The Student Information System, which has had unforeseen technical and operating problems since its implementation last fall, will be taken offline at the end of the current school year and exchanged temporarily with the original data system that it was designed to replace. The changeover will last for one year as the new information system is further developed.
Modifications to the former "legacy" system are now underway so that the original data processing system can resume operation this July. The switchover will include a transfer of student demographic information, course schedules, and other data necessary for schools to enroll students, assign classes, and process report card grades and transcripts.
The new system has been hampered by problems since the first day of school last September. Continuing difficulties required the reprinting of some middle school and high school report cards for the second quarter in February. A detailed quality check of the upcoming third quarter report cards has been instituted, which will delay distribution of grades for secondary school students until April 26. Elementary report cards will be distributed on schedule on April 14.
The decision to suspend the use of the new student information system for one year was made by Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, following a comprehensive review and unanimous recommendation by an expert advisory panel. The panel included chief executives of technology companies in the county and representatives of county government and higher education.
By taking the system offline for one year, staff and the private companies involved in the development of the student information system will have time to resolve programming and implementation issues separate from the day-to-day operational needs of school-based and central office staff.
The need for accurate student data will be met by the older system until the new system is ready to be fully implemented in August 2001. The legacy system, however, will not replicate all of the services provided by the new system, including period-by-period attendance, loss of credit letters, interims, integrated standardized testing, and on-line middle school credit.
The new system, which manages information for more than 131,000 students, was originally intended to be phased-in over the course of the school year. The system, which has the promise of providing principals, teachers, and parents with an array of data retrieval and processing tools, is still envisioned as the long-term solution to the information technology needs of the school system.