update quantities. While most customers’ subscriptions don’t expire until 6/30, we wanted to make the paperwork available for budget planning purposes (or payment with this year’s funds). For your convenience, we’ll send reminders monthly.
We appreciate your business, and would like to thank you for being a customer. We wouldn’t be a company without our customers. We strive to meet your needs, and be “easy to do business with.” We hope that we consistently meet your expectations, and that you’re satisfied with our service. Feel free to give us feedback if there are areas where we need improvement.
As we look forward to next school year, we’d like to talk about our near-term development plans. We hope to have another good year pushing the technology forward. We’re excited about our future upgrades and new features. While this preview isn’t exhaustive, our hope is that the transparency is helpful.
We’ve offered Online Registration for some time, and it was originally included with Core SchoolInsight. While useful, we feel the current code is somewhat limited and needs rewritten. It’s missing many features commonly available in the market today: mobile support, document upload, automatic fee calculation, GIS integration to verify addresses, and logic that makes forms responsive to user input.
With the intention of investing in upgrades, a few years ago we separated Online Registration into its own module, marked it as “beta,” and allowed users continued access for free. Our plan was to build new functionality, and start charging once the new module becomes worthy of its own subscription fee.
After some COVID-19 delays, we finally started development on the new module, and the work is coming along nicely. We should release the early phases of the project before most customers register students in June/July. This should improve users’ experience over the current code. We hope you like it.
Since the project won’t be completed this year, we’ll leave the module in beta for this renewal cycle. Customers can use it for free next year, and benefit from the upgrades. Hopefully we’ll finish the work early next year, and be able to make Online Registration a regular module (with a subscription fee) in 2022-23. We’ll publish a news article when we release the first batch of new functionality.
Enhanced Communication (Autodialer)
Many of our customers use an autodialer to supplement the communication facilities currently provided by our system (email and app notifications). These tools typically include automated phone calls and text messages. We support data extracts to transfer the necessary information to external systems, so they work properly.
The current setup is not perfect, and has notable friction. Data integrations are not flawless, admins need to use multiple portals, and analytics aren’t integrated. When discussing possible solutions with customers, it was clear that we could offer a better user experience if the autodialer were inside our system.
We announced the new “Enhanced Communication,” module about a month ago, and asked for volunteer beta customers. A few weeks ago we released changes to phone numbers, in support of upcoming new functionality. We have a first beta version in QA, and hope to start working with customers very soon. Feel free to sign up if you’d like to participate in the beta program:
We expect the product to be ready by July, and will offer it as a full module. We’ll announce pricing soon and add it to our order form tool. Look for updates on our news page.
We launched SchoolInsight Financials last July and it’s been a great success. This project, two years in the making, significantly expanded our product footprint. With almost 50 school districts at launch, we’re very excited about its future.
We plan to continue investing in Financials. While it’s no longer a “brand new” product, we have a substantial list of features we’ll add as it matures. We’d like to improve the integration between SIS and Financials, and make data flow more easily between them (especially when parents make online payments). We also intend to support more states.
We’d like to thank our initial customers for all of their help, support, and feedback. We couldn’t have done it without you.
With COVID-19, the ability to deliver online content has become mission critical. We’ve seen widespread adoption of learning management systems (LMS), such as Google Classroom. In many places, education was delivered very differently this year than in the past.
In response we’re supporting richer 2-way integrations with external LMSs. We think it’s important for SchoolInsight to send student, roster, and other setup information to the LMS, and pull assignments and scores back into the gradebook. These integrations greatly reduce instructor time spent on data management, and frees them to be better prepared in the classroom.
While the majority of our investment so far has been in Google Classroom, in 2021 we expect to expand the integrations to additional LMS’s like Canvas to improve efficiencies for more clients. The IMS OneRoster v1.1 specification should be helpful in this area.
Google Suite Integration
We serve many small- to medium-sized school districts, and the majority use Google Suite extensively: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc. It was natural for us to integrate with Google to provide a better user experience. We started by adding Login with Google. Then we integrated with Google Classroom. We continue to make our system the best SIS when working with Google.
We feel the next step is to offer a GSuite integration. This would allow the use of GSuite applications inside of TeacherEase. When creating assignments in TeacherEase, instructors can attach GSuite files, similar to Google Classroom. These are distributed to students, who can access those GSuite activities inside TeacherEase, reducing the friction from using separate systems.
This means no more bouncing between Google Classroom and TeacherEase. It allows students, parents, and staff to interact with a single portal. Teachers can assign, review, and score work in the same place. Students can find assignments, complete work, and view feedback in one place. In addition to viewing just scores/comments, parents can view the actual student work artifacts too.
Additionally, since assignments are created in TeacherEase, all of our gradebook functionality is available. This will solve existing challenges around categories and standards-based grading (neither of which are supported in the Google Classroom API).
The first version of this work has been completed, and we are starting a beta program to get feedback from customers. Look for a more substantial new article shortly. We’re very excited about this new integration and look forward to sharing more soon.
We recognize that 2020-21 has been unprecedented. Educators across the world faced extreme challenges as they adapted to new situations. We’d like to thank you for your hard work and offer our appreciation for everything you do to support students.
20 years ago we were founded on the principle that improving education is a common goal. We’re proud that every day we get to work with some of the best educators in the world. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.
The Common Goal Team