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MIS Systems Thread, New to MIS. Looking for advice. in Technical; Hi. I am starting a private school called Austin Green School here in Austin, Tx. After meeting with a business ...
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    New to MIS. Looking for advice.

    Hi. I am starting a private school called Austin Green School here in Austin, Tx. After meeting with a business advisor we were told that we would need some sort of MIS program. I am completely unfamiliar with MIS (closest thing I have dealt with would be SPSS) and don't even know where to start. If anyone could give me some advice on selecting the correct system I would be greatly appreciative.

    We are planning on eventually going all the way through high school so the grades will be K-12. We will also have small class sizes and most likely will not exceed a total of 2,000 students at max capacity.

    We will not be giving grades and will not be doing standardized testing so we wont need a program to enter that type of data into.

    I think that mostly the MIS will be used to gather information on demographics and averages.

    If anyone knows of a program that is suited for small private schools please let me know. And if there is any more ifo that I can give that will help determinwe the correct program please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rob

    P.S.

    I mentioned SPSS earlier. From what I know about SPSS it seems like it could potentially do anything that a MIS could do. Is that accurate? Because I do know SPPS and if I can accomplish everything I need to with that, then it seems like a possible option. (However, I'm assuming there are some sort of advantages to different MIS programs)

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    @AustinGreenSchool

    Most of the MISes we deal with here are geared towards the UK environment though many of the suppliers have International clients.
    We still don't know too much about the American system, i'm assuming that Private means that you don't fall into the State/District structure..?
    I've not heard of SPSS, but one thing to consider is, that whatever the requirements, changing the MIS is a big deal and once you're using one, it's a pain to change let alone convince the users that they need to learn another system. So it would be worth choosing wisely at the start, and planning for future expansion.

    You may find some useful info in this thread: What MIS Systems Do You Use In USA

    At the least a bunch of names that you can google.

    ASPEN and PowerSchool are two big names i've heard of but there are hundreds of small web based companies offering services in the cloud. I think most have a per user charge, so though you think you're small, 2000 is quite big, and could end up being tens of thousands of dollars annually depending on what you go for.

    A blanket, 'we won't be giving grades' - doesn't sound like the right approach, it's something all schools need to do at some point. Collecting demographics could be done cheaply in Excel, but the MIS system allows you to manage students and staff, timetabling, and many other areas.

    Another factor to consider is if you want a virtual learning environment, this too will require extra planning and expenditure. ASPEN has a strong point here as most VLE elements are part of the core MIS.

    As you're starting out, it would be useful for you to look at this thread Something to keep an eye on from DfE though not aimed for outside the UK market, the framework is useful to look at, and also the later link i put in with guidance will help you draw up a specification for your school, so you have a concrete set of criteria against which to measure any systems you consider.

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    speckytecky (3rd April 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinGreenSchool View Post
    Hi. I am starting a private school called Austin Green School here in Austin, Tx. After meeting with a business advisor we were told that we would need some sort of MIS program. I am completely unfamiliar with MIS (closest thing I have dealt with would be SPSS) and don't even know where to start. If anyone could give me some advice on selecting the correct system I would be greatly appreciative.

    We are planning on eventually going all the way through high school so the grades will be K-12. We will also have small class sizes and most likely will not exceed a total of 2,000 students at max capacity.

    We will not be giving grades and will not be doing standardized testing so we wont need a program to enter that type of data into.

    I think that mostly the MIS will be used to gather information on demographics and averages.

    If anyone knows of a program that is suited for small private schools please let me know. And if there is any more ifo that I can give that will help determinwe the correct program please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rob

    P.S.

    I mentioned SPSS earlier. From what I know about SPSS it seems like it could potentially do anything that a MIS could do. Is that accurate? Because I do know SPPS and if I can accomplish everything I need to with that, then it seems like a possible option. (However, I'm assuming there are some sort of advantages to different MIS programs)
    I don't think SPSS (assuming your talking about the statistics package!) is comparable to a full blown MIS. A full blown MIS is more akin to a database (together with the tools to analyse and report on the data) of every bit of data the school currently, and could ever hold/record. For us that means that our MIS holds all our student contact details, medical details, grades in classes, exam results, exam predicted results, behaviour and rewards (detentions and credits/debits), staff details, staff HR details, timetables etc.

    You could certainly use SPSS to analyse student data sets, but a MIS should be about much more than that. As vikpaw has mentioned there are plenty of MIS providers out there, but you need to get your requirements down to ensure your signing up with a provider that gives you what you want/need. Changing MIS systems is not something you want to be doing - ask your finance department how they'd like to change finance systems after 2-3 years of using whatever they've decided on . It's doable, just a lot of work!

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    GREED's Avatar
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    You have a wealth of choice in the US, a number of top systems that are designed specifically for the US market with a range of functions and complexities.

    Do a google search and see (actualy @vikpaw we should have a list of known suppliers for the UK and US somewhere, impartial list of who is out there... just a thought). Or contact one of your local schools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    You have a wealth of choice in the US, a number of top systems that are designed specifically for the US market with a range of functions and complexities.

    Do a google search and see (actualy @vikpaw we should have a list of known suppliers for the UK and US somewhere, impartial list of who is out there... just a thought). Or contact one of your local schools.
    At the least the UK framework can form the list for them. You'll have to help out with the US list

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    From an impartiality view for 'geek, a list of all know UK suppliers not just those on the framework, may be useful?

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    From an impartiality view for 'geek, a list of all know UK suppliers not just those on the framework, may be useful?
    true - i don't supposed in the course of your work, you've produced one?

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    Got one for the US, UK I also have access to (via a partner) and i'll see what I can do and get them over to you.

  10. Thanks to GREED from:

    vikpaw (8th April 2012)

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    I'll take both, thanks.

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