Continued Partnership for the Changing Education Landscape
Port Arthur Independent School District located in Texas, educates more than 9,000 students at 12 schools.
“We use the Admin App in the hallways on cell phones or tablets to start discussions with students or if we need to call a parent. We can look up the information right there on the spot with the student and call a parent or find out what class they should be in.”
Anthony Jackson | Chief Technology Officer | Port Arthur Independent School District
Changing state regulations and technology demands make staying on top of requirements a difficult task. The SIS needs to be able to adapt quickly with little disruption to users.
PAISD leveraged SunGard K-12’s eSchoolPLUS. SunGard K-12’s regulatory team monitors state requirements and recommends changes as needed on hosted weekly calls.
In addition to the technology, PAISD is excited by the partnership formed with the team at SunGard K-12. In addition to monitoring regulatory issues for the district, SunGard K-12recommended use of an existing feature, Career Planner, within eSchoolPLUS, to meet the newest state regulations. Anthony Jackson, CTO, says, “We moved to Career Planner because of House Bill 5, an initiative for Texas that requires a career plan for students. One of the trainers helped us get set up and on track.” SunGard K-12 partnered with PAISD to assist with training and rollout.
Over the past few years, as state regulations have changed and technology has advanced, Port Arthur Independent School District continues to work with SunGard K-12 on new ways to use the system and its added features.
How do you think eSchoolPLUS helps the district drive student success?
In 2012, Port Arthur ISD launched Home Access Center, providing parents access to helpful information that supports and guides their children through the educational process. Through a web portal, Anthony Jackson, Chief Technology Officer says, “Parents are able to review students’ grades, attendance and discipline.”
In addition to support, according to Jackson, “eSchoolPLUS is a powerful, robust tool with quite a bit of information that we can get to on our students without digging.” Our administrators also started using the Admin App with great reviews.
Communication is the hallmark of successful relationships, tell me how that has evolved over the years.
In addition to the support offered throughout the transition to new features, SunGard K-12 hosts a weekly regulatory call to support districts within each state. Jackson said, “We have a support call every Tuesday that’s a really helpful call where we get a lot of information on Texas regulations and things happening. It’s been really helpful to gather information from the call and hear from other districts on what they’re doing and how things are happening with them.”
Texas, like many other states, has unique and changing reporting requirements and regulations, is SunGard K-12 helpful to the district?
Besides the regulatory calls, SunGard K-12 helps the district navigate the changing regulations. For example, in 2013, Texas Legislature passed a new regulation that impacted districts across the state. House Bill 5 (HB 5), made substantial changes to the state’s curriculum and graduation requirements, assessment program, and accountability system. These revised state requirements help students work with parents and educators to map their coursework to align with their aptitudes and interests. This change needed to be reflected in how PAISD was using eSchoolPLUS. SunGard K-12 recommended the Career Planner feature which was already a part of the program. According to Jackson, “One of SunGard K-12’s trainers came down and helped us get set up and on track to where we’re able to use the program now.”
“SunGard K-12 hosts a support call every Tuesday morning where we hear a lot of information on Texas regulations and learn about things that are happening. It helps us gather information and hear from other districts on what they’re doing.”