Earning buy-in from stakeholders is one of the most important factors when moving to a new SIS.
At Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, where I work as a data management coordinator, our former SIS was unreliable, inaccessible, and had limited functionality. With frustration building among staff, we selected a new SIS that would allow us to become more efficient, engaged, and empowered.
It was at this time that we realized we needed to not only change our procedures for implementing a new solution, but also ensure the buy-in from staff, teachers, students, and parents. Change can be difficult, especially when you’re transitioning to a new SIS, and we wanted to make sure all stakeholders were on board throughout the entire process.
As we made our move to a new SIS, the most important factor to our success was creating a transition that was both sustainable and smooth.
To do this, we avoided making our staff feel like the new solution was being forced on them. Instead, we focused on showing our staff the possibilities and capabilities of the software and letting them have a say in where we would go from there. By listening, we communicated to them that our district’s leadership was invested for the foreseeable future, and not just during the initial conversation phase.
In less than two years, our district improved its accuracy of data and communication, which has resulted in the following successes:
- Provided an accessible portal for all family and student needs
- Created an automatic integration between our LMS and SIS on a nightly basis
- Messaged families directly through our SIS, creating an additional touch point
- Integrated our online payment system with our SIS and SIS’s app
Would your district like to see some of the same successes? Here are three tips to elevate your SIS experience:
1. Train, Train, Train
I can’t overemphasize how impactful training was for our team. Be sure that your staff has the tools needed to perform their duties. We arranged group trainings and one-on-one help for staff members. We also assisted parents at kindergarten sign-up and back-to-school nights, ensuring a smooth transition was a top priority for our district. Furthermore, our SIS offered a professional development solution that allowed our staff to work at their own pace in areas of the software that were specific to them, making training convenient, not cumbersome.
Each district should have the mentality that training never ends. We have back-to-school sessions and year-end meetings. Each opportunity gives staff a platform to converse with their peers and build on new ideas. By staying patient and persistent, staff will begin to have ‘aha’ moments and recognize the big picture. The result will be self-sufficient users who are empowered to accomplish their duties.