Below are examples of how this change would be broached with various levels.
Proposal to Ministry:
Honourable Don Morgan:
The Regina Public School Division #4 wishes to change their student reporting systems.
This change has been researched by a committee of teachers, administrators, and superintendents in order to determine the responsiveness of the current system (PowerSchool) to student, teacher, and parent needs. Furthermore, the corporate responsibility of PowerSchool has been examined and because PowerSchool was derived from Pearson, the committee has come to the decision that they cannot support any links or ties to such a corporation in good conscience.
The new system selected is Alma. Alma provides all of the features teachers have indicated they wish to have in a Student Information System. Alma_Whitepaper_Learned_vs_Earned is attached for reference. An approximate cost of implementation has been estimated as $5-10 to set up and train staff with a maintenance cost of $7-12 per student per year for our student population of 22, 000. Our contact at Alma is Anna Logan, if you have any further questions.
Therefore, Regina School Division request time in order to ensure that the system selected can interface with the Ministry’s reporting systems. The Board also requests that a liaison from the Ministry be provided in order to facilitate the change.
Thank you for your understanding,
Chair of SIS Overhaul Committee
Proposal to School Board:
Director Greg Enion:
The working committee of teachers convened to discuss whether or not a change in Regina Public’s Student Information System (SIS) is required have come to a decision.
Based on the corporate history of PowerSchool as a subsidiary of Pearson and currently as an acquisition of a venture capitalist firm concentrating on data mining, we have determined we cannot support PowerSchool or GradeBook with clear consciences.
An alternative, Alma, has been researched as a way to meet teachers’ needs, as they have indicated in the surveys sent out. Alma is an innovator in the field of student data management. They are responsive, independent, and are continually renewing their systems as a way to meet their customer’s’ needs.
Attached to this document are the survey results from the initial survey, the follow up survey, minutes from the committee meetings, and the quote for integration provided by Anna Logan, our contact at Alma. As well, our committee letter to the Honourable Don Morgan has been appended.
We appreciate you spearheading this move away from corporations that do not promote equality, good practice, and encourage monopolies on education.
Thank you for your consideration,
Chair of SIS Overhaul Committee
A Google survey has been created that would be disseminated to teachers (Regina Public is a Google division so use of Google apps is integrated. This means access issues to the survey should be curtailed as teachers’ RBE email address sign them into Google as well.) All surveys must be vetted by superintendents, so this jurisdiction’s participation and inclusion will be integral to the survey.
The initial survey
This first survey would be sent out in order to determine the direction of the change. If an overwhelming majority of teachers are against any change, then the SIS change would be dead in the water. Without the support of teachers, any change will not happen.
After results are gathered from this survey and enough teachers would like to see a change, then those who wished to be a part of the working group would be contacted.
Once the working group has come up with several options, a subset of interested teachers from a variety of schools would be contacted and asked to research the options to see how practical they are.
From these responses, a final proposal would be set forth to the Director of Education and to the Minister of Education.
Dear parent(s)/guardian(s) of Regina Public Students:
Regina Public Schools has undertaken a change in the way student information is collected, viewed, and maintained.
Previously, teachers, administrators, parents, and students used PowerSchool, a former subsidiary of Pearson Education. As you may be aware, Pearson Education has been under constant scrutiny regarding its business practices.
PowerSchool was acquired by a venture capitalist firm which specialises in data management. This is troublesome as the portfolio with this firm contains areas of potential consequence to student data.
Because of these concerns, a committee was formed in order to investigate alternatives. One has been selected: Alma.
Alma is a web-based information system, similar in features to PowerSchool, but it is an independent company.
The changeover to this new system will occur over the summer break, with learning sessions on the new parental controls during your school’s Open House in the first week of September.
We encourage you to explore Alma’s features by watching the videos posted on your school’s website.
Students will be walked through the changes to how they access their information in their classes. In elementary schools, students will be working with their English Language Arts teachers and in high school, students will be communicating with their homeroom teachers.
If you have any questions, please direct them to your school’s administration.
Thank you for your patience as we implement this change,
Chair of SIS Overhaul Committee
Below are guiding questions for teachers to discuss the genesis of the change and why corporate responsibility is so important.
These questions are geared toward high schools, but similar ones could be adapted for middle years students.
- What is corporate responsibility? (Wikipedia, Video Examples [be aware that some serve as advertisements], brief overview)
- Can you think of any examples of good corporate behaviour in your community?
- What about some examples of bad corporate behaviour?
- Has anyone ever got an ad on Google that was eerily pointed for you? How do you think this happens? Why do you think this happens? (Google Ad Sense)
- What is data management?
- Why might a school division be worried about your data?
- What responsibilities does a school division have about your data?
- Homeroom teachers should proceed to walk through the changes, demonstrate login, and ensure each student is able to logon.